.:: ARTICLES -> THERAPHOSA BLONDI ::.

by Lelle Pettersson

Theraphosa blondi (Latreille, 1804) i terrarium



Subfamily Theraphosinae
Origin Surinam, Franska Guyana, Brasilien, Venezuela
Popularname Goliath birdeating tarantula, goliatspindel
Size ca 10cm bodylength, ca 28cm legspan
Temperature 27-28c


Entymology.


Theraphosa
(greek), beast + light
blondi (latin) from Jean Baptiste Le Blond, he discovered the species.
The old name Theraphosa leblondi can be seen sometimes in old litterature.


Introduction.


The gigant of the tarantulas! This is the largest species of spider in the world, heaviest and largest size. Adult females reach a size of 10cm in bodylength and 28cm in legspan. Only Theraphosa apophysis (former Pseudotheraphosa) can match blondi in size.


In the terrarium.


This spider got a reputation to be hard to care for in the terrarium, but I havent had any problems. A large well ventilated cage is a must, atleast 50x40x30cm (L W H). For substrate I use moist peat, a approx 10-15cm thick layer. This spider dont dig burrows, they take over old rat holes in the wild. Put a large piece of cork bark in the cage for shelter. A large water bowl is a must and as always - no cotton in the water! Spray the cage once a day to maintain a high humidity. Make sure to always clean the cage from old fooditems, prey balls, othervise you can get a moulding problem and mite problem.
This species got very effective urticating hairs on its abdomen, they itch like crazy! And they are more then glad to kick them off in a huge cloud of hairs! This itching made me sell the spider, so if you know you react on spiders urticating hairs - make sure to use rubber gloves when working in a blondi cage. Decorate the terrarium with plants if you wish, for example Philodendron scandens works well. Keep the temperature in the terrarium around 27-29c.

Above:
A plant decorated terrarium with a large Theraphosa blondi female.


Food.


Make sure you got plenty of food for these spiders because no other tarantula I´ve seen have consumed such amounts of food items as blondi´s. Small spiderlings, well they are hardly small even as newly hatched, eat without problem subadult crickets and zoophobas. They grow rapidly and males are sexual mature in 1,5 years and the females a bit longer. Larger spiders mean larger food items - cockroaches, grasshoppers, small mice. Most prey is eaten by blondi´s. Just be careful so you dont overfeed it, the abdomen get really large and its not natural to have a tennis ball sized abdomen! It can be hazardous if the spider decides to climb and fall down. A oversized abdomen ruptures easily. Feed them alot but do not over due it.


Breeding.


Its a highlight to breed those spiders. They tend to be fairly easy to mate, but it seems harder to get the female to produce a fertile eggsack (atlest thats my experience). My matings ended in the female produced infertile eggsacks and on another occasion she ate it. However, its worth a try. Here in Sweden there have been a few times of a successful breeding of this species. The number of spiderlings hatched out from a eggsack is around 100 and the size is approx like a one cent coin. There have been observations of males looking for females on different times of the year in the wild so they might mate several times a year.

Above:
Mating of Theraphosa blondi.


Handling.


This is not a species suitable for any freehandling. If it wont bite you sure get a dose of the itching urticating hairs. So I use a plastic box for transfers when cleaning the cage or mating. T. blondi is not a good beginner species.

Above:
Mature male Theraphosa blondi.

Above:
Female Theraphosa blondi.


To buy a Theraphosa blondi.


Adults are often for sale, and on occasion also spiderlings.

Other info.

Not really a spider you buy for its stunning colors, even though I think a freshly molted blondi are pretty. Its more its massive size that fascinates! Well, size do matter!
This article (in swedish) have been published in Tropical Society Amazonas magazine "Terrariet" nr 5-2002.

References.


American Tarantula Society webpage

 

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Minax Tarantulas 2000-2002