Costa Rican Zebra Tarantulas

a Costa Rican Zebra Tarantula blending in on a piece of wood

Are you considering getting a pet, but don’t know where to start? The Costa Rican Zebra Tarantula might be the perfect pet for you! This species of Tarantula is native to Central America and is known for its unique black and white striped legs. It’s a popular choice for those looking for an exotic pet that’s relatively easy to care for.

The Costa Rican Zebra Tarantula is a great choice for those who are new to owning pets. They’re relatively low maintenance and don’t need a lot of space or special equipment. They can be kept in an enclosure as small as 10 gallons, and all you need to provide them with is a substrate, such as coconut fiber or peat moss, and some hiding places .

Costa Rican Zebra Tarantulas are native to Central America and are one of the largest tarantulas available today, averaging about 5 inches long. They have been bred specifically for their striking coloration, and it’s not uncommon to see them in zoos.

Costa Rican Zebra Tarantulas are very docile, and are usually calm around people. Costa Rican Zebra Tarantulas are very docile and easy to handle. They are also very gentle, and aren’t likely to hurt anyone who tries to pick them up. 

These tarantulas are also quite docile and make great family pets. They’re not aggressive and rarely bite, so they’re a good choice for those who want to handle their pet. They can be handled with care, but it’s important to remember that they are still wild animals and should be treated with respect.

They are easily frightened, and will try to run very quickly if they get frightened. If they start running they can be extremely difficult to catch, making them not so great for children to handle.

Costa Rican Zebra Tarantulas are very easy to care for and handle. They mainly eat crickets but they can eat other insects as well. They don’t need a fancy type of enclosure. A regular aquarium or terrarium is perfect for them.

Terrariums are ideal for keeping Costa Rican Zebra Tarantulas. These Tarantulas aren’t too expensive and you can expect to pay between $20 and $40 for a single Costa Rican Zebra Tarantula.

When it comes to feeding , the Costa Rican Zebra Tarantula is an opportunistic feeder. They’ll eat a variety of insects, such as crickets, mealworms, and waxworms. It’s important to give them a varied diet to ensure they get all the nutrients they need.

Overall, the Costa Rican Zebra Tarantula is an excellent pet for those who are looking for something exotic and relatively easy to care for. They’re docile, low maintenance, and make great family pets. With the right care and attention, they can live up to 10 years in captivity. So if you’re looking for a unique pet that won’t require too much work, the Costa Rican Zebra Tarantula might be the perfect choice for you!

Costa Rican Zebra Tarantula Information

  • Average Length: 5 inches
  • Average Weight: 2 to 4 ounces
  • Skin Appearance: Hairy with white stripes
  • Skin Colors: Black to Brown. 
  • Grooming Needs: Low
  • Shedding: Molts every 9 to 15 days
  • Sensitive to Touch: No
  • Biting Tendency: No
  • Tolerance to Heat and Cold: No 
  • Good Pet: Yes
  • Safe with Children: No
  • Good with Other Pets: No
  • Suitable to live in an Apartment: Yes
  • Good for Less Experienced Pet Owners: Yes
  • Weight Gain: Normal
  • Health Concerns: Abdominal Fractures, Dehydration, and Molting Problems
  • Average Life Span: Males – 6 years, Females – 20 years

Costa Rican Zebra Tarantulas are native to the Central American countries of Costa Rica, Nicaragua and Guatemala.

Physical Appearance of Costa Rican Zebra Tarantulas

a Costa Rican Zebra Tarantula on the hunt for some food

Young Costa Rican Zebra spiderlings are a light brown but their skin darkens as they age. Fully-grown adults have a jet black body with sandy colored hairs on their back. They have cream colored stripes on their legs and are sometimes called Striped-Knee Tarantulas.

They have bluish tints on the front side of their jaws.

Costa Rican Tarantulas have yellow or orange spinnerets, the place where silk is produced. Their spinnerets look like two small tubes and are located on their underside all the way in their back

Their leg span can be up to 5 inches long, males will be a little less because they’re slightly smaller than females.

Temperament of Costa Rican Zebra Tarantulas

While Costa Rican Zebra Tarantulas are generally slow and docile, they can move fast. When threatened they don’t attack, but run away quickly. Because they can move fast we don’t recommend that they be held. Trying to catch or hold them without hurting them can be difficult.

Costa Rican Zebra Tarantulas should be housed alone because they will fight with each other.

Tarantulas release urticating hairs when they feel threatened. These urticating hairs are very thin hairs that act as their defense mechanism. Because the hairs are very thing they can cause skin or eye irritation in humans.

Their Compatibility with Children

Children should not handle Costa Rican Zebra Tarantulas because they move fast. These tarantulas release urticating hair that can cause skin or eye irritation in children. Have children wash their hands if they interact with your Tarantula or their cage. Washing their hands should remove any urticating hairs that children could have come in contact with.

Living Space for Costa Rican Zebra Tarantulas

a Costa Rican Zebra Tarantula on a piece of wood in their enclosure

Costa Rican Zebra Tarantulas should be kept in a well-ventilated enclosure. Plastic or glass tanks are good choices. Avoid using enclosures with mesh tops because Tarantulas like to climb and your Tarantula can get caught in the mesh, fall and get hurt.

Cage Size

A small 5 to 10-gallon tank is a good size for them. The general rule is for the enclosure to be three times the length of your Tarantula’s leg span.

Substrate

The substrate should be 3-4 inches deep. A deep substrate should give them enough room to burrow. A mixture of peat moss, vermiculite or soil work well as substrate. They’ll hold in moisture to keep their enclosure humid, but still be loose enough to let them burrow.

Decorations

Your Tarantula’s enclosure should have several hiding spots. Cork, hollow logs, clay flower pots or spider houses are all good choices for hiding spots. Artificial plants and vines should be used to give your Costa Rican Zebra Tarantula things to climb on.

Water Source

A shallow water bowl should be placed inside their enclosure. The water bowl will give your Tarantulas water to drink and keep their tank humid. Their water bowl should be cleaned and replaced with fresh clean water every day.

Best Climate for Costa Rican Zebra Tarantulas

a close up of a Costa Rican Zebra Tarantula

Temperature

Costa Rican Zebra Tarantulas prefer a temperature kept between 70°F and 85°F. If your home is kept in this range then no heating equipment will be needed.

If your room temperature is colder, then using an under tank reptile heat mat is a great way to give your Tarantula some extra warmth. The heat mat should only be placed under one side of their tank because it will help create separate warm and hot areas inside your Tarantula’s tank.

Humidity

They need very high humidity, it should be kept between 75 and 80 percent. Evaporation from their water bowl will not be enough to keep the humidity in this range. A combination of a moisture retaining substrate needs to be used as well as misting the tank.

Lighting

Tarantulas are nocturnal and don’t need lighting equipment. Their cage should be kept at a location that doesn’t get direct sunlight because it can overheat them. If you want to use lights so you can watch your spider we suggest using an LED strip and keep it on a dim setting.

Because these spiders are nocturnal UV lights are not needed.

The Attention a Costa Rican Zebra Tarantula Needs

As mentioned before handling your Costa Rican Zebra Tarantulas can be difficult because they move fast. Not many of these Tarantulas will let their owners handle them regularly.

Apart from that Tarantulas generally don’t need a lot of attention. Most of their attention needs have to do with keeping the temperature and humidity high enough, and keeping their cage clean. Using a few thermometers and a hygrometer will help you monitor the conditions in their tank.

Health Issues

Abdominal Fractures

If your Tarantula falls, there is a chance that they could rupture their abdomen. If their abdomen has ruptured you’ll see a clear or yellow looking fluid leaking out of them. Essentially this is them bleeding.

There are a number of tricks that Tarantula owners will use to try to stop the bleeding. Flour and cornstarch are very popular as is super glue. Super glue dries fast and will help stop the external bleeding. Depending on how bad the internal injuries are, it might not matter though.

Make sure that your Tarantula has access to all the water they need, and depending on how they appear, you may want to wait to feed them. If they live beyond a few days they should recover. Just remember this is why it’s best not to handle Tarantulas.

Oral Nematodes

Usually by the time nematodes are noticed it’ll be too late to save your Tarantula. By the time they’re coming out of your Tarantula’s mouth, they’ve already done a lot of damage inside of their digestive system.

Still some people have reported success using treatments to kill the nematodes, and a veterinarian can remove the nematodes while a Tarantula is under anesthesia. If you think your Tarantula has nematodes it’s very important to talk to your vet as soon as possible. Tarantulas that are born in captivity are less likely to be affected by this disease.

Tarantulas don’t need to eat very often. Because the nematodes don’t kill Tarantulas directly, death by starvation can take months.

Tarantula Oral Nematode symptoms you’ll see:

  • White material around mouth parts
  • Decreased or non-existent appetite

It’s important to remember that Tarantulas can fast for weeks at a time and this is normal. If you start to see anything white appearing near their mouth you’ll want to immediately contact your vet. Of the 2 medications that have reportedly been used to kill the nematodes, Cefotaxime will require a prescription from your vet. Pyrantel should be available over the counter, but used alone it doesn’t seem very effective at killing nematodes.

Dehydration

Tarantulas need water to survive, but they don’t need to drink water everyday. Spiders can live for weeks, possibly months without food and for three weeks without water. 

Tarantula dehydration symptoms you’ll see: 

  • They’ll be lethargic 
  • Their body will look shriveled or shrunken 
  • Their body may look wrinkled.

A mildly dehydrated Tarantula will usually have a shrunken abdomen and be inactive. A severely dehydrated Tarantula will usually have some degree of leg curling underneath their body.

The treatment for dehydration is water. It’s best to keep a water dish in their enclosure to keep your Tarantula hydrated. A mildly dehydrated tarantula will usually recover within 24 hours, but if they’re very dehydrated a couple of days might be needed.

If you think that your Tarantula isn’t rehydrating contact your vet immediately.

Molting Problems

For insects that molt, molting is the most dangerous time for them. If the conditions are not right during the molting process they could die from being trapped in their old body.

Signs your Tarantula is having problems molting:

  • Stuck in the old carapace
  • One or more legs fail to release from the carapace

Humidity is very important to molting. If you know that your Tarantula is about to molt it’s always a good idea to raise the humidity level within their enclosure. If your Tarantula is dehydrated it can also make molting difficult.

If you notice that your Tarantula is stuck and unable to free themselves from their old carapace there are a few options. With a wet paint brush or Q-tip you can try to help moisten the area where the problem is.

If they have a leg that they can’t free and water isn’t helping get it out you can try to pull the old carapace off with tweezers. Be careful and don’t try to pull too hard because pulling too hard could damage or remove part of the leg. If the leg becomes damaged and doesn’t fall off on its own in a few days it should be removed. If left in place it’s very likely to cause problems in the next molt.

General Costa Rican Zebra Tarantulas Care

Tarantulas don’t need a lot of care except for having their tank cleaned regularly.

Their tank should be spot cleaned every other day. The entire enclosure should be deep cleaned with the bedding changed about once every six months.

Feeding A Costa Rican Zebra Tarantula

Costa Rican Zebra Tarantulas prefer to eat live food. Crickets should be what they regularly eat, but grasshoppers, beetles or cockroaches are all good food choices for them.

Make sure the insects you feed them are pesticide free. If raising live insects for your Tarantulas, gut load the insects before feeding. Gut loading involves feeding insects with nutritious food. When Tarantulas eat these insects the nutrition passes on to them.

Young spiderlings should be fed twice a week and adults once or twice a week. The size of their food should be the same size of their carapace or smaller.

They should not be fed when they are molting.

Remove uneaten food a few hours after feeding them.

Related Questions:

Why is My Costa Rican Zebra Tarantula Lying Upside Down?

Beginner Tarantula owners may find this surprising but they generally lie upside down when they are molting. Lack of humidity is another reason they might do this. Slightly increasing the humidity by misting their tank should help.

Are Costa Rican Zebra Tarantulas Available in Pet Stores?

Yes, earlier they were not so popular and were not bred as much. Because they are becoming more popular they are now available at most pet stores and online.