By Geordie J Williams
While not the first choice of pet for everyone, the number of pet tarantula owners continues to grow every year. People of all experiences are taking these spiders on as pets, and for those just beginning it's essential to learn appropriate tarantula care techniques for your particular species of tarantula. This article will cover four essential general areas of care including choosing a good tarantula species, the type of housing or enclosure you need for your new pet, what to feed them, and finally what to expect during the molting process.
There are over 900 species currently cataloged, many of which are totally unsuitable to keep as a pet - some are too aggressive, while others are too rare (and therefore extremely expensive if you can even find one for sale at all), and others still just have too strict or complicated care needs. There are certain species that are definitely recommended for beginners looking to get their feet wet, and then more species recommended for those with experience.
We've probably all seen cheap horror movies involving spiders that take over buildings or towns and leap out of tress on unsuspecting travelers and such, but when it comes to keeping tarantulas as pets the reality is totally different. These spiders have rather weak abdomens and are very prone to injury from falling, so your ideal tarantula enclosure needs to be reasonably low, but wide and long enough to allow the spider room to move around. Depending on the specific species, how big an enclosure, and what you need to put on the inside will vary.
Tarantula food doesn't need to be complicated, and possibly surprisingly most species of tarantula will be happy to eat gut-loaded live crickets. While there are other options to live crickets, these are by fat the most common source of food used by owners.
I included molting in this article because during the tarantula molting process many owners mistakenly think their spider has died. The spider will likely have stopped eating for a couple of weeks prior to the molting, and will lay motionless and prone, sometimes for hours. This process is very stressful on your pet and leaving her alone is essential until the process is complete.
Hopefully this article gave you some ideas of the preparation you need to do before you actually purchase your pet tarantula. Please don't forget that not every species is suitable for beginners, and that your enclosure will vary depending on what species of tarantula you chose, so get educated on the specific tarantula care needs for the species you choose..