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Skeleton Tarantula (Ephebopus murinus)

Whether you are an experienced arachnid enthusiast or a novice looking to take on a new challenge, the striking beauty and easy care of the Skeleton Tarantula make it an ideal pet.

With its long life span, omnivorous diet, and passive behavior, the Ephebopus murinus is the perfect exotic pet for any spider fan.

In this article, we’ll discuss the different requirements for keeping a pet tarantula like this in captivity.

Including proper cage set-up, necessary temperatures and humidity, and decor suggestions.

From selecting the right tarantula to feeding and handling tips, this guide will help you make your Skeleton Tarantula feel right at home.

Characteristics:
Common Name Skeleton Tarantula
Family Name Theraphosidae
Scientific Name Ephebopus murinus
Use Pets
Temperament Non-aggressive
Lifespan Males: 3-4 years / Females: 14-15 years
Diet Carnivore
Adult Size 4.5 to 6 inches
Breeding Type Egg Layer
Care Level Moderate
Minimum Tank Size 10 Gallons
pH 6.0-7.0
Hardness Moderate
Temperature 68–78°F

What Are Skeleton Tarantulas?

Ephebopus murinus is a species of tarantula belonging to the family Theraphosidae.

Commonly referred to as the Skeleton Tarantula, this species gets its name from the unique patterning on its legs, resembling the structure of a skeleton.

Found in the tropical rainforests of South America, the Skeleton Tarantula can reach up to a few inches in length, providing an impressive presence for both hobbyists and casual keepers.

This species is often known for its docile personality, making it an ideal companion for individuals of all arachnid-keeping experiences.

What Do Skeleton Tarantulas Look Like?

The Skeleton Tarantula is known for its sleek, striking appearance, sporting long, slim legs and a distinctive ‘skeleton’ pattern on their bodies.

On average, Skeleton Tarantulas have a body size ranging between 4.5 to 5 inches, with some specimens reaching up to six inches in radius.

These tarantulas are mostly black in color, although some may have shades of brown on their legs and abdomen– giving them a unique, pruned look.

These tarantulas have eight eyes, arranged in two rows of four, and with spinnerets placed between their third and fourth set of legs.

Additionally, their limbs are adorned with long, curved spines and a pair of defensive chelicerae lie hidden on the top of their head.

Males differ from females in that they have an enlarged pedipalp on their head in addition to a larger abdomen compared to females.

Benefits Of Using Skeleton Tarantulas

Ephebopus murinus is perfect for people of all ages and skill levels for its low-maintenance, care-friendly nature.

The tarantulas are relatively long-lived, providing years of companionship and entertainment if well cared for.

They have an omnivorous diet and can be easily fed with commercially-available insect food.

When it comes to cage set-up, Skeleton Tarantulas do not require much; they only need a secure, well-ventilated, escape-proof vivarium with appropriate substrate and hiding places.

Moreover, E. murinus are not aggressive, allowing for easy and safe handling.

Overall, Skeleton Tarantulas are excellent pets that require relatively low maintenance and provide an interesting pet-keeping experience.

Skeleton Tarantula: The Ephebopus murinus Care Guide!

Skeleton Tarantula Facts

Skeleton Tarantulas, scientifically known as Ephebopus murinus, are active, nocturnal spiders that can live for several years.

They have docile dispositions and omnivorous diets of insects and occasionally small vertebrates.

They reproduce by laying fertilized eggs and can be bred in captivity with the right conditions.

Habitat

Ephebopus murinus originates from the Caribbean Islands, Mexico, and other Central and South American countries.

They are native to tropical rainforests and inhabit burrows on the forest floor.

Skeleton tarantulas are adept climbers, often using the thick foliage of the rainforest to live and travel in, though they are more likely to be found near streams or other areas with higher moisture levels.

The tarantula’s preferred habitat tends to be humid and warm, often with steady temperatures of around 80 degrees Fahrenheit.

They often take shelter under rotting logs, rocks, and leaf litter, although they do not usually dig their own burrows and prefer to take shelter in the abandoned burrows of other arthropods.

The arachnid is an active hunter and web spinner, which allows it to capture a variety of prey.

Diet

When living in their natural habitat, Skeleton Tarantulas feed on a range of prey, including insects, small mammals, reptiles, and amphibians.

They are ambush predators, so they generally wait patiently in their burrows for their prey to come within reach.

Due to their size and strength, they are capable of capturing and eating prey much larger than themselves.

These tarantulas have a strong preference for live feedings, so as an exotic pet parent, you will need to provide them with a fresh supply of insects.

Temperament

Ephebopus murinus is a generally docile species that can be handled with patience and carefulness.

They almost always retreat into their dens when approached and rarely choose to bite.

This makes them an ideal exotic pet for beginners.

They are not scared of rapid movements or loud noises and therefore rarely display signs of aggression.

Skeleton Tarantulas are also non-aggregative, meaning that they are more likely to retreat than attack when interacting with other animals, including other tarantulas.

Lifespan

Male Skeleton Tarantulas generally live between 3-4 years while females can live up to 15 years with proper care.

Females live longer than males and also tend to grow to a much larger size.

They reach full maturity around the first few years of age, depending on the condition of their environment. 

The life cycle of Ephebopus murinus begins with the female producing an egg sac filled with up to 100 eggs.

Once the eggs hatch, the young tarantulas remain in the safety of the nest for the first few weeks of their lives.

After they molt for the first time, they become independent.

Breeding

Skeleton Tarantulas are sexually dimorphic, meaning the males and females are easily distinguishable and have different behavioral characteristics.

The males are typically smaller in size and have an enlarged pedipalp, which is used for grasping and transferring sperm.

Females, on the other hand, are typically larger in size and more tolerant of their counterparts.

When it comes to mating, a male will typically initiate courtship by engaging in slight tapping motions with the female.

If the female is receptive, she will remain still.

Then the two tarantulas will then stand back to back in a position known as ‘docking’ and the male will deliver sperm packets into a receptacle on the female’s abdomen while he grasps her from behind.

After mating is complete, the male will typically make a quick retreat. 

The female Skeleton Tarantula will lay their eggs several weeks after mating.

Where To Find Skeleton Tarantulas

Ephebopus murinus is a relatively common species found throughout Central and South America.

They can be found in rainforests and forests alike, but are most commonly located in light-soil burrows.

If you are looking to buy a Skeleton Tarantula, they are readily available at pet stores or through online vendors.

When purchasing from a pet store, be sure to inspect the health of your tarantula and ask for the supplier’s information.

It’s also good to note that buying a tarantula online is not without risks, so be sure to do your research before making a purchase. 

Wild-caught tarantulas should be left in the wild, as they are often stressed and may not fare well in captivity.

Skeleton Tarantula Care

When caring for Ephebopus murinus, make sure to provide a proper cage set-up with appropriate temperatures and humidity.

Provide the correct terrarium substrate in the cage and add suitable decorations for a warm environment.

When handling and feeding your Skeleton Tarantula, be sure to use breeding and feeding recommendations.

With the right knowledge and care, you can ensure your Skeleton Tarantula maintains good health and is the perfect pet!

Tank Requirements

A terrarium or paludarium setup with a screen lid is ideal for housing these tarantulas.

A 10 to 20-gallon tank is suitable for an adult spider, and larger species may require up to a 30-gallon tank.

The substrate should be kept dry and consist of coco fiber and peat moss, and should be at least several inches deep.

The pH should be neutral, between 6.0 and 7.0, and the hardness should be less than 40 ppm.

The tank should be kept between 68-78 degrees Fahrenheit, with a relative humidity of 70-90%.

A terrarium light is beneficial, as are other heat and light sources.

A dish of water should also be provided, and a humidity dome will help maintain optimal humidity levels.

What Do Skeleton Tarantulas Eat?

Ephebopus murinus is an omnivore with a diet that includes both plant and animal food sources.

This makes for a wide variety of food choices, which can be beneficial for pet owners who wish to keep their tarantula well-fed and healthy.

Here are some general tips on feeding your Skeleton Tarantula:

1. Offer your tarantula a variety of food sources including crickets, cockroaches, silkworms, super worms, earthworms, and waxworms.
2. Provide food items that are no longer than 1/2 the size of your tarantula’s body to prevent choking.
3. Approximate feeding should be done every 2-3 days and tarantulas should be offered as much as they will consume at a single time.
4. Add a vitamin and calcium supplement to your tarantula’s diet for optimal health and well-being.

By providing your tarantula with a variety of food items, you can help ensure that it will stay healthy.

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.

What Do Tarantulas Eat? | Best Pet Tarantula Food & Feeding!

Best Tankmates For Skeleton Tarantulas

When keeping tarantulas as pets it is always best to keep them alone to avoid conflicts.

However, if you would like to add more creatures to your enclosure, there are certain species of invertebrates that are beneficial to share a space with your Skeleton Tarantula.

These animals can act as a cleanup crew, providing additional nutrients and helping maintain a healthy ecosystem in the enclosure.  

Friendly tankmates for Ephebopus murinus include millipedes, isopods, Springtails, and snails.

All of these animals have similar needs when it comes to temperature, humidity, and other requirements.

Not only would they add additional color and movement to the enclosure, but they also provide nutrient-rich food sources for your pet.

Millipedes will munch on decaying plant matter and provide great soil health, while isopods will feed on decomposing organic matter on the abdomen area of tarantulas.

Springtails are also effective in controlling fungal growth in the terrarium.  

When choosing tankmates for E. murinus, it is vital to do your research and find species that are from similar habitats and are non-aggressive to your Spider.

If in doubt, it is best to keep your tarantula in its own enclosure to guarantee the safety of your pet and its tankmates.

Conclusion

Owning a Skeleton Tarantula is a great way to explore the arachnid world.

By creating a perfect environment for your tarantula and keeping a good eye on their diet and handling practices, you can ensure they stay healthy and live their longest life.

As long as you research and apply the proper care techniques, you can enjoy being the proud owner of one of the most beautiful and interesting creatures on the planet!

Frequently Asked Questions

Yes, you can handle a skeleton tarantula. However, it is important to use caution and be aware that some species may have protective barbs that can hurt you if you are not careful.

Ephebopus murinus, also known as the skeleton tarantula, is a species of tarantula that can reach a leg span of approximately 5 to 6 inches (12 to 15 centimeters) for females and 3 to 4 inches (8 to 10 centimeters) for males.

Skeleton tarantulas typically feed on small insects, such as crickets, small caterpillars, and aphids. They will also eat live mealworms and other forms of insect larvae.

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