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Chilean Rose-haired Tarantula

Native Range Map

Kingdom: Animalia Phylum: Arthropoda Subphylum: Chelicerata Class: Arachnida Order: Araneae Family: Theraphosidae Genus: Grammostola Species: gala

Photo courtesy of Karen Marzynski


  • In the Wild: This species of tarantula can be found in Chile, in dry grassland regions at the edge of the


  • Exhibit Location: Zoo to You Collection


  • Adults grow to be 4.5 – 5.5 inches in diameter.

  • There are 2 different color schemes, depending on where in Chile they are from. Many are brownish, while others are more reddish or pink in color.

  • This tarantula has a hard external skeleton (exoskeleton) and 8 jointed legs. The exterior of the body is covered by long, bristle-like hairs. There is a smaller pair of sensory appendages called pedipalps. They have 8 eyes, 2 fangs, and are venomous (poisonous). They have a cephalothorax (composed of the head and thorax) to which all appendages except the spinnerets (tubular structures from which web silk are produced) are attached. The spinnerets are found on the abdomen.

  • Individual hairs may be sensitive to motion, heat, cold, and other environmental triggers. Hairs near the mouth are capable of sensing chemicals that give the spider a basic type of sense of smell and taste.

  • Lifespan: In the Wild males 3-10 years, females 15-20 years; In Captivity males less than 2 years, females 20 or more years (average is 12 years)


  • The Chilean rose-haired tarantula is a nocturnal (nighttime) hunter and finds a shelter to web itself into at dawn.

  • Their digestive system is designed to deal with liquid food only. Their venom interferes with the prey’s nervous system (neurotoxin) or by breaking down the body’s tissues (cytotoxin). To digest its prey, it vomits a mixture of digestive enzymes onto its food, breaking the tissue down into a liquid that can then be sucked up through the spider’s mouthparts. Spider droppings consist mostly of uric acid crystals and are usually dry and chalk-like.

  • Enrichments at the Zoo: rearrangement of exhibit furniture


  • Chilean rose-haired tarantulas reach sexual maturity at 2-3 years of age. Mating season is in September and October.

  • The male develops tibial spurs or “mating hooks,” and swollen tips on both pedipalps which contain a chamber where sperm is stored as well as a syringe-like instrument used to insert semen into the female. A male must leave the safety and security of the burrow and wander around until he finds a female in her shelter. The female leaves chemical signals called pheromones in the silk that lines her shelter.

  • The male begins a courtship display that varies from species to species. If receptive, the female responds with a display of her own, usually by tapping her feet on the ground. She then turns to face the male and opens her fangs, exposing the genital opening at the bottom of her abdomen. The male uses his first set of legs (mating hooks) to grab the female’s fangs, pushing her upwards allowing him to release his sperm, fertilizing the female. The male will then attempt a hasty retreat, usually escaping his lethal (deadly) mate.

Edition Date – 2/8/2006 Researched and written by the Friends of the Rosamond Gifford Zoo Education Volunteers ChileanRose-hairedTarantulasm

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