Pet tarantula ownership can be a fascinating pastime. They are entertaining to observe, require little space, and are simple to maintain. Due to their venomous bites, tarantulas are not the best choice if you want a manageable pet.
There are approximately 1,000 tarantula species in the Theraphosidae family. The Chilean rose (Grammostola rosea), a hardy spider native to Chile that is generally easy to care for, is one of the most popular pet species. As pets, tarantulas require an environment that replicates their natural habitat and live prey.
Behavior and Temperament
Generally speaking, the best tarantulas for beginners are ground dwellers, such as the curly hair tarantula. They typically move more slowly, which facilitates any necessary handling. The pink toe tarantula is frequently recommended as a good tree-dwelling tarantula, but it is not an ideal first tarantula. Tree-dwelling species are typically more difficult to care for because they are swift and agile, making handling difficult.
Tarantulas are typically solitary animals. And handling is not advised unless absolutely necessary, such as when the spider must be removed from its enclosure for cleaning. In this case, it is preferable to coax the spider into a small container rather than transporting it by hand.
Because tarantulas are typically docile, some people do allow their spiders to walk on them. However, when threatened, tarantulas will bite, and their bites are poisonous. Tiny barbed hairs on the abdomens of tarantulas can cause skin irritation when they are handled. If spiders feel threatened, they can release these hairs, which penetrate the skin and cause irritation and itching.
Additionally, if the hairs enter the eyes, they can cause severe inflammation. Therefore, avoid rubbing your eyes while handling the spider and its enclosure, and wash your hands thoroughly afterwards. Additionally, avoid exposing children and other animals to the tarantula.
Despite the fact that their defense mechanisms complicate their overall ease of care, tarantulas are still relatively simple to maintain. In addition, they are a good option for those who want a low-maintenance, quiet pet. Expect to spend several hours per week feeding and cleaning your pet. Then you can simply appreciate observing this unique creature. Generally, a tarantula is most active when it is hunting live prey. Otherwise, it will typically spend a great deal of time in an apparent state of rest.
Spiders are not social creatures and should typically be housed individually. As escape artists, they require a secure lid on their enclosure, but it must also provide ventilation.
The length of an enclosure for ground-dwelling tarantulas should be approximately three times the spider’s leg span, and the width should be approximately double the spider’s leg span. The height only needs to be roughly equivalent to the leg span of the spider. Frequently, a 5-gallon aquarium works well. Additionally, a larger aquarium can make it more difficult to locate prey.
Choose an enclosure that is three times the leg span in length and twice the leg span in width for tree-dwelling species. The desired height is approximately one foot. Include branches that the spider can use to climb and build its web.
Your tarantula also requires a hiding spot. A piece of cork bark, a half-hollow log (often available at pet stores), or a half-turned clay flowerpot are all viable alternatives.
Tarantulas do not require intense lighting and should be kept out of direct sunlight. In addition, most species do not require heat lamps, as they thrive at room temperature. Some species require high humidity levels, which can be achieved by daily misting.
When necessary, spot-clean the enclosure and remove uneaten food after twenty-four hours. Every four to six months, it is recommended to thoroughly clean the enclosure, including replacing the bedding.
Include mealworms, super worms, and roaches in your tarantula’s diet in addition to crickets. Even pinkie mice and small lizards can be fed to a large tarantula. Prior to feeding your tarantula crickets, they should be gut-loaded (fed nutritious foods) and dusted with vitamin powder. What you feed the cricket is ultimately what you feed the spider. Generally, the food should be smaller than the tarantula’s body size.
Adults can consume food approximately once per week, while juveniles can consume food every day or two. Simply place the prey close to where your spider is contained. The best time to feed a spider is in the evening, when it is most active. Consult your veterinarian regarding the quantity and type of food to feed your spider, as this can vary depending on its age, size, and species.
A small dish of fresh water should always be accessible. The water must be extremely shallow to prevent drowning. As a precaution, you can place some pebbles in the dish to give the spider something to climb out on.
The Pros Of Having A Tarantula As Pet
Here are some of the pros of having a tarantula as a pet:
- Low maintenance: Tarantulas are relatively easy to care for and do not need to be fed often, making them a good choice for those who do not have a lot of time or resources to dedicate to a pet.
- Longevity: Tarantulas have a long lifespan and can live up to 20 years or more, which is much longer than many other pet species.
- Fascinating appearance: Tarantulas have a unique and interesting appearance that many find captivating.
- Low noise: Tarantulas do not make any noise, making them an ideal pet for people who live in apartment buildings or for those who want a pet that does not disturb their neighbors.
- Minimal odor: Tarantulas do not produce much of an odor and their habitat does not need to be cleaned as frequently as other pets’ habitats, making them an ideal pet for those who are sensitive to strong odors.
It is important to keep in mind that tarantulas can be venomous and may bite if they feel threatened, so it is important to handle them with care and to educate yourself on their proper care and handling before getting a tarantula as a pet.
The Cons Of Having A Tarantula As Pet
- Potential venom: Although the venom of most tarantulas is not lethal to humans, it can cause pain, swelling, and other unpleasant symptoms, and a bite from a tarantula should be taken seriously.
- Cost: Tarantulas can be expensive to purchase, and their habitats, food, and other supplies can also be costly.
- Specialized care: Tarantulas require specialized care and a specific type of habitat, and they may not be suitable for those who do not have experience with exotic pets.
- Handling: Tarantulas may bite if they feel threatened, so it is important to handle them with care and to educate yourself on their proper handling before getting a tarantula as a pet.
- Perception: Some people may find tarantulas frightening or unpleasant, and having a tarantula as a pet may make it difficult to find a pet-friendly home or make social connections with others who do not share your interest in exotic pets.
- Availability: Tarantulas may not be legal to own in some areas, and obtaining one may require a significant amount of time and effort.
Overall, owning a tarantula as a pet is not for everyone and it is important to consider all of the pros and cons before making a decision.