A gorgeous “grammy” with plenty of spunk.
About a year ago, I was perusing various topics on a tarantula message board when I came across a spider I had never seen or heard of before. The lucky keeper was posting photos of his newest acquisition, a 4″ female “Entre Rios.” With its bluish-gray body and bright red rump, it was a truly amazing-looking spider. I would later learn that the scientific name of this beautiful specimen was Grammostola iheringi, and it was a much sought after tarantula for many enthusiasts. After reading up on the species, including many accounts from those who actually kept this marvelous spider, I decided that I had to have one.
Fast-forward to just a couple of months ago. I place an order with my favorite vendor, Jamie’s Tarantulas, and due to unfortunate circumstances, one of the animals I ordered couldn’t be shipped. Being the amazing dealer that she is, she offered me a replacement that easily trumped my original purchase…a 2.75″ female G. iheringi. Since receiving her in early May, she has become one of my favorite specimens.
GWA … Grammostola with Attitude!
The first thing that impressed me about this species was its temperament. Those used to other slow-n-steady Grammostola species (porteri, pulchripes, pulchra, etc.) might be taken off guard with the much more high-strung iheringi. This species is quite leggy and seemingly much faster than its cousins, and many keepers have commented on its speed. Upon opening her shipping container to rehouse her, she bolted from deli cup and took two laps around her container before I could blink. This is definitely not a slow, calm spider.
Also, those used to other Grammostola species with more tractable natures should be aware that iheringis are quite skittish and can be defensive. While cleaning out a bolus in my spider’s enclosure, I was startled when she burst from her den, slapped at my tongs, then bolted back to her hole. Although I’m pretty sure that she was rushing what she hoped to be a food item, the experience was still quite eye-opening. This is definitely not a species I would risk holding, and care should be taken for feeding and maintenance.
The G. iheringi has a voracious appetite and will charge at prey with impressive speed and ferocity. Unlike my other Grammostolas, who will generally wait and ambush prey when it gets close, my iheringi will stalk and charge the crickets. I feed my 3+” female two large crickets a week, and she has no trouble taking down the larger prey. The only time she has refused food was shortly before a molt.
Although most Grammostola species are painfully slow growers, the iheringi grows at a medium pace. Mine has already molted once in my care, and because of her amazing appetite, she is quickly packing on the weight. During her last molt, she grew from about 2.75″ to just over 3″. Some consider this species to be one of the largest Grammostolas with a max leg span reaching up to 8″. However, most keepers report their reaching about 7″ in size. Still, that’s a fairly good-sized specimen.
A gorgeous spider with simple husbandry.
Care for this species is quite simple. I keep my female in a repurposed Sterilite plastic shoe box that has been well ventilated to allow for a cross current of air. For substrate, she has about 3″ of coco fiber and peat, and I provided a piece of black PVC pipe for a hide. I keep the substrate dry, but I do provide her with a large water dish for drinking and for keeping the humidity up a bit.
Like most of my tarantulas, she is kept between 70 and about 78° during the winter and 74-84° during the summer months. As with most species, higher temps will usually allow for a faster metabolism and growth rate. This is a long-living species, with females expected to live 20+ years.
A must for any New World aficionado
The most common complaint I hear about Grammostola species is that their sedentary lifestyles render them “boring” species to keep. This is definitely not an issue with the iheringi; this tarantula has plenty of spunk and personality. For a keeper accustomed to keeping more lively tarantulas, the G. iheringi is fantastic specimen and a must for the collection.