Mike's Basic Tarantula
A Basic Site for the Tarantula enthusiast
Ephebopus refescens
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Common name: Burgundy Skeleton
Indigenous: French Guiana
Habitat: The climate of French Guiana is tropical, with a mean annual temperature of 26.7° C (80° F). Cool, onshore breezes in the coastal zone fail to mitigate the effects of the high humidity. The dry season from June to November is succeeded by torrential rains achieving maximum intensity in April and May. The average annual rainfall at Cayenne is about 3,200 mm (about 126 in).
Enclosure: The Burgundy Skeleton is an obligate burrower, therefore an adult needs four-six inches (10.16-15.24cm) of substrate to burrow.
Temp/humidity: 78°-82 ° Fahrenheit (25.5°-27.7°C), 75-85%  humidity.  I keep this species temperature at 80 degrees (26.6°C) and the humidity at 80%. I do this by moisten the substrate in the terrarium once every two (2) weeks, then I allow it to dry out. I don't put any tape over the top of the cage vents for plenty of air circulation. Watch out for mites. I lost two (2) four inch (10.16cm) girl after a molt due to a mite infestation that was in their burrow.
Substrate: I use three inches (7.62cm) of substrate in vial, deli cup  for spiderlings, and six inches (15.24cm) in a terrarium for sub-adult to adult. (I use a mixture of peat moss, vermiculite, coconut fiber and dirt for firmness, as the substrate).
Retreat/Hide: This species doesn't need a hide, it will make its own burrow. When I change the substrate, I start a two inch (5.08cm) hole for burrowing in the corner of the enclosure.
Food Consumption: I first fed fruit flies, than when she reached one-half inch (1.27cm) I introduced baby crickets. Now I give my Burgundy Skeleton, one-one inch (2.54cm) B. dubia roaches or three (3) adult crickets weekly.  This species is a good eater.
Water Requirements: I keep a water dish in the tank. I have never seen mine drink.
Growth Rate: The growth rate of this species is fast. I purchased these tarantulas as a spiderlings of 1/3" (0.845cm) in size. After the first year they had grown to two inch (5.08cm). With constant feeding and with temperatures in the low to mid 80's, it reached a size of four inches (10.16cm) within three years.
Adult Size: I read that they reach four-five inches (10.16-15.24cm) in leg length.
Temperament: Because of their defensive nature and speed, they aren't the best species to handle. If approached they will usually go into a threat posture.
Comments: It is a shame that this is a pet hole, because this is a very colorful tarantula. You will very seldom see this species once it settle in its burrow. I don't allow my obligate burrowers to gorge themselves; by doing so they stay at the mouth of their burrow waiting for prey. This allows me to see a natural behavior of stalking and get a glimpse of the tarantula. It is also a tarantula for the advanced keeper because of its special care need.