The Brazilian Black and White (Nhandu coloratovillosus)

By Tim Surman

This is truly one beautiful tarantula. They grow to a decent size, are easy to care for, and are not usually too aggressive. They can reach adulthood in 2-3 years, so growth rate is good when housed and fed properly. No collection is complete without one of these furballs.

The common name, Brazilian Black and White, is actually a bit deceptive as the colouration is usually a reddish brown and cream colour. It is probably a bit easier to call it a “Brazilian Black and White” than a “Brazilian Reddish Brown and Cream” though. What makes this even more deceptive is that the colour varies quite substantially depending on the area it originates from. Rick West has some nice photos of the different colourations on his website.

This spider has a massive range in Brazil and is found virtually all over the vast country. It has been found in the rainforests as well on the grasslands. Isolated reports indicate that it may even be found in neighbouring countries, near the border with Brazil. This ability to endure varying conditions makes it one of the easiest tarantulas to care for in captivity. It is a hardy, fast growing spider that seldom turns down a meal; characteristics that make it a decent tarantula for novice keepers.

Although some may be a bit more skittish, they usually tend to flick urticating hairs before biting. A few fingers may have been mistaken for food over the years though, as they are often aggressive feeders. It is fortunate that they have weak venom and most of the pain will more than likely be from the massive fangs entering the flesh. It is therefore a good idea to be slightly cautious around these beauts. That said, tarantulas from the same species often have very different personalities and are best treated as individuals.

The Black and White is a large terrestrial tarantula that can grow up to around 16cm in size. Although their legspan is a bit smaller than some of the bigger birdeaters, their stocky builds and fur-like hairs give them an impressive appearance. Although classified as terrestrial, as with most terrestrial spiders they will often inhabit burrows and crevices under rocks and trees. Slings do often tend to burrow if given enough substrate.

Requirements for keeping these tarantulas are very much the same as with most tarantulas, they will however handle most conditions thrown at them by novice keepers. It is, however, always better to keep the substrate on the dryer side as long as a waterbowl is provided or enclosures are regularly misted, in the case of slings. Feeding an insect smaller than the body of the spider twice a week is recommended for optimal growth rates. Adults will be happy with a large meal every two weeks or a smaller meal once a week. A light misting of the enclosure once a week will be adequate to keep up the humidity. Always let the substrate dry out before misting or wetting it though, as a constantly wet substrate is a recipe for all kinds of problems.

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