The pink toe tarantula (Caribena versicolor) is an arboreal species of tarantula often referred to as the Antilles pinktoe or Martinique pinktoe. Throughout its lifetime, a pink toed tarantula will pass through many different colors, starting off bright blue as a spiderling only to end up into an assortment of metallic reds and greens as an adult. In our ultimate guide to Antilles pink toe tarantula care, you’ll learn all you need to know about caring for your pet, including behavior, housing, diet and everything else to keep these amazing creatures happy and healthy.
Understanding Caribena Versicolor
The Antilles pinktoe tarantula is native to Martinique, parts of Lesser Antilles and Guadeloupe, all small islands found in the Caribbean sea. Its rather docile nature and striking colors have made it a favorite amongst many collectors and hobbyists alike.
The pink toe tarantula is a medium-sized New World species and has been documented to reach up to lengths of 5 to 6 inches. In comparison to other species, their lifespan is not nearly as long. Female Antilles pinktoe tarantulas live up to about 12 years of age, while the males have a life expectancy of 3 years of age.
Caribena versicolor makes for an amazing pet, but they require specific care in order to thrive, including the proper feeder insects.
Antilles Pinktoe Tarantula Behavior & Temperament
Known for having a rather calm disposition, the pink toed tarantula’s tendency to jump as they would in the wild can sometimes be misinterpreted as their being flighty. While tarantulas don’t really gain anything from handling (except sometimes added stress), the Antilles pinktoe tarantula is quite tolerable when it comes to being handled. They are more likely to flee than bite since their first line of defense is flinging poo at what they determine to be a threat.
As a New World species, the venom of Caribena versicolor is considered relatively mild, but these tarantulas still possess the capacity to bite. If you or someone you know has a severe allergic reaction to a bee or wasp sting, it is highly recommended that they do not handle your pink toe tarantula. The Antilles pinktoe tarantula also has a fuzzy body full of urticating hairs, but instead of kicking the hairs off, they are more likely to rub them off in passing. Take care to wash your hands after handling this tarantula so that you don’t unknowingly spread these hairs to your eyes or face.
Housing for Pink Toed Tarantulas
Building a safe enclosure is essential to pink toe tarantula care. You will want to consider humidity, ventilation, dimensions, foliage and temperature when creating housing for your Antilles pinktoe tarantula.
A common mistake owners make when keeping pinktoes as pets is thinking they need a lot of humidity. While they are a tropical species used to high humidity in their native habitats, an enclosure full of stagnant, murky air will kill your pink toe tarantula. Many care sheets suggest a humidity gradient between 75 and 80 percent, however, many keepers have kept their pinktoes at lower levels with success.
Ventilation is very important for Caribena versicolor. It can be achieved with a process called "cross-ventilation." Installing holes or mesh on the sides of your tarantula’s enclosure will allow for the proper airflow.
In their native habitat, pink toe tarantulas will make funnel-shaped webs in the leaves of treetops. Height is more important than depth when it comes to caring for your Antilles pinktoe tarantula. Acrylic or plastic enclosures roughly about the size of a 10-gallon aquarium on its side can easily house a single adult and be modified for proper ventilation.
When it comes to arboreal species, many keepers opt for an enclosure with either a front-facing or side-facing door. Since pink toed tarantulas make their webs up high, an enclosure with a door or lid at the top will consistently destroy their webs and make it easier for them to escape during feeding or maintenance.
Adding foliage or cork bark slabs to your pink toe tarantula’s enclosure can create many hiding spots. This is an essential part of pink toe tarantula care. The substrate does not have to be deep, but keeping a layer of semi-damp sphagnum moss or coco fiber at the bottom of the exposure helps with humidity inside of your pinktoe’s habitat.
The temperature range for an Antilles pinktoe tarantula should be between 75 and 85 degrees Fahrenheit. They become slightly more active with warmer temperatures, but you should closely monitor temperatures. Temperatures that are too high or too low will clearly be detrimental to your pink toe tarantula.
Overall, you need to maintain good humidity, ventilation, space, foliage and temperature to create an enclosure that provides excellent pink toed tarantula care. Remember that too much humidity will result in stuffy, stagnant air that will kill your tarantula. A water dish and occasionally moistening the substrate, along with proper ventilation, is vital for your Antilles pinktoe to thrive.
Watering & Feeding Your Antilles Pink Toe Tarantula
Tarantula diets consist of water and almost anything that they are able to overpower, like crickets, locusts, mealworms and dubia roaches. You should always offer a water dish for your pinktoe tarantula so it can drink when necessary.
Caribena versicolor is an opportunistic eater. Most pet stores, as well as private breeders, carry feeder insects for Antilles pinktoe tarantulas. However, it’s important to know that your pinktoe is getting the proper nutrition. "Gut-loading" feeder insects is a common practice, but it is important to know what sort of food is going into the feeder insects you use.
Small crickets are usually offered to spiderling pink toe tarantulas because their quick and jumpy movements almost always elicit a feeding response. As your pink toed tarantula grows, many keepers choose to turn away from crickets as feeders. Crickets are not very nutritional, and they can also be dirty and full of parasites.
Once your Antillies pinktoe tarantula is full grown, dubia roaches make excellent feeder insects. Compared to crickets, dubia roaches for Antillies pinktoe tarantulas have higher protein, higher calcium and less fat content. They are also easier for pinktoes to digest due to their weaker exoskeleton.
Finally, never bring in anything from outside to feed to your pinktoe. Doing so can expose your pet to deadly pesticides and parasites.
The Process of Molting for Caribena Versicolor
Molting is a necessary process for all tarantulas, but the Antilles pinktoe tarantula is special. As your pinktoe grows, you’ll be able to enjoy drastic, beautiful changes in coloration. A typical sign of an upcoming molt is food refusal, but you might also notice your pinktoe tarantula hiding away in its web or in other parts of the enclosure. Don’t initially be alarmed. Make sure to remove any feeders from your tarantula’s enclosure to prevent unnecessary injury as they are very vulnerable during this process.
If you notice that your pink toed tarantula seems withdrawn, has a shrunken abdomen or is sitting somewhere on the bottom with its legs tucked in beneath it, these could be signs of illness. Seek out the help of an experienced keeper or knowledgeable veterinarian immediately.
Dubia Roaches for Antilles Pinktoe Tarantulas
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