Red Island Birdeater Tarantula
Red Island Birdeater Tarantulas are stunningly large terrestrial spiders. They are typically bronze-brown but can have a pinkish sheen after moulting. Red Island Birdeaters have a reputation for being skittish, ornery and defensive. These feisty tarantulas are good webbers and can grow up to 22cm in size. So if you are a tarantula enthusiast you must have to have one.
The scientific name for Red Island Birdeater Tarantula is Phormictopus atrichomatus. Phormictopus genus relates to species of large spiders. Phormictopus atrichomatus is often confused with Phormictopus cancerides, however actual Phormictopus atrichomatus is comparatively smaller, thinner and has smaller hair.
Red Island Birdeater tarantulas typically originate from the Dominican Republic and are native to Hispania. However the geographical distribution is large and reports suggest that they exist in the West Indies, Brazil and Hispaniola.
Preferred natural habitat
The rainforest is the natural habitat of Red Island Birdeater tarantulas. They enjoy ground-dwellings so love to live under rocks, debris or burrow.
Preferred food in the wild
Red Island Birdeaters are vicious eaters and love eating insects, crickets, lizards, birds, and some mammals.
Red Island Birdeater tarantulas are new world species and known to have an aggressive and less friendly personality. They are quite fast and move quickly. These stunners don’t hesitate to use their fangs when feeling endangered. Their slings like to stay in damp burrows however when adult they like to hang out in open. Moreover, they fear human and might attack in defense.
Feeding as a pet
Typically Red Island Birdeater don’t refuse food and eat whenever you offer them food unless they are moulting. Since Red Island Birdeater tarantulas like to attack live prey so it is worth watching them hunt and leap their prey. They can be served fruit flies, crickets, cockroaches and even mouse but the size of the food should not be bigger than the abdomen of the tarantula. But you need to be very cautious while you are feeding them as they can be lightning fast to escape.
Life span both male and female
Male Red Island Birdeater tarantulas can live about 1.5-2 year and are purplish when mature; however, the life span of female Red Island Birdeater tarantula is much longer, nearly 20 years.
Pet enclosure type
Due to their large size and good growth rate, Red Island Birdeater tarantulas are to be kept in large enclosures of up to 5 gallons in volume. You need terrariums that allow at least 5 inches deep substrate. Heating equipment is required in enclosures to provide adequate temperature of up to 850 and humidity of 75%.
The terrarium should be well ventilated to allow cross ventilation. You can keep water dish in the enclosure, however it is not sure if they like to drink or not. Nevertheless, you are going to need long tweezers for the maintenance of the terrarium.
Pet enclosure habitat layout
Red Island Birdeaters love deep and moist burrows so it is important to have up to 5 inches deep moist substrate. You can add vermiculite, coconut fibre, peat moss and dirt as substrate. The substrate usually needs to be watered every 1-2 week to maintain the moisture .
Mating / reproducing
Mating and reproduction of Red Island Birdeater tarantulas are not enough studied and very little research is available. Generally, males get mature earlier than female Phormictopus atrichomatus. The male should be introduced in the female enclosure. If the mating is successful, up to 2000 eggs can be produced which is quite rewarding. The eggs can be separated from the female as they don’t require rotation or massage.
The development rate for Red Island Birdeater tarantula is medium-fast and they grow in size quickly. They have faster growth and high metabolism when kept in 700-750 in winter about 760-800 in summer. Under adequate temperature and proper diet, they can be grown up to 3 inches in a year and can reach up to size of 8 inches as an adult.
This also means if you are a new tarantula enthusiast then you might not get enough time to adjust to this species as they will grow too fast from sling to juvenile to adult.