Chilean Flame Tarantula (Homoeomma chilensis): Full Guide

The Chilean Flame Tarantula (Homoeomma chilensis) is an adorable little dwarf tarantula. They’re a New World Terrestrial species that is native to Chile. She’s not only beautiful with flaming red setae over her abdomen, but she’s also tiny and peaceful.

An excellent spider for handling, the Chilean Flame Tarantula is a perfect choice for beginners looking to venture into the hobby without running any risks. If you’re thinking about getting one, here’s everything you need to know about this new species.

Me, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Chilean Flame Tarantula Care Sheet

Species NameHomoeomma chilensis
Family NameTheraphosidae
Common NamesChilean Flame Tarantula
CategoryNew World
TypeTerrestrial
Native LocationChile
Leg Span3.5 inches (9 cm)
Growth SpeedSlow
Urticating HairsYes
SocialCommunal living might be possible, not confirmed.
DietInsects: primarily crickets and roaches.
Temperature70 to 75 degrees °F
Humidity60 to 70%
LifespanFemale: 8 to 12 years / Male: 2 to 3 years
Experience requiredBeginner
Minimum tank size10L”x6W”x6H”

Chilean Flame Tarantula Overview

The Homoeomma chilensis is known as the Chilean Flame Tarantula among hobbyists.

This New World species is a dwarf tarantula, so you shouldn’t expect her to grow too large.

This is part of her appeal since people looking for a tiny spider to pass around their hands are in luck when they get a Chilean Flame Tarantula.

As a terrestrial, fossorial species, she’ll spend a lot of time inside her burrows. However, she’s also very friendly and curious, so you’ll have plenty of opportunities to play with her walking over your arms!

Appearance and Variations

The Chilean Flame Dwarf Tarantula has a cute and classic style that suits her demeanor. She’s black all over her body, except for her abdomen. The segment between her abdomen and her cephalothorax is covered with bright orange-red setae, which is why the Homoeomma chilensis has Flame in its name.

The description above is how they look when they’re adults. As spiderlings, they’ll be entirely covered with orange hairs, and their legs are also almost transparent.

This spider exhibits slight dimorphism. Males tend to be half an inch smaller and with brighter colors than females. Besides that, both specimens look the same. Therefore, the only way to determine for sure whether you’re dealing with a male or female is by examining the inside of a molt.

Price

The beautiful Chilean Flame Tarantula is still new to the hobby, so breeding them hasn’t been popularized yet. It also grows slowly, adding to its breeding difficulty. In other words, it’s challenging to find one, so the prices are higher than most other spiders.

Spiderlings and juveniles can go from $40 to $100, depending on where you get it. Prices can even rise to $300 if you’re not lucky to find a good vendor.

Adult females are even harder to find, so you’ll be at the mercy of the breeder willing to give one up and they can often set their own prices, which makes it hard to give an average price to expect.

Despite this inconvenient situation, it is known that European prices are much lower, with spiderlings often going for $30 and being easy to find.

Behavior and Temperament

The Chilean Flame Tarantula has a very docile nature which makes them perfect for beginners looking for a small exotic pet to show off to their friends.

It’s a peaceful, curious, and kind spider that will rather hide than bite anytime she feels threatened. That is if she ever feels threatened at all. Since Chilean Flame Tarantulas are usually quite trusting and curious, so she’ll take most opportunities you give her to leave her tank and walk around your arms without any issues.

They do have venom, but it’s very weak. However, that doesn’t even matter much, since there are no reports of them ever biting humans at all.

She’s also known for having urticating hairs but almost never flicks them. Owners have sometimes caught them removing their urticating hairs with their own hind legs, so perhaps they’re not so interested in relying on them as a defense mechanism.

On the whole, they’re among the most docile tarantula species on earth and are highly recommended as an introductory species.

Handling

If you’re interested in handling a Chilean Flame Tarantula with your hands, make sure not to drop it.

Terrestrial species aren’t made for high places. They’re often too heavy and vulnerable to falls; sometimes falling means receiving a fatal injury, so you should avoid dropping them at all costs.

Thankfully, this shouldn’t be a problem with this spider. As long as you’re careful with her and don’t attempt any sudden movements, she should be fine walking in your arms without jumping away, much less the impossible scenario of biting you for it.

It’s the perfect tarantula to take to a classroom and let the brave kids handle it with care!

Do note though, that tarantulas are not affectionate animals and they do not crave being handled or anything like that. While letting the spider walk on your hands and arms can be fun, and this particular species will likely tolerate it just fine, they do not get anything out of it themselves. They would much rather be left alone.

Caring for a Chilean Flame Tarantula

Temperature and Humidity

The CDFT lives in a dry and warm environment. You should keep her in temperatures between 70°F and 75°F, with humidity around 60-70%.

Substrate

Fossorial spiders need enough room to burrow, and the Chilean Flame Tarantula is no exception.

She’ll need around three inches of substrate as a spiderling and juvenile, and three to four inches as an adult.

They don’t dig too dip, and they’re not big, so they won’t need as much room as most other fossorial spiders.

As for the composition of the substrate, a mixture of coconut fiber and dirt works best to absorb moisture while providing an ideal soil for burrowing. Other great materials to include in the substrate are peat moss and vermiculite.

Tank

Dwarf spiders don’t need a lot of room, so you can save some space with the Chilean Flame Tarantula.

Adults will be happy with enclosures at least ten inches long and six inches tall.

As it happens with terrestrial spiders, you don’t want the tank to be too tall, or else you risk the spider falling and hurting herself.

This species is a borrower, so they will create their own hide in the soil. However, she does enjoy having good places to hide every once in a while, so a couple of small rocks and fake plants will make the enclosure look better while also helping the CDFT feel comfortable.

Watering

The Chilean Flame Tarantula doesn’t enjoy stepping over muddy soil. If your substrate is too moist, she won’t move around until it dries out.

Spray the substrate with water every three or four weeks to let it dry out, and you’ll have a happy tarantula.

Don’t forget to keep a water dish inside her tank and refill it whenever it gets empty. Be careful not to place it too close to her burrow’s entrance; the Chilean Flame Tarantula enjoys creating a web around that area, making it harder to refill the plate.

Diet of a Chilean Flame Tarantula

The Chilean Flame is a very small tarantula that doesn’t need to eat very much. However, her low feeding frequency makes her ideal for hobbyists that are just starting to get their feed wet or even children interested in an exotic pet.

Spiderlings should get the usual flightless fruit fly every four days. Juveniles can be fed the same way or with a small cricket every four to seven days.

Adults could have one large cricket every two to four weeks, and they’ll be satisfied with that. Some owners claim they feed them two or three small crickets weekly, and that works too.

Just make sure to check the tarantula’s abdomen to see if she’s getting the right amount of food. If the abdomen is getting plump, you’re overfeeding her; if it’s shrinking and getting flat, you should start feeding her more.

What’s especially important with a small spider such as this one is that you do not feed them prey that is too large. They cannot overpower everything as easily as their bigger brothers can, so keep their prey small.

Furthermore, you should avoid feeding them completely for several days after their molt to give their fangs time to harden.

Chilean Flame Tarantula Facts

  • Two or more burrows of the Homoeomma chilensis have been found under the same rock. This means that this spider could be able to live communally. The experiments haven’t been done since it’s a new spider to the hobby, so I can’t recommend doing it as of now. However, it wouldn’t be surprising given her peaceful demeanor!
  • The CDFT’s former scientific name used to be Euathlus sp. red until 2018 when she was described as a different species by Montenegro & Aguilera.
  • Their appearance resembles that of the Brazilian Black Tarantula or Grammostola pulchras, getting to the point where it almost looks like the Chilean Flame Tarantula is a dwarf version of this spider.

Final words

The Chilean Flame Dwarf Tarantula is the perfect spider for someone with a child interested in tarantulas, or someone who simply wants to get a slow introduction to the hobby.

She’s easy to care for, very pretty, and easy to handle. Most of all, she’s safe to handle, so it’s a great fit for people of any experience level.

Even people who’ve had dozens of spiders still fall in love with this species’ good nature and beautiful appearance, so you really can’t go wrong adding this cute tarantula to your collection.

Jesse A.