Tarantula Azul / Greenbottle Blue
|Range: The quickly drained, wind-swept and sun-scorched scrub of Northern Venezuela on the Paraguana peninsula and the dry scrubland south of Coro and La Vela de Coro. Its main range is on an islet separated from the mainland by a narrow sandspit. This "islet" is only about 40 miles wide (the whole thing is smaller than the city limits of Jacksonville, FL). The aforementioned and its "mainland" habitat are greatly fragmented by towns spurred by oil refinery business and grazing land.
Habitat: Dry scrubland, as seen here in this photo by Jorge Avila. They build webs at the base and among the low-lying leaves of scrub flora. Their survival in the wild is undoubtedly impacted by their very limited range and habitat loss. In addition to to oil refining and shipping business, livestock grazing is a prime industry on Paraguana. Furthermore, the government is building a ballistic missile launch facility there; with all of that site's requisite infrastructure, parks such as Reserva Biologica Montecano may soon be the limits of the habitat of Chromatopelma cyaneopubescens. Therefore, captive breeding is of the utmost importance for this species.
Size: Medium-sized tarantulas that get about 5" in legspan.
Attitude: Fairly skittish. Most are pretty handy with the urticating bristles, but I've only seen one individual that was prone to biting.
Dwelling: They live in tunnels and hammocks constructed with their own profuse webbing near the base of scrub plants and the roots of xeric trees.
Ideal Setup: A 2-5 gallon container with a 2-3" deep layer of peat/potting soil. Note: Though they are from Venezuela, they are inhabitants of a scrub region with rapid drainage and evaporation. It does rain there (a bit more than in Los Angeles, but not as much as Houston), but humidity is quickly lost. Supply a water dish (they WILL use it) and just keep the container at about 30-50% humidity (normal household humidity). A sports drink or milk cap lid will suffice. Keep the temperature around 75-85 degrees F if possible. There is no particular "cool season" on Paraguana- just nights in the 70s and days in the 80s-90s year round. None of mine make use of a shelter, but construct their own homes with webbing.
Food: Any bugs that haven't been exposed to pesticides (equivalent of 3-5 crickets a week for adults). They are voracious as spiderlings and adults.
Yes, they do drink water, but the substrate is kept dry.
What a jewel! Note how low to the floor she is being held.
A fall from a great height could greatly injure or kill a tarantula.
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