Suntiger Tarantula: Lifespan, Behavior, Care, & Breeding

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Brace yourselves, straight out of rainforest areas of Venezuela,  Sun Tiger tarantula (Psalmopoeus irminia) is a somewhat reclusive, shy, arboreal creature but don’t be mistaken – she’s very much fierce, aggressive & ill-tempered when bothered. Gorgeous black looking gal with red and orange highlights on her abdomen & legs, she will make it pretty challenging for you. She’s very quick and agile, so make sure you have some experience before handling this beauty. On a range from 1-10 beginner friendly, they’re about 7.

Suntiger Tarantula Lifespan & Size

Rapidly Growing Predator

Don’t let these small 1″ creatures trick you – in a small blink; you can expect them to rapidly grow to about 3-4″ in body, 5-6″ legspan, they may even grow up to 7-8″ in adult stages. Their predatory instinct is quite fascinating, and thus, their appetite and desire for hunting is very much unique. You can expect them to molt about three times during the period of 1 year, so be prepared for them to grow quickly and possibly outgrow their current cage. Their lifespan is higher than most arboreal tarantulas, ranging from anywhere between 5 – 20 years, females usually outlive males and live up to 12-20 years while males make it to 5-6 years.

Behavior & Characteristics

Suntiger Tarantulas are mostly solitary creatures and tend to be very defensive. They like to hide in their natural covers and escape to their dens whenever possible. However, as time goes by, usually after the first 12 months, they become more outgoing, and you will see them walking around the cage freely. They are tree-dwelling (arboreal) creatures who enjoy hiding and concealing themselves by exploiting natural environments. They love to engineer and spread copious amounts of web everywhere so that you can expect a very crowded environment.

Beautiful and Magnificent Creatures

Perhaps the best thing about Venezuelan Suntiger Tarantulas is their appearance – While their body is mostly black colored, they have these sunny colored, orange & red highlights all over their body and legs. They’re truly magnificent looking and will stand out in their environment.

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When it comes to their appetite, they very much rely on their predatory instinct, and it’s a thing of beauty to watch them hunt for their prey. While they’re mostly hiding, when you present them with food you can expect them to bolt out of their dens and kill their prey with stunning quickness.

Although shy and reclusive, Sun Tiger Tarantulas get very irritated when bothered. This makes them somewhat dangerous for beginners because they’re very fast & agile and are known to make swift moves when approached. It’s unsure how dangerous their bite is, but you’d rather not risk finding that out.

Nutrition

Ah, the fun part. One of the most fascinating things about Sun Tiger Tarantulas is watching them hunt their prey down. As we said before they grow very fast, so they have to be fed regularly on a weekly basis. You want to feed them two or three times, and you can use various insects to do so, some of them are:

  • Crickets
  • Roaches
  • Locusts
  • Waxworms
  • Blowflies

They love to hunt so you may experiment with different kinds of insects. Usually, you would want to feed them medium-sized insects, but they are known to have no problems hunting down bigger prey.

Suntiger Tarantula Care & Housing

As said earlier, Suntiger Tarantulas can be very swift and ferocious therefore you should be extra cautious when handling them. Don’t allow them to surprise you with their rapid actions.

Another thing we talked about is the fact that they’re very much fast growing creatures so you may need a larger than usual cage to handle this spider correctly. To add to this, they enjoy spreading their webs everywhere, and that’s just another reason to give them enough space to grow and play.

When it comes to customizing their cage, ideally you would like to replicate the Venezuelan rainforest environment, give them a lot of room to play, install a piece of cork bark with holes leaning at an angle so they can hide and enjoy making a cover for themselves. Unlike most spiders, Suntigers don’t like to burrow underground as they are arboreal creatures, so you don’t have to put as much focus on the ground substrate compared to everything else. Rainforests are very much humid, and this is something you should keep on your mind, try to have humidity levels of around 70-90%. Ideally, you want to give them a patch of a moisty substrate so they can burrow (although they usually don’t, sometimes younger ones might want to do it before they grow larger). You also might want to consider having a small water tank for their needs as they love to create webs but be careful – They might cover it in heavy amounts of web so make sure you can pull it out easily. While you want to keep a humid environment, be sure to have some air circulation installed to prevent loads of fungi forming within wet environments. As for the temperature, stick to something between 25-28’C, preferably heat up one small part of the cage and leave the rest of it natural.

Venezuelan suntiger
Nice designed tank for psalmopoeus Irminia Source

All in all, replicating Venezuelan rainforest landscape is perhaps one of the most exciting parts of owning this little devil as you get to experiment with lots of different materials, so go out and use your imagination.

Suntiger Tarantula Breeding & Health

While tarantulas are usually safe, make sure your Suntiger is decently hydrated as that can be one of the biggest threats to them. Another danger for their health usually comes when attempting to breed male and female tarantula as they might display aggressive behavior.

While they usually get along with each other, make sure to provide lots of room to escape for the male since the female can get somewhat aggressive during breeding. As for the female, make sure she’s well fed and don’t breed until it’s been at least 4-5 weeks after she molted to make sure her eggs remain fertilized.

You will notice that copulation was successful when the female starts displaying aggressive behavior towards the male, when this happens it’s best to separate them and leave her alone to burrow and make a cocoon. 2-4 months after mating, she will start making her cocoon. After about 6 weeks, you may deprive the cocoon and expect about 100 little spiderlings to come out. Ideally, you want to keep them in a humid environment at about 70-80% humidity and warmer temperature up to 30’C. It’s also worth noting that female might create a second cocoon a few months later with a little bit fewer eggs, so be prepared in case that happens as well.

Closing

Suntiger Tarantulas are extremely fun and entertaining hobby for anyone who loves these tiny creatures. However, be aware that you may want some previous experience before you can handle this incredible little devil.