There are many options out there when you want to choose a new tarantula as a pet; some of them have fascinating looks, such as, for example, the Ephebopus murinus, also known as the Skeleton Tarantula. This name comes from the skeleton-like pattern that you can quickly notice around their legs.
The Skeleton Tarantula can be commonly found in many countries of South America, especially Brazil, but can also be seen in the French Guiana and Surinam. This is a terrestrial species, so they feed in common insects, such as cockroaches and crickets.
Despite being a member of an almost entirely arboreal family of tarantulas (Aviculariinae), they spend most of their lifetime in the undergrounds.
They have a medium-big size, with the females reaching a legs span of maximum 15cm (although there are people who suggest that their maximum size is a bit tinier, around 12-13cm) and the males a bit smaller, with a size of around 11-12cm. The size of their bodies is around 5/6cm. They have a very aggressive nature and will attack everything that they consider dangerous; they are capable of throwing urticating hairs out of their legs, a location different than most of the spider species capable of this.
Lifespan and Physical Characteristics
As already mentioned, they can reach a size of about 15cm in females, while the males stay a bit tinier. They have a relatively long lifespan, meaning that they can live up to 15 years if taken care of properly, so you can expect them to be around the cage for a while. They have a unique coloration, having different shades of brown, black and sometimes, a little bit of golden around distinct part of their bodies. Despite that, the main thing that you will notice about them is the skeleton-like pattern that they have on their legs, which is something unique to this species.
This is a very fast and aggressive tarantula. Despite their beauty and pleasing appearance, they are always in a defensive state and do not like to be bothered, so if you insist on trying to take them, you will probably regret it. As already mentioned, they are capable of throwing urticating hairs from their legs. They spend most of their life hiding underground, feeding on insects and small mammals.
Handling and Bite
Another thing that makes this spider outstanding among the others is their very aggressive nature, meaning that they consider almost anything that approaches them as a possible predator. Handling them isn’t a good idea unless you want a painful bite from this dangerously beautiful tarantula. Besides the usual thing about allergies, their venom isn’t really dangerous to humans, but it’s better to avoid that bad sensation AND to be considered as a danger by your new pet. It’s better not to bother them as they are very moody and do not like strangers.
Their feeding is the usual thing among many other tarantula species so that you can feed them with crickets, cockroaches, mealworms and, sometimes, small rodents. It isn’t that complicated so you can trust that, at least when it comes to this, things will be under your control.
Skeleton TarantulaCare & Housing
They like to dig, but not as deep as other tarantula species, so you must provide enough depth for them to do it as they please somewhere around the cage. Also, you can expect a web once they feel comfortable with the current setup of the environment. When in the wild, they can usually be found in holes in the ground; most of the members of the Aviculariinae family are arboreal species, but the Skeleton Tarantula actually likes to live on the ground, covering the holes where the usually hide with a web, rocks, branches or almost anything they found around the cave’s entrance.
For the cage, perfect size for an adult of big size would be of 30x30x40cm, but for younger specimens, you can get a tinier cage. Of course, over time, you will have to change it. You don’t need to put too much decoration around the terrarium since they will spend most of the day underground and will rarely come out to the surface.
As said before, they will dig a hole where they will spend most hours of the day hiding from the sun’s light and heat, so you need to know that the terrarium must not be that hot during the daylight. A suitable temperature for them to be comfortable is around 25 or 28°C during the day, and during the night you can lower it a bit from 22 to 24°C. The humidity should have relatively high levels, starting from 75 to 85%.
Reproduction and Breeding
The females rarely get aggressive with the males; however, if that happens, cannibalism will probably happen as well. However, you can prevent this from happening by planning the mate in a time in which there are high levels of humidity and lots of food around, this way; you can prevent the worst from happening. The mating should only be done after 5 or six weeks the female’s first molting. Anyways, after you first introduce the male to the cage, they will be a bit distant, but after some time, you can expect the copulation to be happening and after it’s all done without any problems, reintroduce the male to its original cage. After some time, you can expect a cocoon, and with a good setup of high levels of humidity (around 80-90%) and levels of temperature that can vary from 25 to 29°C, you can then wait for approximately 50-100 spiderlings to be born.
The spiderlings can be kept in the same place for some time, but you must provide enough food, so they don’t eat each other while growing up. You should replace them once at least 2 or 3 months have happened since the hatch.
Even for the experts, this species can be a bit hard to handle due to their evasive and aggressive nature. They will probably consider you as a danger if you try to approach them, but that doesn’t mean that you can’t have them at home. If unbothered, they can become excellent pets that you can have around; however, it’s only recommended to have them if you have previous experience handling tarantulas. You don’t want one of these friends escaping from their cage!
Most of the time, they will be hiding underground, so you can’t expect to see them around the surface for too much time, especially during the light of day. It’s a bit hard to see them in action since they spend most of their time like this. During the mating, you must provide enough spaces for the newly-introduced male around the cage.
As already mentioned, handling them isn’t a really good idea, so if you want to have a tarantula walking around your hands, this isn’t the best option. If you’re a beginner, we do not recommend this pet to you; many other tarantula species aren’t that aggressive and evasive and can be easily handled without any problem! To avoid being bit by them, you should first get some practice by breeding another kind of tarantula first!