How to Take Care of a Desert Blond Tarantula as a Pet

Desert tarantula coming out of hole

Desert blond tarantulas, which are native to portions of Mexico and the Southwest United States, are widely available as pets. They make wonderful pets for novice tarantula keepers since they are often docile and simple to care for. However, they may defend themselves if they feel attacked, just like any other tarantula. The males have red abdomens and black legs, while the females are tan in appearance. Desert blond tarantulas need live prey and housing that resembles their native environment when kept as pets.

Species Overview

Common Names: Desert blond tarantula, western desert tarantula, Arizona blond tarantula, Mexican blond tarantula

Scientific Name: Aphonopelma chalcodes

Adult Size: Roughly 5-inch leg span

Lifespan: Up to 30 years (females), 5 to 10 years (males)

Desert Blond Tarantula Behavior and Temperament

These tarantulas create a silk-like thread to cover their long, deep tunnel entrances in the environment where they live. The silk serves to strengthen the burrow in addition to entangling prey and trapping it. Although they are generally active at night, desert blond tarantulas make great pets since they typically hang out in the open and are entertaining to watch as they dig and climb. They should live alone in a peaceful, lonely environment. To prevent stress and harm, they should also be kept apart from other family pets.

Desert blond tarantulas are usually calm, relaxed creatures. Set up a few hours each week for feeding and cleaning, after which you can just sit back and observe your spider. Some people don't mind being handled gently, but you should never squeeze or jar them. It's also crucial to sit on the ground when handling your spider since even a small fall from a few feet might do major harm to it.

But these spiders definitely have a poisonous bite, just like regular tarantulas do. They may also flick barbed hairs from their abdomens in the direction of imagined dangers, which can irritate your skin and even harm your eyes if they get in your eyes. Therefore, it is important to always wash your hands after handling your tarantula or anything in its cage.


Most individuals will have a reaction comparable to a bee sting after being exposed to the poisonous venom of a tarantula. However, certain allergy sufferers may experience more severe responses, in which case they should seek emergency medical care.

Size Information

Desert blond tarantulas have a leg span that stretches around 5 inches across. The female spiders have slightly larger bodies than the males.


For desert blond tarantulas, a 5- to 10-gallon plastic or glass tank with a safe lid and airflow is ideal. Generally speaking, the tank should have a length three times the spider's leg spread, a width two to three times the leg span, and a height of around one foot. Avoid using excessively tall tanks since these spiders can get injuries from falls from vast heights and can climb.

Although these tarantulas are highly resilient to temperature changes because they are desert dwellers, it is advisable to keep the tank between 75 and 80 degrees Fahrenheit. A hydrometer may be used to measure the humidity level, which should be between 65 and 70 percent.

Within the tank, add cork bark, half a hollow log, half a small clay flower pot on its side, or something similar that the spider can use as shelter.

Specific Substrate Needs

The might be three or more inches of peat moss, dirt, or vermiculite. Expect to replace the every four to six months or so.

What Do Desert Blond Tarantulas Eat & Drink?

Feed live and other insects, like as mealworms and roaches, to your desert blond tarantula. The insect should, in general, be smaller than the spider's body. In order for your spider to receive nourishment, the should be gut-loaded (given healthy meals).

While young tarantulas might eat every day or every other day, adults often only eat once or twice each week. For advice on the right amount and feeding schedule for your specific spider, speak with your veterinarian. Simply drop the live prey close to your spider to begin feeding. After 24 hours, throw away any leftover food since the spider may start to feel stressed.

Also, always keep a shallow dish of fresh water in the enclosure. Make sure your spider can get in and out of the dish easily, as deep water can be a drowning hazard. Refresh the water daily.

Common Health Problems

As pets, desert blond tarantulas are typically very hardy and don’t often have health problems as long as they’re kept in the proper environment. 

The spider's molting phase is a normal event that some new owners can mistake for a health issue. Tarantulas create a new exoskeleton at this time and shed their old one. The spider may lose its hunger and become quite sluggish throughout this procedure. Even worse, it could flip onto its back and appear to be dead with its legs coiled.

It may take many weeks for the entire molting process. During this phase, avoid handling your spider because doing so might harm its tender new exoskeleton. Likewise, wait until the exoskeleton has hardened before feeding live prey. Consult an exotic pet doctor if you believe the molt is odd or taking an excessive amount of time.


Not all veterinarians accept tarantulas as patients. So if you're thinking about acquiring a desert blond tarantula, first make sure there's a vet nearby who will treat it.


Like every animal, tarantulas require exercise to maintain a healthy physique and stave off disease. They don't need an excessive quantity, though. They ought to be able to acquire the physical exercise they require as long as their enclosure is big enough.


Tarantulas that are blond in the desert groom themselves by molting. Additionally, they often don't need your assistance at this time. Just make sure their surroundings are at the right humidity and temperature to keep them at ease.

Upkeep Costs

The biggest monthly expense for a desert blond tarantula is its food. In general, budget between $5 and $10. By cultivating crickets yourself rather than buying them from a pet store, you may save this expense. Plan to spend $10 to $20 on replacing everything that wears out in the enclosure and changing the substrate on a regular basis. Budget for both normal veterinarian care and unexpected expenses.

Pros & Cons of Keeping a Desert Blond Tarantula as a Pet

Interesting pets to own are desert blond tarantulas. They also require little upkeep, are silent, and don't take up much room. However, they probably won't be the best choice for you if you want a really active pet. And because of their defense systems, you need to handle them carefully.

Similar Spiders to the Desert Blond Tarantula

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Purchasing or Adopting Your Desert Blond Tarantula

A desert blond tarantula could be available at a pet store, but it's best to work with a reliable breeder or rescue organization. By doing this, you'll have a better chance of learning enough about the history and current condition of the animal. On average, $50 should be paid, however this can change depending on things like age. Additionally, because they live longer, women often cost more.


In order to locate a reputable tarantula breeder or rescue group, consult your community's exotic animal veterinarians. The biggest advantage of visiting a breeder is that you'll likely have access to a larger range of young animals. Before bringing an animal home, always make an effort to visit it in person. Ask to view the spider eating if you can, and take note of whether it looks to be in excellent physical shape and alert (as appetite often correlates with health). Finally, maintain several tarantulas in separate enclosures to prevent unintentionally breeding oneself.

  • Does the desert blond tarantula make a good pet for kids?

    Desert blond tarantulas can be good pets for kids who understand their handling limitations. The children also must be comfortable with feeding live prey.

  • Are desert blond tarantulas hard to take care of?

    Desert blond tarantulas are generally low-maintenance pets, requiring feedings each week and periodic substrate changes.

  • Does the desert blond tarantula like to be held?

    These spiders have a generally docile demeanor, and some are comfortable with gentle handling. However, they will never be cuddly or tame pets.


"Tarantulas: Terrible or TerrificCornell University", "Tarantula Spider Bite InformationMount Sinai Health System.", "When Your Pet Has Eight LegsUniversity of Illinois College of Veterinary Medicine" ;