Skeleton Tarantula (Ephebopus murinus)
This Halloween special tarantula is exactly just that. The aptly named Skeleton tarantula (Ephebopus murinus) lives up to its name. It is not a huge tarantula, but what it lacks up in size it makes up with in buckets of bad tempered aggression. This new world tarantula has a bizarre defence mechanism. Instead of using its back legs to flick off irritating hairs from its abdomen; its irritating hairs are flicked from the front legs. This scary beauty can be found in Brazil. This stunning creature has a lovely black velvet base, brown carapace and creamy white markings on its legs matching that of its name. Its abdomen and legs are covered in sporadic ginger coloured hairs.
This scary beauty can grow up to around six inches; however some sources suggest only four for the females and slightly less for the males.
To go with its ghoulish name, this species is defensive and cranky. One should not even contemplate handling this tarantula. It will not take much to set it off, either throwing up the threat posture of kicking off irritating hairs into the face of its owner, pushing it will end up in a rather nasty bite.
Due to the scorching sun in its tropical natural habitat; this species will attempt to escape the heat by burrowing underground to its cool and dark depths.
Nothing special or new here; the Skeleton tarantula has a hearty appetite and will munch on anything smaller than itself that it can get its fangs on. So the usual; crickets, meal worms, roaches etc.
As with many species; the male lives a rather short four years at the most, however the female can push to around 15 years if cared for and loved well.
You may have to take a second look after you read about the mating process of these species. It is suggested that you introduce the male to the female more than once, or you can leave the male in her enclosure for up to a fortnight. Sources say that this approach can lead to cannibalism but the fact it has been suggested must mean it has worked in the past. Within the enclosure for which the mating will take place, it is suggested that a hideaway should be provided for the male exclusively.
Nothing overly special is required for this species. An enclosure that will allow for a good amount of substrate without allowing easy access for this tarantula to escape.
As the Skeleton tarantula is all about the burrowing; providing around eight or nine inches of substrate is the most important thing. Some sources have suggested using a broom handle to start a burrow for your tarantula in the corner and they will do the rest. This is a very shy and secretive species so you not see them out in the open very often.
It is generally agreed among enthusiasts that this is a very fast growing spider. It can easily reach around two inches in its first year of life.
The temperature needs of this species can be a little tricky. Sources have suggested a heat gradient is best to allow the tarantula to pick the area that feels most comfortable. In the high end 26 degrees and in the lower end 21 degrees. A high humidity range of 80 degrees is necessary. Mist spraying the top layer of the substrate is sufficient, anymore than this can allow parasites and fungus to grow.
Not friendly or docile in the very slightest. This is purely a species to be appreciated from a distance. It will not suffer from your lack of hands on affection with it. It will live quite happily with you fulfilling its requirements of feeding and habitat. This species is lightening fast and aggressive, this is in no way a beginner’s tarantula choice.
The female can take up to four months to create an egg sac. From this egg sac should be around 50-100 spiderlings. The spiderlings can live quite happily together for the first few months of life as long as they are sufficiently fed.