|Costa Rican Zebra
These are often found in
petstores under the moniker "stripeknee". They are also known as
"Pica Caballo" (horse biter) in northwestern Costa Rica due to local lore
about them biting cattle and horses in the Guanacaste pastures.
Range: Central America;
some have said that the brownish ones with cream striping are mostly found
in Nicaragua, but I have seen such individuals molt into black spiders
with white striping. I've also personally seen brownish ones living
near black ones in the Guanacaste province of Northwestern Costa Rica.
Habitat: Semi-humid grasslands; tropical clearings; hilly, overgrown, red-clay soiled cow pastures that experience a summer rainy season.
Size: Medium tarantula. Fully grown, they're about 5" in legspan.
Attitude: Not an aggressive biter, but it can be dangerous for the spider if you handle it. They're prone to quick bursts of skittish running and may fly right out of your hand. Mine will readily flick urticating hair.
Dwelling: Sometimes the zebra is an opportunistic burrower that may use a provided shelter. Most will prefer to do some digging and may make their own burrows. Many long-term captives will spend a lot of time sitting in the open. In the wild, they dig angled tunnels with a roomy chamber at the end.
Note the flesh-colored ventral side and tawny spinnerets
A 2 1/2 to 5 gallon container with a 3-5" layer of substrate, a shelter,
and a water dish will keep your spider happy. Give the substrate
a light moistening once a week or so and try to keep the temperature around
75-80 degrees F. Though they are Central American, I have come across
them on wet, chilly evenings on hillside pastures at elevations above 1,500
ft. They can certainly handle household temps in the high 60's and still
remain active. In the winter, the ambient humidity of their native
habitat is akin to normal household humidity.
Food: Any bugs that haven't been exposed to pesticides (2-5 crickets a week for adults).
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