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Care Sheet

Eupalaestrus weijenberghi
(White-collared) Tarantula
Care in Captivity

by Todd Gearheart

This is a rarely imported species from Argentina and Uruguay.

There have been captive-bred more often in Europe than in the U.S., so they remain somewhat of a "rare" species in U.S. collections.

The over-all color is slate grey with some white rings on the patella and across the chelicera.

This is a small species seldom exceeding 3 3/4" in legspan. They are considered to be very docile. In my personal experience, I find they to be a little skittish and have shown aggression when first imported. I produced spiderlings of these in early 1999 and more U.S. hobbyists are now able to enjoy these small, docile and hardy tarantulas.

Other common names (not official): none

Described by: Thorell, 1894. (Perez-Miles paper of Œ92 confirmed the transfer from the Pterinopelma genus. )

Distribution: Pampas plains (grasslands habitat) of Soriano, Argentina and Uruguay.

Size: Spiderlings emerge as 1/4" 1st instar. Adult females may reach 3 3/4" in leg span and weigh just over 1/2 ounce. Males reach 3".

Growth rate: Slow.

Temperature: Keep 70-80F. They can take drops to 60 F for short periods of time as long as they have a deep burrow. Keep your tarantula's enclosure away from windows, sunlight, heater's and air conditioning.

Humidity: 40-60%. Keep substrate mostly dry. Provide a shallow water dish.

Spray spiderling pill bottles once a week lightly. The substrate should NEVER be ³swampy² nor should it be so dry that if you were to blow on it particles would go up in the air. Spiderlings needs higher humidity, but 80% humidity or higher will kill adults.

Habitat type/enclosure/substrate needed: This is a burrowing species found in grasslands habitat . Keep adults in 5 gallon tanks with 3-5" peat moss/vermiculite mix with cork bark shelter to hide under. Spiderlings will need to be keep in pill bottles with peat moss/vermiculite mix for 1st two months, then moved to 8 and 16 ounce deli cups as they get bigger. Make sure your adults can not "climb" up the sides of the glass tank as a drop will kill or injury them. Make sure your lid on top is secure. A good tank for adult tarantulas are "Critter Cages" with sliding and locking lids.

Food: Feed prey that is smaller than the length of the tarantulas body. Spiderlings less than 1" leg span will need to be fed mini-meal worms (obtained from companies like Nature's Way and Grubco for cheap) and
termites. You can use "pin-head" crickets, but these must be 1 week old crickets and very small as they will eat your spiderling when it tries to molt. Adults can be fed large crickets, super worms and wax worms. Make sure all insects come from non-pesticide areas. Feed spiderlings twice a week a couple of prey items. Feed adults once a week with a couple of large prey. Adults can go off-fed for 3 months or more.

Cleaning: To keep your tarantula's tank clean and keep your animal healthy, get in the routine of feeding your tarantula one day, and then coming behind the next day and taking long tweezers and picking out any left-over prey remains. Keep the water dish (it must be shallow and wide) clean at all times. If you follow this advice, you will need to only change out your substrate (vermiculite, peat moss, sand mixture) once every six months or so.

Longevity: Being slow growers, it is assumed that they live a long time. Males probably mature at 4-5 years and may live to be another year older, while females probably will live to be 18 years or older.

Handling/Disposition/Venom: These are skittish tarantulas sometimes, but over-all, they are quite easy to deal with being a Eupalaestrus spp. They are considered docile and the venom is medically insignificant.  Best advice: Don't handle! Tarantulas are not "pets", but "display animals" much like keeping fish. They don't understand nor have a need to be handled. They are venomous like many spiders, but their venom is not dangerous unless your allergic to their venom. Don't find out! Transfer your tarantula using "cup-to-tank" method. Even though this species can be mostly docile, I have seen them try to bite especially when first imported.

Captive breeding: Medium degree of difficulty to breed. Males are very small and act nervous and skittish around the females, which are fairly aggressive towards the males. A large tank (10 gallon) is required and it is best to let the female acclimate to it for a few weeks before introducing the male. You must have a female established with a burrow or silk-lined shelter before introducing the male.

Record keeping: Keep good notes such as the stock #, if any , that it was sold as, when born, molt dates, etc.

To find out more about this animal and the Tarantula Keeping hobby, I recommend the following:

Read these books: "Tarantulas and Other Arachnids" by Sam Marshall, "Keeping and Breeding Tarantulas in Captivity" by Ronald Baxter, Andreas Tinter's "Tarantulas Today" and Stanley and Marguerite Schultz's "The Tarantula Keeper's Guide". Acquire back-issues of WEBBINGS Invertebrate  Magazine. (Email: ) Join the Southwest Florida Tarantula Society (SWFTS) contact: ( Email: ) Join the British Tarantula Society (BTS) to obtain the bi-monthly newsletter, The Journal. Join the Arachnid Mailing Lists on the internet.

Reprinted here with permission

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