Tarantulas are very calm creatures that spend most of their time in a resting stage requiring little to no handling. This makes the perfect pet for those who prefer a unique animal without much hassle. You may think this low-maintenance pet is perfect for your kids, but before you rush out and get one, you need to be well-versed in their care.
A unique pet requires special care tips that we will highlight to keep your new family member happy and healthy.
1. Tarantulas Aren’t Puppies or Kittens
You need to come to terms with the fact that tarantulas look like adorable, furry creatures; you cannot exactly cuddle them as you would puppies or kittens.
Tarantulas may be quiet and docile. They aren’t meant to be domesticated. Not only do they get easily spooked, which can cause them to fall and rupture their sensitive abdomen, but they can also bite you.
2. Long-term Commitment
Tarantulas are one of the longest-living creatures and live up to 20 years. You cannot just abandon the animal once you get tired of it. You are responsible for providing a safe and clean environment for the tarantula.
You will also need to provide regular food and water while providing regular care to ensure their longevity.
3. Tarantula Behavior and Temperament
If you are planning to get your first tarantula, then a ground dweller like the curly hair tarantula is a great option because they move slowly and are easy to handle. On the other hand, tree-dwelling tarantulas are more difficult to handle because they are agile and move incredibly quickly.
As mentioned before, tarantulas should be ideally left alone as threatening them can cause them to attack potential predators with venomous bites and irritating hairs that require medical attention.
Remember to avoid touching your eyes and wash your hands thoroughly after feeding, cleaning, or coming into contact with your pet tarantula.
This is because the tiny hair on their abdomen can cause extreme irritation and another reason why you should keep them away from young children and other pets.
4. These Animals Can’t Be Trained
If you thought Buddhist monks were the epitome of zen, you were wrong. Tarantulas can spend hours doing absolutely nothing. The only time you will see these creatures be active is when they go after live prey, other times, they remain completely still.
On another note, you can not let them free like you would do birds. They will leave on their own, and you can bid goodbye to your pet. They may seem sluggish, but nothing is faster than a tarantula with a purpose.
5. Can You Handle Live Prey?
Another unusual change that you have to deal with is feeding your tarantula. Unlike most pet food from a can or a packet, a tarantula’s diet consists of live grasshoppers, cockroaches, and even mice for bigger tarantulas.
Not only do you need to acquire these regularly, but you also store them in your house, and most people will not be okay with keeping a box of mice or cockroaches in their basement. You can find a great source of live dubia roaches at https://www.topflightdubia.com/.
6. Can You Find a Reputable and Ethical Spot to Buy a Tarantula?
Tarantulas make amazing companions and have steadily risen in popularity. Unfortunately, many unethical people have also got wind of this and are using this opportunity to grab any spider from the wild to sell to enthusiastic buyers.
This is why it is your responsibility you obtain your pet from a reputable and ethical source.
7. How To Get a Pet Tarantula:
A common way to get a tarantula is by asking local pet shelters for any rescue animals; this is the most ethical and cost-effective way to get them. Alternatively, you may find an owner who cannot care for their pet tarantula and put them up for adoption.
However, the most common way of getting them is through breeders. The price can vary depending on the species, size, and color ranging from as little as $25 to a whopping $150 for the ultra-rare species.
8. What They Need
Now that you have chosen your spider, you will be responsible for its care and upkeep as an owner. This includes everything from food to insurance and beyond.
As mentioned previously, tarantulas prefer live prey, especially insects. Tarantulas in captivity seem to have a preference for crickets which provide all essential nutrients and are also cheap.
Tarantulas are self-sufficient and require little extra care. However, maintaining the humidity of the enclosure is important. Furthermore, you will need to remove shedded skin periodically and clean the tank with a cloth and spray water bottle.
After you have the tank ready, you will need to change the substrate every 1-2 years and wipe it down with water periodically. You can also place objects for them to scale for fun although the enclosure is enough to get all their activity done.
As a rule of thumb, the leg length should help determine For ground dwellers, a five-gallon tank is enough to fit them whereas tree-dwellers need a tank with a height at least a foot high.
Spiders like to burrow and hide so you need to fill the tank around 2-4 inches deep, with vermiculite which is made of potting soil or peat and is used to keep the tank humid.
The ideal temperature for the enclosure is 75-80 degrees Fahrenheit. Keeping a thermometer is a good idea to keep track and you can use mats and heating lamps to help maintain that temperature.
A humidity of 50% is essential for the spider to molt properly and prevent serious health problems. You can spray bottle to help maintain the moisture.
If your tarantula is suddenly on its back, don’t panic; it’s not dead. It is undergoing a process called molting. The process starts with the tarantula stopping eating and turning a darker shade.
Do not try to feed them during this period; the molt can make your pet prey for other insects. Wait for at least four days after molting them before feeding them.
9. Common Health Problems
Although generally healthy, tarantulas aren’t invincible. Tarantulas can be infected with parasitic oral nematodes with decreased appetite with white material around the spider’s mouth. Other infections can be through parasites and fungus.
After all this, you may wonder whether tarantulas are kid-friendly pets. The answer is yes if you take the right precautions. Be sure that all interactions are supervised and that you teach the kids to avoid handling the tarantula unnecessarily. Taking care of such a unique creature can also develop a sense of responsibility and can be great for the mental health of your children.