Tarantula Facts: Information on Pet Tarantulas



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Meta Text: A tarantula can be a wonderful pet, but it isn't for everyone. This article discusses a few critical questions you should ask before getting a tarantula.


If you feel tarantulas are hard to care for, you might be surprised to discover that most of these gentle creatures are docile and harmless. Even self-proclaimed arachnophobes have changed their minds and come to appreciate these fuzzy spiders.


Keeping tarantulas as pets is an intriguing hobby. They're entertaining to watch, take up minimal space, and are relatively straightforward to maintain. The Theraphosidae family contains over 1,000 species of tarantulas. They are present in tropical, arid, and subtropical environments and therefore are native to a variety of regions and ecosystems.


If you have a negative impression of tarantulas, it's not entirely your fault. For decades, films like Arachnophobia and It have been convincing us that we should be afraid of spiders. The good news is that it's not too late to dispel these myths and discover how wonderful pets tarantulas can be. It all begins right now because you're about to learn whatever you need to know about tarantula selection and care.




Size – Appropriately sized & structured enclosure for normal behavior and exercise; at least two times the leg-span wide and three times the leg-span long. For land-dwellers, the height should be the length of the tarantula, and for tree-dwelling tarantulas, about 10 inches.  Provide a hiding spot, as in a half log; tree-dwelling tarantulas require branches and twigs to make their webs. Maintain the humidity level in the enclosure at 50 to 90 percent by misting as required throughout the day.  


Avoid gravel or artificial turf in favor of a mulch-type surface like dampened sphagnum moss (too harsh for skin), coconut fiber bedding, or reptile bark.  Temperatures range from 70 to 82 degrees Fahrenheit. Avoid incandescent lighting, which can dry out a tarantula, and use a nocturnal or infrared light to monitor your tarantula after dark. Separate tarantulas from other invertebrates and do not keep them together at any time.


Food and Water


Feed your tarantula crickets and other insects like super worms, mealworms, and dubia roaches. Pinkie mice and small lizards can be given to large tarantulas. Prior to feeding your tarantula, the crickets should be gut-loaded (fed nutritious foods) and dusted with vitamin powder. What enters into the cricket is finally what your spider eats. The food you give your tarantula should, in general, be smaller than the tarantula's size.


Are you sick of making multiple trips to the pet store to buy feeders for your tarantulas? Is your home filled with the stench of dying crickets? There's a simple solution: start a dubia roach colony! Dubia roaches are easier to breed, less smelly, and quieter than crickets, and they're also more nutritious for tarantulas.


Adults should be fed once a week, while juveniles should be fed every day or two. Simply place the prey in close proximity to your spider's enclosure. Feedings should be done later in the evening because the spider is more active then. Seek advice from your veterinarian for the right amount and variety of food to feed your spider, as it varies depending on its size, age, and species.


Ensure fresh water is available at all times for your tarantula. To avoid risk of drowning, the water bowl must be extremely shallow. As a precaution, put some pebbles in the tray to provide the spider something to climb out on.




Tarantulas travel slowly and deliberately, but they are skilled nocturnal predators. Their primary prey is insects, but they also prey on larger animals such as toads, frogs, and mice. 


A tarantula does not use a web to catch prey, but it may spin a tripwire to warn when something comes close to its burrow. These spiders capture their prey with their appendages, administer paralyzing venom, and kill them with their fangs. They also have intestinal enzymes which help them liquefy the targets' bodies just so that they can suck everything up into their straw-like mouth slots. The tarantula may not have to feed for a month after a big meal.


The act of mating


The mating ritual of tarantulas is unique. The male spins a “small special web” and squirts it with sperm before he can mate. He rubs himself on the web after that, bringing his pedipalps with that as well. He then uses the pheromones the female emits as a guide to find the female's burrow. When a male tarantula comes across a female burrow, he presses his foot to let her know he's there.


If she is responsive, she'll appear from her burrow, and the male will perform a number of courtship displays like raising his abdomen, shaking his pedipalps, lowering his front body, and moving back and forth. If she isn't attracted to him, she'll either attack or ignore him.


If the female approves, the male mates with the female, using his legs to hold her fangs back. When he's done, he flees quickly because females sometimes try to kill and eat males after mating.


Typical Health Issues


The most serious danger to pet tarantulas is being dropped and falling from a reasonable height. A severe injury, including a ruptured abdomen, may result from a fall. As a result, please ensure the enclosure is secure and use caution when handling your spider.


Dehydration is also another common issue for tarantulas, particularly if their enclosure isn't sufficiently humid. It's possible that the spider would become shriveled and drowsy. If this happens, talk to your veterinarian about the safest humidity level for your animal.


The spider grows to a larger size by removing its old exoskeleton and developing a new one. This is a difficult period for a spider, and it will usually lose its appetite before molting.   So avoid feeding them during the molting phase, which can last several days. Living predators will damage the spider as its new exoskeleton hardens. Besides that, never touch the spider while it is molting. The spider can take a few weeks to recover fully from the process.


When it comes to exotic pets, tarantulas have a lot of advantages. They're one of the few exotic pets that are fuzzy in the same way that more common pets are. They're also safe, calm, easy to maintain, and don't stink (which is a great perk to any pet).


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