Which species of tarantula make the best pets?

The Best Pet Tarantulas

Top five best pet tarantulas

Here’s my top five list of the best pet tarantulas, based upon my own personal experience with these fascinating arachnids. This list isn’t based solely upon docility (not everyone wishes to handle their tarantula), but also takes into consideration coloration, activity level, and ease of captive care.

Pet Goliath bird-eating tarantula
#5 - Goliath Bird-eating Tarantula (Theraphosa sp.)

These South American beasts make the list because they’re impressive (they can attain a legspan of 12-inches!) and tend to do pretty well in captivity. Female lifespans can approach 20+ years. I don’t recommend that you hold this species of tarantula because they can be on the aggressive side, and have irritating urticating hairs that they like to kick-up. They have voracious appetites, which makes feeding them really fun.

Pet pinktoe tarantula
#4 - Pinktoe Tarantula (Avicularia avicularia)

Pinktoes are aptly named, and extremely popular spiders. They’re not only affordable, but can also be kept communally if you’re careful, unlike most other tarantula species. They come from South America and reach legspans of 4-5 inches. They are considered quite docile, and fairly active, making them a great pet tarantula choice. They are a bit quicker than some may expect.

Pet curlyhair tarantula
#3 - Curlyhair Tarantula (Brachypelma albopilosum)

These long-lived Mexican spiders generally thrive in captivity, and they attain a nice size of 5-7 inches. They get their name from curly hairs on their abdomen and legs. They are usually extremely calm and docile and seem more responsive than many other species of tarantula. They generally move slowly and deliberately, rather than quick darting. They can make absolutely wonderful pet tarantulas.

Pet Rose hair tarantula
#2 - Chilean Rose Hair Tarantula (Grammastola rosea)

Probably the most perfect pet tarantula, it is indigenous to Chile. Rose hairs can hit 5-6 inches in legspan, and are usually very hardy and very long-lived in captivity (20+ years for females). They are extremely slow movers, which for some is a negative, but for others its a positive. They tend to be out in the open during the day, which I appreciate. This is a very inexpensive tarantula as well

Pet Mexican redknee tarantula
#1 - Mexican Red Knee Tarantula (Brachypelma smithi)

The top spot on my list goes to the Red knee, for a litany of reasons. Likely the most popular pet tarantula in the world, they are fairly slow movers much like the Rose Hairs, but they’ve also got beautiful red and orange coloration on their legs. They reach legspans of 5-6 inches or so, and are usually extremely docile. I’ve never seen one rear-up or become aggressive. They generally do extremely well in captivity, and can live for over 30 years!

That rounds-out my list of the top pet tarantulas generally available within the United States. You really can’t go wrong with any of the above spiders, but remember to avoid handling the Goliath bird-eaters. Don’t forget to check out my tarantula care sheet, which applies to all of the above arachnids.