How to Care for Spiders

Tarantula Pet

Choosing a spider as a pet might be a little odd, some would even go as far as to say eccentric, but we don’t see it as either mad or extravagant.

It’s a question that’s come up once or twice when teenagers have announced their desire to keep a tarantula. Tarantulas are by far the most commonly bought spider pet, so we’ll concentrate on them. Often the parental reaction is one of horror and our Balham Doggy Centre staff have been asked to ‘talk some sense into the boy’.

We did a bit of research and discovered that most of what people believe about tarantulas is incorrect, here are the three most common myths debunked.

Tarantulas are very venomous and so very dangerous

They are venomous, but for most species the venom is about on a par with a bee sting. It’s possible to have an anaphylactic reaction to spider bites in the same way that some people react to bee stings, and this reaction can be dangerous, but there has never been an adult human death directly attributable to a tarantula bite.

Some species are more aggressive than others and so would not be recommended for a novice spider keeper. A good place to start would be with a species known for it’s placid nature and low toxicity, such as the Chile Rose tarantula.

Spiders are exotic pets so bound to be expensive

No! You can buy a tarantula from a reputable dealer for less than £20. You can buy a spider care starter kit containing everything you need except the spider for less than £40. Add these two together and you’re talking less than the cost of initial vaccinations and chipping for a dog or cat, and spiders are much cheaper to feed!

Spiders are exotic pets so must be difficult to keep

Once again, no! The hardest thing about keeping a spider might well be finding someone to pop in and feed it when you’re away. Spiders need to be fed 2­3 times a week but can go for long periods without food.

How to Care for Spiders

Burrowing types will like having something to burrow into and most need a moist atmosphere, so occasional misting of the tank will keep them comfortable and healthy. You will need a heat mat, but that’s likely to be supplied with the starter kit. They do need live food so if feeding crickets or other insects to your pet will upset you, don’t keep spiders.

Easy care, quiet, odourless, cheap and long lived. Spiders aren’t the pet for everyone, but if it’s what you want we don’t think you’re in the least bit mad!

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