Tarantulas have been a relatively popular pet now for many years. They are unique, quiet, and need little space, and keeping tarantulas as pets can create a fascinating hobby. In fact, tarantulas are one of the very low maintenance yet exotic pets you’ll discover. Additionally, tarantulas are mild and can be trained quite well as pets.
As with other spiders, they have 8 legs, and 8 eyes close together. Beyond this, there are some very interesting and distinguishing characteristics that set them apart from other spiders. They have very hairy legs and bodies, and can live about 30 years. They spin no webs but capture prey by pursuit and fighting. Many tarantulas also”speak” by make a hissing sound by rubbing their limbs or front legs against each other.
There are over 800 species of tarantula. They are native to many locations and climates in the wild. They are roughly divided into two groups:”old world” (from the eastern hemisphere) and”new world” (in the western hemisphere). Concerning pet care, they are further divided into desert or tropical species, and ground-dwelling or aboreal (tree-dwelling).
Tarantulas range in size from only an inch or so to comparative giants measuring nearly a foot across. However, the vast majority of species remain small enough to be safely and comfortably housed in a standard 5 to 10 gallon terrarium or aquarium tank (a cover should be provided to prevent escape).
The majority of tarantulas are black (most males) or brown (most females), but some species exhibit dramatic colors. The Mexican Red-Legged Tarantula has glowing red leg markings and Cobalt Blue Tarantula has legs colored deep blue. The level of coloring varies with the species and geographical location. Even”plain” brown spiders vary greatly in shade from a gentle tan, through red brown to dark brown.
As an example of the pet tarantula, a great and popular selection for the start spider proprietor is the pink rose or the Chilean Rose tarantula. It grows to a manageable size of 3 to 4 inches and has a comparatively mild temperament. They are naturally docile and slow moving animals that can be readily handled by the novice keeper with some care. The floor dweller is a far simpler habitat to replicate to make your spider feel at home and be comfortable.
Yet another intriguing phenomenon displayed by the tarantula is molting. Tarantulas have exoskeletons and do not have internal skeletons. Exoskeletons don’t allow for growth so for the tarantula to grow it has to molt out of its old exoskeleton. Adult tarantulas molt once or twice per year, and baby tarantulas molt more often as they’re growing so quickly.
Observing the molting of tarantulas is surely among the most exciting adventures in keeping them. If you notice that your tarantula on its rear, it is probably molting. Most tarantulas will fast for about a week until the molting starts and they definitely won’t eat during the molting. It takes several days for the new exoskeleton to harden. Molting is stressful on a spider, and it is also completely vulnerable at that time, so don’t handle or disturb it at all at this moment, but observe with fascination!
As we mentioned at the beginning, tarantulas are one of the most low maintenance pets you will discover. And once a habitat is initially set up, the only essential things left to do is a weekly or twice-a-week feeding, and regular misting of this habitat with some room-temperature bottled water to keep proper humidity.
For meals, live crickets or some other similar insects can be bought at the neighborhood pet shop, but you should not catch and feed into your tarantula insects from the wild because of the possibility of pesticides and other contaminants. A couple of crickets per feeding is usually good, depending on the size of your tarantula. Water should be constantly available for your tarantula to drink, and must be extended in a dish that is large enough for the tarantula to fit its body in but not too heavy so that it won’t accidentally drown.
You should try and maintain the tarantula’s enclosure clean. Insects that you feed your spider might be somewhat messy when the spider is done swallowing it so clean the remains up. The spider’s excrement is easily cleaned up with a tissue or paper towel. With regular light housekeeping, the caging material and cage need not be cleaned out more than a once or twice a year.
For humidity, desert species could be sprayed lightly about once weekly, and rain forest dwellers as much as once per day. Tropical species require higher humidity from 75% to 100%. Most tarantulas can be maintained comfortably in a temperature range of 70 to 90 degrees Fahrenheit, and this means little or no supplemental heating must maintain these animals. Having a humidity gauge and a thermometer is a great idea simply to make sure your spider’s conditions are about right. Glass containers especially can get very hot which can kill your tarantula. Also, added lighting is not needed and can be detrimental.
For greatest enjoyment for both you the pet owner as well as your pet, you can decorate your tarantula’s habitat a little bit. It is not difficult to design a simple, yet aesthetically pleasing and naturally beautiful enclosure. Simple experimentation will reveal what works for you and for your pet. In actuality, designing and decorating your pet’s habitat can be one of the most fun and creative experiences in keeping a tarantula! It’s a good idea to look into the roots, behaviors, and needs of those species that interests you before you buy it or start filling and decorating a habitat.
As mentioned, some species come from harsh deserts, and these tarantulas are inclined to be ground-dwelling burrowers. Others live high in the rainforest canopies of Asia and South America. Obviously keeping a tropical tree spider in a dry setup without a vertical height for climbing would result in a stressed and short lived animal. Tropical, tree-dwelling species could be held in taller encloses with slightly less floor space than previously recommended. Likewise, deeper enclosures can be utilized for burrowing desert species. Given some time in their house, most tarantulas will start to make their own hide-outs, some moving around cage furnishings. This is good, let them do it.
You should keep in mind of some bare minimums common to all tarantula habitats. There should be a simple hiding structure or shelter such as a half-log or coconut hut, or maybe some pieces of rock or driftwood. However you choose to do it, remember the fundamental idea of creating your tarantula feel secure in the home.
Not scary beasts out to bite you, but rather, incredibly agile and interesting creatures. Tarantulas are delicate animals, and when handling them be very careful they do not fall, as they can be skittish and a brief fall can injure them seriously or even kill them.
It is a fact that tarantulas are not the best choice as a pet that you will have the ability to handle very much, but this is largely due to stress and danger to the spider rather than threat to the handler. For the tarantula operator, the chances of being bitten by a tarantula are very rare and even if through carelessness a bite should occur, the venom when injected into a person usually causes only minor swelling, with some numbness and itching that disappears in a short time. If it occurs, wash the bite site with soap and water and protect against disease.
Although they are not the cuddly variety, tarantulas are fascinating creatures that can be wonderful, gentle pets. The key to successfully owning any exotic animal is to learn as much as possible about the species itself and the care of it.