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Up Close and Personal with a Pet Tarantula

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Tarantulas have really gotten an unfair depiction in the movies, but the truth is they make a cute, exotic, practically harmless pet. Of the close to 900 species of tarantulas, only a handful carries a lethal bite. The most that could happen if you’re bitten is painful swelling, much like if you’re stung by a wasp. However, it must be said that if you are allergic to insect/arachnid venom, the bite could be lethal to you; but there are not much people around with this extreme allergy. If you want to have a pet tarantula, go ahead and educate yourself about the arachnid; there are pet tarantulas suitable for newbie and for advance exotic pet owners alike.

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Why a Pet Tarantula

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Although some people looks down at a pet tarantula as nothing but hideous creatures that sits on its den just waiting to be handed its meal to gorge in, some actually saw the real beauty and thrill of raising a tarantula. Tarantulas are cute arachnids with color patterns and endearing 8 eyes that look back at you with curiosity. They don’t need much space and handling so that they’re perfect for apartment dwellers and busy pet owners. And when it’s time to entertain, tarantulas are always ready to spark the interest and adrenalin from your guests making the pet the center of attraction for a good length of time.

Choosing a Pet Tarantula

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There are two kinds of tarantulas: arboreal and terrestrial tarantulas. In general, the terrestrial (living on the ground) tarantulas are the best species for a pet tarantula newbie because they move slower than the other type. Arboreal tarantulas are fast movers so that you need to be a master in handling spiders in order not to harm the arachnids or yourself trying to chase them in their tank – or on your body. Some of the popular tarantula species for beginners are the following:

– Chilean Rose
– Costa Rican Zebra
– Curly Hair Tarantula
– Mexican Blonde
– Mexican Redknee
– Mexican Redleg

Housing a Pet Tarantula

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Tarantulas are cannibals so never put two spiders in one tank. A 5-10 gallon fish tank with sterilized soil or eco earth substrate and locking mesh cover is the ideal housing for your pet. Tarantulas love damp and humid surrounding so make sure to spray water on the substrate regularly; a heat pad should also be placed under the substrate or the tank to maintain a 70-80 degrees Fahrenheit temperature in the tank. Your pet spider loves to weave silk and hide in inverted broken pots or rotten logs, so use this as décor in its tank.

Feeding a Pet Tarantula

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Tarantulas are not picky eaters, so you can feed it one type of live insect for the rest of its life if you need to. If you can’t raise the live crickets yourself, make sure that there are specialized exotic pet store supplies nearby to get your crickets from. A small to medium size tarantula eats 2-3 crickets a week, and a fully grown, humongous spider can eat up to 6 crickets in a week.

The Danger of Pet Tarantula

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For insect- and arachnid-bite-allergic people, then a pet tarantula is definitely not advised. But for most pet lovers, tarantulas are not that dangerous. The worse that a tarantula can do to you is to impair your vision or blind you with its needle-like hairs that it can release with threatened. But you should be very careless for this to happen because tarantulas are really pretty docile animals. If you happen to shake the arachnid violently or knock its tank decoration to it, be alert to see the spider rubbing its legs to its belly because it’s trying to get back at you by releasing the blinding hairs into the air. Stay away from your pet and return only when the spider is settled, and vacuum the tank and the proximity to rid of the fallen hairs.

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