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Quick Facts
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Arthropoda
Class: Arachnida
Order: Araneae
Family: Theraphosidae
Genus: Brachypelma
Species: smithii

Length: 5 - 5.5 inches
Weight: 0.06 - 0.19 lbs
Offspring: 400 - 700
Life Span: 10 - 25 years

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Mexican Red Kneed Tarantula

Brachypelma smithii

Also Called: Mexican Orange Kneed Tarantula


Mexican Red Kneed Tarantulas are usually black with bright red knees and their bodies are covered with tiny hairs. Their first two legs are used for holding preyWhat does prey mean? and the remaining six legs for walking. If a leg is lost it will grow completely back within seven years. The females are larger than the males. Mexican Red Kneed Tarantulas are usually peaceful, however, if threatened they will rear up and display the red bristles on their body. As a defense, the Mexican Red Kneed Tarantulas can rub their back legs causing hair to drop causing blindness or a painful rash to the victim. They can also bite, injecting venom into the victim through their hollow fangs. Mexican Red Kneed Tarantulas are nocturnal.


Mexican Red Kneed Tarantulas eat frogs, small birds, insects, other spiders and mice. They cannot digest food, therefore, in order to eat, they bite the preyWhat does prey mean? with their fangs and inject them with venom. The venom kills the prey and then liquefies it allowing the Mexican Red Kneed Tarantula to suck out the resulting fluid.


Mexican Red Kneed Tarantulas live along the Pacific coast of Mexico in scrublands and deserts and in southern America. Their homes are burrows in the ground lined with their silk.


Natural enemies of the Mexican Red Kneed Tarantula include lizards, snakes, spider eating birds, and some wasps. The main threats to Mexican Red Kneed Tarantulas are destruction of their habitat and the pet trade. Mexican Red Kneed Tarantulas are on the endangered species list at Cites Appendix II: they are not necessarily threatened with extinction in the wild now but may become so if trade is not closely controlled.


Mexican Red Kneed Tarantulas are very territorial. They live alone in their burrows where they spend most of their time.


Mexican Red Kneed Tarantulas breed after they are two years old. After mating, the female may eat the male. They lay between 400 and 1000 eggs between July and September, after the rainy season. The eggs are laid on a silk cocoon, which is then sealed until they hatch 2 – 8 weeks later. The spiderlings leave the mother’s burrow and live on their own when are two to three weeks old.


Mexican Red Kneed Tarantulas have palps on the ends of their legs that allow them to smell, taste and feel. They have eight eyes positioned around their head enabling them to see to the front and to the back. Their vision is not very good, however, so they use their sensitive leg hairs for guidance.

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