Caring for Theraphosa blondi, also known as Brazilian Goliath Bird Eater, is not easy. In this guide, I’ll teach you all you need to know about T. blondi care, from purchasing, housing and feeding, to mold and mite management. This guide applies to T. stirmi too. 

Basic Introduction

Theraphosa blondi is the largest species of tarantula in the world. It can grow up to 12” in leg span! 

The female T. blondi have an average lifespan of 20-25 years. Males can only live for 3-6 years. Both male and female reach sexual maturity around 3-6 years old.

T. blondi is rather aggressive. They may bite with their huge fangs, or shoot volleys of urticating hairs if they are agitated. They can also make a loud hissing noise to warn their enemy.

This species is a swamp dweller, which requires more care than other beginner species. You shouldn’t keep T. blondi if you don’t have prior experience with tarantulas.

You can read more about the biology of T. blondi here.

Buying Theraphosa blondi

Theraphosa blondi is a rare species, mainly because it is difficult to breed in captivity. 

On average, it costs around $150-250 for a spiderling, up to $500 for a male sub-adult, and up to $1000 for a female sub-adult. Not all spiderlings can survive into adulthood. Sub-adults typically have a higher survival rate.

Sometimes, T. stirmi can be misidentified as T. blondi. While the caring requirements for these 2 species are identical, and T. stirmi is a good alternative more readily available, it is much cheaper. Never pay T. blondi price for a T. stirmi.

The key differences between T. blondi and T. stirmi are on their legs. Theraphosa blondi spiderlings have brown tarsi, while the tarsi on the 4 front legs of T. stirmi are pale. On top of that, T. blondi has setae (hairs) on its knee and underneath of its femur, while T. stirmi doesn’t have both.

Here’s a photo of T. stirmi. Both the knees and underneath of femur don’t have setae.

Here’s a photo of T. blondi. Both the knees and underneath of femur are hairy.

You can buy T. blondi from reputable breeders or sellers from Arachnoboards

Preparing the Enclosure

Theraphosa blondi is a huge species. You need a 20 gal long tank to house the adult tarantula. Some hobbyists may use a 10 gal tank, but it is often too crowded. A bigger tank gives you more space to manage the T. blondi.

Don’t use a tall tank. Theraphosa blondi is bulky and heavy. Falling from height may cause serious injury to the tarantula. 

Because T. blondi requires high humidity, try to use a glass tank instead of an acrylic one. Acrylic sheet can warp after absorbing excessive moisture from 1 side, and create gaps for your tarantula to escape (read more about glass vs acrylic enclosure).

The enclosure should also have some vents for ventilation. However, bear in mind that the more vents you have, the more difficult it is to maintain high humidity.

Make sure you get a secure lid for the tank. You don’t want your T. blondi to roam freely in your house! Bricks are your best friend. You can also use rubber band, but you may end up having the leg of T. blondi stuck between the lid and the tank.

Avoid using lids with aluminum or nylon mesh. Theraphosa blondi can easily bite through it.

Unfortunately, most commercially-available tanks are not tailored for T. blondi. They usually have a mesh lid. You will need to remove the mesh, and replace it with acrylic sheets. Drill some holes for ventilation before gluing the acrylic sheet with silicon. As mentioned earlier, the acrylic sheet may warp, but I can’t think of any better alternatives.

Leave the silicon to cure for 2-3 days before using the lid. You want to avoid any harmful volatiles emitted from the silicon glue to harm your tarantula.

Substrates

Use either coir or non-pesticide treated potting mix as substrates. Add water and mix evenly until the substrate is adequately moist but not wet. 

Take some substrates, and hold it firmly. If the substrates hold its shape momentarily without dripping, it is good to go. If it is too wet (dripping when pressed), add more substrates.

Lay the tank with moist substrates, and press to compress them. The space between the lid and the substrate should not be less than half the leg span of your T. blondi, and not more than the leg span. 

Put a coconut husk or artificial cave for your T. blondi to hide. If you plan to decorate the enclosure, use things that can tolerate moisture. Avoid using sharp decor.

Lighting

Like all other tarantulas, T. blondi doesn’t require additional lighting. They are nocturnal. It is OK to have 8-12 hours of ambient lighting. Keep them away from direct sunlight. 

If you want to use display lighting so that you can observe your tarantula better, use red LED light. Tarantulas are not sensitive to red light, and hence, using red light will not cause much disturbance. However, red light is likely more expensive than white light. 

You shouldn’t leave the lighting on for too long, especially if you are using white light. Turn off the lighting once you are done observing your tarantula.

Temperature

Keep your T. blondi at 80-90 °F (27° to 32°C), if possible. If not, they can also do well at room temperature. 

Some people prefer to put the tarantula in a closed cabinet, and heat up the air in the cabinet. Simply put the heat mat beside the tarantula housing, or use a warm light to generate heat. Block the light with cardboard to keep your tarantula in the dark.

You can also place the heat mat directly under a corner of the tank. This will create a heat gradient across the tank, and your tarantula can relocate itself to the most comfortable spots. Monitor the temperature closely so that you don’t kill your tarantula by overheating it. 

If you are providing extra heat to your tarantula, pay attention to the humidity in the housing. The extra heat will make the water in the substrates evaporate faster. You might need to replenish the water more frequently. 

The rate of metabolism will be faster if your tarantula is kept at a higher temperature. This means your tarantula will grow (age) and get hungry faster when kept at a higher temperature.

Humidity is the Key

Theraphosa blondi are swamp dwellers. They need high humidity for survival. Such a level of humidity can be achieved by providing a water dish, watering the substrates, and minimizing ventilation.

Make sure the water dish is not too deep. Otherwise, feeders may drown inside. Put some pebbles in the water dish, so that the feeders can escape from drowning.

On a regular basis, water the substrates and refill the water dish so that the enclosure is humid enough. Keep the substrates moist (again, not wet), and it is all good. 

Some people may advise minimizing the ventilation by sealing the vents to maintain the humidity. The lesser the vents, the easier it is to maintain humidity, and the less frequent you need to water the substrates.

While reducing ventilation can keep the humidity high, it can also promote the growth of molds. Moreover, the lack of ventilation and excessive humidity can kill your T. blondi. In fact, many captive T. blondi suffer from excessive humidity rather than dryness.

If you see condensation in the enclosure, it is a sign of excessive moisture and insufficient ventilation. Ventilate the enclosure and let the substrates dry out a little bit.

You can also invest in a humidifier to keep the enclosure humid. 

Feeding

Feed your juvenile T. blondi with 2-4 crickets twice a week. Slowly reduce the amount of feeding to 4 crickets or 1 Dubia cockroach a week as it grows into adult. You can also feed it with mice, which are more expensive.

The actual amount of prey consumed may vary by sizes and individual tarantulas. Remove unconsumed prey after 3-4 days, or if your Theraphosa shows signs of molting. If you are feeding mice to your T. blondi, watch till the tarantula seize the mouse. I wouldn’t let the mouse roam freely in the enclosure.

For the safety of your T. blondi, don’t feed it with anything bigger than its opisthosoma.

If you have issues feeding your tarantula, check out the reasons why your tarantula is not eating.

Molting Care

The care for this species during molting is the same as other tarantula species. Refer to my guide on molting care.

Breeding

Breeding T. blondi is difficult. While the female T. blondi typically doesn’t consume the male, she often eats her offspring.

Refer to my guide on tarantula breeding if you are keen to try.

Cleaning the Enclosure

Every time your T. blondi finishes eating, you should do a cursory cleaning to remove any leftovers. This will prevent, or at least defer the growth of molds and attraction of other pests.

You should do a thorough cleaning of the enclosure once or twice a year. Don’t do it too often (unless you absolutely need to), because T. blondi dislike disturbance, and needs time to acclimate.

In the thorough cleaning, you need to discard all the substrates, wash the enclosure with soap, and lay new substrates.

If you have any decors in the enclosure, brush them clean. Wearing gloves when cleaning can help reduce the chance of getting hurt by the urticating hairs.

Transferring T. blondi for Cleaning

Carefully transfer your T. blondi into another tank, so that you can do the thorough cleaning.

For convenience sake, use a container with a big enough opening to cover the T. blondi from the top. Once you’ve covered it, slowly slide the lid from underneath to trap the tarantula. If you don’t have a suitable container, you will have to coax your T. blondi into the container.

Try to get a transparent container with a transparent lid. Things like a transparent shoe box or candy box can be used. This allows you to see where your tarantula is and what it is doing to avoid surprise.

Tackling the Molds

In reality, you may need to do thorough cleaning more often, because the T. blondi enclosure is susceptible to molds (and mites).

When you notice molds in the enclosure, relocate the tarantula and clean the enclosure thoroughly. Old substrates should be disposed of, and replaced with a new one.

Consider keeping woodlice or pill bugs (affiliate link) with your T. blondi. Pill bugs are small creatures that thrive in moist environments. They are scavengers, and do no harm to your T. blondi. They aren’t the preferred food of your T. blondi either.

Many hobbyists were able to deter molds by keeping pill bugs together with their T. blondi. No special care for the pill bugs is required. As long as you keep the enclosure humid, those pill bugs will survive.

You don’t need to feed the pill bugs either. They will eat on whatever decaying materials they find in the enclosure.

Be Weary of Fungal Infection

Because T. blondi lives in a moist environment, it may catch fungal infection on its tarsi or the underside of its body. These 2 body parts are often neglected, because they aren’t conspicuous. 

On a regular basis, move your tarantula into a transparent container to see if there is any fungus underneath its body and on the tarsi. The fungal infection may resemble a cottony patch, or appear as a gray spot.

If you aren’t sure, re-inspection your tarantula after 2-3 weeks to check if the size of the affected area is growing. If it is growing, it is likely a fungal infection.

To treat the fungal infection, you can buy some antifungal lotion from the pharmacy. Using a cotton swab, carefully apply the lotion onto the affected spot. Bear in mind that none of the antifungal lotions are tested for tarantulas. So, use it at your own risk.

Unfortunately, your T. blondi will not stay still and let you do your job. To make your life easier, poke multiple holes on all walls of the transparent container that you use to relocate your T. blondi. When the T. blondi is placed inside, you can apply the antifungal lotion using a cotton swab, through the most suitable hole without getting bitten.

Dealing with Mites

Having a mite infestation is a common challenge for T. blondi owners. 

It is almost inevitable to have mites, because you introduce mites whenever you feed your tarantula with crickets or roaches. But, this issue becomes more apparent in T. blondi enclosure due to the humid environment, which is conducive for mites.

Mites appear as tiny little moving dots. They are active at night. If you see many tiny moving dots in the enclosure, you have to deal with it immediately. If not, your T. blondi will eventually die. How mites kill tarantulas is unknown though.

To get rid of mites in the tank, move your T. blondi out of the mite-infested tank. Dispose of the contaminated substrates, and wash the tank with soap. Lay new substrates, and put your tarantula back to the tank.

Some mites may stay on the body of your T. blondi. That’s OK. You don’t have to brush or wash them off. You are going to reintroduce mites anyway, when you feed your tarantula.

Consider adding some predaceous mites (affiliate link) into your enclosure, if you have trouble getting rid of the mites. The predaceous mites will attack and kill the pesky mites in the enclosure for you.

Both predaceous mites and your tarantula can live together in harmony, without harming each other.

Here are my recommended supplies that you can consider for keeping jumping spiders. Note that I get a small commission when you buy the items through the links in this page. This helps me maintain the site without incurring additional costs to you.

Final Words

Keeping a T. blondi is challenging, but rewarding. I hope the information shared here is useful for those who want to start keeping T. blondi. If the care regime for T. blondi is too tough, Lasiodora parahybana is a good alternative. Do check out my recommended books on tarantula keeping if you want to learn more about tarantula keeping.