The Mexican Red-kneed Tarantula (Brachypelma smithi) is one of the most easily recognised and most well known of all the tarantulas. The Mexican redknee, as it is more commonly known, is a very placid member of the Brachypelma genus and is similar in appearance to the Mexican Fireleg Tarantula (Brachypelma boehmei). The most notable differences are the all orange carapace, mostly orange legs and the deeper shade of orange in the Mexican fireleg.
HABITAT AND DISTRIBUTION
In the wild the Mexican redknee survives in southwestern Mexico within tropical deciduous forests, scrubland and dry thorn forests.
The Mexican redknee has an overall brown-black appearance to the body, although there is a thick orange border to the cephalothorax. The name Mexican redknee comes from the bright orange patches on it's knees, and the fact that it naturally survives in southwestern Mexico. With an average body size of around 4 inches (10cm) and a leg span of around 6 inches (15-17cm), the male and female are both very similar although the male tends to have a smaller body and longer legs overall.
DIET, BEHAVIOUR AND REPRODUCTION
The males and females differ in longevity, with the female reaching up to 30 years in captivity but the males usually only live a year after sexual maturity (around 5 years). They actively hunts insects, small mammals, reptiles and amphibians. It is a nocturnal hunter, and spends its days deep inside a burrow.
The Mexican redknee is very docile and only has a weak venom, due to this reason it is an extremely popular choice as a pet. It is listed by the IUCN as Near Threatened as they are slowly declining due to habitat loss.