The Mexican Red Rump Tarantula, Brachypelma vagans
The Mexican Red Rump Tarantula is a truly awesome spider of the New World Brachypelma family. This tarantula is hard not to notice with its entire body covered in jet black velvet-like hairs with long, fine, red hairs on its abdomen (hence the name Mexican Red Rump), making this tarantula truly outstanding.
Mexican Red Rump Tarantulas can be found in Belize, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras and Mexico. The Mexican Red Rump Tarantula has a heavy set body with thick legs typical of the brachypelma genus. Adult females can grow up to an impressive size of 5-7cm in body length with a leg span of up to13.5cm. Adult males are typically smaller than the females and have a smaller abdomen. Mexican Red Rump tarantulas are terrestrial spiders and in the wild live in burrows to escape the day time heat and the various predators that prey on them. The burrows are about 4-5cm in diameter and can be up to 45cm deep.
The Mexican Red Rump Tarantula is a hardy tarantula that does extremely well in captivity, and if all their basic requirements are met, they will thrive and grow extremely fast. In the wild the Mexican Red Rump will reach maturity anytime between 5-7 years but in captivity, maturity can be reach as quickly as 2-3 years!
Although a lot of the tarantulas in the Brachypelma genus are fairly easy to handle, the Mexican Red can be a bit skittish and also aggressive. Therefore even though their venom is known to be harmless to man it is best not to take a risk as some people can react badly to the venom and you don’t want to risk your tarantula running off your hand and injuring itself.
Mexican Red Rump Tarantulas need a tank that has a 30cm x 20cm floor space. The best substrate to use and one that I find works very well is a 50/50 mixture of peat moss and vermiculite. This substrate holds moisture very well. This is perfect for the Mexican Red Rump Tarantula as they require high humidity levels of above 60%. Humidity can be maintained by spraying the enclosure lightly every week or so just keeping the substrate slightly damp and not to wet. The substrate will also need to be about 10cm deep to allow for digging and burrowing. Lighting is not essential, as Mexican Red Rump Tarantulas are nocturnal. A shallow water dish is also vital and must be kept clean with fresh water at all times. Mexican Red Rump Tarantulas need to be kept at a temperature of about 25′C. Slightly warmer or slightly cooler than isn’t too serious but rather stay on the warmer side, as the warmer temperatures will encourage them to eat and grow faster.
Mexican Red Rumps have a very large appetite and will eat just about anything that they can over power. They can eat a large variety of prey such as crickets, mealworms, super worms, hissing cockroaches, and even small mice. With young tarantulas food can be offered everyday, although feeding about three to four times a week is also acceptable. As your tarantula grows and gets older they will not eat as much and as often, so therefore food will need to be offered less frequently. Tarantulas can go for months on end but without food but this is not ideal and can put serious stress on your tarantula and will most likely result in death sooner or later. Always try to make sure that no uneaten prey is left in the cage as this can cause stress to your tarantula.
Overall the Mexican Red Rump Tarantula is a great tarantula for anybody. With it’s fiery attitude, large appetite and handsome looks it is never to disappoint.