Take Care of Your Pet Tarantula

Edited by Debbie, Charmed, Maria Arieanza Santos Tan, Lynn and 9 others

JulMol tarantula.png

So you want to buy a tarantula? Before you purchase one, it is always best to do a little research on the different kinds that there are, and what ones are the most popular for beginners to take care of. Do you know where tarantulas come from? They live in North and South America. They also are in Africa and Asia too. There are over 800 species of them! There are many exotic colors including, red, orange, purple and green. They all have eight legs and eyes. Their eyes help them to see in all directions, but their eyesight is not as good as you would think it to be. What does their diet consist of? They are meat eaters, but also eat insects such as crickets, grasshoppers, and feeder roaches. They normally eat only 1-2 bugs a week. They do not eat very often, and have known to go without eating for a couple of weeks, so don't panic. There are tarantulas that burrow in the ground and some that live in trees. Females can live up to 30 years, while males only live 5-10 years. These fellows protect themselves by their poisonous venom. When they attack their victim, a chemical enzyme dissolves the body of their prey like liquid, so they can easily ingest it. They also attack by flinging needle-like hairs from their abdomen with their hind legs toward their predators! It is interesting to watch the behavior of these interesting critters as you have them for a pet. But they are best not handled as a pet. If you hold your spider and accidentally drop it, they can die because they are very fragile.

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Don't be alarmed if you look in your tarantula's home one day, and see him lying on his back! He is not dead. This is a natural stage that they go through called "molting". Just like snakes shed their skin, and get new, tarantula's get rid of their exoskeleton. This can take anywhere from fifteen minutes to several hours. It is important doing this time that you don't worry about feeding them, and you get rid of any dead or live bugs that are in the cage area. Usually right before molting, some spiders have not eaten for a month or less.

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What kind of a home will you need for your new pet?

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Well that depends if it is a Terrestrial tarantula, which spends most of their time on the ground.

You want to be more concerned with the width and height of its home. The floor space should be 1.5 to 2 times the leg of the tarantula. The height should be just high enough that the spider can turn on its back for molting. If it is too high, then if the tarantula climbs and falls, it could badly hurt itself. Arboreal ones, love to climb, and won't be seen much on the bottom of their ground area. You can buy a terrarium with a well ventilated cover, at your local pet store. So you want to have a home with a greater height in this instance. It is best to call pet shops and see what kinds of tarantulas they have. A good thing to do is research on the internet to make sure you know all about whatever kind you would like to buy. So what are some things you need to gather before your new friend arrives?

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Instructions to Prepare

  1. 1
    Buy a glass or plastic container for their home.
    Or what they call a "Critter Keeper". You will have to buy one according to the size of your tarantula, and whether it is a ground one, or more of a climbing one, which you would want to have more height. Ask your local pet shop what would be the best.
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  2. 2
    You will need Substrate, or potting soil, for the bottom of the living quarters.
    Tarantulas like to burrow in this. Make sure there are no chemicals or additives in it. Eco Earth is a good one.
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  3. 3
    Find a small bowl for drinking water.
    It shouldn't be any deeper than 1 inch. Make sure to clean it out daily.
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  4. 4
    Get a piece of driftwood or log for tarantula's that like to climb on things.
    Ground spiders like to hide in or behind things. You could put in a little plastic container, and cut out an entrance for the tarantula to hide in. A small clay flowerpot would work well half buried in the soil too.
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  5. 5
    Feed your tarantula crickets, meal worms, and grasshoppers you can purchase from the pet store.
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  6. 6
    Make sure you clean the living quarters at least 3 times a year.
    Do not use harsh chemicals, just hot water and a little soap. Rinse well, and dry. Replace items. (You can remove your tarantula by using a paper cup and a non usable paint brush to gently move it into the cup.
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  7. 7
    Long handled tweezers.
    You will need these to remove dead bugs, and molts.
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  8. 8
    Don't keep your tarantula in the direct sunlight or near air conditioners.
    They like dark places, and the temperature should be between 75 and 80 degrees.
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Kinds of Tarantula

"Tarantulas" is a group of spiders which are often hairy and very large arachnids. This kind of spiders belongs to the group of "Theraphosidae". Many species of tarantulas belongs to this group, and they are:

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  1. 1
    Cobalt blue tarantula:
    The binomial name of this tarantula is Haplopelma lividum". This species is from Myanmar, and it is known for being a fast and defensive tarantula and with potent venom. The cobalt blue tarantula is noted for it's blue legs and a light gray prosoma.
    Cobalt-blue-tarantula.JPG
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  2. 2
    Striped knee tarantula:
    The binomial name of this tarantula is "Aphonopelma seemanni". This species is from Costa Rica. It has also been called the Costa Rica Zebra Tarantula. This spiders are deep-burrowing. This tarantula have a black with white stripes of color.
    2-striped-knee-tarantula.jpg
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  3. 3
    Pink Zebra Beauty:
    The binomial name of this tarantula is "Eupalaestrus campestratus". This species of spider is colored a lovely pink, and can be often seen in Brazil and Argentina. This is often considered the most attractive tarantula because of its docile and tolerant temperament.
    3.lovelypink-tarantula.jpg
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  4. 4
    Green Bottle Blue Tarantula.
    The binomial name of this tarantula is "Chromatopelma cyaneopubescens". This species is from Paraguana Peninsula and Venezuela. These spiders are very active, particularly attractive, and a fast-growing species. These are known by their metallic legs and green bottle blue abdomens.
    4.green-blue-tarantula.jpg
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  5. 5
    Avicularia.
    It belongs in the "Theraphosidae" family. This species is very distinguishable by its pink foot pads. This species is from the country of South America.
    Pink-avicularia.jpg
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  6. 6
    Poecilotheria.
    This tarantula species is known for its vivid color and fast movements. It also has a potent venom virus. This also belongs to the "Theraphosidae" family of tarantulas.
    Metallica-spider.jpg
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How does a Tarantula look before molting?

Young Tarantulas molt more frequently while adult Tarantulas molt once a year or once every two years. Males continue to molt until they are mature while females will continue to molt once they reach adulthood. When your Tarantula is molting, never touch it because tarantula's body will be soft, vulnerable and is extremely fragile. Common signs when your Tarantula is in pre-molt stage are: first, it refuses food; second, it appears sluggish/lethargic or dull color; third, it has difficulty climbing walls of container; fourth, the skin of the abdomen has turned dark; and fifth, increased use of webbing.

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Tarantulas biting

Tarantula bites cannot be fully avoided. If you have your own pet tarantula, you should know how to handle your tarantula properly so you will get the least possibility of getting bitten. Also, when your tarantula bites you or other people, you should know what are the important things that you should do. This section will discuss on how not to get bitten by a tarantula and the things that you should do when a tarantula bites.

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  1. 1
    Do not hold the tarantula - Some tarantula lovers may disagree with this, but the best way not to get bitten by a tarantula is to avoid holding it.
    Unlike other pets, tarantulas do not need human interaction. They won't feel, or be, better if you hold it by your hand. They are best left at their containers.
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  2. 2
    Wear protective gloves - Again, some tarantula lovers may not agree to this suggestion but you would always be safer from bites if you are wearing a gloves.
    One downside of this though is that you cannot have a feel of the tarantula thus, not being able take full control of it. However, using cotton gloves can help the tarantula grip and prevent it from falling.
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  3. 3
    Gently pick your tarantula - Most tarantula bites when they feel threatened or when in pain.
    When you improperly pick a tarantula, it may get hurt and would react to the pain by biting on your hand. To avoid this, make sure that you gently and firmly pick it between the second and third legs using your finger and thumb. You can also let it crawl to your hand by gently pushing the tarantula towards it. Gently nudging a tarantula from its container is a good way of having it on your hand.
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  4. 4
    Let it stay on your hand - Tarantulas should only stay in your hands.
    This is safer for both of you as you have better control on your hand than to any other part of your body. This control allows you to keep the tarantula away from parts of your body where it can get crushed and keep your pet from falling. Tarantulas love to crawl so when it crawls out of your hand, simply let the other hand take it. Be careful not to drop the tarantula as dropping from heights may get their abdomens ruptured, thus killing them.
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  5. 5
    Be observant - A tarantula will often show signs of self-defense when they feel threatened or when they think that danger is incoming.
    Different tarantulas have different ways of defending themselves, though rearing up their back pair of legs and showing their fangs is a common way. Make sure that you know when your tarantula is on a "defense-mode". When in defend mode, tarantulas tend to be more aggressive and chances of you getting bitten is higher. Make sure that you return the tarantula to its container when you notice these signs.
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  6. 6
    Do not flip off or throw your tarantula - When you get bitten, make sure that continue being gently to your pet.
    Gently remove the tarantula and put it back to its container. Do let the pain take over you and throw your tarantula as falling can definitely kill them.
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What to do when a tarantula bites you

When the tarantula has bitten you, make sure to observe and do these procedures so your health won't get jeopardized

  1. 1
    Seek medical help - Most tarantulas have non-lethal venom.
    That being said, you should not directly conclude that your tarantula is part of the non-lethal ones unless you are really sure about it. When a lethal tarantula has bitten you, immediately call emergency services and let them know about what happened. Depending on your scenario, they may give you different instructions. Just follow the instructions given by the emergency personnel.
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  2. 2
    Check for allergy - If this is the first time that you were bitten by a certain non-lethal species, you should still seek medical help as the non-poisonous venom may trigger allergic reactions within your body.
    The next time that the same species bites you, you will now know that your body is not allergic to that certain species.
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  3. 3
    Use pain killers - When the bitten area is painful, consider giving pain killer to the one being bitten.
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  4. 4
    Monitor the affected part - Make sure that you check the status of the bitten area and see if there are signs of infection or poison.
    Apply a cold compress to it to lessen the pain. If you notice unusual with in, check with the doctor or the poison control department.
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Tips Tricks & Warnings

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  • If you receive a bite from a tarantula, wash with soap and water. Their bites are not fatal, and the poison from them is like that of a bee sting. Go to your family doctor if you have any adverse reactions.
  • Discuss buying a tarantula with family members first. Not everyone will enjoy having a spider for a pet!
  • It is a myth that the tarantula can jump at great heights.
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Questions and Answers

How do Tarantulas protect themselves?

Tarantulas have and extraordinary way to protect themselves. A tarantula will rub off hair from its belly and toss it into the face of their foe. If the hair reaches its foe's eyes, it may cause pain and gives the tarantula a chance to escape. Tarantulas may also use their bite and venom to protect and defend themselves.

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They use the little hairs on their body as a defense mechanism. When threatened they will rub their legs together and expel hair from them into the eyes and lungs of their attackers.

My pink zebra tarantula is molting? What should I do?

If your pink zebra tarantula is molting, you need to leave it for a while. Do not disturb him. Just let it molt on its own and when it is done, do not touch him because it is still soft.

You also need not feed him because it may stop eating while molting. Just make sure he has a water bowl.

Is it normal for a pink zebra beauty tarantula's abdomen to go very dark before shedding?

Is it normal for a pink zebra beauty tarantula's abdomen to go very dark before shedding ?

Yes, according to my research I have conducted it is perfectly normal for your tarantulas abdomen to turn pink during the molting or shedding process.

Fluff (Not Her/his) Normal Red Hair, on my B. Vagans, is it a sign of molting or just something my tarantula would do?

My B.Vagans has what looks like fluff or very small hairs on his/her abdomen what could this mean? I do not not mean the large Red Hairs but rather what looks like fluff or smaller hair

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About my cobalt blue tarantula?

Hi. my cobalt blue female has burrowed deep into her substrate' I know they are burrowing spiders but she has been there for over 3 weeks, I have seen no movement & she has not even been hunting or feeding. she has webbed the front of her burrow so you can not see into it & she has built up the substrate which blocks her in. I'm getting a little concerned in case she has died. I have been checking on her several times a day & even through the night & her tank is undisturbed & everything is still the same as the day she burrowed, can you tell me should I be worried or is this normal for the blues. I don't want to destroy her burrow to find out just in case she is fine. can you advise me please. thank you. I have tried: I have been maintaining her tank as usual' keeping the humidity & giving her fresh water every day. but I have not tried to move where she is burrowed or lift out the substrate just in case she is fine.. I think it was caused by: I'm not sure if there is a problem or if this is just normal behaviour for a burrowing tarantula such as the cobalt blue. I know they tend to spend majority of their time in a burrow' but as I have not seen any changes to her tank since she burrowed I'm not sure if I should be concerned about her. nothing has moved & she has not been seen for over 3 weeks

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Categories : Animals & Pets

Recent edits by: Julia Moliere, Pia Marie Villamante, Leomar Umpad

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