Return to Hamilton Reptile

Trinidad Chevron Tarantula

Psalmopoeus cambridgei

  • 4 - 6 inches in adult size

  • Lives 10 - 12 years (females)

  • Not for beginners

  • Needs arboreal enclosure

  • Kept at 75° to 80° F

  • Special lighting is not necessary

  • Needs 78% to 82% humidity

  • Can be aggressive

  • Nocturnal (awake during the night)

Psalmopoeus cambridgei

General

The care information provided on this page is applicable to most species of arboreal new world tarantulas, but specifically the Trinidad Chevron. The Trinidad Chevron tarantula is found in the tropical forests of Trinidad and Tobago. They can range in colour from olive green to brown or even black and their name comes from the dark chevron markings on their abdomen. This species is an old world tarantula that demands respect and caution from those who choose to keep them. They are a quick growing species, commonly bred in captivity, but their aggressive nature and potent venom makes them a poor choice for beginner tarantula keepers.

Temperament

Most arboreal tarantulas should be considered a display only animal and the Trinidad Chevron is no exception to that rule. They lack the urticating hairs that new world tarantulas possess, so their main form of defense is to flee or to bite. The Trinidad Chevron is extremely fast, but if it cannot escape a perceived threat it will bite with a venom that can be potent enough that it could warrant a trip the the emergency room. Bite symptoms can range from localised pain and joint stiffness accompanied by nausea to excruciating pain, so caution is always advised when capturing this species for cleaning or re-housing. Arboreal tarantulas are not suitable for keepers who want to handle their pet.

Housing

Arboreal new world tarantulas can be housed in glass terrariums, tall plastic containers or custom built vertical enclosures. Height is more important than ground space and screen lids or suitable ventilation holes are necessary for air flow. Substrate for any arboreal species does not need to be deep and will mainly be for appearance purposes only as these tarantulas will spend little to no time on the ground. It can be composed of peat moss/soil, coconut mulch or invertebrate mix. Humidity should be kept at approximately 78% - 82% to ensure that the tarantula is properly hydrated, but too much moisture can create dampness and mold which could be dangerous to your pet's health. A tall piece of curved drift wood, bamboo or even a cardboard paper towel tube can provide adequate shelter so your pet feels safe and comfortable. Hiding areas will usually be covered in web.

Heating & Lighting

Tarantulas are nocturnal and do not require UV lighting or heat lights. Temperature should be kept between 75° to 80° F during the day, but can drop to approximately 70° F at night. Many tarantulas will do well at room temperature, but if your home gets too cold for this, you can place a small under-tank heater beneath one side of the enclosure. Avoid the use of heat lamps as these can dehydrate your pet.

Feeding

All tarantulas are carnivores. In the wild they will feed on insects, rodents and small lizards and should be provided with a suitably varied diet in captivity as well. Adult tarantulas should be fed once weekly and any uneaten prey items must be removed from their enclosure to prevent them from harming your pet. Commercially available feeder insects such as crickets, mealworms, silkworms, waxworms cockroaches, etc. will be readily accepted and pinky mice can also be offered once every few months for added variety. Though tarantulas usually get all of their necessary liquids from their prey, it is recommended that a shallow water dish be provided for adult tarantulas to ensure adequate hydration. Misting the enclosure occasionally with a water sprayer will also provide your pet with an opportunity to drink.

Additional Information

All tarantulas must molt (shed their exoskeleton) as they grow. Young tarantulas will do this frequently while adults may only molt once a year or even less often. During this time, your pet may stop eating and will probably spin webs in preparation for molting. When molting actually occurs, the tarantula will lay on its back with it's legs in the air as it begins to break free from the old exoskeleton. This process can take anywhere from 2 - 12 hours and it is very important that you do not disturb your pet when it is molting. They are extremely fragile at this time and touching them could damage their new skin. Do not feed a newly molted tarantula for at least one week after the molt. Until their exoskeleton is completely dry, they can be harmed by feeder insects.

Similar Species

Venezuelan Suntiger Tarantula (Psalmopoeus irminia), Costa Rican Orange-Mouth Tarantula (Psalmopoeus reduncus), Pedersen's Ghost Ornamental Tarantula (Poecilotheria pederseni), Indian Ornamental Tarantula (Poecilotheria regalis).


Return to Hamilton Reptile