Despite the bad reputation that the cinema has given them, tarantulas are interesting animals and great pets. They enjoy enormous popularity among arachnid breeders. They're quiet, but big enough to entertain anyone who wants to watch them wander around the aviary. Those who do not know them well may be surprised to discover that they exist in countless species. To choose yours, you will have to take into account the resources you have at your disposal, your level of experience with arachnids of the type and your conditions for housing it.
Method 1 of 3: Choosing a Tarantula Breed
Step 1. Assess your level of experience with tarantulas
If you've never owned one, or created one for just a month or two, consider yourself a beginner. If, on the other hand, you know a few breeds, have had one or more tarantulas over the years, and know the time and money that raising them takes, you may be able to buy a more challenging species.
- If you are a beginner and buy a delicate spider, you will be less inclined to get attached to it.
- Start by researching the different types of tarantula and their respective habits. The Tarantula Keeper's Guide book (in English; no translation) is great for anyone who would like to learn more before making their first purchase.
- There are arboreal (that live in trees) and non-arboreal (that live at ground level or in underground burrows) tarantulas. Among the non-trees, some like to be visible above ground level. Others don't - which can be a disappointment to first-time breeders, perhaps wanting a pet they can watch.
- Think about the time, money and dedication that a pet requires. Each type of tarantula has specific needs regarding the nursery, diet, temperature and humidity conditions. Some live to be over 30 years old and grow very slowly: it can take years for a puppy to grow a few centimeters.
Step 2. If you are inexperienced, buy some kind of simple creation
The monkey spider (Avicularia avicularia), the zebra tarantula (Aphonopelma seemanni), the Chilean pink tarantula (Grammostola rosea), the Brachypelma albopilosum, the red knee crab (Brachypelma smithi), as well as many others from the Brachyphelma family, are great for beginners.
They are docile breeds and do not require much attention. They don't grow much and have a low propensity to bite their owners
Step 3. If you are experienced, choose a veteran species
Anyone familiar with tarantulas can buy more delicate animals. The most interesting species are also those that usually demand more from the breeder, but the work is worth it.
- Species such as the goliath tarantula (Theraphosa blondi), Haplopelma lividum and Pterinochilus sp. require a little more experienced breeders.
- Keep in mind that these species can be extremely aggressive and must be handled with care.
Step 4. Avoid poisonous species if you have any apprehensions
Species such as Haplopelma lividum and Poecilotheria sp. possess a considerably dangerous poison. People with severe asthma and allergies should handle these animals with special care, as they can cause breathing difficulties that lead to asthma attacks.
- Tarantula stings can cause several side effects, but they are usually limited to local itching, swelling, and intense pain, with blisters eventually forming around the sting.
- There are cases of patients who have suffered heart failure or gone into a coma as a result of a tarantula bite.
- For those who have no experience with arachnids, it is advisable to stick to the most docile species and simple care.
Method 2 of 3: Choosing the Right Nursery
Step 1. Find the proper terrarium size for your tarantula
If you buy it as a puppy, you can raise it for a few months in a clear bottle (like a medicine bag) or in a small plastic cup. Spiders sold over the internet are transported to their owners in plastic microtubes, which can be used as makeshift nurseries as long as they are not too small for them.
- The monkey spider (Avicularia avicularia), the zebra tarantula (Aphonopelma seemanni), the Chilean pink tarantula (Grammostola rosea), the Brachypelma albopilosum, the red-knee crab (Brachypelma smithi), the Haplopelma to Pterinochilus sp. they can live well in a 20 L terrarium as adults.
- There are species such as the goliath tarantula (Theraphosa blondi), whose wingspan can reach 30 cm and lack a much larger terrarium, from 80 to 150 L.
Step 2. If you are inexperienced, buy a land spider
As discussed earlier, tarantulas can live in trees or in the ground - those in the first category have to be raised in large aviaries and equipped with a tree-like structure that they can climb. The terrestrial ones create a small burrow in the terrarium substrate. It is the latter that inexperienced breeders should prioritize.
- Among the arboreal spiders are all species of the Avicularia genus and Psalmopoeus cambridgei.
- The zebra tarantula (Aphonopelma seemanni), Brachypelma albopilosum and all species of the genus Hysterocrates are examples of terrestrial spiders.
Step 3. Leave the spider in the aviary
It is an extremely delicate animal. A fall of just a few inches may be enough for him to have an unpredictable reaction or to suffer an abdominal tear, which would lead to a slow and painful death. There are situations where the owner needs to pick up the tarantula, but it is not advisable to handle it frequently.
- When you need to pick it up, do it with both hands flat, without leaving them in the shape of a gourd.
- Do not poke the arachnid, whose body has very delicate parts. Touching them might lead you to attack if you feel threatened.
- When feeling threatened, this arachnid can release stinging stings into the air, which, as the name suggests, cause severe irritation when they come in contact with the skin. Urticating hairs are present in the vast majority of tarantula species.
Method 3 of 3: Choosing Your Tarantula
Step 1. Research the price before deciding to buy
The price varies according to the age, species, size and rarity of the specimen. Puppies are cheaper than adult animals. For those who have never created a spider, the best thing might be to start with a cheaper species and then move on to a more expensive one: it is less frustrating to lose R$ 80.00 with a monkey spider than R$ 1,200.00 with a Pamphobeteus overseas.
The price of the same tarantula species can vary dramatically from one pet shop to another. If you have time, research the price carefully before making the purchase
Step 2. Find a reliable establishment
Pet shops that sell arachnids are expected to provide them with proper care. If the pet shop you went to has only three or four spiders on display and a team of sellers uninformed about arachnids, you might want to go to a more professional one (unless you want to rescue a battered insect or charge more responsibility for the store).
If you can't find the spider you want in a physical store, you can purchase it via the internet. Most of the time, online suppliers sell captive-bred puppies
Step 3. Buy a captive bred animal
You can't just catch a wild tarantula. You must purchase from a trusted pet shop or breeder. In addition to the risk of wild spiders carrying parasites, extracting them from their habitat can be harmful to both them and the environment. Be responsible and buy a farm animal.
Step 4. Choose a healthy tarantula
A healthy specimen distributes its weight evenly across the eight legs, which it leaves in a circle or grouped into two squares, one pointing in front of it and one behind it. On the other hand, an animal that is curled up in the corners of the terrarium or with its legs tucked under its body (a position that marks the rales in tarantulas) is not healthy.
- There are two possible explanations for a tarantula staying in the water bowl: it's either getting hydrated, or it's trying to compensate for the low humidity of the environment.
- The fact that the tarantula is on its back isn't usually a bad sign either. She is probably preparing for ecdysis (or skin change). In this case, the ideal would be to make the purchase only a few days after the ecdysis, as being transported would intensify the stress, which is in itself quite high, to which she is subjected at this stage.
Step 5. Check the arachnid for injuries
It is very likely that he was injured when caught in the wild or during transport to the pet store. Make sure the eight legs and the two pedipalps (the small hinged limbs spiders have on their heads) are intact. Note if he has any injuries to the chest or abdomen. It is also important to ensure that he moves naturally, without trying to spare any of his paws.
If staff at the facility have experience with arachnid, they can help you with this check
Step 6. Find out the sex of the tarantula
If you cannot identify it yourself, ask the seller for help. Acquiring a female is the most suitable for first-time breeders. Females live longer than males - in some species, they are over 30 years old, while males live from two to five years.
Most spiders sold in pet stores are male. Specify that you want to acquire a female
- Buy the nursery the moment you buy the tarantula. Some pet stores offer discounts for the customer to purchase the specimen along with the terrarium and all supplies. Remember, however, to research the price of these items in other stores beforehand.
- If you are interested in raising tarantulas, buy a book on the subject. This will help you to better understand the aspects that creation involves and discover some things you never imagined.
- Discover the scientific name of your tarantula species. Its popular name may encompass more than one species, but the binomial nomenclature refers to only one, making your search easier.
- As the change of aviary is stressful for the tarantula, do not disturb it for a week after housing it in its new home.
- If you have a male and a female, house them in different terrariums - the female spider kills the male after mating.
- Do not leave a newly acquired tarantula outside the nursery. Being in unfamiliar environments is distressing for the animal, which may panic or become aggressive and try to bite the owner.
- It is not recommended to keep a tarantula in a home with dogs or cats. These can easily cause her mortal injury. At the same time, her bite can also be fatal to a domestic dog or cat.