Brazilian Black Tarantula

Grammostola pulchra

Last updated: October 20, 2022
Verified by: AZ Animals Staff
Image Credit Dan Olsen/Shutterstock.com

They seem to move in slow motion.

Brazilian Black Tarantula Scientific Classification

Kingdom
Animalia
Phylum
Arthropoda
Class
Arachnida
Order
Araneae
Family
Theraphosidae
Genus
Grammostola
Scientific Name
Grammostola pulchra

Read our Complete Guide to Classification of Animals.

Brazilian Black Tarantula Conservation Status

Brazilian Black Tarantula Locations

Brazilian Black Tarantula Locations

Brazilian Black Tarantula Facts

Prey
insects, roaches, mice, lizards
Main Prey
insects
Name Of Young
spiderlings
Group Behavior
  • Solitary
Fun Fact
They seem to move in slow motion.
Biggest Threat
Tarantula hawks (wasp)
Most Distinctive Feature
Spikey black hairs
Distinctive Feature
all black
Other Name(s)
Black Tarantula
Temperament
Docile
Habitat
grasslands, tropical climate
Predators
lizards, snakes, coyote, tarantula hawk (wasp)
Diet
Carnivore
Average Litter Size
600-650
Lifestyle
  • Nocturnal

Brazilian Black Tarantula Physical Characteristics

Color
  • Black
Skin Type
Hair
Lifespan
Males 6-7 years, Females 20+ years
Weight
.5-.6 ounces
Height
1-2 inches
Length
6-7 inches
Age of Sexual Maturity
Males 6-7 years
Venomous
Yes
Aggression
Low

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They can get to be 7 inches long!

The Brazilian black tarantula, also known as the black tarantula, is a hairy black tarantula that is native to Brazil. They also live in parts of Uruguay and are kept as pets by some exotic pet enthusiasts. Their dark silky black coloration makes them stand out from other tarantulas. Brazilian black tarantulas are also one of the biggest tarantulas reaching 6-7 inches as adults. The females are larger than the males and live quite a bit longer.

Amazing Brazilian Black Tarantula Facts

  • These spiders are covered in spikey black hairs.
  • Brazilian black tarantulas are less venomous than other tarantulas.
  • They are slow movers and have an easy going temperament.
  • Males live 6-8 years while females can live more than 20 years.
  • The females do try to eat the males after mating.

Brazilian Black Tarantula Scientific name

The scientific name of the Brazilian black tarantula is Grammostola pulchra. There are around 1,000 different tarantula species. Tarantulas are some of the biggest spiders in North and South America. They are commonly called black tarantulas as well.

Brazilian Black Tarantula Appearance

Brazilian Black Tarantula
Brazilian black tarantulas are less venomous than other tarantulas.

iStock.com/skydie

The Brazilian black tarantula has a black body and is covered in black hairs. Their bodies have two sections, the cephalothorax (head and thorax together) and the abdomen. Their jointed legs are almost as thick as a human finger and even their legs are covered in spikey hairs. Females are larger than males and can get to be 6-7 inches long. That is about the same length as an average cell phone.

Brazilian black tarantulas are slow movers and if you watch them it looks like they are walking in slow motion. Although they have eight eyes on the top of their head they rely on their hairs to sense movement around them.

Brazilian Black Tarantula Behavior

Brazilian black tarantulas spend most of their lives in their burrows. They either dig their own or move into an abandoned hole from another animal. As nocturnal animals they leave their burrows at night to find prey. Instead of actively hunting they stay hidden in the top of their burrow and wait for something to pass by. They eat insects, small mice and small lizards. If one of these animals gets too close to their burrow they snatch it and inject it with their fangs. Their venom paralyzes the prey and the digestive juices liquefy it so the tarantula can ingest the insides.

If threatened tarantulas will sometimes flick their urticating hairs at the predator causing irritation, especially if the hairs land in the eyes. Brazilian blacks are less likely to use this self defense mechanism which is another reason why they are favored in the pet trade. They are easily handled and don’t seem to mind being held. Their temperament is described as easy going and laid back.  

Brazilian Black Tarantula Habitat

Brazilian black tarantula’s are from Brazil but they also live in parts of Uruguay. They prefer the warm, wet grasslands where the temperatures are around 60°- 70°. As terrestrial animals they spend most of their lives on the ground. They spend the day time deep in their burrows and come out at night, hiding at the entrance of their burrows waiting for prey to pass by. Brazilian black tarantulas are solitary animals and live by themselves except when it is time to find a mate.

Brazilian Black Tarantula Predators and Threats

Predators of Brazilian black tarantulas include lizards, snakes, some birds and coyotes. In Brazil (and Uruguay) there are also tarantula hawks which are not hawks at all but wasps. These large wasps that can get to be 2 inches long have a bright blue body and orangish wings. They can attack a tarantula and sting it, paralyzing the tarantula long enough to haul it off to a nearby burrow. The wasp then lays an egg on the tarantulas abdomen and buries it alive. When the larvae hatch it immediately eats the buried tarantula.

To protect themselves from predators, including tarantula hawks, Brazilian black tarantulas keep hidden during the day in their burrows. If approached they can rear their front end up, hiss and throw their urticating bristles at a predator. In general, Brazilian blacks are less likely to take this step and are more likely to flee vs. fight.

What Eats Brazilian Black Tarantulas?

Snakes, lizards, some birds, coyotes, and tarantula hawks (a wasp) eat Brazilian black tarantulas. The riskiest time of day for the Brazilian black tarantulas is at night when they are out and about looking for food. Males are also at a higher risk during mating season when they must leave their burrow to locate a mate.

What Do Brazilian Black Tarantulas Eat?

Brazilian black tarantulas eat crickets, roaches, small lizards, and mice. They tend to be aggressive eaters. After their prey has been snagged and stunned with venom they use their digestive juices to liquefy the prey before settling in and enjoying their meal. They typically need 2-3 meals per week. Captive tarantulas are fed 2-3 insects per week for optimal health.

What is the Conservation Status of Brazilian Black Tarantulas?

Brazilian Black Tarantulas are not listed by the IUCN as a threatened species. They are popular in the pet trade because of their all black coloration and mild temperament. Be sure to review the laws in your country and work with a reputable breeder if you decide to keep one as a pet of your own.

Reproduction, Babies, and Lifespan

Similar to other tarantulas, Brazilian black tarantulas are solitary animals. When it comes time to mate the males do leave their burrows to find a suitable female. If they find a burrow with a female in it they will tap their leg near the hole and wait for the female to approve them. Based on breeding captive Brazilian blacks it seems the females can be picky and not mate with just any male. If she is receptive the male still has to be cautious not to get eaten. Females will try to bite and/or eat the males during courting. The males spin a “sperm web” where they deposit their sperm then try to carefully insert the sperm into the lower opening on the female. If the male gets away safely they can mate with more than one female.

The females will lay 600-650 eggs each year. Once the eggs are laid they wrap them up with their webs and keep them in a safe location in their burrows. One of their habits is to turn the batch of eggs over to even tings out, which is called brooding. 2-3 weeks later the spiderlings hatch looking much like their adult version, just smaller. After a few more weeks with their mother the the spiderlings are on their own.

Males have a life span of 6-7 years while females can live to be 20 years old or longer. There are documented cases of female Brazilian black tarantulas reaching the age of 30 years old! Their long life span is one of the reasons they are a desired pet for spider lovers.

Population

Due to their recluse behavior it is hard to get an accurate count. They also live in habitats that have dense vegetation making it difficult to locate them. They are not listed by the IUCN as a threated species. The exotic pet trade monitors their numbers and tries to regulate the export of these spiders.

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About the Author

I'm a Wildlife Conservation Author and Journalist, raising awareness about conservation by teaching others about the amazing animals we share the planet with. I graduated from the University of Minnesota-Morris with a degree in Elementary Education and I am a former teacher. When I am not writing I love going to my kids' soccer games, watching movies, taking on DIY projects and running with our giant Labradoodle "Tango".

Brazilian Black Tarantula FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions) 

Do female black tarantulas really eat the males?

Yes, the females do try to eat the males after mating.

Where do Brazilian black tarantulas live?

Brazilian black tarantulas spend most of their lives in their burrows. They either dig their own or move into an abandoned hole from another animal.

How do Brazilian black tarantulas eat their prey?

They tend to be aggressive eaters. After their prey has been snagged and stunned with venom they use their digestive juices to liquefy the prey before settling in and enjoying their meal.

Thank you for reading! Have some feedback for us? Contact the AZ Animals editorial team.

Sources
  1. Everything Reptile / Johnathan David, Available here: https://www.everythingreptiles.com/brazilian-black-tarantula/#:~:text=Juvenile%20Brazilian%20black%20tarantulas%20need,sized%20insects%2C%20twice%20per%20week.
  2. ITIS - Integrated Taxonomic Information System, Available here: https://www.itis.gov/servlet/SingleRpt/SingleRpt?search_topic=TSN&search_value=857271#null

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