• Brachypelma vagans Care Sheet

      Subfamily: Theraphosinae
      Genus: Brachypelma
      Species: vagans
      Common Name: Mexican Red-rump
      Explorer: Ausserer
      Year of Discovery: 1875
      Country: Mexico and Central America
      Tarantula World: New World

      Their Natural Habitat:
      Opportunistic burrowing species. Scrubland and grassland, burrowing under rocks and in abandoned rodent burrows.

      This species is considered to be docile. My experience and reports I read are that these are a bit skittish, but not hair-flickers or defensive. However, please keep in mind that though species have their stereotype temperament, individual spiders can exhibit temperaments that vary significantly from the norm.
      Classified as medium growth rate, but my experience is that vagans is one of the fastest-growing species of the genus Brachypelma. 6.5 inch diagonal leg span.
      Experience Level:
      60°- 85°F. I keep mine between 80° and 85°F.

      50– 70%. These are a scrubland species so they do well with lower humidity, but they do appreciated moist hides or burrows once in a while. I moisten my girl's substrate around her water dish and in her hide/burrow periodically.

      Any enclosure from 5-10 gallon will work. Provide a hiding spot, a flower pot or wood bark can be used. Be creative, there are lots of different ways to make a hide for a Tarantula. Artificial plants are optional. When keeping this species in a larger enclosure make sure to add enough substrate to prevent any injuries from a potential fall. The rule of thumb for terrestrial tarantulas and climbing to allow them no more than 1 ˝ their diagonal leg span in height. This species will dig burrows, though mine mostly just expands her hide with some burrowing, so a nice layer of about 4 + inches will allow for plenty burrowing room. Mine has a cork-bark half-round that she does use some, but mostly loves to sit on top of. She has webbed the entire floor of her enclosure, including the top of her hide.

      Eco Earth or Peat Moss, you may make a mix of Vermiculite and Peat Moss (75/25), though from my experience, Peat Moss does cultivate molds very easily. Avoid any Evergreen woods (Cypress, Reptile Bark) inside of the enclosure. Evergreens contain natural insecticidal oils that can harm your Tarantula if exposed long enough. Also keep in mind that this species likes bone dry substrate, but make sure they have a source of water.

      Crickets, meal worms, waxworms, super worms, Blaptica dubia or Blatta lateralis roaches. Please do not offer wild caught prey, as it may contain pesticides (and potential parasites) which can harm or kill your Tarantula. Also never feed your tarantula “kingworms” (giant meal worms) as these are mealvworms that have been fed juvenile growth hormones to prevent them from maturing so they grow bigger. JGH are a common insecticide and would not be good for your invertebrate tarantula! (I received this from a personal conversation with a cricket/worm breeder near me). Furthermore, crickets and roaches are the best nutrition for tarantulas, and mealworms and superworms should be fed as treats, not as a staple.

      Make sure to offer a water bowl, the size should be half the size of the species. Do not use any sponges, cotton balls or paper towel (which can all help cultivate bacteria) or water crystals inside of water bowl, just clean water. Small rocks may be added. Clean the water bowl once a week or when you feel it is necessary. Crickets or roaches may end up dead in the water, in which case you should clean it right away. Spiderlings are too small to have a water bowl, misting one side of the enclosure wall 1-2 times aweek, should be plenty enough. Your tarantula will often fill the dish with substrate, or even poop in it, but continue to provide clean water. Also periodically moisten the substrate on one side of the enclosure, allowing that to dry out completely to prevent mold growth.
      Females can live up to 15-20 years, while males may live 7 years.
      Maturity female:
      2-6 years depending on how often they are fed and how warm their enclosure is kept.
      Maturity male/ Tibial Apophysis:
      1.5-2.5 years, which is only an estimate. / Yes, on first set of leg.
      Communal Setup:
      Not recommended for this species.

      Color Markings:
      The B. vagans tarantula is a stocky tarantula, with velvety black on the legs, abdomen and underside, and bright red highlight hairs on the abdomen. The carapace is lined with a thin, pale coloration in adult females, while even this is black in mature males. This is a striking and beautiful tarantula. Colors are most vivid immediately after a molt, but can fade considerably between molts as adults.

      Special Note:
      B. vagans can be found in Belize, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Mexico. It has also established a population in Florida, likely due to released pets. They can be found in deep burrows. These tarantulas are moderately easy to breed. Females lay cocoons containing roughly 100-300 eggs two months after mating. Nymphs hatch some 8 weeks later.

      B. vagans is a striking tarantula because of the deep black legs and abdomen and bright red highlight hairs on the abdomen. A must for any collection. This species is also easily confused with other red-rumped Brachypelma species from Central America, namely B. angunstum and B. sabulosum. I understand angunstum has reddish highlight hairs on it legs, particularly on the rear legs, and is fiestier than vagans. I have read some musings that these may in fact all be differing breeds of one species, but for now, they are listed as three separate species. I did own a lively, but not aggressive Red-rump I strongly suspect was not a true vagans. She would play with a small stream of water squirted into her tank (very amusing), was the flickiest tarantula I ever had, and had subtle but real differences in appearance from the vagans I now own (which is every bit of the description I read about).

      Make sure never to keep a Tarantula enclosure directly in the sun. No light is necessary for your Tarantulas habitat. Natural lighting is perfectly fine.

      For more information on this beautiful species, check out the fan club page here:
      CITES List
      These are not on the CITES II list, but captive-bred specimens are available.
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