Pinkfoot Goliath Tarantula (Theraphosa apophysis): Care Guide

The Pinkfoot Goliath Tarantula (Theraphosa apophysis) is, next to the Goliath Birdeater and the Burgundy Goliath Birdeater, the biggest tarantula in the world. It’s a New World Terrestrial species whose large size and unique appearance have made them the object of interest for many hobbyists around the world.

A welcome addition to any collection, the PGT comes with an imposing presence and a mean bite that should only be dealt with by experienced hobbyists. If one of these beautiful spiders caught your eye, we’ve gathered all the information you’ll need to know if it’s a good fit for you.


Pinkfoot Goliath Tarantula Care Sheet

Name of SpeciesTheraphosa apophysis
FamilyTheraphosidae
Common namesPinkfoot Goliath Tarantula
Native locationNorth Brazil, Guiana, South Venezuela
CategoryNew World
TypeTerrestrial
Body Length4 inches
Leg span11 inches
Growth speedFast
Urticating hairsYes, type III
DietInsects, primarily roaches & crickets
SocialSolitary
Temperature70 to 80 °F
Humidity70-80%
Life spanFemales: 25 years / Males 5 years
Experience levelExpert

Pinkfoot Goliath Tarantula Overview

The Theraphosa apophysis receives the name of Pinkfoot Goliath Tarantula in the tarantula-keeping hobby. It’s also named Pinkfoot Goliath Birdeater Tarantula and Goliath Birdeater Pinkfoot Tarantula.

It’s a New World spider that inhabits North Brazil, Guiana, and the South of Venezuela.

This large and heavy spider is terrestrial and opportunistic burrower, so she spends most of her time burrowed in the ground, waiting for prey.

She’s slightly more aggressive than other members of the Theraphosa genus, but mostly at a young age. As they grow older, they tend to calm down a little. With her size, fangs, and setae, beginners should stay away from the Pinkfoot Goliath Tarantula until they’re more experienced

Appearance

The Goliath Tarantulas have the classical appearance you’d expect from large wild tarantulas in a movie.

They’re huge, heavy, with brown carapaces and setae. The Pinkfoot Goliath has more setae in the legs, but other than that she’s very similar to the T. Stirmi and T. Blondi, which are the two other species in the Theraphosa genus

She gets the name Pinkfoot from her appearance as a sling and juvenile specimen, which is the only time when she’s pink at the end of her legs. As adults, they do not exhibit the same appearance.

Male and female specimens are very similar, with males being slightly smaller than females. The only way to tell the difference between them accurately is to check the inside of their molts.

These tarantulas are absolutely enormous and can grow to a size of 11 inches!

Price

The Pinkfoot Goliath Tarantula is popular and hard to breed, so prices may be expensive.

Slings and juveniles range from $100 to $160 each.

An unsexed or male adult can be found for around $300.

Female adults, due to their size and longevity, rise to a price of about $700.

Behavior and Temperament

The Pinkfoot Goliath Tarantula is defensive, skittish, and shy. In their earlier stages of development, they’re more aggressive than the other two goliaths in the Theraphosa genus.

As she grows and molts, she becomes shyer and prefers to stay hidden rather than going on the defensive.

Thankfully, if you’re ever in danger of getting attacked, you’ll often hear the stridulation sound that these spiders make as a warning that you’re treading on thin ice. In addition, they’re likely to show a threat pose first.

They’re prone to flick urticating hairs and famous for doing so. The Pinkfoot Goliath is the hairiest out of the three Theraphosas, and these spiders are so huge that their setae create a particularly awful irritation.

They can also move fast and bite if you don’t respect their warnings or if you approach them too suddenly.

The venom is very mild and you shouldn’t be concerned about it; however, the fangs are over one inch long, and they will cause a painful bite.

Caring for a Pinkfoot Goliath Tarantula

XxHugo07, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

The Pinkfoot Goliath Tarantula is often described as being among the more difficult to care for species. Not only due to their large size and defensive nature, but also because of the high humidity they require.

Nevertheless, they’re still tarantulas and as long as you provide them with a nice enclosure that has a good climate, good substrate, and regular food and water, they will thrive.

This is what you need to know to properly care for them.

Temperature and Humidity

The Pinkfoot Goliath Tarantula lives in a rainforest and savannah climate.

She’s used to temperatures around 70°F, with a maximum of 81°F.  Humidity levels in their natural climate are usually around 80%, going from 76% in the dry season and 84% in the rainy season.

This species doesn’t enjoy the heat as much as some others. In captivity, it’ll be most comfortable in temperatures around 75°F and 70-80% humidity.

Substrate

The Pinkfoot Goliath Tarantula doesn’t like to dig deep, but she’s still a very large spider that needs a suitable substrate to be comfortable. Three inches of substrate for spiderlings, four inches for juveniles, and four to five inches for adults should be enough.

The substrate should be soft and comfortable, retaining enough moisture without getting damp. A mixture of coconut fiber, organic soil, and vermiculite fits this Goliath best.

Include a layer of gravel under the substrate to help drain water from the top and retain humidity at the bottom.

Tank Setup

The Pinkfoot Goliath Tarantula is a huge spider that needs plenty of room. It’s a terrestrial spider, so they need horizontal tanks that allow them room to walk, not to climb. These heavy spiders can die if they fall from a tall place, so the tank shouldn’t be taller than twice the size of the tarantula.

Even spiderlings are very large, so you should use enclosures fit for juveniles at this early stage. You may need to find one or two transitional enclosures, growing in size, until she reaches her definitive size. Adults should have enclosures of fifteen to twenty gallons, with enough ventilation holes and a safety lock to keep them from opening the lid.

As for decoration, these shy spiders like having somewhere to hide. A piece of cork bark, sphagnum moss, and even real small plants will make the tarantula feel comfortable. With enough foliage she’ll feel safe to go out and explore more, allowing you to see her often.

These spiders are opportunistic burrows. This means that the way to provide them with a hide is to give them a starter burrow. To see what I mean, check out this picture. Do this by placing a piece of cork bark or something else halfway into the substrate. They will take this starter burrow and expand upon it to create their home.

Watering

For the Pinkfoot Goliath Tarantula, you’ll want the bottom layers of the substrate to be moist. Drip water down a tank wall every two to three weeks to keep this tarantula comfortable.

Remember that you should be careful not to allow stuck water or little ventilation, as these factors combined could deteriorate your spider’s health due to bacterial and mold growth.

Also, keep a water dish somewhere accessible inside the tank and make sure to refill it when it gets empty.

Feeding

If you’re thinking about getting a Pinkfoot Goliath, you should establish a stable supply of food for her. They should be fed a diet that consists of insects.

This species is used to eating in large quantities, which comes as no surprise since they’re large even as spiderlings.

You should feed one to two baby crickets twice a week as spiderlings.

Juveniles can eat three to four medium crickets every seven to ten days. Adult Pinkfoot Goliath Tarantulas have a great appetite. Every two weeks they can eat three to four large B. dubia roaches; they can also have fifteen large crickets every two or three weeks.

Wait four to five days after a molt before attempting to feed again in any case; this gives them the time to harden their fangs for feeding. Make sure to remove any non-eaten remains and your PGT will be comfortable and well-fed.

Social

The Pinkfoot Goliath Tarantula is a solitary species that should not be housed communally. Communal housing will lead to territorial behavior which can have fatal consequences for the spider.

In the wild, they only meet to mate, it should be the same in captivity.

Lifespan & Health

The Pinkfoot Goliath is a healthy and hardy species with a long lifespan. Females can live for up to 25 years while males can live for around 5 years.

Keep their cage clean and feed them captive-bred insects to keep them healthy. Adequate ventilation is also important.

Pinkfoot Goliath Tarantula Facts

  • The Pinkfoot Goliath Tarantula is capable of creating a sound called stridulation. It’s a very rare phenomenon among spiders, and she shares it with the two other Theraphosa species.
  • Goliath tarantulas are “bird eaters”, just like dozens of other tarantulas. However, most bird eaters are arboreal, and none others are known to take down prey as big as the Goliaths. There are reports of Goliath Bird Eaters and Pinkfoot Goliaths eating chicken.
  • A local tribe from the Theraphosa apophys’ natural habitat, the Yanomami, is known for capturing and eating these tarantulas. They take them out of their burrows, place them between leaves, and roast them in a firepit.
  • It’s difficult to breed the Pinkfoot Goliath Tarantula in Africa because of the climate. Importing Goliath Tarantulas is also difficult because of regulations. Sadly, this means most Africans that are interested in getting one of these marvelous spiders are duped. They buy a spiderling from a breeder that claims it’s a Goliath, and it turns out to be a completely different species when it grows up.

Final words: Is the Pinkfoot Goliath right for you?

The greatest spider in the world is an attractive title to have in your collection. However, it’s a great responsibility that you shouldn’t jump into without proper preparation. Especially if you’re new to the hobby, it’s not recommended that you start out with such a difficult spider.

Instead, beginners are much better off gaining experience and confidence with more docile species such as the Mexican Red Knee or Antilles Pink Toe first.

However, if you’ve already got plenty of experience the Pinkfoot Goliath is not a species to be missed. They might not get as much attention as the other Goliaths, but they shouldn’t be overlooked!

Jesse A.