Tarantulas Make Easy Pets

Emily Sweatt, Reporter

A lot of people think tarantulas are scary or gross, but they can make easy and cool pets. 

They are relatively cheap, ranging from $25 – $75, and they are inexpensive to take care of, only needing a bag of substrate/bedding every 4-6  months–as that is when the cage should be deep cleaned. At that time, you need to change their bedding and clean the cage. You should also try and clean every five-12 days. 

Tarantula cages should also have hides in them, so they can burrow and feel safe. It should also include a water bowl that is not very deep, but wide enough for them to fit into to drink water. Depending on the species, the cage should also be sprayed with water to maintain a healthy ecosystem.

Tarantulas diets consist of bugs and worms, depending on the species and size. It’s important to make sure you find out what the size of their food should be, so they can properly eat. For example, my Arizona blonde requires large box crickets.

If you’re new to tarantulas, you should definitely start with a “beginner” tarantula; these include: Aphonopelma chalcodes (Arizona Blonde), Avicularia avicularia (Pink Toed), Grammostola rosea (Rose Hair).  These are beginner tarantulas due to their calm and docile nature.

The basic handling of tarantulas is when you place your hand next to them and gently poke their back legs with a stick or gloved hands, until they crawl onto you. The other way is to quickly but gently grab them between the second and third pair of legs.

Personally, I prefer the first method as I am careful not to upset or hurt them. When a tarantula is “provoked” they may get aggressive, often shooting small hairs from their abdomens, called urticating hairs, which get under people’s skin and cause discomfort. This sensation feels like fiberglass under your skin; it stings and causes bumps and or rashes.

It is  important to keep in mind that they are not poisonous and their venom is weaker than bees! If you get bit, stay calm! Wash the area with soap, apply cold/ice, apply benadryl, and watch for infection! If you get shot with hairs, once again wash the area, try removing excess hairs with duct tape or tweezers. Of course, if hairs are in your eyes, or you swallowed them, get medical help.

If you are looking to own an exotic, interesting and unique pet, tarantulas are a great choice, consider going to your local reptiles store and take a look around!