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Guide to Keeping a Terrestrial Tarantula
RESOURCE ARTICLE

Guide to Keeping a Terrestrial Tarantula

Introduction

Buying any pet is a big decision but there are several things you may want to consider first to make sure that a Terrestrial Tarantula is the pet for you:

  • Are all of the people in your household happy with a tarantula coming to live there?
  • Can you guarantee that you will have a regular supply of live insects to feed to your tarantula?
  • Are you happy to keep live insects in your home?
  • Are you prepared to look after an animal that could live up to and beyond 20 years?
  • Is there someone that you can ask to look after your pet if you are away?

Types of Terrestrial Tarantula

Terrestrial Tarantulas have been kept and bred as pets for many years and as such obtaining a captive bred animal should not be a problem.

There are many species of tarantula that live in a terrestrial environment. We recommend the following three species as the best tarantula to start out with:

Buying a Terrestrial Tarantula

We recommend buying a Terrestrial Tarantula from a reputable pet shop. The shop will also be able to help you with a supply of good quality live food items to feed to your tarantula.

Check before purchasing:

The Tarantula is feeding well
Any reputable pet shop should be able to provide answers on how often the tarantula is being fed and what type and size of live food it enjoys most.
The Tarantula is healthy.
5 point animal health check:
  • Make sure that the animal is alert and responsive.
  • The legs should support the body effortlessly and be break free.
  • The underside of the tarantula should be clean and free from splits or ruptures.
  • The tarantula should be free from any stuck moults.
  • The tarantula should be a keen feeder.

Caring For Your Terrestrial Tarantula

Caring For Your Terrestrial Tarantula

  • Ease of Care:Beginner
  • Size:12-17cm (4-7”)
  • Life Span:Up to 15 years
  • Diet:Insects
  • Temperament:Friendly (for species mentioned)
  • Background Temp:24-27⁰C (75-80⁰F)
  • HOT Spot:Not required

Equipment Needed

Top Tips

  • Provide a suitable background temperature to allow the tarantula to function as normal.
  • You may not see your tarantula drink but always provide a fresh water source for when it chooses to drink.
  • A piece of wet sponge or insect gel can be used in the tarantula’s water dish to make it easier for the tarantula to rehydrate.
  • Ensure the enclosure is well ventilated.
  • Using 5-8cms of substrate allows the tarantula to display natural burrowing behaviour which gives it a humid place to rest.

Environment

Heating

Originating from a warm environment, Terrestrial Tarantulas require a warm background temperature within their enclosure to help them to flourish.

A heat mat run on a thermostat is the ideal solution for providing heat. The heat mat should be located on the outside of the enclosure, either on the back or one of the sides.

The heat mat should be used in conjunction with a heat mat thermostat.

Heat mat thermostats are designed to regulate temperatures using a thermostat probe (also known as a sensor). Correct placement of the probe is critical to avoid overheating and injury to the Terrestrial Tarantula. Insert the probe through the lid of the terrarium and tape directly to the inside of the enclosure adjacent to the heat mat. The probe cable should be taped 2-5cm (1-2”) back from the actual probe sensor to allow for a correct temperature reading and avoid it becoming dislodged.

Temperature and Monitoring

As a rough guide daytime and night time temperatures of between 24-27⁰C (75-80⁰F) should be provided. Make sure temperatures are checked regularly to ensure that there are no extreme fluctuations.

Lighting

A LED Light should be used with these tarantulas to give them to day and night cycle. They are a nocturnal species and should be provided with plenty of dark hiding areas to sleep away from the brightness of a LED Light.

Substrates and Decoration

Personal choice will dictate how you decorate your Glass Terrarium or Plastic Faunarium but we recommend the following as a guide:

  • Substrates: Terrestrial Tarantulas can be housed on Spider Substrate or a Bioactive Substrate. These substrates will retain essential moisture, helping to maintain humidity levels. The tarantula will also be able to display its natural burrowing behaviour
  • Wood for climbing and hiding under.
  • Artificial or live plants for decoration and to provide darker areas for the Terrestrial Tarantula to hide away in if it chooses to.

Diet and Water

Babies through to adults should be offered appropriately sized insects. A tarantula uses its fangs to puncture its captured prey which renders it motionless. Digestive juices are then passed into the prey item which turns the insides to liquid allowing the tarantula to suck up the nutritious juices.

A source of fresh water must always be available for these tarantulas, a piece of wet sponge or an insect gel can be used in a shallow dish to allow the tarantula to hydrate itself. The substrate in the tarantula’s enclosure should be lightly misted a couple of times a week to ensure that the humidity is kept at around 65-75%.

Supplementation

Terrestrial Tarantulas do not need to receive additional supplementation to their diet.

Health & Hygiene

Always wash your hands, surfaces and equipment with warm water and disinfectant immediately before and after handling your frog, their enclosure and any other equipment.

Additional Information

Tarantulas are notoriously good at escaping, ensure that the enclosure is fully secured, tarantula hide and seek is not the best game to be playing.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • Are Terrestrial Tarantulas aggressive?

    The Terrestrial Tarantulas that have been covered in this care sheet are normally docile but there is always a chance that a tarantula may get startled and flick hairs from its abdomen by rubbing one of its back legs across it. Never hold a tarantula close to your eyes.

  • How long will my Terrestrial Tarantula live for?

    A female Terrestrial Tarantula may live for up to 15 years in captivity if cared for correctly. Male tarantulas normally reach 4-6 years old.

  • What does Terrestrial mean?

    Terrestrial is the word used to describe an animal which lives most or all of its life at ground level.

  • I have had my Terrestrial Tarantula for a few months and have never seen him drink?

    Tarantulas can go for long periods without a drink but ensure a fresh water source is available so the tarantula can drink when it chooses to.

  • I think my tarantula has died, it is on its back with its legs curled up?

    Every now and again a tarantula will moult its old skin. To do this the tarantula will roll on to its back and climb out of its old skin by pushing the skin away from its body. Once the tarantula has finished moulting it will turn back on to its legs.

  • How often do I need to feed my Tarantula?

    Offer food twice a week to begin with, the tarantula may require more or less than this as it grows. It is best to monitor how much the tarantula is eating and adjust the feeding schedule accordingly.

  • Is a Tarantula a spider?

    Yes, Tarantulas are spiders; they belong to a group called arachnids which comprises of Scorpions and Tarantulas.

  • What other types of beginner tarantula are there?

    Pink Toe Tarantula.

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