Terrarium keeping is becoming more and more popular. Various exotic pets attract people’s attention. Among domestic animals, frogs, snakes, toads, and lizards can increasingly be found. Arthropods are also becoming popular favorites. Avicularia Versicolor belongs to the family of tarantulas. This is one of the most sought-after species for keeping in terrariums.
The tarantula spider Avicularia Versicolor is endemic to the island of Martinique, located in the Caribbean Sea. It is most often found in the north of the island in tropical rainforests that grow in mountainous areas. The spider settles on trees and rarely descends from them to the surface of the soil. He loves high humidity and feels great even when its value approaches 100%. The animal has been under strict state protection since 1995. It is forbidden to catch it in the wild, keep it at home and sell it to exotic lovers. Despite the measures taken, illegal trade is flourishing. One spider, depending on size and age, costs from $ 40 to $ 200, so many islanders for the sake of decent earnings by local standards ignore the current rules of the law. Several times the species was found on the territory of Guadeloupe, Colombia, and Cuba, where, apparently, it was brought by tourists.
Behavior in Nature
Most often, their hiding places are among the branches of Bromrlia or in the hollow stems of Bambusa. Less often, they hide in the cracks of trunks and stumps and sometimes find refuge in a human dwelling. Juveniles usually hide in the curled leaves of plants. Avicularia Versicolor builds itself a kind of shelter from a dense web and places it between the branches. It is often called “airy mink”. It has several entrances and exits so that it is always possible to retreat in case of danger. In it, the tarantula rests during the daytime and goes to feed with the arrival of dusk.
During the hunt, the spider relies mainly on its eyesight, therefore it hunts mainly in the evening and on moonlit nights, sometimes it is active during the day. The diet is based on various insects, mainly crickets, grasshoppers, and cockroaches. Periodically, the tarantula spider feasts on small rodents, lizards, and amphibians. Natural enemies are birds of prey, road wasps “Pepsis ruficornis”, and Javanese mongoose “Herpestes javanicus” introduced to Martinique.
The mating season takes place in March. Cavaliers find females ready for mating by their pheromones. Approaching them, they gallantly announce their arrival with drum rolls produced by the third pair of legs. If the female does not show aggression, the male carefully approaches her and, seizing a convenient moment, mates. Otherwise, it can become the dinner of an angry beauty.
The spider Avicularia Versicolor belongs to the most beautiful representatives of the species. In nature, it lives in the Antilles and Guadeloupe. Refers to tree spiders. It settles in the hollows of trees and between branches. In the same place, he weaves a nest for himself in the form of a tunnel. In the daytime, he hides in his home. He goes hunting at night.
Males are brighter than females. The body size is about 6 cm. The legs span up to 17 cm. The entire body of the spider is covered with hair. The carapace is green, the abdomen is red. Little spiders are blue. Their body is covered with white stripes. Gender maturity is reached by the age of two. Males live for about three years, females for eight years. The poison of this type does not pose a danger to humans. Avicularia Versicolor is not aggressive, but very mobile, and can make attempts to escape from the terrarium.
Housing the Avicularia Versicolor
Small glass enclosures are best for tree spiders. You should not create a spacious home for your pet. A simple form of calculating volume is two times the size of an individual. A container measuring 25x25x35 cm is suitable for keeping Avicularia Versicolor. As a soil you can use:
- coconut substrate;
Be sure to use vertical decorations: driftwood, tree branches. Between them, the Versicolor Avicularia will hide and build a nest. The soil should be covered with a layer of 3 cm. This species of tarantula is sensitive to moisture. It needs to be kept at 80%. Ventilation is a must in the terrarium. For better air circulation, it should be at the top and bottom of the container. The comfortable temperature for Avicularia Versicolor is + 25 ° С. Individuals of this species do not tolerate temperature fluctuations. Therefore, to maintain the performance, a thermal cord or thermal mat is needed.
Food and Water
In natural conditions, tarantula spiders can eat small rodents, amphibians, arachnids, and fish. When kept in a terrarium, they are best fed with insects. Some keepers advise choosing food items that are no larger than the spider’s body size. But others do not adhere to such rules and give their pets large insects. Young spiders can be feed:
Young individuals are fed 3 times a week, one feeding is enough for adults. The most popular food item for Versicolor Avicularia is marble cockroaches. They are fertile, have high taste and unpretentiousness. They are easy to breed at home. The second popular food item is Madagascar cockroaches. They grow to a large size, have a pleasant appearance, and reproduce easily. Do not feed the spider with insects from the street. They can carry parasites and other diseases. Cockroaches, bedbugs, and others are often poisoned with poisons. Eating them leads to the death of the arthropod.
Some feed their pets with newborn mice and amphibians. But such a heavy protein food disrupts digestion. In a terrarium environment, organic debris begins to decompose. All this creates a fertile breeding ground for bacteria.
There must be a container of clean water in the terrarium. The food insect should be given to the spider only through tweezers. If the Avicularia Versicolor refuses to eat it, then the object is left for a day. If it is not eaten, then it must be removed from the terrarium.
Reproduction of Avicularia Versicolor
Tarantulas reproduce well in captivity. Before mating, the female is well fed. Males should charge the bulbs (genitals) well. Then the male is placed in the terrarium with the female. They can safely live together for several days. About 5 weeks after mating, the female begins to weave a cocoon. It is better to plant the male in a separate container.
In total, there are about 130 eggs in a clutch. The incubation period takes up to four weeks. During this period, you should not bother the spider, since she is particularly aggressive at such a time. Small spiders appear from the eggs, which are called nymphs. At first, they do not eat. When they grow up a little and get stronger, begin to give them mealworms or crickets.
With each molt, they become more and more similar to adults and change color. Spiders get rid of old skin by lying on their backs. During the shedding process, individuals may lose a pair of limbs. This is normal. The legs will grow back after the next molt.
Common Health Problems
Diseases affecting tarantula spiders currently belong to the category of insufficiently studied, therefore, there is no established practice of their treatment. The most common cause of death for a captive spider is severe dehydration, so the substrate must be constantly and reasonably well hydrated.
The tarantula can also die from injury or severe bruising. To prevent indoor exotic from falling from a great height, it is very important to use a cover with small but numerous ventilation holes to cover the terrarium.
Several species of ticks can parasitize on spiders, but the greatest danger to exotics is posed by predatory ectoparasites, which infect the lungs of an arthropod and cause fairly rapid death of such a pet. For preventive purposes, a complete replacement of the substrate in the terrarium should be carried out every six months. Internal parasites represented by nematodes cause no less harm to the spider, therefore it is very important to keep the tarantula’s dwelling clean.
Purchasing Your Avicularia Versicolor
In order to choose a healthy spider, you need to use a few simple tricks:
- the arthropod should be active and playful. In the event that the specimen you have chosen lies alone on the sidelines, is passive, and constantly hides in the house, the animal is most likely sick, you should not buy such a pet home;
- a healthy spider should have a flat and smooth abdomen. If the abdomen is wrinkled or there are other pathologies on it, the spider suffers from dehydration and may soon die;
- open wounds or ulcerative defects on the body of the tarantula – this is another reason to refuse to buy such a spider;
- it is best to acquire small spiders since it is almost impossible to determine the age of the tarantula by its appearance;
- it is important to pay attention to the hairs that cover the abdomen. If they are not evenly distributed over the body or vary in size, the animal has health problems;
- the absence of legs in most cases is not a pathology, since they will instantly grow back after the next molt. It only means that the transportation of the animal was not done properly.