Tarantulas have been a relatively common pet now for many years. They are unique, quiet, and need little distance, and keeping tarantulas as pets can make a fascinating hobby. In fact, tarantulas are one of the very low maintenance yet exotic pets you will find. Additionally, tarantulas are mild and can be trained very well as pets.
Beyond this, there are a number of 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 catch prey by pursuit and fighting. Many tarantulas also”speak” by make a hissing sound by rubbing their jaws or front legs against each other.
They are native to many areas and climates in the wild. They are roughly divided into two groups:”old world” (in the eastern hemisphere) and”new world” (in the western hemisphere). Concerning pet care, they are further split into desert or tropical species, and ground-dwelling or aboreal (tree-dwelling).
Tarantulas range in size from only an inch or so to relative giants measuring almost a foot across. Even the small tarantulas reach a relatively large body length of 1.5 inches. However, the huge majority of species remain small enough to be safely and comfortably placed 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 men ) or brown (most females), but some species exhibit striking colours. The level of coloring varies with the species and geographical location. Even”plain” brown spiders vary greatly in color from a gentle tan, through red brown to dark brown.
As an example of the pet tarantula, a great and popular selection for the beginning 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 relatively mild temperament. They are naturally docile and slow moving animals which can be readily handled by the novice keeper with some care. The ground dweller is a much easier habitat to replicate to produce your spider feel at home and be comfortable.
Still another fascinating phenomenon exhibited by the tarantula is molting. Tarantulas have exoskeletons and don’t have internal skeletons. Exoskeletons don’t allow for growth so in order for the tarantula to grow it’s to molt out of its old exoskeleton. The old exoskeleton splits and the spider works its way out. Mature tarantulas molt once or twice a year, and baby tarantulas molt more often as they are growing so quickly.
Observing the molting of tarantulas is surely one of the most exciting experiences in keeping them. If you notice your tarantula on its rear, it is probably molting. Most tarantulas will quickly for about a week before the molting begins and they definitely won’t eat during the molting. It takes a few 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 start, tarantulas are among the very low maintenance pets you’ll find. And after a habitat is initially installed, the only essential things left to do would be a weekly or twice-a-week feeding, and regular misting of this habitat with some room-temperature bottled water to keep proper humidity.
For food, live crickets or any other similar insects can be purchased at the local pet store, but you should not capture and feed to your tarantula insects from the wild due to the possibility of pesticides and other contaminants. One or two crickets per feeding is generally great, depending on the size of your tarantula. Water should be constantly available for your tarantula to drink, and should be offered in a dish that is large enough for your 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 can be somewhat messy once the spider is done swallowing it so wash the remains up. The spider’s excrement is easily cleaned up with a tissue or paper towel. With routine light housekeeping, the caging material and cage itself need not be cleaned out more than a once or twice a year.
For humidity, desert species can be sprayed lightly about once per week, and rain forest dwellers up to once per day. Desert tarantulas would rather have a humidity of 30% to 50% range. 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. Using a humidity gauge and a thermometer is a good idea just to make sure your spider’s requirements are about perfect. Do keep the cage or tank out of direct sunlight. Glass containers especially can get very hot which can kill your tarantula. Also, added lighting is not needed and can be detrimental.
For maximum enjoyment for both you the pet owner and your pet, you can decorate your tarantula’s habitat a little bit. It is not tough to design a simple, yet aesthetically pleasing and obviously beautiful enclosure. Simple experimentation will reveal what works for you and for your pet. In fact, designing and decorating your pet’s habitat can be among the most fun and creative experiences in maintaining a tarantula! It is an excellent idea to look into the roots, behaviors, and needs of those species that interests you before you buy it or begin decorating and filling 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 scaling would cause a stressed and short-lived animal. Tropical, tree-dwelling species could be held in taller encloses with slightly less floor space than previously advised. Likewise, deeper enclosures can be used for burrowing desert species. Given some time in their house, most tarantulas will begin to make their own hide-outs, some moving around cage furnishings. This is good, let them do it.
There should be an easy hiding structure or shelter such as a half-log or coconut hut, or maybe some bits of stone or driftwood. However you choose to do it, remember the fundamental idea of creating your tarantula feel secure in the home. Do not overdo the decorating, you should probably leave about 1/3 to 1/2 of the habitat floor bare and in the open for your tarantula to research.
The most difficult thing for most people is getting close enough to a tarantula for the first time to see them for what they truly are. Not scary beasts out to bite you, but instead, incredibly agile and interesting creatures. Tarantulas are delicate creatures, and when handling them be very careful that they do not fall, as they can be skittish and a short fall can injure them severely or even kill them.
It’s a fact that tarantulas aren’t the best choice as a pet that you will have the ability to handle very much, but this is largely because of stress and threat to the spider as opposed to danger to the handler. For the tarantula owner, the odds of being bitten by a tarantula are extremely rare and even if through carelessness a sting should occur, the venom when injected into a person usually causes only minor swelling, with some itching and tingling which 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 may be wonderful, gentle pets. The trick to successfully owning any exotic animal is to know as much as you can about the species itself and the care of it.