Tarantula As A Pet: A Complete Guide

Spiders aren’t necessarily a source of fear and repulsion. Surprisingly, tarantulas, an insect from the spider family, can be really good pets.

Most people in the United States like to keep them in their homes as they require little space and are easy to take care of.

For most people who are looking for a little thrill by choosing an exotic pet, these tarantulas can be a suitable option.

However, keeping a tarantula is not for everyone. There are several pros and cons that you must consider before keeping one.

Also, you need to have a thorough understanding of their living requirements and everything else that you need to know for taking care of them.

What Species is Legal to Keep as Pets?

Tarantulas come in all kinds of shapes and colors. There are more than 1,000 species of tarantulas, but not all are pettable. Even though all tarantulas are venomous, their toxicity varies from species to species.

Some are extremely venomous such as Indian ornamental tarantula or Brazilian wandering spider. Most of these venomous species are illegal to keep as pets.

However, there are also some species whose toxicity is similar to that of a bee sting.

Moreover, you also have to look at their overall personality and whether they are compatible with your climatic conditions. So, here are a few species of tarantula that are best for keeping pets.

Chilean Rose: It is a medium-sized tarantula that is known for its docile and relatively slow nature. Their natural habitat is the desert and scrub regions of northern Chile, Bolivia, and Argentina.

Chilean Rose Tarantula

Desert Blonde: It is native to the American desert, including Arizona, California, and New Mexico. It is less expensive and is easily available in the market.

Desert Blonde tarantula is perfect for beginners and children above the age of ten

Desert Blonde Tarantula

Brazilian Black: Since it is native to the grasslands of Brazil and Uruguay, it prefers climates with 60 to 70 percent humidity.

It has relatively mild venom and its bite will sting a little, causing redness and skin eruption.

Brazilian Black Tarantula

Pink Zebra Beauty: It is widely known as the best tarantula to keep as pets for its gentle and calm nature. It is native to the central parts of South America and is also found in Brazil, Paraguay, and Argentina.

Pink Zebra Beauty Tarantula

Honduran Curly Hair: As the name suggests, this tarantula is covered with long curly bristles that are mostly dark brown, black, or in some cases, golden.

These are found in tropical regions of Nicaragua and Costa Rica.

Honduran Curly Hair

Mexican Redleg: This tarantula is also known as a red-legged tarantula and is native to western Mexico. It is easier to take care of this species as it requires minimal space and a simple diet.

Compared to other species that have a lifespan of 10-20 years for females, Mexican Redleg females can live up to 30 years.

Mexican Redleg Tarantula

Mexican Red-Knee: It is closely related to Mexican Red-Knee and is native to the Pacific coast of Mexico. This species is also known for the longer lifespan of females.

Mexican Red-Knee is famous for being one of the most docile and calm tarantulas in the pet market and is suitable for beginners, just like Desert Blonde.

Mexican Red-Knee Tarantula

Costa Rican Zebra: This tarantula is native to the wild shrublands of Costa Rica, Guatemala, and Nicaragua. It is also known as the striped-knee tarantula for its strikingly beautiful white stripes on legs.

Costa Rican Zebra

Behavior:

Most people are afraid of keeping tarantulas as they are easily misunderstood as dangerous creatures. However, unless provoked, a tarantula won’t bite you, even in the wild.

Also, even though it is venomous, a pet tarantula’s bite won’t cause any serious injury or long-lasting pain.

Tarantulas are usually docile, and it is completely safe to let them walk on your bodies. Depending on the species, they could be slow or quick.

Of course, the faster tarantulas are harder to handle, especially once they escape from their tank.

When threatened, they will quickly bite or release their hair from their abdomen on your skin as a defense mechanism.

Even though pet tarantula’s bite is not dangerous, some people are allergic to them and would require immediate medical care.

Also, those tiny hairs that they release on your skin can cause serious irritation and itching. Even worse, if the hair gets in your eye, it can cause inflammation.

You’ll only them active while they’re hunting their prey. But the rest of the time, they remain in a restful state with minimum movement.

Housing:

It’s a given that we cannot house tarantulas like we usually keep dogs or cats. They need special living conditions, more preferably something closer to their natural habitat.

Moreover, they need to be kept inside a tank with a lid securing their enclosure.

But the lid also needs to be ventilated to ensure the oxygen supply. However, while providing the ventilation, you also have to keep in mind that the open space is insufficient for the tarantula to escape.

So, using a ten-gallon terrarium or aquarium as a home for tarantula would be the perfect option. You can design the little space by including a space for them to hide in so that they can feel more at home.

It can be done by adding branches, rocks, and leaves so they can feel more at home.

Tarantula Tank

Also, tarantulas don’t usually need light, but you can provide a very dim light inside the tank to see it in the dark. Adding their food and water inside the tank would make them feel more at ease.

Since most of the species come from hot and humid climates, the temperature inside the tank should be around 70-82 degrees Fahrenheit with 60-90 % humidity.

For bedding, you can use coconut fiber, reptile bark, or dampened sphagnum moss. Also, gravel or artificial turf should be avoided as they are too harsh for the tarantula’s skin.

Taking care of a tarantula means you have to take care of the little habitat you created for your pet. It doesn’t require much work, but you have to be consistent.

The water should be changed every day after cleaning the dish. Your pet isn’t living in the wild, so it deserves clean water every day.

Also, it is recommended to clean the habitat thoroughly every 4-5 months. 

Feeding Habits:

Crickets are the most common food for tarantulas. However, apart from crickets, tarantulas also love grasshoppers and beetles. However, they don’t need to be fed daily. A tarantula of average size will eat only one or two insects in a week.

Also, larger tarantulas need to eat 6 insects in a week. It mainly depends on the species, since each of them has different food requirements.

You cannot overfeed them, as tarantulas always regulate their dietary needs. They prey on insects, so they’ll kill and eat them according to their own needs.

Tarantula Feeding Habits

Also, you need to look out for any unusual wrinkles or shriveling in their abdomen, as it would mean that they are underfed or dehydrated.

As for the water, the dish should be around ½ inches deep. A shallow dish is the most comfortable for your little pet to drink water from.

Moreover, a deep dish has a potential risk of tarantula drowning, so it should be avoided.

Common Health Issues:

Handling a tarantula may be fun, but it can also be extremely risky since a single fall from a small height could result in a serious injury or ruptured abdomen.

Moreover, dehydration is another serious problem for a tarantula, as it would make them lethargic and shriveled.

So, the humidity of their tank must be maintained regularly. Also, molting is a common phenomenon for any spider to increase its size by shedding its old skin.

However, during that time, they lose their appetite and become weak. This process can go on for a few days.

So, during that time, live insects should not be kept inside the tank as they can easily attack or injure the weakened tarantula.

It can take up to two weeks for a tarantula to properly recover after molting, so they should not be handled during that time, since their skin is sensitive at that time and more prone to injuries.

Price Range:

Depending on the species, their price varies from $25 to $75 on average. Only the least venomous species are legal in most areas for keeping them as pets.

Seeing that their popularity has been increasing since the last decade, they are easily available in most pet stores.

You should avoid getting a pregnant or sick tarantula since it would be troublesome. Most people prefer to keep female tarantulas for their longer life span.

For any species, a female tarantula has double or even more lifespan than that of a female.

Conclusion:

Overall, tarantulas can be a great companion if you’re looking for a silent and small pet. Their unique colors make them a beautiful attraction and interesting to watch.

If you really like tarantulas, choosing the right species may seem a bit difficult. However, you must consider your climatic conditions and decide which species would be more comfortable living with you.

We will be posting more articles like this on OurPetGuide. So keep visiting for all the information on exotic pets and also check our article on Tarantula Tank Guide.

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