CHAPTERS

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Chapter 1: Understanding Tarantulas

Chapter 2: Things to Know Before Getting a Tarantula

Chapter 3: Ten Best Tarantula Pets for Beginners

Chapter 4: Purchasing Your Tarantula

Chapter 5: Caring for Your New Tarantula

Chapter 6: Feeding Your Tarantula

Chapter 7: Tarantula Handling and Temperament

Chapter 8: Breeding Your Tarantula

Chapter 3: Ten Best Tarantula Pets for Beginners

, Chapter Three: Ten Best Tarantula Pets for Beginners, Tarantula Spiders

The choice to keep a Tarantula Spider as a pet is not one to be taken lightly, and with that comes the choice of which species is right for you.

The choice is nearly infinite with more than 800 species the world over.  In general, they require little space, and are pretty easy to care for – but it would still depend on the species.  And of course, tarantulas have a dangerous reputation, many species of which actually live up to.

This is why it is important to do your research beforehand, and this is doubly more important if you are a beginner at keeping pet tarantulas.  While most have venomous bites, their venom is not usually enough to kill a person.  But this isn’t true for all species.  Some people can have a strong allergic reaction to the tarantula venom, and some species have venom that can be fatal for humans.  Being wild animals, the first thing you should do if you are planning on keeping one as a pet is to treat them with the respect they are due.

With so many tarantula species to choose from, how do you know which is the best one for you?  In this chapter, we cover ten beginner tarantulas that have become popular for first time owners.  Most of these are ground dwellers, and are preferred because they tend to be slower moving compared to arboreal types.

The Chilean Rose Tarantula or the Grammostola rosea, also sometimes known as the rose hair tarantula, the Chilean Fire Tarantula, or the Chilean Red-haired tarantula, is one of the most common beginner tarantula pets available.

For one thing, they are hardy and docile, easy to care for, and are inexpensive and are one of the more commonly tarantula species available in American and European pet stores.  This is on account of the large numbers of wild caught Chilean rose tarantulas exported from their native Chile into the pet trade.

Origin: Chile, Bolivia and Argentina

Size: 4-5 – 5-5 inches

Natural Habitat: burrows in desert and scrub regions

Recommended Habitat: small 5-10 gallon tank, with a width 2-3 times wider than the spider’s leg span, and a height equivalent to the spider’s leg span.  Provide 2-3 inches or substrate made from moss, soil or vermiculite, a shelter or retreat for hiding made of wood or a small clay flower pot. 

Habitat Requirements: Keep at temperatures of 70-85 F (21-30 C) and humidity levels of 60-70%

Diet: Insects such as grasshoppers, moths, beetles, cockroaches, mealworms, and for full grown spiders, occasional pinkies.  In the wild, they also feed on small lizards and mammals.

Handling: Docile and skittish, but can become aggressive if handled too frequently

Lifespan: 15-20 years, or longer

Also known as the red-legged tarantula, the Mexican Redleg is distinctive for having a dark-colored body with the second joint of its leg as either pink, red, or orange.  Its carapace is lightly-colored, and it has a black triangle at the front.

This is another popular species among tarantula keepers because of its docile temperament, its unique coloration, and its impressive size.

Origin: Mexico and Panama

Size: 5-6 inches legspan

Natural Habitat: scrublands

Recommended Habitat: 5-10 gallon tank with a locking screen top, with an under-tank heat pad.  Provide a substrate about two inches deep, a hide area, and a shallow water dish  

Habitat Requirements: Keep at temperatures of 75-85 F(24-30 C) and humidity levels at 65-70%

Diet: Gut-loaded crickets, mealworms, or waxworms, with an occasional pinkie for larger spiders

Handling: Relative docile and skittish, and very reluctant to bite even with distressed.  It protects itself mainly by flicking urticating hair when threatened

Lifespan: males can live up to 5 years, females may live until 20 – 30 years

Distinctive for their vibrant colors and “red knees,” the Mexican Redknee is another popular choice among tarantula hobbyists.  These are a large species with a long lifespan, and are now considered to be the “classic” pet tarantula.

Generally docile, they are only slightly venomous to humans, and can kick urticating hairs from their abdomens if threatened.

This species has been bred successfully in captivity over the years.  Unfortunately, their numbers in the wild have declined due to excessive exports of wild caught specimens to the Chinese market, as well as systematic extermination by the local populace.  The Mexican Redknee was listed as endangered by CITES in 1985.

Origin: western faces of the Sierra Madre Occidental and Sierra Madre del Sur mountain ranges in Mexico, particularly the tropical rain forests in Colima and Guerrero

Size: 5-5.5 inches legspan

Natural Habitat: deep burrows in soil banks near vegetation in deciduous tropical forests

Recommended Habitat: 5-10 gallon tank with a width 2-3 times wider than the legspan, and height twice as tall as the leg span, equipped with substrate that is at least half the height of the terrarium to give them enough space for burrowing

Habitat Requirements: Keep at temperatures of 75-80 F (24-30 C) and humidity levels at 50-60%

Diet: Crickets and other large insects, smaller insects, and adults will occasionally eat pinkies, lizards, and even a mouse

Handling: Generally docile and calm, hardy and colorful

Lifespan: females can live from 15-25 years, or even up to 30 years

Also sometimes known as the Curly Hair Tarantulas or Wooly Tarantulas, this species are another popular beginner tarantulas among hobbyists for their docile and calm temperament.

This spider is so called because of their characteristic long hair with a characteristic curl.  They are generally plump, with dark brown to black hair, and a golden-bronze sheen because of longer gold hairs all over its body.

This is a nocturnal species that hunts by ambushing its prey, using its venom to paralyze its victim as well as beginning digestion.  Afterwards, the Curly hair tarantula sucks up its prey’s proteins and fats until only remnants of undigested parts are left.

Even though this species has been bred successfully in captivity, please take note that this species is listed in the CITES convention due to their diminishing numbers in the wild.  Currently, international trade is only allowed via trade permits and according to quotas.

Origin: Costa Rica

Size: 5-5.5 inches legspan

Natural Habitat: burrows in tropical scrublands, living around the base of large trees, near rivers, or in patches of cleared rain forest

Recommended Habitat: 5-10 gallon tank with a width 2-3 times wider than the legspan, and height twice as tall as the leg span, equipped with substrate that should be at least 3-4 inches

Habitat Requirements: Keep at temperatures of 70-85 F (25-30 C) and humidity levels at 65-80%

Diet: Crickets and other large insects, smaller insects, and adults will occasionally eat pinkies, lizards, and even a mouse

Handling: Generally docile, gentle, and calm, hardy and colorful, but will kick urticating hairs from its abdomen when threatened

Lifespan: females can live from 3-10 years, with males generally living for a shorter lifespan

A brownish-black tarantula with yellow striped markings near the knees, the Pink Zebra beauty is a popular pet tarantula among beginners because of its docile and tolerant temperament.  It’s a hardy species of tarantula, and slow moving, and is ideal for beginning hobbyists because it is not quick on the offensive – whether to bite, or to urticate hair.

More commonly known as the Pink Zebra Beauty, it is often confused with the Chaco Golden Knee.  But its distinguishing characteristic is the brownish-black and yellow striped markings near the knees, as opposed to the whitish markings on the Chaco Golden Knee.

Origin: Brazil, Paraguay and Argentina

Size: 5-6 inches legspan

Natural Habitat: grasslands and savannahs

Recommended Habitat: 5-10 gallon tank with a width 2-3 times wider than the legspan, and height twice as tall as the leg span, equipped with substrate that should be at least 4 inches, equipped with a piece of bark to serve as a starter burrow hide

Habitat Requirements: Keep at temperatures of 75-80 F (24-30 C) and humidity levels at 70%

Diet: Crickets and smaller insects, occasionally adults will eat a pinkie

Handling: Very docile, and hardly ever hisses or attempts to bite

Lifespan: males can live from 8-10 years, while females can live from 18-25 years

Sometimes called the Striped-Knee Tarantula, this tarantula is black with distinctive white stripes near its joints (“knees”), which accounts for its name.  Occasionally, brown coloration with tan striping may also occur – usually occurring among those that come from Nicaragua.  In the wild, they are often found in large aggregations.

This is a beautiful tarantula species that is popular among hobbyists because it is quite hardy, and comparatively inexpensive compared to other species.  It is also quite docile, but also quite fast.  They can be quite adept at escaping.

Origin: Costa Rica and other parts of Central America, including Honduras, Nicaragua, and Guatemala

Size: 4-4.5 inches legspan

Natural Habitat: deep burrows in open and semi-arid scrublands and tropical rainforests

Recommended Habitat: 5-10 gallon tank with a width 2-3 times wider than the legspan, and height twice as tall as the leg span, equipped with substrate that should be at least 4 inches, equipped with a piece of bark to serve as a starter burrow hide

Habitat Requirements: Keep at temperatures of 70-85 F (25-30 C) and humidity levels at 75-80%

Diet: Insects such as grasshoppers, cockroaches, and crickets, with adults occasionally eating pinkies

Handling: Quite docile and a bit skittish, which probably accounts for their incredible speed!  Too much handling is therefore not recommended

Lifespan: males usually live up to 5 years, females can live up to 20 years

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