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Common Name: Tarantula

Latin Name: -

Distribution: Americas and Asia Natural Habitat: -
Adult Size: - Diet: Carnivore
Life Span: -

Species

Tarantulas are fascinating creatures, take up minimal space and are extremely economic to keep. There are over 30,000 species of spiders in the world, of which 700+ are theraphosids (tarantulas). Most common species to be kept as pets tend to be those from the Grammostoloa or Brachypelma family as they can be the friendliest of tarantulas.

Housing and Bedding

Keep your tarantula in a well-ventilated glass or plastic tank with a secure lid. Install a heat mat and a thermostat at the back of the tank to keep the temperature at 25°- 30°c. Place the thermostat sensor over the heat source. Also fit a thermometer to check the temperature. The tank itself should measure about 30 centimetres by 20 by 10. The floor should be covered with a thick layer of substrate such as cocoa fibre which should be kept moist. Wood bark will provide the spider with somewhere to hide. Use silica gel or soak cotton wool in bottled water and place it in a small dish for the spider to drink from. Humidity should be 60-70% which can be checked with a hydrometer. Tarantulas don't like bright lights so keep the tank out of direct sunlight and away from radiators and draughts. Don't keep more than one in the same tank, as they are cannibalistic.

Tarantulas don't make much mess, but you should change the substrate and clean and disinfect the tank every 3 or 4 months using an arachnid friendly disinfectant.

Handling

It is not advisable to handle your tarantula as you may be allergic to its venom if it were to bite. It may also release hairs that can irritate the skin, nose and eyes. When it needs to be moved, coax it into a ventilated container that can be closed afterwards.

Diet

Feed your tarantula live insects such as crickets or locusts. The insects themselves should be fed beforehand with a nutrient rich mixture available from pet shops. Feed your spider one insect at a time. Tarantulas may eat 2 or 3 at a time, or refuse altogether. Spiders don't eat every day and sometimes fast for a week or more.

Moulting

You will know it is moulting/shedding its skin as it will make a web and flip over onto its back. It may lay on its back without moving for days. Do not touch or disturb it but make sure it has a source of water. It is important not to feed your tarantula before, during and just after it sheds it skin as live prey may bite it.

Health

Your spider should have few health problems if kept in the right conditions. It is important not to keep live insects in the tank if they are not being eaten and your spider is shedding, as it may be bitten by its prey.

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