How to Care for a Pet Tarantula

PetsExotic Animals

  • Author Jm Daniels
  • Published July 17, 2012
  • Word count 442

Are you considering getting a tarantula? If so, you may want to read through this article to get a basic idea of the kind of care required to sustain this unconventional, furry pet.

The first thing you should know about tarantulas is that there are two main kinds you can keep as pets: burrowing tarantulas and climbing tarantulas. You will alter the environmental setup depending on which kind of tarantula you have. The second thing you must know is which species are good for beginner tarantula owners. There are plenty of great starter tarantulas. A few examples include the Mexican Red-knee, Curly Hair, Common Pink Toe, Costa Rican Stripe Knee, and the Chilean Rose. You'd be well-advised to understand the breed you are buying before you buy it. Certain species of tarantula are better left to experienced owners. Although they are beautiful, species such as the Cobalt Blue and Orange Baboon can be extremely aggressive and possess potentially dangerous venom. Therefore, you should start out with the more amiable breeds.

Necessary Equipment:

You'll need a small aquarium tank or critter keeper to house the tarantula. The enclosure should be around 3x the leg-span of your tarantula in length, and if it is a burrowing tarantula, twice the leg-span in depth. Since tarantulas can climb the walls of the enclosure, you don't want the walls to be too high for a burrowing tarantula because they can fall and injure themselves. Next you need potting soil or peat moss to use as substrate in the bottom of the tank. Naturally, a burrowing tarantula is going to require deeper substrate than a climbing tarantula. Aim for about 4 inches deep, or use the leg-span of your spider as a rule of thumb. If you happen to own an arboreal(climbing) tarantula, you'll need to get branches and twigs for it to climb. The walls of the container should be quite high for these breeds.

Do not use bright lights of any kind around your tarantula. They prefer dimness and darkness. Although they prefer temperatures of 75-85 degrees F., any necessary heating should be done with an under-tank heat pad and not a light.


Tarantulas are mainly insectivores, although they can also eat small mice and reptiles. Most pet tarantulas are fed a staple diet of crickets. Thankfully you don't need to spend too much money on crickets for a tarantula because they tend to only eat about two or three crickets every 2 weeks.

Provide water in a shallow jar lid or bowl. The water source should be no more than an inch deep for an adult spider, and even more shallow for a younger one.

JM Daniels is the author of Cricket Breeding Made Easy, a guide that teaches pet owners how to raise their own feeder crickets.

Raising crickets can be fun as a hobby and also cut back on feeding expenses of reptile pets. Learn more about raising crickets at

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