Desert Blonde Tarantula (Aphonopelma chalcodes)

The Desert Blonde Tarantula is the true venom slinger of tarantulas native to the western parts of the US.

These unique and exotic pet tarantulas require special care to stay happy.

To provide them with a safe and comfortable habitat, we’ve created this comprehensive care guide.

Read on to learn 10 essential tips for taking care of Aphonopelma Chalcodes and helping them live a healthy life!

Common Name Desert Blonde Tarantula, Western Desert Tarantula, Arizona Blond Tarantula, Mexican Blond Tarantula
Family Name Theraphosidae
Scientific Name Aphonopelma chalcodes
Use Pets
Temperament Non-aggressive
Lifespan Males: 5-10 years / Females: up to 30 years
Diet Carnivore
Adult Size 3-4 inches
Breeding Type Egg Layer
Care Level Moderate
Minimum Tank Size 10 gallons
pH 7.0-8.0
Hardness Moderate
Temperature 75-90°F

What Are Desert Blonde Tarantulas?

Desert Blonde Tarantulas are a species of terrestrial burrowing tarantulas known for their muted colors and unique physical features.

They belong to the family Theraphosidae and their common name stems from their sandy blonde hairs.

They are nocturnal by nature and live in tunnels underground, often coming out at night to hunt.

Desert Blondes have a life span of several years and adults typically reach sizes of just a few inches in length.

What Do Desert Blonde Tarantulas Look Like?

Desert Blonde Tarantulas are typically a uniform dark brown with hints of tan on their legs.

They have a unique silky sheen that makes them look almost metallic in the right light.

They typically measure between 3-4 inches in length, with most female tarantulas reaching the maximum size over time.

Aphonopelma Chalcodes have remarkable anatomy; they have eight legs, two pedipalps, fangs, and spinnerets.

Their legs are often banded with different shades of brown and they’re able to move quite quickly.

Benefits Of Using Desert Blonde Tarantulas

Aphonopelma Chalcodes make for great additions to any vivarium.

They not only bring beauty to the enclosure, but they can add so much more.

Desert Blonde Tarantulas can provide hours of entertainment as they are ground-dwelling spiders that are active and fascinating to watch.

Beyond that, they provide an interesting dynamic to the ecosystem and can help fill any empty niches in the environment.

They also bring a natural way of pest control, as they feed on smaller bugs that are attracted to the habitat.

In addition, their presence can also help foster a thriving food web and an overall balanced ecosystem.

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Desert Blonde Tarantula Facts

Depending on the gender, Aphonopelma Chalcodes can have a life expectancy of up to three decades in captivity and are ground-dwelling species found primarily in arid habitats.

They are carnivorous predators, feeding on small insects such as crickets.

They are known to be calm and docile with humans, preferring to hide away rather than using their venom or fangs as a defense mechanism.

Breeding usually occurs seasonally when the temperature and humidity are at their optimal levels.


Desert Blonde Tarantulas are native to the Southwest United States and northern Mexico.

These spiders are typically found in dry habitats with a high daytime temperature and a significant drop in temperature at night.

They can be found in arid regions, deserts, scrublands, and dry grasslands. 

Aphonopelma Chalcodes make their homes in tunnels or shallow burrows that can be between a few and several inches deep.

This provides protection during periods of extreme heat or dryness.

They also make their homes in cracks in rocks and other such crevices.

During times when food is scarce, they tend to stay in their burrows, usually emerging late at night. 

Desert Blonde Tarantulas are primarily terrestrial and can climb, but they are rarely found far from the ground.

They mainly hunt at night for prey in their natural environment, though they will take bigger prey when available.


In their natural habitat, Aphonopelma Chalcodes feed on small insects, spiders, and centipedes.

They prefer hunting prey, so ensuring that they can actively search for food in their habitat is important.

As carnivores, the primary diet of your Desert Blonde should include a variety of different insects and spiders that can be typically found in the desert.

**Mealworms should not make up the bulk of a Desert Blonde Tarantula’s diet, as there is limited nutritional value in them.**


Aphonopelma Chalcodes are typically known for being gentle and docile in nature.

While they may be startled when touched, they rarely bite humans or other animals.

It is a good habit to understand that tarantulas are naturally scared and skittish when it comes to human interaction.

As they are not the most social creatures, it is not recommended to handle your tarantula unless necessary. 

When it comes to interactions with other animals, Desert Blonde Tarantulas are generally very solitary, preferring to stay alone.

They should not be housed in the same enclosure together, as they are territorial and can become aggressive if they feel threatened.

In the wild, it is common for a Desert Blonde Tarantula to bite and even eat other animals if there is competition for food or space.

When interacting with your tarantula, it is essential to use caution and know the signs of aggression. 


 Desert Blonde Tarantula males typically live 5-10 years in captivity, with females living up to 3 decades, if they are provided with the correct care.

As with all tarantulas, these creatures undergo a process called molting.

During this process, they shed their old exoskeleton and grow a new one in its place.

Molting occurs several times during a tarantula’s life.

As Desert Blonde Tarantulas age, the time between successive molts becomes longer.

Adult spiders may go a whole year or longer without molting.


To reproduce, Desert Blonde Tarantulas must attract a mate, which can be daunting for an arachnid that rarely comes into contact with other members of its species.

To attract a mate, male Aphonopelma Chalcodes will use vibrations to create rhythmic pulsations in the ground.

They will also anticipate the arrival of female tarantulas as they explore the surrounding territory in search of potential mates. 

Once males and females have located one another the courtship process begins.

The male permanently binds himself to the female through a process called palpal conjugation.

The male will form a connection with her pedipalps transmitting both physical and chemical cues to the female. 

After a period of time spent copulating, the female A. Chalcodes will then lay up to 100 eggs in a silk reproductive chamber and fight for the right to guard over them.

Once the eggs hatch, the young tarantulas must fend for themselves and find shelter in the wild.

Where To Find Desert Blonde Tarantulas

Aphonopelma Chalcodes are native to the deserts of Texas, New Mexico, and Arizona in North America.

They can be found in the wild living under rocks or burrowing in sandy areas.

In addition, they may be available for sale from pet shops and online stores.

When searching for a Desert Blonde Tarantula to purchase, be sure to ask the seller about where it was sourced and its age.

When buying one online, be sure to do your research and choose a reliable supplier.

In the wild, however, they should never be taken from their natural environment as they are part of the landscape and as such, play a vital part in the environment.

Desert Blonde Tarantula Care

Caring for Aphonopelma Chalcodes requires understanding the environment they live in, providing a safe and comfortable habitat, and monitoring their safety, nutrition, and hygiene.

Specific tips include monitoring humidity levels, providing a suitable terrarium substrate, and hiding space for retreat.

You’ll also want to offer nutritional meals, ensure appropriate temperature, and assist with a routine shedding process.

Tank Requirements

To ensure your Desert Blonde Tarantula stays healthy, you need to recreate a natural environment for them.

This means providing a natural vivarium such as a paludarium or terrarium with a secure lid and plenty of ventilation.

The ideal pH range for water is 7-7.5 and the hardness should be kept at 2-3 dH.

A suitable temperature range is between 73-85F (23-30C).

The substrate should be something organic, such as composted peat moss or a mix of coco fiber soil and vermiculite.

It is good to provide terrarium lighting with a 5% UVI rating, and 12 hours of light and 12 hours of darkness daily.

What Do Desert Blonde Tarantulas Eat?

Feeding your Desert Blonde Tarantula is an essential part of their care.

They typically feed on insects like crickets, roaches, and mealworms (which are all readily available from pet stores or online).

Other food items that are safe to feed Aphonopelma Chalcodes include waxworms, silks, Phoenix Worms, Dubia roaches, and migratory locusts.

Depending on the size of the tarantula, you may want to offer larger or smaller prey for meals.

You should avoid feeding your tarantula live insects from outside, as they can be harmful. 

Additionally, you should avoid feeding your spider large amounts of food as there is a risk of obesity. 

If you’re looking for a more detailed approach to feeding these arachnids, be sure to check out my ultimate DIY tarantula food guide. I give a more in-depth explanation of the best foods and my favorite recipe.

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Best Tankmates For Desert Blonde Tarantulas

Tarantulas can make great tankmates because they provide both companionship and defense from predators.

However, when it comes to sharing a habitat with a Desert Blonde Tarantula, suitable tankmates should be chosen wisely.

The most suitable tankmates for these arachnids are millipedes, isopods, springtails, and snails.

These animals tend to be more docile and less likely to cause injury to A. Chalcodes.

Additionally, they clean up food scraps, which helps keep the habitat clean and free of pests or diseases. 

Overall, the best tankmates for this species of tarantula will be those with similar care requirements and those that are not regarded as potential predators.


Making sure your Desert Blonde Tarantula is happy is the key to a successful and enriching experience.

Create a thriving environment for your arachnid by maintaining suitable temperatures, and humidity levels.

Provide nutritious meals, environmental enrichment, and regular cleaning of its living space.

With this guide, you can be sure that Aphonopelma Chalcodes is receiving the best possible care.

Frequently Asked Questions

Yes, desert blonde tarantulas (Aphonopelma chalcodes) are docile, gentle, and nonaggressive. These tarantulas are usually very calm when handled, making them popular pets.

Desert blonde tarantulas (Aphonopelma chalcodes) typically grow to between 3-4 inches in length, with a leg span of around 6 to 8 inches when fully grown.

Yes, Arizona blonde tarantulas (Aphonopelma chalcodes) make good pets, due to their docile nature. As long as they are kept in an appropriate enclosure with the right humidity and temperature, they can live for many years without any problems.

Yes, Arizona blonde tarantulas (Aphonopelma chalcodes) are considered a good beginner species for those looking to learn the basics of tarantula keeping. They require minimal maintenance and are generally quite docile, making them a good choice for those just starting out.

The best way to care for an Aphonopelma Chalcodes (desert blonde tarantula) is to provide it with an enclosure that has good ventilation and humidity, as well as a substrate of soil, sand, or coconut fiber. Additionally, they require a diet of insects like crickets and mealworms. Regular maintenance of the enclosure and providing a water dish are also important.

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