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Arizona Blonde Desert Tarantula: Care Sheet, Lifespan & More

Jordin Horn

The Arizona blonde desert tarantula is, dare we say it, a cute and fuzzy giant spider that could be your next pet. They are native to southern Arizona and northern Mexico, with 3-4-inch-long legs and a laid-back attitude. They grow very slowly, taking years to mature into adulthood. You will have to keep its lifespan in mind while deciding to purchase, as the females can live for up to 30 years.divider-spider

Quick Facts about Arizona Blonde Desert Tarantula

Species Name: Aphonopelma chalcodes
Family: Theraphosidae
Care Level: Low
Temperature: 75 to 85 degrees F
Temperament: Solitary
Color Form: Female: tan, male: black legs with red abdomen
Lifespan: Female: 24-30 years, male: 5-10 years
Size: 5 to 6 inches
Diet: Crickets
Minimum Tank Size: 5 gallons
Tank Set-Up: Non-wire, secure lid with 3 inches of substrate and a small shelter
Compatibility: Low

Arizona Blonde Desert Tarantula Overview

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Image Credit: melly17, Pixabay

As only one of 900 species of tarantula, the Arizona blonde desert tarantula, also known as the western desert tarantula or Mexican blonde tarantula, is a great beginner option for someone who has never owned a tarantula before. They are creatures that don’t mind a small amount of handling, but mostly want to be left alone. Once you set them up with the proper habitat and feed them their recommended cricket diet, they will be happy and could live for a long time.

Arizona Blondes are distinct with the blonde-colored fur that covers their body and legs. Just like all tarantulas, they have eight legs with two claw-like pedipalps. These pedipalps help them catch their food and eat it.

Even though tarantulas are not known to get aggressive often, these giant spiders should not be handled much at all, and especially not by small children. The cutoff age for tarantula-handling is age 10. Take comfort, though, in the fact that tarantula stings do not hurt much more than a bee sting

How Much Do Arizona Blonde Desert Tarantulas Cost?

Depending on how many you buy, one Arizona blonde tarantula will cost you around $50. Some stores will lower the price by 10% to 25% if you buy more, with essentially no cap on how many you can buy.

Typical Behavior & Temperament

western desert tarantula_Piqsels
Image Credit: Piqsels

How people typically think of tarantulas is more the stuff of legend than how it actually is in real life. Tarantulas only attack when provoked, and even when they do, it is not very serious for humans. The venom from a tarantula is only mildly irritating unless you happen to be allergic to it. Still, tarantulas should not be handled frequently.

If you do want to handle it, test your Arizona blonde’s mood first. You can do this by taking a small paintbrush or straw and gently touching the tarantula. If she reacts well, you are probably safe to pick her up.

Arizona blonde tarantulas are burrowing tarantulas, so you will often see them digging around in their habitat. In their natural environment, they can dig tunnels that are as wide as 2 inches in diameter and can be very long. Don’t expect to see them much during the day, most of their digging and climbing activities happen in the evening.

Appearance & Varieties

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Image Credit: LeeMarUSA, Shutterstock

Arizona blonde tarantulas mostly come in two varieties, one that’s specific for females and one that’s specific for males. Each can grow up to 6 inches long.

Females are a little bigger than 2 inches in body length and are covered in blonde hairs. They are mostly blonde on the bottom half of their legs and the top part of their bodies, near the head.

Males are slightly smaller, just under two inches, with fewer blonde hairs. In fact, their legs are mostly blackish-brown with a red-colored lower half of the body and a light brown-colored upper half of the body.

How to Take Care of Arizona Blonde Desert Tarantula

tarantula terrarium_Habrus Liudmila_Shutterstock
Image Credit: Habrus Liudmila, Shutterstock

Habitat, Tank Conditions & Setup

Tank

These tarantulas need a tank that is around 5 to 10 gallons large. The general rule of thumb is to have your tarantula habitat at least 3 times as long as their leg span. A locking lid that is not made of mesh is essential, as moving lids could cause damage to tarantulas, and they can easily get their legs stuck in a mesh lid.

You should place a 3½-inch tall “hide” or shelter in your tank as well. You can buy one from Chewy or cut a hole through a small flower pot turned upside-down.

Substrate

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Image Credit: nacht57, Pixabay

Because of their burrowing tendencies, you will want at least 4 inches of substrate (like peat moss) at the bottom of your tank. It can stay dry since these tarantulas are used to dry, desert conditions. You can moisten the substrate once a week, then let it dry out.

Temperature

Keep your tarantulas at a temperature of about 68-72 degrees F, around the same temperature as a comfortable house. For this reason, the enclosure does not need a heat lamp. If you’re worried about your home temperature dipping below that, keep a portable heater nearby that will kick on if it gets too cold.

Do Arizona Blonde Desert Tarantulas Get Along with Other Pets?

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Image Credit: jfwave, Pixabay

Any tarantula species should live alone, one to each habitat, unless you are trying to breed them. They should not be housed together because they tend to be cannibalistic; they have been known to kill and eat each other.

Tarantulas, including the Arizona blonde, are not likely to “get along” with other pets, like dogs or cats, because they are likely to see them as a threat rather than a playmate. This means that a tarantula is likely to sting when forced to interact with another animal or run away.

What to Feed Your Arizona Blonde Desert Tarantula

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Image Credit: Del Green, Pixabay

Spiderlings can eat cricket legs, confused flour beetles, or pre-killed small crickets two times a week. When they get larger, you can feed them small live crickets or roaches. Juvenile tarantulas can be fed up to 2 medium-sized crickets per week, while adults can eat one more than that (3) per week.

Also, make sure fresh water is always available to your tarantula in a small dish.

Breeding

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Image Credit: tyanbo, Pixabay

Most of the time, these Arizona blonde tarantulas are caught in the wild. This is because the male Arizona blondes breed only one time in their lives.

If you do choose to breed these tarantulas, you need to first make sure that they are mature enough to breed. Keep in mind that this can take years to happen. Males are mature when they stop molting, but females molt for the rest of their lives.

Once two mature tarantulas have mated, separate the male and female immediately. When enclosed together, the female will try to eat the male after mating. When you see an egg sack form on the female, you can take it off and put it in its own tank for the eggs to hatch in.divider-spider

Are Arizona Blonde Desert Tarantulas Suitable for You?

Tarantulas are great pets for people who want something low-maintenance, long-living, and contained within a tank. Arizona blondes also do not need any special heating element, as long as your house stays at a comfortable temperature, making them even easier to take care of. If you want something to interact with by handling often, though, an Arizona blonde may not be for you.


Featured Image Credit: Ryan M. Bolton, Shutterstock

Jordin Horn

Jordin Horn is a freelance writer who has covered many topics, including home improvement, gardening, pets, CBD, and parenting. Over the years, she has moved around so much that there's been no time to settle down and own a pet. However, as an animal lover, she dotes on and cuddles any pet she happens upon! She grew up with and dearly loved an American Eskimo Spitz named Maggie and a Pomeranian/Beagle mix named Gabby. She calls Colorado home, but has also recently resided in China, Iowa, and Puerto Rico Jordin does not like to settle for the "easy answer" when it comes to living life with your pet. She loves to research the best methods and products out there and cut through the jargon so you can see plainly what something is or how something is done.