Arizona Desert Blonde Tarantula Care

Arizona Desert Blonde Tarantula Care

Arizona desert blonde tarantulas are highly shought after and make great pet spiders for any experience level.

Learning to care for tarantulas will take a lot of patience as well as research on your end if you want to keep your spider healthy. They can live up to 30 years, so they are a long-term commitment.

Here are some of the important basics to know about how to care for your Arizona Blonde Tarantula:

Quick Reference Section

  • Experience Level: Beginner
  • Family: Theraphosidae
  • Scientific Name: Aphonopelma chalcodes
  • Other Names: Arizona Desert Blonde, Western Desert tarantula, Mexican blond tarantula
  • Adult Size: 3 to 4 inches
  • Lifespan: Males: 5 to 10 years; Females: Up to 30 years
  • Average Price Range: $30 to $200 per spider
  • Where to buy: undergroundreptiles.com, lllreptile.com, reptilecity.com, reptilesncritters.com

Bioactive Arizona Blonde Tarantula Setup Product List

Appearance

Female Arizona Blode tarantula (Aphonopelma_chalcodes)
Female Arizona Blode tarantula (Aphonopelma_chalcodes)

They get their names from their blonde hairs on their carapaces as well as the bottom half of their legs.

Male and female Arizona Blondes will look slightly different, the males being lankier and darker than their female counterparts.

Females will be stockier and will be covered in tan-blonde hairs, whereas males will be lankier with overall darker hairs coloring their bodies. Males may also have black hairs and a reddish-colored abdomen.

They will look similar but can sometimes be sexed according to their body size and how stocky they are.

Habitat

Arizona Blonde tarantula (Aphonopelma_chalcodes) in enclosure
Arizona Blonde tarantula (Aphonopelma_chalcodes) in enclosure

This species of tarantula can be found throughout Mexico, California, and of course, Arizona. You can find them in almost all areas of Arizona, which is how they got their name.

They come from dry, open deserts in the southwest and can also be found in scrublands.

They are deep burrows, going as deep as 12 inches underground. They will line their homes with silk webbing to protect themselves from the harsh temperatures, reinforce their burrows, and also catch their prey.

Diet

In the wild, the Arizona Blonde is a nocturnal hunter, feeding on insects like grasshoppers, small lizards, arthropods, beetles, and even other smaller spiders.

They will really try to hunt anything that might get in their way and that they can overcome with their size and mild venom, as long as it is smaller than them.

Lifespan

Like most tarantulas, females will live a lot longer than males, who usually die soon after reaching sexual maturity, which is sometimes the female’s doing.

Females can live anywhere up to 24 years, which is twice as long as males. They reach sexual maturity after 10 to 12 years, almost at the end of the male’s life.

You may see this species molt about once or twice a year and less frequently as they age.

Breeding

Young desert blonde tarantula in enclosure
Young desert blonde tarantula in enclosure

The Arizona Blonde female can lay about 100 to 200 eggs, which take around 7 weeks to hatch.

When tarantulas are ready to breed, the male will deposit his sperm in a small silk sac which he will then store in his pedipalps. Tarantula mating rituals are pretty dangerous and can be life or death for the male.

The male tarantula will first search for a mate and invite her to mate. The male will then attempt to deposit his sperm sac into the female’s pedipalps by holding back her pincers and legs so she cannot attack him.

If he can successfully deposit the sac, he will then have a few minutes to flee after copulation since the female will be entranced with chemicals that come with fertilization.

If the male is not careful or the female thinks he is not a suitable mate, he will become her dinner. If copulation is successful and the female is fertilized, she will then protect the clutch of eggs for their incubation period until they hatch.

We’ve found a great video to watch the breeding process as well as a good example of the obvious physical differences in male and female Arizona Blondes.

Check it in the video below:

If you are going to attempt to breed your spiders, you need to be fast and ready to remove the male after he fertilizes her.

Legality

In general, tarantulas are legal to keep in most states, although there may be local laws that restrict captivity, breeding, and such. Check your local laws to find out what is and is not allowed in your state or city.

You can find them at pet stores easily, but we recommend you also try to look for a rescue group or at least make sure you buy from a licensed, reputable breeder.

Arizona Desert Blonde Tarantula Care Sheet

Arizona Blonde tarantula (Aphonopelma_chalcodes)
Arizona Blonde tarantula (Aphonopelma_chalcodes) in enclosure

Enclosure

Arizona Blonde Tarantulas require, at the very least, a 5 to 10-gallon enclosure in order for them to have the space they need to be comfortable.

A good rule of thumb to follow for any tarantula enclosure is making sure that the width of their enclosure is at least three times your spider’s leg span.

You might also want to get something that has an escape-proof lid since tarantulas are quite the escape artists.

Keepers should also be sure to get a well-ventilated enclosure.

You should be cleaning their tank once a week, if possible.

Substrate

Because they are deep burrowers, you must give them the space they need to do so. In their natural habitat, they will burrow around 12 inches into the ground.

You will need to give them, at the very least, 4 inches of burrowing space.

In order to encourage their natural instinct to burrow, give them a good substrate mix of soil, peat moss, or vermiculite.

You might also want to add some accessories like hides to give them that feeling of safety. You can use half a clay flowerpot, a store-bought hide, or cork bark.

You can also provide them with some climbable fake vines and plants. Just make sure they are at a safe distance from the top of their substrate in order to prevent any falls.

Temperature 

Arizona blonde tarantulas will need an environment with a temperature range of about 75 to 80 degrees Fahrenheit. 

Although they are used to a drop in temperature at night in their natural habitat, you should provide your pet spider with a heating pad if your home drops below these numbers.

You want to keep their enclosure close to temperatures they normally thrive at in their natural habitat.

Humidity

Since they come from dry desert climates, they only like a humidity percentage of around 65 to 70 percent. 

When they are young, you should not give them a water bowl, but can keep their substrate somewhat damp to incorporate some moisture.

Adults can have a shallow water dish that is no deeper than half an inch.

Lighting

Don’t worry about lighting but do keep track and monitor their tank temperatures since it is more essential to their well-being.

You may want to get a heating pad to keep temperatures in the enclosure stable.

If you have any more questions or are still unsure about how to create a good enclosure for your pet tarantula, leave any questions you have in the comment section below!

Also, check out YouTuber Jade Jungle’s simple setup process below.

Feeding

Adult Arizona Blondes can eat large, pesticide-free crickets as well as other feeder insects like locusts, superworms, and roaches that are a suitable size.

Adults can also enjoy the very occasional pinkie mouse and earthworm, but be careful not to allow them to indulge more than once a month.

You can feed them an adult tarantula about once or twice a week.

Younger spiders can eat more often about once every 4 to 7 days, but just make sure that the insects you are giving them are no larger than their carapace. This can include pinhead crickets, which is what they would eat in the wild.

Tarantulas can go over a year without eating, so do not force food upon them, especially if they are losing their appetite during their molting periods. Keep trying to offer them food weekly until their appetite has returned.

Make sure to clean out any uneaten food after an hour to decrease the risk of illness.

Temperament

These guys are easy to care for, are pretty docile, and are hardy spiders, which makes them great for beginners.

However, they can be quite defensive and skittish.

Handling

Arizona Desert Blonde Tarantula on arm of owner
Arizona Desert Blonde Tarantula on arm of owner

This new world tarantula uses their urticating hair as a defense mechanism and has a very mild venom. Both these things can cause slight irritation to any handler, especially more sensitive allergic-prone people.

They can be a little skittish so you want to make sure that you are being considerate about whether or not it wants to be held.

You don’t want to stress them out or have them flee out of your hands just to fall onto the floor and die.

Here is a good guide on handling your tarantula:

Conclusion

In conclusion, this beginner-friendly tarantula might be a great addition to your home if you’re looking for a furry and easy-to-care-for spider.

We hope that you learned a few things about how to prepare yourself to care for these beautiful creatures and hope that you’ll check out our other articles on first-time pet tarantulas.

Leave a comment or any questions you might have below!

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