So, you’ve decided you’d like to bring home a new tarantula and you need to gather up all the supplies to get you started. Preparedness is an important aspect of owning any pet, so it is important to get all the essentials so that you can properly care for your new tarantula.
There are many different species of tarantula that have different needs, so keep this in mind when you are shopping for your supplies. In this article, we’ve created a list of all the things you need to get you off on the right foot with your new tarantula. We will also touch base on some more specific care requirements and tips. Here’s what you need to get started.
The 10 Essential Tarantula Supplies
It’s a good idea to have a mister on hand in case you need to add some moisture to the substrate. There are different ways you can go about moisture to the enclosure but this is certainly the easiest way to do so.
This helps keep your tarantula properly hydrated, helps in the molting process, and is good for their health overall. Some species will require more moist environments than others, so make sure you follow the specific care requirements for the type of tarantula you own.
Tarantula Care Tips
Know Your Species
There are numerous tarantula species available in the pet trade. Different species have varying care requirements and dispositions. While some species of tarantula are great for beginners, some are only recommended for experienced keepers.
You need to know what kind of habitat and lifestyle is natural to your specific species, as there are arboreal, fossorial, and terrestrial varieties, and your enclosure will need to be set up to suit their needs.
There are also “New World” and “Old World” tarantulas. New World species come from the western hemisphere, while old worlds come from the eastern hemisphere. While all tarantulas are venomous, generally old-world tarantulas have more potent venom and are only recommended for intermediate to advanced keepers.
The best thing you can do is research the different species available and what kind of care they require. Make sure to touch base with a reputable breeder, as they will be able to give you the best information on how to care for your new spider.
Learn How to Recognize a Molt
If you notice your tarantula is laying on its back, don’t fret. Many new tarantula owners become fearful that something is wrong when they notice this. When a tarantula lays on its back, it is actively molting. This is part of their growth process and how they shed their exoskeleton.
This will happen throughout the tarantula’s life but will be more frequent while they are younger and growing at a faster pace. This is a delicate process, and you should never touch your tarantula during a molt.
Post Molt Care
Do not try to feed your tarantula following a fresh molt. You will notice that their fangs are white after they’ve completed the process. Over the next few days, the fangs will change from white to red and eventually back to black. Once they’ve turned black, they will be ready to accept food again.
Caring for Spiderlings
Keep substrate moist for most spiderlings, the key is to keep it damp but not wet. The moisture helps keep them properly hydrated, assists with proper molting, and is beneficial to their overall health. Some species will require damp substrate throughout adulthood, which is why it is important to know your specific species’ needs.
You may have to pre-kill prey and potentially cut it into portions to help your spiderling eat. Depending on their size and/or species, they may be able to take down small, live prey but if they do not, you should certainly pre-kill the prey and allow them to scavenge. Spiderlings are fragile and require sustenance to properly grow and develop.
It is recommended to feed your spider prey that is approximately the size of their abdomen. Always remove any uneaten prey within 24 hours to prevent any harm from coming to your tarantula. Typically, if a tarantula refuses food it is likely in premolt and will not be eating until after the molt is completed and its fangs have re-hardened.
The Misconception About Heaters
A common misconception in tarantula keeping is that they require an outside heating source, similar to reptiles. The majority of tarantula species will do well within a temperature range of the high-60s to the mid-80s. They can also tolerate slightly higher and lower temperatures for very short durations. If you keep the temperature in your home low, it’s best to raise the temperature of the room rather than use a heating source for the enclosure.
Tarantulas may not be snuggly household pets, but they are sure beautiful and very interesting to care for and observe. It is important to have all your necessities ready anytime you bring home a new tarantula and make sure to set up their environment ideally for the specific species. Tarantulas are fairly easy to care for once you are all set up and can be with you for many years to come.
Featured Image Credit: Audrey Snider-Bell, Shutterstock