Brazilian Black Tarantula

Grammostola pulchra

Order: Araneae

Husbandry Information

Housing Requirements

Diet Requirements

  • Wild Diet: they eat a variety of invertebrates, including insects. May also eat small mammals, reptiles and other spiders.
  • Zoo/Aquarium Diet: insects (crickets, dubias, butterworms, etc). After a molt, we do not feed or handle for 2 weeks. Our adults are fed 1 cricket or butterworm/week and our spiderlings were offered 1-2 pinheads 3x per week (Shedd)

Veterinary Concerns

Notes on Enrichment & Training


Colony or Breeding Management


Individual Identification


Programmatic Information


Temperature Guidelines



Tips on Presentation

  • For encounters we transport them in a small petpal w/ some substrate
  • We limit the tarantula’s time in the public space to 30 minutes max, 1x per day.
  • When 2 staff members are available, 1 will handle the tarantula and the other will talk to guests. When only 1 staff member is available, the tarantula stays inside its petpal and is display only. Guests are not allowed to touch or handle any of our tarantulas.

Touching Techniques

Tips on Handling

  • We acquired ours as spiderlings and started conditioning them to our hands almost right away. We started actual handling when they grew to about 2-3 inches in diameter. For initial handling, it can be helpful to scoop up some substrate onto your hand along with the tarantula as to not overwhelm them with the smell/feel of your bare hand. (Shedd)
  • Females tend to grow larger and live longer than males, so they tend to make a better program animal. Males become skittish after their mature molt and feeding becomes less consistent so we “retire” them (are no longer handled or used for programs). (Shedd)
  • They have urticating hairs that some people are sensitive to. We do not wear gloves while handling but it’s helpful to wear gloves when changing substrate. Our do not normally actively flick hairs but will often spin web on your hand while handling. (Shedd)


Potential Messaging

Acquisition Information


Comments from the Rating System

Natural History Information

Range and Habitat

Uruguay and Brazil. Are burrowers in grasslands and tropical forests.

Physical Description


Life Cycle




Threats and Conservation Status


Did you know…




Contributors and Citations

  • Shedd Aquarium