Zebra Knee Tarantula Care: Species Overview
- Common Names: Costa Rican zebra tarantula, striped-knee tarantula
- Scientific Name: Aphonopelma seemani
- Distribution: Inhabiting most of western Costa Rica and other parts of Central America, such as Honduras and Nicaragua, and possibly Guatemala.
- Adult Size: Leg span of 4 to 4 1/2 inches
- Life Expectancy: Females live 15 to 20 years, and males live up to 5 years
The Zebra Knee Tarantula is beautiful with a black body, dark red hairs, white stripes on its legs, and orange spinnerets. As a pet, the Zebra Tarantula is a low maintenance creature. It adapts to a wide range of living conditions, but it is skittish. If your beginner spider keeper, you may want to start with a different Tarantula. The Zebra Knee requires an intermediate level of care.
Zebra Knee Tarantula Care: Habitat Set-Up
- A small 5-gallon to 10-gallon tank or terrarium is usually suitable. To choose your tank size, keep in mind that the Tarantula’s habitat should be two to three times wider than its leg span, and the height should be as tall as the spider’s width. Be sure to allow room for a thick substrate for burrowing.
- The enclosure needs to be escape-proof. Since spiders spend most of their time climbing, specially designed spider terrariums better fit the spider’s needs as opposed to a standard terrarium.
- The Tarantula needs a hiding space. The hiding space can be a hollowed-out log, branches, or cork bark.
- Artificial or live plants provide good additional coverage, making your pet Tarantula feel calm and safe.
- Terrarium Temperature 70-85 F. An under-tank heating pad recommended when the temperature in your home falls below this range.
- The Zebra Knee Tarantula needs a humidity level of 75 to 80 percent.
- Evaporation from your spider’s water dish should provide enough relative humidity, preventing the need to mist inside the enclosure.
- Keep the Zebra Knee Tarantula in a darker part of the room, away from sunlight. Avoid incandescent lights that can dry out a tarantula, instead use a nocturnal or infrared light to watch your Tarantula after dark.
- For an excellent substrate, Tarantula’s need two to three inches of dampened sphagnum moss, soil, vermiculite, coconut fiber bedding, or reptile bark. Do not use gravel and artificial turf because it’s too harsh for their skin.
- The bedding that lines of the floor of your spider’s tank allows the Tarantula to burrow.
- Thoroughly clean and disinfect the habitat at least once a week.
- When cleaning your habitat, place your Zebra Knee Tarantula in a separate secure space.
- The tank and furnishings need scrubbing with a 3% bleach solution.
- When finished, rinse thoroughly with water and remove all traces of the bleach smell.
- Dry the tank and furnishings before adding a clean substrate.
Zebra Knee Tarantula Care: Temperament
- The Zebra Knee Tarantula moves very fast, making them a less likely candidate for those who like to handle their pet spiders.
- While docile in demeanor, this spider displays darting speeds when startled. The Zebra Knee Tarantula is a pet that is hard to catch and difficult to contain. Trying to capture and pick up this type of tarantula often leads to an animal injury when the spider falls into its cage or onto the floor from a substantial height.
- However, with daily socialization and gentle handling, the Zebra Knee Tarantula can become moderately tamed.
Diet and Nutrition
- The Zebra Knee Tarantula’s digestive tract, designed for digesting liquid food, happens by the spider vomiting digestive enzymes onto its food to break it down into a liquid before slurping it up.
- Zebra Knee Tarantulas enjoy live crickets and other giant insects as their prime food source. Be sure that food is smaller than the tarantula, and remove any uneaten live feed as it may cause injury to a resting tarantula.
- Adult tarantulas usually eat once or twice a week, whereas immature spiders feed more often. Since they are nocturnal, feeding should occur at night.
- A small water bowl placed inside the Zebra Knee Tarantula’s enclosure should keep it well hydrated. Keep the clean, chlorine-free water fresh and change daily.
- Add climb-out rocks to prevent accidental drowning because the book lungs (air-flow vents) located on the spider’s lower abdomen.
- Remove any substrate that becomes soaked with spills to prevent rot and bacterial growth.
- Use caution when handling pets and remember they may bite or scratch (especially when stressed).
- Supervise children around pets.
- ALL ANIMALS can potentially carry viral, bacterial, fungal, and parasitic diseases contagious to humans.
- Thoroughly wash your hands with warm, soapy water before and after contact with any pet or its habitat.
- Adults should assist children with handwashing after contact with a pet, its habitat, or aquarium water.