Venezuelan Suntiger: Care, Info, Pictures & More

The Venezuelan Suntiger Tarantula is an arboreal New World breed found mainly in Venezuela. Her bright orange stripes make her an appealing pet for tarantula owners. If you’re considering one of these beautiful spiders, you’ve come to the right place. We’ve gathered all the necessary information so you can make sure this spider is the right fit for you.


Venezuelan Suntiger Tarantula Care Sheet

Species NamePsalmopoeus irminia
Family NameTheraphosidae
Common NameVenezuelan Suntiger, VST
CategoryNew World
TypeArboreal
Native LocationVenezuela, Guyana
Body Length2.25 inches (6 cm)
Leg Span5.5” to 6″ (14-15.5cm)
Growth SpeedFast
Urticating HairsNo
SocialSolitary
DietCrickets, roaches, mealworms
Temperature80 to 85 degrees Fahrenheit
Humidity65 to 75%
Life ExpectancyFemales, 12 years. Males, 4 years
Recommended Experience LevelAdvanced
Minimum tank size5 to 10 gallons

Venezuelan Suntiger Overview

image source: Flickr

The Psalmopoeus irminia, also known as the Venezuelan Suntiger Tarantula, is a very defensive spider with a venom that’s known for causing fever, vomiting, and muscular spasms. It’s an arboreal spider found primarily in Venezuela, but it can also be found in Guyana and Brazil. It typically resides in medium-high tree cavities.

Defensive and fast, these spiders are also smaller than most tarantulas, which limits the size of the kind of prey they can feed on. They usually feed on insects but are also capable of eating small mammals.

Appearance & Varieties

Venezuelan Suntigers present sexual dimorphism, which makes the appearance of males and females different. Both males and females have beautiful orange tiger stripes on top of the abdomen and bright orange chevrons over the legs. The males, 4 – 5 inches long, have a grey-brown color when fully grown. Females, slightly bigger than males with their 5 – 6 inches, are black, which better contrasts with the orange stripes and makes them look better.

In addition, males also have thinner legs than females.

Venezuelan Suntiger Tarantula Price

There’s no difference in cost between male and female specimens of this species, and you’ll find them at between 40$ to 80$ most of the time, both spiderlings, juveniles, and adults.

Behavior, Temperament & Handling

The Venezuelan Suntiger Tarantula’s defensive behavior, plus its strong venom, is what makes her a bad choice for beginners. She may not be able to kick urticating hair at you, but she’s still a very fast mover and jumper, and she’s also as prone to run as she is to bite. If given enough place to hide, she’ll often skip out of sight if given a notice instead of biting, so gently tapping the tank before entering is advisable.

Due to this spider’s defensive nature and potent venom, it’s not recommended to handle them unless absolutely necessary.

Caring for a Venezuelan Suntiger Tarantula

Tank size

The tank should be large enough, and much taller than it is wide, to make the Venezuelan Suntiger Tarantula comfortable. Ideally, adults should have a tank that’s at least twelve inches tall and 8 inches long and deep, but eighteen inches from top to bottom would be better.

Temperature & Humidity

The natural habitat of the VST is warm and humid, with temperatures that range from 59°F to 90°F, so it’s advisable to keep the room temperature between 80°F to 85°F, with humidity at 65% – 75%.

Decoration & foliage

A twig or small cork bark should be enough for juveniles. Adults should have a large piece of bark, such as curved cork bark, vertically in the tank for them to lie on. More elements such as artificial plants and sphagnum moss are good to create more hide places for the spider.

Water bowls should be placed far away from the VST’s hide because they produce plenty of webs, which can make it difficult to retrieve the dish. You can leave it lying on the floor, but supergluing it to a wall, not too high or close to a hide, is ideal. It’s advisable to secure the cork with aquarium-safe silicon sealant to keep it from topping over with the spider’s activity.

Substrate

VSTs are arboreal spiders, but they behave semi-arboreal when in captivity. This means that they can burrow, especially when they’re spiderlings, but it’s not so common if they have somewhere else to hide. Three inches of substrate should be enough for a VST. The particular composition isn’t as important as it is to make sure the substrate isn’t too moist for them.

Exercise

The Venezuelan Suntiger tarantula does not require exercise. Like most tarantula species, they’re very sedentary animals. They don’t like to move much unless they’re scared, threatened, or hunting prey.

Diet of a Venezuelan Suntiger Tarantula

Due to its small size, providing prey bigger in size to the VSTs isn’t advised. Crickets and roaches will do good in the correct quantities and frequency.

Spiderlings can have either a flightless fruit fly, a small roach, or a small cricket (under ¼ inch each) twice a week; once spiderlings start molting, wait four to five days before feeding them again.

The juveniles, over 2.5 inches, should eat two or three medium crickets every five to seven days, depending on their size. You should feed adults every seven to ten days with around six to ten large crickets or four to seven large roaches.

Adults can also be fed with small house geckos to vary their diets. You should wait ten to fourteen days after a mold before you feed them so that their fangs become strong enough to eat once again.

Health & Lifespan

VSTs are hardy and healthy spiders that do not suffer from any particular genetic defects or diseases. Of course, they have their predators in the wild, but in captivity, they often live their full lifespan as long as they’re well taken care of.

A female Venezuelan Suntiger can live for 12 years while males have much shorter lifespans at only 4 years.

Venezuelan Suntiger Breeding

Breeding should only be attempted when both spiders are well-fed, under their ideal temperature and humidity, and at least one month after the last time the female was molted. They shouldn’t be left unsupervised as the female may attempt (and succeed) at eating the male. If you perceive aggressive behavior, it’s enough to separate them and allow them to try another time.

These spiders are able to double-clutch, which means that the females are capable of placing two different egg sacks even if they just mated one time. The spider will lay the first sack two to four months after mating, and after that, the eggs will last around one month to hatch. The second sack will be produced another two to four months after the first one, and it’ll be as viable as the first, with 50 to 250 eggs each.

You should carefully take out the sack, pour it over a sterile recipient, and cover it with a protective sheet with tiny holes for ventilation. Separate any eggs that may have gone bad, as well as the spiderlings that hatch, and care for them as described in the previous segment.

I do want to remind you that breeding is not something that you should randomly attempt. Due to the fact that these tarantulas can lay hundreds of eggs, you can end up with hundreds of venomous spiders that grow to quite a large size. It can be very difficult to find suitable homes for all of them. It’s best to leave the breeding to experts.


Final words: Is the Venezuelan Suntiger the right Tarantula for you?

Strong venom, fast speed, and a defensive nature make the Venezuelan Suntiger unsuitable for beginners. These spiders are not afraid to bite and since their bites are quite potent a novice tarantula handler can end up in a lot of trouble if choose this species. Beginners are better off choosing an easier species such as the Antilles Pink Toe or the Mexican Red Rump.

For more experienced handlers the beautiful, unique appearance of this spider can definitely be worth the challenge!

Jesse A.