Which tarantulas make good pets? 0 208

Pet tarantula

Even if you’re not afraid of spiders, you might not think of them as a good pet. However, you’d be wrong. Spiders make great unusual pets; easy to look after, they don’t need lots of space and you can watch them for hours.

A tarantula is one of the most common spiders to have as a pet, but which type makes a good pet?

Chilean Rose Tarantula

The Chilean Rose Tarantula is a calm, easy to care for species. Males live for around five years, and females can live up to 20 years. They’ll grow to about 5 inches.

They’re ground dwelling, so will need a larger floor space, and the tank doesn’t need to be tall. Lining a ten gallon heated tank with a few inches of soil or peat moss will give them the environment they need to thrive.

Include places for them to hide behind such as logs, rocks and pieces of bark. The tank needs to be kept at around 29 degrees, and about 65% humidity.

They eat pinkie mice, crickets and other large insects, and you can buy these from most pet stores.

Salmon Pink Birdeater

This tarantula can grow to 10 inches. The males live for about five years, but the females can live for up to 25 years. This spider is best for a slightly more experienced tarantula keeper as they can be aggressive.

Also ground dwelling, keep at temperatures of up to 30 degrees. This tarantula needs a humidity level of up to 85%. Provide a tank with a larger floor space, with places to hide and rocks and logs they can scuttle over.

Feed them crickets, large insects and the occasional pinkie mouse once a week.

The Mexican Redknee

Mexican Redknee spiders can live up to 20 years. Similar to the Chilean Rose, they are docile, calm spiders that are easy to look after and grow up to five inches.

Also ground dwelling, they need around 10cm of coir or peat flooring, as well as a place to hide. Keep the tank up to 31 degrees celsius.

Mexican Redknees also eat crickets and large insects, and occasionally pinkie mice.

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How to house a tarantula 0 307

If you are planning on getting yourself a pet tarantula, you’re going to need to learn how to take care of your new arachnid friend. Here’s some information to consider when housing your new spider:

Tank size and type

Make sure you research your specific species of tarantula so that you can get them exactly what they need to be comfortable. You won’t necessarily need a large house for your spider, depending on the species. A tank which is too large may actually be a bad idea, as it can make a spider’s prey difficult to find.

If you have a terrestrial or burrowing tarantula, you should purchase a tank which is around three times the spider’s leg span in length and twice the leg span in width. Aquariums often work well for housing spiders, ranging in size from around a two and a half to a five-gallon tank.

Typically, you don’t want a tank that’s too tall as it can be dangerous or even fatal for the spider if it falls. However, arboreal tarantulas will require a tall tank. This is so they have room to climb, and you’ll also need climbing apparatus like branches so the spider can spin its web.

Decor

Spiders aren’t social animals, so it’s sensible to house your tarantula alone to prevent them from getting agitated. All tanks will require a ventilated lid which has been carefully secured, as tarantulas are very good at escaping. At the bottom of the tank, you’ll need to provide a substrate of vermiculite which is between two and four inches deep. This gives the spider room to burrow. Burrowing types of tarantula will need a specific type of substrate, and all tarantulas will require places to hide in their cage.

Heating and light

Your tarantula will need heating pads in their tank. Most species of tarantula prefer the temperature between 75 and 85 degrees. Keep the cage away from windows and overly lit areas of the room, as tarantulas actually prefer darkness.

Find out more about caring for pet spiders

Photo: tarantula by lwolfartist licensed under Creative commons 2

Caring for stick insects 0 353

Found predominantly in the subtropics and tropics, stick insects can make awesome pets, especially for anyone who loves creepy crawlies. They are also great for people who don’t have as much time or space to care for larger animals.

Read on to find out more about taking care of stick insects:

Where to house your stick insect

Your stick insects will require an enclosure, net-cage or terrarium. The minimum requirements for the size of your cage should be three times the height of the insect and twice the width. If you decide to look after multiple stick insects, you’ll need to factor this in regarding the size of your cage. Stick insects require all of this space because they use it when they’re moulting.

Cover the floor of the enclosure with a substrate that absorbs moisture, like tissue paper, pebbles or potting earth. The tank will need to be cleaned regularly, as stick insects produce a lot of droppings. The enclosure’s roof needs to be made from mesh or netting to ensure that the stick insects can use it to hang from when they are moulting.

What to feed your stick insect

The leaves that your stick insect will eat depend on its species, so make sure you do some research into which species your stick insect is and supply it with the correct food. Stick insects will only eat leaves that are fresh, so to make sure that the leaves you give them are kept fresh, put the branches (with leaves on) in a container with a small amount of water. This helps to keep them tasty for your pets.

The temperature and humidity to keep your stick insect comfortable

Again, you will need to do some research into the particular species of your insect to find out what temperature they like to be kept at. To ensure proper humidity, you will need to spray water into the tank between once a day and once a week, depending on the type of tank and species you have.

Photo: stick insect by theyounz licensed under Creative commons 2