Brachypelma smithi

From WikiPets
(Redirected from Mexican redknee)
Jump to: navigation, search

This is a specific care sheet for Mexican Red Knees (Brachypelma smithi), for more in this genus see Category:Brachypelma.

Species Information Bar
Mexican Red Knee care sheet
Brachypelma smithi
Mexican Red Knee Tarantula
Mexican Red Knee Tarantula
Scientific classification

Kingdom: Animalia

Phylum: Arthropoda

Subphylum: Arachnomorpha

Class: Arachnida

Subclass: Micrura

Order: Araneae

Suborder: Opisthothelae

Family: Theraphosidae

Subfamily: Theraphosinae

Genus: Brachypelma

Species: B. smithi

Known as the Mexican Red Knee Tarantula due to its red knees. This tarantula makes a great pet and are often seen in zoo's and movies. One of the longest lived tarantulas in the hobby and can live for over 25 years.

Tarantula Information (for a more detailed Tarantula care review see Tarantula Care Sheets
Information and Tarantula Care
Regions Found: Mexican desert
Class: Terrestrial
Longevity: Very slow and long lived. Live for up to 30 years.
Adult Size: Grows to about 13-17cm
Temperament: Very calm and docile
Urticating Hairs: Yes, less prone to use compared to similar species
Venom Potency: Low toxicity, comparable to a bee sting
Brachypelma smithi Housing Requirements
Tarantula Housing: Floor space is more important than height, a deep substrate should be provided for burrowing. A good retreat is required, maybe a few in strategic places.
Temperature: 24-30°C (75-86°F)
Humidity: About 55-65%
Special Requirements: No special requirements.
Breeding Brachypelma smithi Tarantulas
Breeding Difficulty: Moderate
Egg sac size: around 400-500, up to 1000
Danger to Male: Probable sexual cannibalism
Brachypelma smithi Diet
Livefood insects such as crickets, locust, butter worms, meal worms, superworms, houseflies and cockroaches.
Recommended Pet Supplies for Brachypelma smithi


B. smithi is most commonly known as the Mexican Redknee tarantula and is found throughout the semi-desert scrublands of Central America and Mexico. They have been listed on the Cites II endangered species list and restrictions are now in place to prevent the demise of wild specimens, as such, only captive bred specimens are to be kept as pets. Mexican Redknee's are amongst the most docile tarantulas and although they do have the ability to fire urticating hairs, they only do this very rarely when severely threatened. Because of it's temperament, this spider makes an excellent beginner's pet.

A suitable enclosure for a Mexican Redknee


This species usually has a light-brown and black colouration, with a black abdomen and legs with the characteristic patches of red on it's knees. It is a slow-growing spider that can grow to upto 16.5 cm (6.5 inches) in size and has been known to survive for as long as 25 years in captivity.



The Mexican Redknee lives in deep burrows along the Western coast of Mexico, and this habitat should be replicated as best as possible within your enclosure. It is recommended that you use a vivarium of atleast 10 gallons in size and provide an artificial shelter like a hollow log or a cave for use in aquariums. The spider will usually adopt this shelter and begin to dig it's burrow underneath.


You should layer the bottom of the enclosure with approximately 10 cm (4 inches) of substrate comprised of a 50/50 mixture of sand and peat moss. The substrate should be kept damp but not so much so that bacteria and molds begin to grow.


This species requires a temperature range of between 24-32°C (75-90°F). A temperature gradient is important to allow the tarantula to regulate their body temperature as needed. The easiest way to provide the gradient is by using a heating mat designed for use under reptile tanks. This should be placed under no more than about 1/3 of the tank, so your pet can move from warmer to cooler temperatures if desired. Always verify that appropriate temperatures are being provided by using accurate thermometers in a few locations within the enclosure. A heat lamp with a 60-watt bulb over an area just outside the entrance to the burrow will provide a basking spot for your tarantula.


Humidity should be maintained at between 55-65% by providing a large, shallow water bowl and by misting the enclosure regularly. To successfully maintain the desired humidity conditions for your tarantula you are going to need a hygrometer. A hygrometer is a device used to measure relative humidity within the enclosure.

Handling your Mexican Redknee


Spiderlings will eat pinhead crickets, and other small insects. Adults eat crickets, other large insects, small lizards, pinkie mice, and an occasional fuzzy mouse every few months.


Providing a large, shallow water dish will ensure your spider has all the water it needs aswell as help to miantain the relative humidity within the habitat.


As previously explained this is one of the calmest species of tarantula, however, handling is not recommended due to their urticating hairs and sometimes skittish temperament. If you do feel the need to handle your pet then do so by slowly coaxing the spider onto your hand and gently raising it out of the enclosure, then allow it casually explore your hands, avoid making any rapid movements, and keep it relatively close to the ground as their abdomens are fragile. If you are going to handle a tarantula it is important you be confident.