This is the classic pet Tarantula species and is popular species that every keeper owns or has owned one. Docile, attractive patterning, long lived, large and robust. This species is also very easy to keep and will spend a lot of time making it a good display species. All of these factors make it an ideal first time species. It is a fossorial species, in the wild they inhabit both dry forests and tropical deciduous forests. Usually founds under rocks or tree roots (West, R, 2005). This what the first Theraphosid species placed on CITES in 1985 and it is illegal to collect them from the wild.
Need to be kept in a standard terrestrial type terrarium with 5-6cm of slightly moistened substrate and provided a shallow water bowl for drinking. You can provide it with a retreat though it may not use it. This beautiful spider is regularly bred in captivity. The cocoon contains 400 - 600 eggs. Spiderlings have a slow growth rate and females mature at around five years and later. They are however none problematic to rear.
There are two other species that are identical in appearance to Brachypelma smithi - B.annitha (Very rarely available in the hobby) and B.hammori (Unknown in the hobby) and are considered by many specialists as just colour forms of B.smithi. Either way all effort must be made to keep these "forms" apart and not cross bred. This is one of the "Pet Rock" spiders and are not aggressive and is considered a good starting species.
Kirk, P. 1988. A tale of Brachypelma smithi, Part 1. Journal of the British Tarantula Society 4(1): 10-11.
Kirk, P. 1988. A tale of Brachypelma smithi, Part 2. Journal of the British Tarantula Society 4(2): 20-21.
Layzell, J. 1990. Trying to breed B. smithi. Journal of the British Tarantula Society 6(2): 16.
Morris, D. 1992. Brachypelma smithi observations. Journal of the British Tarantula Society 8(3): 20.
Portman, S. 2000. Breeding Brachypelma smithi. Journal of the British Tarantula Society 15(4): 135-138.
Tansley, G. 1992. Size differences between two specimens of Euathlus smithi (Mexican red knee). Journal of the British Tarantula Society 7(4): 5.