The normal colour form Chilean Rose (Grammostola porteri) is one of the most commonly kept species in captivity, and one of my favourites. They are often recommended to beginners due to their often-placid nature, but caution should be used as they can be prone to sudden shifts in temperament. This is commonly regarded as a species that can be handled, but this is not encouraged unless necessary, as it can cause stress to the animal and could lead to injury to either party. This species can live for up to 25 years if female, and therefore purchasing one means a long commitment.
This is a mid-sized, terrestrial, new world species native to South America, which means that it possesses a mild, but still painful, venom and possess urticating hairs present on the upper surface of the abdomen, that can cause itching and irritation if they land on the skin when flicked with the rear legs. This species is also prone to fasting for long periods of time, which I believe may have something to do with the fact that the regions in Chile the temperature can drop, and could prompt the spider to become inactive, as this species often does, and not use a lot of energy, therefore not requiring much food.
In nature, this species will feed primarily on small to medium sized invertebrates and mammals, and will probably take suitably sized prey from other groups. In captivity, they are usually fed locusts, crickets or some other suitably sized, invertebrate prey. This species can be offered mammalian prey, such as a small pinkie mouse on occasion, but this is often unnecessary and messy in the tank.
This species is generally very hardy, and will thrive at ambient humidity and temperatures present in many homes, so supplemental heating and spraying are not required. An item of prey roughly the length of the abdomen should be offered once every two weeks, and if the spider feeds more can be offered, as this species can fast for up to 18 months. If they do not feed it shouldn’t be concerning if the spider has a suitably sized water dish on offer and the abdomen is roughly the same size as the cephalothorax and is not shrivelled, which indicates dehydration.
The tank should be a typical setup for a terrestrial species, with the tank allowing for roughly two or three times the diameter of the spider’s leg-span in either direction. The tank should be well ventilated, to prevent mould and other issues, and should be well sealed to prevent escapes. The tank should have around 1.5-2 inches of suitable substrate, I prefer using coconut coir or something similar as I find it works well but peat, a peat and vermiculite mix or a suitable topsoil can be used. A water bowl of a suitable size should be on offer, but not too large that the spider could drown. The tank furnishings should at least include a hide that the spider can freely move into and sit in, and should also include the water bowl as mentioned. A picture of a suitable tank for an adult of this species is shown at the top of this care guide.