While spiders are known to be one of the creepiest and weirdest animal species, tarantulas can become a wonderful pet option. These spiders require a small place to keep and are extremely fun to observe. However, they are not quite suitable for handling and may cause itching, allergy and other similar health problems if they not are handled properly.
Having a pet tarantula spider can be more like having a collection. They are more to be observed than being handled. However, if you are really serious about adopting it, then make a decision only after you consider the pros and cons of having one.
Pros of having a pet tarantula are discussed in detail below.
When it comes to buying a tarantula, it is recommended that you buy a female of the species as they tend to live a lot longer than a male of the species. Any male tarantula will mostly survive for a little longer than a couple of years, while a female can easily live up to 20 to 25 years.
Therefore, if you are looking for a long-time pet friend, then getting a female tarantula spider is one of the best options you have. Make sure you ask for a female when you go to purchase a tarantula.
Tarantula spiders are very quiet and isolated creatures and usually grow in size to about 5 to 8 inches. Due to this, they are very easy to house and require only a small area to keep. Apart from this, the small size also allows for the easy maintenance of the pet as well as the enclosure in which it is kept.
Small Enclosure and Fewer Needs
When it comes to housing a pet tarantula, you will need a comfortable enclosure for the pet. The choice of the enclosure will completely depend on the species you chose as your pet.
In any case, the spider will neither require a large enclosure to keep nor cost a hefty price to buy.
Easy to Feed and Maintain
Pet tarantulas are very easy to maintain and require a very low cost of maintenance. They are also very easy to feed as adult tarantulas require food only about once a week. Apart from this, some species also fast for a very long time, maybe about a month or two.
However, specific care regarding their diet needs to be considered, especially during their time of growth (when excess food may be needed) and molting (when food may not be needed at all).
Apart from this, the other things that you need to consider in maintenance are temperature, light and humidity. Temperature can be maintained easily with the help of heating pads placed around the corners of the enclosure, while humidity can be easily managed by misting the enclosure, depending on the specific requirement.
When it comes to light, make sure that you do not keep the pet enclosure exposed to direct sunlight as tarantulas prefer living in the dark more than being in the light. Therefore, just keeping them in a corner of the house where sunlight can't reach may be the best possible solution.
Exciting to Observe
While tarantulas are not well recommended for handling, they are excellent for observation. There is a huge variety of tarantula spiders available in the market with each species being unique in its own way. Some are quick, agile and create a lot of webs around their habitat, while others are slow, may have burrowing needs and tend to be very delicate in nature.
When all this is considered, it becomes extremely exciting just to observe a pet tarantula naturally going through another day of its life.
Silent and Isolated Creatures
Common pets like cats, dogs and other similar creatures require a lot of care and handling. However, pet tarantulas are isolated creatures and are very silent when kept on their own. They do not make unnecessary noises and are not disturbing during any part of the day or night.
This makes them one of the best pet options for those who like to maintain peace in the house and do not have much intention of handling or being disturbed by their pets.
The cons of keeping a tarantula as a pet are discussed below.
Not Well Suitable for Handling
Tarantulas can be good pets, but they are not recommended for handling. This is mainly because they can bite and have irritating abdominal hairs. Tarantula bites are mostly non-fatal but can cause itching, swelling, or irritation. However, do remember the fact that there are a few tarantula species which have fatal bites.
On the other hand, they have abdominal hairs that are thin enough to get into the skin and cause irritation. Moreover, if these hairs get into human eyes, they can cause swelling and other serious eye-related problems. Therefore, it is recommended that you do not rub your eyes after handling a tarantula and carefully wash your hands after every time you touch it.
Need Delicate Care
Tarantulas may look very intimidating, but they are actually very delicate creatures. If the enclosure is kept very high up, then there is a chance of them falling from the height, which may cause critical or fatal injuries. This is the biggest threat to their lives.
Another thing that might require extra attention is the humidity levels. If the humidity levels are not high enough for your tarantula species then they may suffer from dehydration, which will make them very lethargic and otherwise unwell.
Apart from this, their feeding habits may also need extra attention, especially during their growth and moulting periods. Not feeding enough during their growth can cause them various health problems and hinder their natural growth process. On the other hand, feeding them more than necessary during their moulting period can result in their death.
Not Socially Accepted
While keeping tarantula spiders as a pet might be exciting for some people, there are a large number of people who are extremely scared and creeped out just by looking at a spider. Because of this reason, they are not suitable for social environments.
If you have a family member or friend who is scared of spiders, then it is advisable not to adopt a tarantula as your pet. Otherwise, it may create an environment that may be life-threatening for itself and very uncomfortable for your family member or friend.
Another one of the greatest cons of having a pet tarantula is that it needs to be fed insects and other crawly creatures that humans don’t handle best such as mealworms, super worms and even roaches. Some larger species of tarantula spiders can also eat pinkie mice and small lizards.
Apart from this, their usual eating habit should be kept random like one cricket a week, then two in the next week and three in the next one, and so on. Also, you need to make sure that the insects you are feeding your pet spider are fully gutted. The crickets should be fed nutritious food and should also be dusted with vitamins, prior to feeding it to your pet spider.
Some Species Can Be Venomous
Tarantula spiders are venomous and their bites also contain venom. However, most of the time their toxicity level is very low and may just cause local irritation, pain, redness and swelling.
However, there are a few species which have highly toxic venom and their bites can be fatal as well. Apart from this, some people develop an allergic reaction to spider bites, which may not be that toxic, but the allergic reaction may itself be fatal.
Are Tarantulas Good Pets?
Honestly, tarantulas can be excellent pets for those who are willing to keep them. They are unlike any other mainstream pet species. They are intimidating with their looks, but with proper care, they can be absolutely harmless.
Another thing that makes pet tarantulas an incredible choice is their requirement for very low maintenance. Provide water to them once a month and feed them twice or thrice a month. Only a small area is needed to house the pet and unlike big size pets, they don’t make unnecessary noises, smell horribly, or destroy precious things around the house.
The only thing that beginners need to consider is whether they want a new world tarantula or an old world one. New world tarantulas are well recommended for beginners as they are more docile and can be easily handled. Moreover, new world tarantulas are practically harmless to humans without any allergies, so they make really good pets.
However, for those who wish to own a more aggressive tarantula, old world species are the ones you are looking for. A little experience may be needed to take proper care of them as they are naturally dangerous and aggressive. Also, they move very fast and are not well suited for handling, so they make poor pets.
In any case, each and every tarantula species is unique in its own way. They showcase a wide range of behaviours and are adapted to various temperaments. In addition to this, they come in beautiful colours and markings, which make them exciting to watch. They are more of a collection of pets as most of the species are not suitable for handling. However, once you get one of your own, you will realize that just one isn’t enough.