The Pink Toe Tarantula (Avicularia avicularia) is an arboreal species native to southern Central America and northern South America. They have the distinct honor of being the first tarantula species identified by Linnaeus back in 1795. The Avicularia spiders as a group comprise some of the most popular pet species in the trade and are one of the most widespread groups of tarantulas worldwide.
Avicularia avicularia have a large mostly black body with pink toes and are on the hairy side as far as tarantulas are concerned. Their venom is considered to be mild even for a new world species. But of course, the possibility of a dangerous reaction is always possible, and you will not know if you are susceptible until after bitten. As with every species of tarantula, exercise caution.
Pink Toes are an arboreal species, so the height of your enclosure is more important than the length or width. A 12”x12”x18” should provide enough space for an adult, while smaller spiders should be kept in much smaller enclosures. Common in the hobby are AMAC plastic containers. These containers are appropriately sized, and easy to modify to suit your spider’s needs.
A semi-popular strategy with this species is to use an enclosure that opens either on the bottom half of one side, or on the bottom itself, with a deep enough lid to hold in substrate. But research and advice from people who have done this should be sought out before attempting yourself. The reason for this strategy is that Pink Toes spend that majority of their time up near the top of the enclosure, and will web up that area. Opening from the bottom helps give you more time to react to an escape attempt and does not destroy the structure of the web your spider worked so hard to create.
Substrate for this species isn’t critical as these tarantulas don’t spend much time on the ground. Not much substrate is needed to adequately house them. These spiders like their enclosures to be humid, so substrates like coconut fiber, vermiculite, or peat moss are good for them. Josh’s Frogs Dig It substrate is also a great choice.
Keep the substrate shallow to allow for easy cleaning and uneaten bug removal, and to prevent mold or bacterial growth. If you plan on using springtails or isopods as a cleanup crew, or want to use live plants in your tarantula’s enclosure, Josh’s Frogs BioBedding Tropical is recommended.
Because the Pink Toe Tarantula doesn’t spend much time on the ground you don’t need to worry about putting decor on ground level. In fact, the more stuff on the ground, the harder it will be for your tarantula to catch prey, and the harder it will be for you to remove uneaten prey. Half eaten, or otherwise deceased prey items should be removed to prevent mold.
Your enclosure should include multiple pieces of cork bark extending up to the top of your enclosure. Ideally one of these pieces will be a tube to allow the tarantula to hide. Fake plants can be added and glued to your cork bark to allow for more hiding areas. These spiders do not like being out in the open, lack of cover can stress out your animal.
Water & Humidity
A water dish is necessary for your spider, but where to put it can be up to you. Commonly people will use larger bottle caps sunken slightly into the substrate. Gluing them to the cork bark halfway up is another common approach. Make sure that water is always available.
This species does best in higher humidity (75-85%) which can be monitored with a hygrometer. If humidity is too low your tarantula could struggle while shedding which could prove fatal in some cases. Do not mist your spider directly, being misted will just irritate the spider. You can add water to the outside of the substrate, the substrate will absorb it and evaporate out, raising your relative humidity.
Heating & Lighting
Pink Toe Tarantulas do not require any UV lights, nor do they require a heat lamp. Simple light is more than enough for them. However, be careful not to let your enclosure sit in direct sunlight. This could cook your spider inside of its own home.
These spiders are fine in temp ranges from 70-85, but are more active and molt faster in higher temps. To achieve these temps you can use either heat tape or a low wattage under tank heater. A thermometer should be included inside of your tank to ensure your spider is at a comfortable temperature.
Standard food for any tarantula are gut loaded crickets. You’ll want to pick a size that your tarantula can handle. Small ¼” crickets for a good size for your juveniles, and adult crickets are preferred for the adult spiders. Cockroaches make for another common prey item.
There are no reports of overfeeding juvenile tarantulas, so feel free to feed as often as your spider will eat. Make sure to remove dead and uneaten prey items the day after feeding. And do not feed for a few days after molting. Wait until your tarantula’s exoskeleton has hardened before offering food again.
As for adults, overfeeding isn’t a major problem, but there is no advantage to doing so. If your tarantula will only eat once a week, only feed it once a week, otherwise a few feedings a week are fine.
Tarantulas are capable of going long lengths of time without food, but if your spider is not eating monitor the health of the spider closely and make sure it doesn’t lose too much weight.
The Avicularia species are easier to handle compared to other tarantula’s, with a lower risk of getting bitten and more mild venom (but still potentially deadly if you have a bad reaction to it).
However, a lot of these species, including Avicularia avicularia, are known to jump. Hand to hand, hand to shoulder, or even hand straight to the ground. Tarantulas are delicate and a long fall after one of these jumps can prove fatal, so keep a careful eye on your tarantula.
Keep in mind that handling doesn’t do anything for your spider. Your spider will not develop a bond with you, nor will handling it improve its life in any way. Handling tarantulas increase the chance of your spider falling from a height that can injure them. The stress from handling can also increase the chances of getting bit.
Always be very careful when handling tarantulas, and be mindful of the stress on the spider.
Interested in a Pink Toe Tarantula? See what we have available at joshsfrogs.com.