Ok, so we all know spiders get bad press. The media is always painting spiders out to be the bad guys. Despite a myriad of ways that spiders are actually helping humans, they also make for some pretty cool pets. Impossible you might say, ridiculous! But it’s true.
There’s a reason I have nearly 60 of them as my own pets, they have changed my whole life for the best! My love and passion for these fluffy 8 legged creatures is what inspired me to start my own business to help people get over their fears of this fascinating and often misunderstood creatures. So counting down, here are my top 5 reasons of why tarantulas make great pets!
5. LONG LIVED: Female tarantulas live a long time. I mean a LONG time. Some species can live over 25 years! That is way better than dogs, cats, hamsters, fish etc. So you can risk getting emotionally invested with your new 8 legged friend as she will be with you for the long run. However, if you get a male, I am sorry to say, they only live for a few years. Once they have a mature molt, many male species only live a year afterwards, sometimes even shorter. This is so in nature brother and sister never mate with one another as the males mature much quicker than the females. Clever, eh?
4. MOST GENTLE SMALL PET: Many species of tarantula are extremely placid and gentle, you’re far less likely to get bit by them then let’s say a cute hamster. That adorable little rodent may look innocent but the Brazilian Black tarantula is going to be the safer pet choice. Many hamsters bite regularly while many species of tarantula never bite despite being handled frequently. Many tarantulas are very calm and do not move fast while hamsters bolt the first chance they get. There are many tarantulas I would rather put in a child’s hand than a hamster.
However, the tarantula is really the one more in danger from handling as they are incredibly delicate and fragile. A single drop could cause their abdomen to burst so handling is not always the best idea. Another interesting thing is each tarantula has its own personality. Despite what species it is, they can be very varied in their temperaments. Some are feisty and impossible to hold, others gentle and would never bite. Some are skittish and fast, others completely chilled out and very slow moving. I find this really interesting!
3. LOW MAINTENANCE: Once you got the tank set up, there is not a lot to do. You usually only need to clean a Tarantula cage out about once a year. And you can create a live bio active tank that you never have to clean out if you add some cleanup crew like wood lice or springtails. They eat all the waste and left over food keep a naturally clean enviornment.
Also, full grown tarantulas only eat once or twice a month. Sometimes they will stop eating for months on end when they prepare to molt. Some tarantulas have been known to stop eating for a period of over two years! Most of the time you are just making sure they have fresh water and that’s it.
The only downside of tarantula feeding is that they eat live insects so you have to be prepared to feed them crickets and cockroaches! They also like locust and mealworms. Some people ask if you have to feed them mice when they are bigger, but absolutely not! Feeding rodents to tarantulas is cruel, unnecessary and illegal in the UK. It is also very risky for your tarantula as rodents can fight back.
2. COLLECTABLE: There are so many different kinds of tarantulas, so many colours, shapes, and sizes, it makes tarantula ownership a very addictive hobby. Like Pokémon, gotta catch em’ all! Tarantulas belong to Kingdom Animalia, Phylum Arthropoda, Class Arachnida, Order Araneae and Family Theraphosidae. There are over 800 documented tarantula species in the world! Most people don’t realise that there are tarantulas in all sorts of colours, not just black and brown as most are commonly depicted. My first tarantula, Chi Chi, was purple, green and pink! And super fluffy! Because they are so low maintenance, it becomes very easy to suddenly accumulate quite a few in a short space of time. The tarantula Facebook groups and online forums don’t help this either, you soon get sucked in and want to show off your new fancy tarantula to all the others!
1. THEY ARE SIMPLY FASCINATING! You would never expect it to be but as soon as you own one you will understand. Some people might say that tarantulas are boring and just sit in their tanks and do nothing but nothing could be further from the truth. It is like having a small bit of nature within your home. Because they are so different from other common animals kept as pets, it creates a unique form of fascination and all the different types of tarantulas each have different ways of living.
Some are fercious eaters and it is exciting to see a predator in acion, others build intricate webs with interlocking tunnels. When they molt, it is like an alien giving birth as they wriggle out of their old skin, kind of gross but impossible to look away from, nature’s miracle! It’s so much fun to watch them grow and develop if you get them from babies, especially finding out if it is a boy or a girl. You can learn how to sex them with a microscope!
I find tending to my tarantulas twice a week puts me into a Zen-like state and relaxes me deeply. Because I have so many it takes an hour to two hours to water and feed them all. I become shut off to all my other worries and forget all the bad things in the world. I become completely focused on them and it helps me feel very peaceful. My tarantulas have gotten me through some difficult times!
So there you have it, my top 5 reasons of why tarantulas make great pets! Though they are not a pet that will play fetch, or play with a string, there are several benefits and points of interest of owning a tarantula.
And it’s certainly easy to add a tarantula to your existing pets with little hassle. You get years with an unusual and interesting pet that is sure to add stress release and fascination to your life. And you might just get addicted! And end up with 56 tarantulas like me.
I am all about turning fear into fascination. If you are sick of your spider phobia, check out www.creaturecourage.com to find out how we can get you over your fear of spiders in just a few hours.