The Mexican red-knee tarantula (Brachypelma smithi) is a creature that is aptly named due to its vibrantly colored knees, which are orange or red. Mexican red-knee tarantulas have black carapaces, which add to the prominent contrast of their knees. These big and solitary spiders, true to their naming, are native to the southwestern region of Mexico. Although these tarantulas do, indeed, produce venom, they usually have rather tame dispositions and often are kept as pets.
Geography of the Mexican Red-Knee Tarantula
Mexican red-knee tarantulas live mostly on Mexico's central Pacific Ocean coastal region. They reside in states, such as Colima, Oaxaca, Morelos, Guerrero and Jalisco. These spiders are not 100 percent exclusive to Mexico, however, and sometimes also live in Central America's Panama, and also in the southwestern portion of the United States.
Natural Habitat of the Mexican Red-Knee Tarantula
As far as natural habitats go, Mexican red-knee tarantulas tend to live in tropical rainforests, deserts, thorn forests, coastal locales and scrublands. These nocturnal creatures usually gravitate toward rugged areas that feature ample logs, cacti and bushes. Mexican red-knee tarantulas generally prefer arid environments.
Burrowing Habitat for Mexican Red-Kneed Tarantulas
Within their basic environments, Mexican red-knee tarantulas take residence within cozy burrows that they establish themselves. These tarantulas dig out burrows in rugged spots that are close to vegetation with thorns, such as cacti. The presence of spider silk fiber by the "door" of the burrow often is an indication that the resting site is, indeed, occupied. Between the months of July to October, which is the mating season for the species, adult females may have more silk than usual in front of their burrows.
Mexican Red-Knee Tarantulas as Exotic Pets
Mexican red-knee tarantulas often are kept as exotic household pets, as well, and in these cases, the large spiders live inside of homes alongside human beings. If you own a red-knee tarantula, keep him inside of a tank that can accommodate between five and 10 gallons of water. Keep the temperature somewhere between 69 and 78 degrees Fahrenheit, with humidity in the ballpark of 40 to 60 percent. Consider substrates, such as vermiculite, sphagnum moss and sphagnum peat, for a few different examples. Also, make sure that the tarantula has a suitable sheltering spot, such as a wood log.
- IUCN Red List: Brachypelma smithi
- Nashville Zoo: Mexican Red-Knee Tarantula
- Toledo Zoo: Mexican Red-Knee Tarantula
- Oakland Zoo: Mexican Red-Knee Tarantula
- Columbian Park Zoo: Mexican Red-Knee Tarantula
- San Francisco Zoo: Mexican Red-Knee Tarantula
- ARKive: Mexican Red-Knee Tarantula
- University of Michigan Animal Diversity Web: Brachypelma smithi
- The Herpetological Society of Ireland: Mexican Red-Knee Tarantula