Guatemalan Tiger Rump Tarantula Spiderling
Cyclosternum fasciatum are a medium sized tarantula that are found naturally in the tropical rain forests of Costa Rica and Guatemala. They are commonly referred to as the Costa Rican Tiger Rump Tarantula and this is based on their unusual marking that are found on the sternum.
Adult specimens can grow up to a size of 3.5 - 4 inches (8.9 – 10.2 cm) meaning that they can live in smaller enclosures compared to the larger species of tarantula that are available in this hobby.
They have an average leg span of approximately 4.5 inches (11.43 cm) and their sternum and legs will be covered with hairs that they can eject if they feel threatened plus they can pack a nasty bite with their fangs when attacking prey or would be attackers.
Their average life span is 10 years, this is probably slightly longer than for wild specimens as being captive the risk of predation is ruled out, there is only keeper error that can physically reduce the life span.
Their sternum is covered with markings that loosely resemble tiger stripes and these are usually pinkish in colouration with a brown/black background colouration.
This species of Tarantula is capable of climbing if it wishes to but generally they will spend most of their time on the floor of their enclosure just as they would in their wild habitat of forest floors.
The Tiger Rump tarantula is not really an ideal species for beginners to this hobby as they don’t take too kindly to handling and will eject their hairs at every opportunity, they are ideal for keepers who wish to keep an active species of Tarantula that will be on show for long periods of time in the enclosure, some keepers may even handle this species confidently but experience is required for this as dropping the Tarantula if it moves quickly or surprises you will normally lead to a mortality of your pet as they are fragile and falls are the biggest killer of captive specimens.
They are not very demanding in their needs but there are certain guidelines that you should follow and these will be covered in this article.
Setting up an enclosure for your Costa Rican Tiger Rump Tarantula
The most important factor to consider for the enclosure is the footprint of the container that you are going to use. The footprint or floor space as you probably know it as needs to be large enough to give your Tiger Rump Tarantula room to move about and also be large enough to add the required décor and water bowl. As this tarantula is capable of climbing it is probably best to have a lid on top of the enclosure but you must ensure that there are ventilation holes to allow air flow but make sure that these are not large enough to allow your spider to escape. A glass aquarium or a plastic container can be used and the size of these should be relative to the size and age of your spider, spiderlings can live in very small containers whereas adult specimens require larger ones, generally an adult specimen can be housed in a container that has a volume of 10 gallons (45.46 litres, 12.01 US gallons) but make sure that it is not to high, remember that falls can prove deadly to your pet.
The chosen substrate is also important, many keepers use a potting compost that is free from pesticides and insecticides, other choices can include vermiculite, coconut fibre, peat or even a mix of these. If using peat or potting compost then this will need to be sterilised before use, the reason for this being that these two mediums may contain mould or fungus spores as well as other creatures such as mites. The easiest method or sterilisation is to place the substrate inside a microwave oven and blasting it for a few seconds, this should eradicate any unwelcome guests into your enclosure.
The substrate will need to be kept moist but never wet, the easiest way to control this is to allow the water to slowly drip down the sides of the enclosure which lets the bottom layers of the substrate to dampen leaving the top layers relatively dry, if the substrate is too wet it will cause problems for your tarantula, a moist substrate should keep the humidity levels at the correct range, this is normally between 60-70%, any higher is not ideal but slightly lower will not cause any major problems. The addition of a water bowl will also help to increase the humidity levels as well as providing a source of moisture for your spider to injest, the tarantula will get most of its moisture intake from its food but water must also be provided just in case. This will need to be replaced on a regular basis to keep it clean and make sure that the water bowl is shallow and pushing it slightly into the substrate will ensure that it will not get toppled over. Hides must also be included in the enclosure, every now and again your Tiger Rump Tarantula may want to get away from attention and hide away for a period of time, these can be bought commercially or you can use plant pots that are partially buried into the substrate after being laid on their side, ensure that your spider can access the hide easily and make sure that it is not to much larger than the spider, if too large your tarantula may feel insecure inside there and may choose not to use it.
Any additional décor is purely optional, if you want to create a more natural look you can add some plants, silk or plastic plants tend to be preferred as they never rot and decay, leaves that have rotted on live plants can also introduce infections to the enclosure. Whatever additional décor you choose make sure that there are no sharp edges which could injure the spider and make sure that any décor is not high enough to cause a fall to the spider if it did happen to lose its footing.
Maintenance is also important for the long term health of your Tiger Rump Tarantula, as mentioned above, the water in the water bowl will need changing at least every other day, daily is the better option. The substrate will need replacing at regular intervals and the actual enclosure will also require cleaning out at least once a month.
After feeding try to remove any dead food left in the enclosure and if feeding with live crickets it is not good practice to leave uneaten crickets wandering around the enclosure for days.
The temperature of the enclosure should be between 21 - 24°C (70 - 75°F), this temperature range is a standard room temperature in many countries but if you live in cooler climates you can attach a heat mat to the rear of the enclosure and maintain a steady temperature by means of a thermostat, during the night time the temperature should be allowed to drop by at least a couple of degrees.
Lighting is not required for you tarantula they much prefer darker lighting and bright lights can make them very nervous, a coloured bulb can be used for partial lighting if you wish.
Feeding the Tiger Rump Tarantula
Feeding these pets is not that difficult if you follow a few simple rules. The size of the food should be relative to the size of the spider, smaller specimens such as juveniles will require more regular meals but the smaller crickets etc. are generally fed to them, mature tarantulas will need less feeding times but they will accept larger foods.
In the diet you can feed the tarantulas crickets, beetles, mealworms, small earthworms, grasshoppers but when feeding live food to provide extra nourishment always gut load the food before offering it to the tarantula. For example if you feed the crickets on greens and wait for a few hours before offering them, they will have partially digested their food ready for the tarantula to absorb as well as gaining nourishment from the cricket.
Feeding juvenile tarantulas twice a week, will suffice whereas adult specimens should only require one meal a week. Do not over feed or allow uneaten prey to stay in the enclosure as this can increase the risk of infection to your spider.
The Tiger Rump Tarantula is also capable of being cannibalistic so keeping more than one specimen in the enclosure together can lead to one of the inhabitants becoming a meal, they are also capable of feeding on small lizards and rodents.
One word of warning, never attempt to feed your Tarantula by hand, all species of Tarantula carry some degree of venom, no-one is sure about the toxicity of this venom towards humans so do not take any risks, simply place the food inside the enclosure and allow your spider to find it of its own accord.
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