The Red Slate Tarantula 
Poecilotheria rufilata

     The P. rufilata is a tarantula that I stumbled across not long ago and it immediately caught my attention.  The more I learned about its origins, habitat and communal behavior, the more I wanted one, or two, or three, or....

     The Red Slate is one of the largest of the arboreals and is found in only a few small locations in southern India.  It is considered a somewhat rare species although captive born spiderlings are not too difficult to acquire.  However, its' future is considered threatened due to human development and habitat destruction and the prognosis for this beautiful spider is not good.  Its' communal behavior and its' beautiful green and yellow coloration make it a very appealing addition to the collection.  Make no mistake, the Red Slate Tarantula possesses some of the strongest venom of all tarantulas and like many arboreal T's is very quick.  Thankfully, this tarantula is not aggressive and should be fairly easy to work with.

     Although this is a beautiful species, the name does not appear to fit its actual physical appearance.  They have yellow and green coloration along their legs and carapace, and their underside is adorned with iridescent blues and greens.  This species tends to grow quite large (7-9 inches) and as previously mentioned, packs a very potent venom.  Spiderlings have been observed in the wild jumping from treetops and gliding to the ground earning their nickname of "Parachute Red Slate".  This particular tarantula can be raised with other members of its species although it is highly recommended that spiderlings from the same clutch be introduced at the same time.  We opted to purchase two spiderlings from Jamie's Tarantulas in order to create an arboreal albeit communal tarantula habitat.
The Enclosure

     The Red Slate, like the Gooty Sapphire is an arboreal species that requires a tall enclosure with adequate hiding places, good ventilation and high humidity.  Juveniles are initially kept in a smaller, acrylic enclosure designed by Jamie's Tarantulas but are eventually transferred to their permanent home after two to three molts.  We use an Exo Terra terrarium (see below) due to its ideal size, easy access and favorable lighting feature.  We use a cocoa bark substrate, a large branch or vine along with a few artifical plants with a small water dish secured to the side of the enclosure.  The idea is to provide adequate hiding places for a stress free environment.

Care and Feeding

     Like all of our tarantulas, the P. rufilata will start on a diet of pin head crickets and move up to various sizes of  B. lateralis roaches.  We have an active colony of these insects which are clean, do not fly and have no bad habits.  Both of our spiderlings are about two to two and a half inches and growth rates are above average.  Daytime temperatures are in the high 70's to low 80's and the substrate is misted with water about once or twice a week.  These are voracious feeders and we anticipate a fairly fast rate of growth.  Our initial observations support this belief.

April  27, 2018

     This week are two spiderlings arrived and were introduced to their enclosure without incident.    Both spiderlings are eating 1/4 inch B. lateralis roaches and adjusting well to their new home.  We will continue on a weekly feeding schedule for the remainder of their juvenile lives.  They are definitely not shy and there was some competition for food at one point.

      Both Ruffie's have molted at least once without incident and appear very healthy and active.  Rufilata #2 is noticeably larger than its sibling but this has not created any problems thus far.  These tarantulas are not as shy as other arboreals and have never exhibited any defensive behavior or aggressive.

Rufilata #2
Rufilata #1
December  13, 2018- March 25, 2019

      A lot has happened to our rufilata's since the last update back in April.  Sadly, our plan on developing a communal habitat for both tarantulas did not succeed.  Over the course of the last few months, it was apparent that one of the rufilatas was growing larger than its sibling and may have been successfully competing for food at the expense of the other T.  Regretably, it would appear that the larger rufilata finally cannablised its sibling.  Ouch.
      We have sinced moved the remaining T to its permanent enclosure where it has promptly made itself at home.  Our tarantula has molted at least three times and is enjoying a diet of adult regalis roaches each week.  Our T has grown quite large but remains somewhat skittish although it can be frequently seen outside of its silk cave.

       Pictured to the right is a recent shot of her underside which reveals some interesting coloration. Although this is not her best side, you can see shades of irridescent blues, green and yellow showing through and its easier to envision her larger size and overall dimensions.  The picture below left was taken on Feb 5 2019 and she is beginning to show a variety of shades of green. Pictured far right is a great picture taken at night on March 25th with her fully exposed.  She is very camera shy and doesn't sit still for very long!

August  13, 2019

     This morning, our Red Slate successfully molted once again.  She is still getting used to a new location which is appreciably cooler than her last habitat.  We hope to see more of her in the near future.
February 6, 2020

     This afternoon, our Red Slate decided to reveal herself by perching on top of the cork round.  Her impressive size is obvious from these two pictures.