Mexican Red-Knee Tarantulas

a close up of a Mexican Red-Knee Tarantula

Are you considering getting a pet, but don’t know where to start? Mexican Red-Knee Tarantulas might be the perfect pet for you! These beautiful and unique spiders are becoming increasingly popular as family pets.

Mexican Red-Knee Tarantulas, also known as Brachypelma smithi, are native to Mexico and Central America. They have a distinctive black body with bright red or orange markings on their legs, hence the name. They’re a medium-sized tarantula, reaching up to 4 inches in length.

Mexican Red-Knee Tarantulas are native to the central Pacific coast of Mexico. They’re not venomous, and are harmless to humans. Mexican Red-Knees are large spiders, and have an average length of a little over 6 inches. They are also very beautiful, and are sometimes used as decorative items in art.

Mexican Red-Knee Tarantulas are very docile and gentle insects, and are usually only aggressive towards other spiders or their food. They are very territorial, and will defend their home.

These tarantulas make great pets for first time owners because they are relatively easy to care for and don’t require a lot of space. They can live in a 10-15 gallon tank with plenty of substrate and a few hiding places. They also don’t need to be fed very often, only once or twice a week.

Mexican Red-Knees are very docile and calm, and will make great pets for children. They are also very easy to care for and won’t require much maintenance. They don’t require much food, and will eat insects and smaller living food. Because they are native to Mexico, they will thrive in warm weather.

Mexican Red-Knee Tarantulas are known for the red on their knees. You can find them in a number of different pet stores near you. Red-Knees are one of the more expensive Tarantulas, expect one to cost between $80 and $150.

When it comes to handling your Mexican Red-Knee Tarantula, it is important to remember that they are still wild animals and can be skittish. It is best to handle them with care and respect, using slow movements so as not to startle them.

Many people are hesitant to get a tarantula as a pet because they think they will be difficult to care for, but that is not the case with Mexican Red-Knee Tarantulas. They are actually quite docile and can make great family pets. I have had my own Mexican Red-Knee Tarantula for over five years now and she has been a joy to have around.

In conclusion, Mexican Red-Knee Tarantulas are a great pet for first time owners. They are relatively easy to care for and don’t require a lot of space or food. Plus, they can make great family pets if handled with care and respect. If you’re looking for an interesting and unique pet, then the Mexican Red-Knee Tarantula might be the perfect choice for you!

Mexican Red-Knee Tarantula Information

  • Average Length: 6.5 inches
  • Average Weight: 0.5 ounces
  • Skin Appearance: Hairy with striped color patterns
  • Skin Colors: Black, Red, Orange and Tan 
  • Grooming Needs: Low
  • Shedding: Several times before adulthood
  • Sensitive to Touch: No
  • Biting Tendency: No
  • Tolerance to Heat and Cold: No 
  • Good Pet: Yes
  • Safe with Children: Yes
  • 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: Females – 25 years, Males – 6 years

Mexican Red-Knee Tarantulas are found on the Pacific Coast of Mexico. They live along the drier scrublands, deciduous forests, dry thorn forests and deserts.

Physical Appearance of Mexican Red-Knee Tarantulas

a Mexican Red-Knee Tarantula on the bottom of their enclosure

Mexican Red-Knee Tarantula is made up of two different tarantula species – Brachypelma hamorii and Brachypema smithi. Both species have bright red knees that contrast with their body, and that is how they get their name.

They have a black body with brown hair and a red ring around the edge of their body (thorax). Their carapace (the part that joins their head and body) is beige with a black square in the middle. Their legs have black stripes with bands of orange, red or tan.

They can grow up to 6.5 inches long and are one of the largest Tarantula species. Females are slightly longer than males, but males have longer legs.

These Tarantula species have hairs on their back legs called ‘urticating hairs.’ They can shed these hairs when threatened by a predator. The hair is not venomous but it can cause mild skin and eye irritations in people.

Temperament of Mexican Red-Knee Tarantulas

Mexican Red-knee Tarantulas are one of the most docile and easy to care tarantula species. Their peaceful temperament makes them popular pets. While most tarantula species should not be handled, because Mexican Red-knee Tarantulas are more even tempered they can be handled without any issues. They usually don’t bite their owners but may shed urticating hairs when they feel threatened. The hair causes discomfort and is the primary defense of western Tarantulas.

While many Tarantula species spend most of their time in hiding, the Mexican Red-Knees are more active. They don’t mind being out in the open and letting their owners watch them.

Mexican Red-knee Tarantulas are great pets for beginners.

Their Compatibility with Children

a Mexican Red-Knee Tarantula looking for food under some wood

While these Tarantulas don’t get aggressive, children still shouldn’t handle them. The skin irritation that can be caused by the Tarantula’s hair can irritate childrens skin or eyes. Children need to wash their hands if they interact with your Tarantula or their cage. Washing their hands should remove the urticating hair that children could have come in contact with.

Living Space for Mexican Red-Knee Tarantulas

Mexican Red-Knee Tarantulas should be kept alone. A small cage or glass tank are good enclosure options. Their living space should be well-ventilated and secured to keep them from escaping. A secure lid on top of their tank should keep them from escaping. 

Cage Size

The enclosures length and width should be 2 to 3 times their leg length. They are ground dwelling species and poor climbers. The height of the cage is not as important as the floor space is for Red-Knee Tarantulas.

A cage or tank with 12 inches length and width or a 20-gallon tank should be a good fit for an adult Tarantula.


Mexican Red-Knee Tarantulas need a substrate that will let them borrow. A 4 inch thick and loosely packed substrate mix of peat moss, soil and vermiculite will be great for them to burrow in.

a Mexican Red-Knee Tarantula walking over a piece of wood


Create a few hiding spots by adding a flowerpot or curved pieces of cork. These hides should be large enough to let your Tarantulas completely hide. 

A few plants can be added to mimic their natural environment.

Water Source

A shallow water bowl should be placed inside their tank. While Mexican Red-Knee Tarantulas don’t drink often, the water in the bowl should still be replaced every day. 

Best Climate for Mexican Red-Knee Tarantulas

Create a warm and hot area inside your Tarantula’s living space. Having different temperature areas will let your Tarantula cool down if their tank gets too hot for them.


Mexican Red-Knee Tarantulas need a temperature kept between 75°F and 80°F. If your home’s temperature is in this range then additional heating equipment won’t be needed. Otherwise using an under tank reptile heat mat under one third of their enclosure should keep the temperature in this range.


a close up of a Mexican Red-Knee Tarantula

The humidity should be kept between 60 and 70 percent. The water bowl kept inside their tank should help keep the humidity higher. Because they need a high humidity its likely that they’ll need their tank misted a couple of times during the day.


Tarantulas are nocturnal and don’t need any 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 add lights to see your spider while they’re active we suggest using some LED lights on a dim setting.

Because these spiders are nocturnal they don’t need UV light.

The Attention a Mexican Red-Knee Tarantulas Needs

Tarantulas in general 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. A few thermometers and hygrometers in their enclosure will let you check the climate in your Tarantula’s tank.

While other Tarantulas should not be handled, because of their docile temperament the Red-Knee can be handled regularly.

Health Issues

Common health issues in Tarantulas are:

Abdominal Fractures

Insect abdominal fractures are a very common injury in both wild and domestic insects. Common causes of abdominal fractures include physical trauma like being stepped on, falling from too high, or being hit by an object. Other causes of abdominal fractures in insects can be due to the presence of disease or parasites that weaken their exoskeleton.

Symptoms of Insect Abdominal Fractures

Insect abdominal fractures can be quite difficult to identify, but there are several signs to look out for. One of the most obvious symptoms is hemorrhaging or bleeding from the area of the fracture. A fractured insect can appear to be immobile or lethargic, and could also have difficulty walking. In cases where the fracture is more severe, the insect might have signs of paralysis.


Insects are particularly susceptible to dehydration because their bodies are made up mostly of water. In order to survive in an arid environment, they must be able to conserve water and stop it from evaporating out of their bodies. To hold onto water, insects have several strategies for dealing with dehydration.

First and foremost, many insects have developed thick cuticle layers that help reduce the amount of water that is lost through evaporation. This cuticle layer is often made up of waxes, oils and other substances that act as a barrier to prevent water loss.

Insects also have mechanisms for controlling their water intake. Some insects are able to regulate their water intake by closing off the opening in their trachea when environmental conditions become too dry. This helps stop the insect from becoming dehydrated.

Molting Problems

Molting is a process where insects shed their exoskeleton in order to grow and develop. While this process is integral for insect survival, it can also cause some major problems. Insects can have molting problems due to environmental factors, diet or genetics. These issues can lead to incomplete molts, malformations, developmental delays and even death.

Incomplete molts are a common molting problem. If an insect does not shed its exoskeleton completely, the new one can become stuck. As a result, the insect will not be able to grow or develop properly. In some cases, the old exoskeleton may even suffocate the insect if it’s not removed quickly enough.

Diet can also play a role in molting problems. An inadequate or unbalanced diet can cause the insect to be unable to molt properly. Some insects are sensitive to certain foods or chemicals and these substances can interfere with the molting process.

Genetics can also cause molting issues. Some insects have genetic mutations that can cause malformations or developmental delays. These issues can lead to problems during the molting process and can even be fatal if the insect is unable to shed its exoskeleton completely or in time.

Oral Nematodes

Oral nematodes are a group of parasitic worms that feed on the tissues of insects. They are typically found in the mouth, esophagus, and stomach, as well as other internal organs. There are hundreds of species of these nematodes, which vary in size and shape. While most species are harmless to humans and other animals, some can pose a serious threat to crops and livestock. Some species of insect oral nematodes are known to be vectors for a number of diseases, including Bartonella, Onchocerca volvulus, and Thelazia californiensis.

Symptoms of Insect Oral Nematodes

Symptoms of Oral Nematodes vary depending on the species of nematode present. Generally, infected insects will have irritation and inflammation in their mouth, esophagus and stomach, which can lead to problems eating or drinking. More severe cases of infection can cause the insect to become lethargic and anemia caused by blood loss from the parasites. In some cases, the infection can even be fatal.

General Mexican Red-Knee Tarantulas Care

Tarantulas don’t need a lot of care. Spot clean their enclosure every other day. The entire enclosure should be cleaned thoroughly and the bedding changed about once every six months.

Feeding A Mexican Red-Knee Tarantula

Mexican Red-Knee Tarantulas should be fed insects like crickets, cockroaches, grasshoppers and larger bugs. They like to eat live crickets and depending on where you live, this may require you to raise and feed live insects. Before feeding them wild caught insects make sure the insects are pesticide-free.

Tarantulas will not eat insects if they are full and might get stressed watching insects inside of their enclosure. Remove any uneaten insects if your spider doesn’t have any interest in eating them.

Occasionally pinky mice can be fed to adult Tarantulas because they are a good source of protein. It’s a good idea not to feed them anything bigger than they are because it’s too much for them.

Mexican Red-Knee Tarantulas should be fed about twice a week. They may not eat anything when they are molting. During molting they are weak and feeding live insects could harm your Tarantulas. If you see that they are molting, or about to start its a good idea to wait a few days before trying to feed them.

Related Questions:

When do Mexican Red-Knee Tarantulas Molt?

Mexican Red-Knee Tarantulas can molt up to 20 times in a span of 4 years. This is when they become adults. After becoming adults they’ll never molt again.

Which is Better For My Family a Male or Female Red-Knee Tarantula?

Mexican Red-Knee Tarantulas have one of the longest life spans among all Tarantula species. Males only live for up to 6 years but females can live up to 30 years. Male Mexican Red-Knee Tarantulas usually die soon after reaching sexual maturity. If you want a longer living pet then a female Mexican Red-Knee is a great choice.

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Maryna is an animal expert that has had dozens of animals in her life over the years. She has never found an animal that she didn't love immediately. It seems like every year she finds kittens that have been abandoned by their mom and she nurses them to health and finds homes for them. She contributes her vast knowledge about animals and family pets to our website and we're forever grateful to have her working with us. She's also an amazing graphics designer and has designed all of the social media images that we use across all platforms.