This past Sunday was the exotic reptile show in Overland Park, KS. They have this reptile show every three months and invite exotic reptile breeders from all over the region. I attend whenever possible and generally come away from there with some unique critter. I prefer to buy animals from reputable breeders who know all about the species they are rearing and selling. Buying from places like Petco and Petsmart is an iffy business. They may or may not be purchasing their animals from licensed and reputable breeders, the employees they hire know very little about the creatures they are selling and can provide very little information to common questions. Many of the employees are terrified of snakes, tarantulas and lizards and are reluctant to handle them or remove them from cages. I purchased a Chilean rose-haired tarantula from Petco 3 months ago and had to remove it from the cage myself because the employee was too terrified to do it himself. Often times the animals are not cared for properly and are fed the wrong diet. If owning a tarantula or spider is something you think you might like to do, then I recommend turning to a breeder that is experienced and can answer any questions you may have.
At the show on Sunday I bought a tarantula that I have wanted to own for a long time now. It is a Chaco Golden Knee (Grammostola pulchripes).They were formerly listed as (Grammostola aureostriata).This is a large species of tarantula and may reach legspans up to 8 inches or more. The one I purchased is 6 inches in diameter and beautifully colored.
This species is often recommended for first time tarantula owners because of their friendly, docile temperament. They are large in size and make quite an impression and are not known to bite. When placed in a cage they typically remain in the open and easy to view, rather than hiding like many other species of tarantulas do. I was so excited to finally have the opportunity to own one of these magnificent spiders that I couldn't keep my hands off it.
Now I realize a tarantula is not everyone's idea of the perfect pet and for many years I would have been in agreement. My fear of spiders was legendary and it hasn't been too long that I overcame my fear of spiders and was able to recognize their beneficial qualities and beauty, now I am hooked.
Golden-Knee tarantulas are gorgeous with light colored hairs all over their bodies and beautiful golden colored lines on their legs, especially near their knees. It is these golden lines that they get their common name from. They feed on crickets, superworms, roaches and pinkie mice. One draw back to this species is their cost, they are relatively expensive. Generally they are in the range of $150, but I was able to score this one for $100. Of course I considered this a great buy, whereas my husband thought I needed my head examined for paying that much for a spider!This species is terrestrial and originates from South America. As young spiders they spend the daylight hours in underground burrows as they age they prefer a life above ground. This species has a large appetite and grows rapidly. Even though this species rarely bites, it is reported to be extremely painful if they do. If trying your hand at breeding tarantulas, this is a good species to start with. They breed easily and produce up to 800 young with each mating. However the female can be and often is aggressive towards the male. She will attack and try to kill her mate. This tendency is typical of most spiders, and with any luck the male will escape.