Mexican Redknee Tarantula

Brachypelma smithi

Fascinating Facts

Physical Characteristics

The Mexican redknee tarantula has a dark-colored body with orange patches on the joints of its legs; the second element of the legs is orange-red. Following molting, the colors are more pronounced. The dark portion is very black while the orange-red portions will be far more on the reddish side.

An adult female has a body roughly 4 inches (10 cm) long, with a leg span of 6–7 inches (15–18 cm), and a weight of approximately 15 grams. Both sexes are similar in appearance, with the male having a somewhat smaller body, but longer legs. Thus the male is of comparable size to the female, but weighing significantly less.


Their natural habitat is in deciduous tropical forests in the hilly southwestern Mexico, especially in Colima and Guerrero.

In the wild Habitat destruction and the pet trade are of concern for these spiders. At the zoo, they are fed one cricket and week.

Social Behavior

They will kick urticating hairs from their abdomens if disturbed, rather than bite. They are not poisonous to humans and are considered extremely docile.

They carve deep burrows into soil banks, which keeps them protected from predators, like the White-nosed Coati, and enables them to ambush passing prey. The females will spend the majority of their lives in their burrows.

Status In The Wild

The species were listed as endangered by CITES because the wild-caught specimens shipped for the pet market were decreasing in size. Habitat destruction and the pet trade are of concern for these spiders.


The Mexican redknee Tarantula can be found at the Insect Zoo.

Animals & Exhibits