Nhandu chromatus

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This is a specific care sheet for Brazilian white-knees (Nhandu chromatus), for more in this genus see Category:Nhandu.

Species Information Bar
Brazilian white-knee care sheet
Nhandu chromatus
Brazilian white-knee Tarantula
Scientific classification

Kingdom: Animalia

Phylum: Arthropoda

Subphylum: Arachnomorpha

Class: Arachnida

Subclass: Micrura

Order: Araneae

Suborder: Opisthothelae

Family: Theraphosidae

Subfamily: Theraphosinae

Genus: Nhandu

Species: N. chromatus

The Brazilian white-knee Tarantula (Nhandu chromatus, formerly Vitalius cristatus) is a large terrestrial species that can be found in the grasslands of Brazil. It looks very much like the Brazilian whiteknee tarantula (Acanthoscurria geniculata) and the Brazilian black and white (Nhandu coloratovillosus) with striking black and white stripes across its legs and a jet black abdomen featuring long brown hairs. Nhandu chromatus can be quite defensive when mature and do not like to be disturbed.

Tarantula Information (for a more detailed Tarantula care review see Tarantula Care Sheets
Information and Tarantula Care
Regions Found: Grasslands of Brazil
Class: Terrestrial
Longevity: Fast growing to maturity in 3-4 years. Males die shortly after maturity females will live up to 10 years in captivity
Adult Size: 18-21 cm
Temperament: Skittish and defensive
Urticating Hairs: Yes
Venom Potency: Unknown
Nhandu chromatus Housing Requirements
Tarantula Housing: Floor space is more important than height, a deep substrate should be provided for burrowing. A good retreat is required and can be provided in the form of upturned plant pot or a piece of cork bark
Temperature: Between 24-28°C (78-82°F)
Humidity: 75-80%
Special Requirements: No special requirements.
Breeding Nhandu chromatus Tarantulas
Breeding Difficulty: Easy however complications may occur if the female rejects the egg sac
Egg sac size: 600 to 1200
Danger to Male: Possible sexual cannibalism
Nhandu chromatus Diet
Livefood insects such as crickets, locust, butter worms, meal worms, superworms, houseflies and cockroaches.
Recommended Pet Supplies for Nhandu chromatus

Housing Brazilian black and white tarantulas[edit]

Brazilian black and white tarantulas are very easy to keep in captivity and feed readily.
File:Nhandu chromatus.jpg
Nhandu chromatus Housing
Brazilian white-knee tarantula's can be kept in any kind of container and a vivarium or converted aquarium is ideal. At least one cubic foot (30x30x30 cm, 12x12x12 inch) should be provided for an adult however more floor space would be enjoyed by a terrestrial and burrowing species such as this. Provide the tarantula with plenty of ventilation, however limited enough to maintain the required humidity. Spiderlings can be kept in waxworm tubs and larger livefood tubs when slightly larger. A nice display tank can be created for larger tarantulas using an aquarium.

Tarantulas do not require plants or decorations; however they can offer somewhere to hide, climb and hunt. If you want to make your pet’s home more attractive you may choose to further decorate the enclosure. Avoid sharp edges and rough textures that may be harmful.


There really is no ideal substrate and most of the time it is really only chosen for aesthetical reasons. Make sure the chosen substrate is not dusty or sharp. Peat free compost is the favoured substrate to use as it holds moisture well and will allow a terrestrial species like the Brazilian black and white to burrow in. Mould should not be an issue unless the substrate is always very damp.

Heating and Climate[edit]

It is advisable to offer a temperature gradient of between 26-29°C (80-84°F), however bear in mind that the warmer you keep your tarantula, the higher its metabolic rate will be and it will therefore want to eat more often and will grow faster. Create a temperature gradient in your tarantula’s enclosure by having different temperatures throughout the tank. As in nature, allowing for a temperature gradient puts the tarantula in control of the environment it spends most of its time in. Your tarantula will then choose a suitable region of the enclosure where it feels most comfortable.

Temperature equipment
The easiest way to provide the gradient is by using a heating mat or under tank heater (UTH) designed for use under reptile tanks, which should be placed under no more than 1/3 of the tank. A dim lamp or small ceramic heater may also be used but always in conjunction with a suitable thermostat. It is important to note that ceramic heaters and lamps will primarily heat the air and in turn raise humidity, whereas UTH’s will above all heat the substrate. Always verify that appropriate temperatures are being provided by using accurate thermometers in a few locations within the enclosure. Refer to more specific tarantula care sheets for thermal gradients.

At night temperatures can drop so to simulate this in captivity reduce the temperature by 10°F or so, giving the Nhandu a sense of time.


Humidity can be provided by moist substrates and a misting bottle. The best way to keep the tank humid is to provide a large shallow water bowl, keeping the substrate drier is best for this terrestrial burrowing species. 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.

Feeding and hydrating Nhandu chromatus[edit]

Just like other tarantulas, Nhandu chromatus eat insects, reptiles and small rodents up to their own size. Suitable insects include crickets, moths, beetle larvae (meal worms and superworms), houseflies and cockroaches. Although they may take on rodents and reptiles in the wild it is not recommended you feed them in captivity, for complications may arise such as a fatal bite by the food item itself.

File:Nhandu chromatus Feeding.jpg
Nhandu chromatus feeding
When feeding livefoods, although it may be fun, try not to over challenge your Nhandu by giving it food items that are too large. Stick with something about half the size of the tarantula and remove uneaten food items so they do not cause harm or stress the tarantula. Spiders usually eat massive amounts post-moult until they are full, this is called power feeding. They will refuse food pre-molt or when ready to lay an egg sac. It usually takes about 1 week to 1 month for Nhandu chromatus to accept food after a moult, because of the skin and fang hardening process. You can’t really overfeed a tarantula, but this doesn't mean you should overdo it by giving it 50 crickets after a moult; the tarantula will probably end up killing them all and leaving dead ones uneaten. If this is the case then they should be removed to prevent bacteria and mould growth.

As with all animals Brazilian black and white tarantulas require a source of clean drinking water. This can be provided in the form of a shallow container filled with water which will also raise the humidity. A tarantula’s main source of moisture is typically in the food it eats, this is especially so for smaller spiderlings which will take water from water droplets when necessary. In general spiderlings up to 2 inches do not require a water bowl but instead you should mist the vivarium and they will collect droplets of water. Be careful not to mist too much as doing so may increase the humidity more than it should be.

Breeding Brazilian black and white tarantulas[edit]

File:Nhandu chromatus mating.jpg
Nhandu chromatus mating
Breeding of the Nhandu chromatus is relatively easy. It is a fundamental requirement however to make sure their environmental needs are fulfilled as otherwise tarantulas will simply not mate. Nhandu chromatus produce an egg sac containing between 600 and 1200 eggs making a successful mating extremely rewarding.

The basic steps involved in breeding tarantulas are discussed further:

See Also[edit]

Tarantula/Care Sheet