Tarantula Care Sheet

Info

Tarantula, photo by Scragz

Tarantula, photo by Scragz

  • Scientific Name: Aphonopelma sp.
  • Lifespan: Approximately 15-25 years
  • Handling: Some tarantulas may be defensive while others may be calm. Only handle your tarantula when he/she is not in a defensive mode.
  • Size: Approximately 6-9 inches, with some recorded as getting as big as dinner plates.
  • Care: Easy
  • Community: No. Most tarantulas are cannibalistic so it’s not such a good idea to house them together.
  • Lifestyle: Nocturnal, active at night.

Enclosure

A 10 gallon tank usually does best for a single tarantula. However the size enclosure primarily depends on the size of the tarantula. For a better perspective on which size enclosure to choose for your tarantula is to measure the length of the spider with it’s legs fully spread out and pick an enclosure which has a floorspace of 3-4 times that size.
Note: A lid is necessary on the tank enclosure to avoid escapes.

Furnishing

1) Hiding spots which may include cork bark, hollow logs, driftwood and etc. This allows them to retreat to places when they want to sleep or even when they feel threatened.

 

2) One bowl. Fill the bowl with unchlorinated water for hydration.

Lighting and Heating

Scorpions do not need a UVB bulb or any other type of special lighting. All they need is a source of heat through a regular house bulb. As with most arachnids, it is important to keep your scorpion away from direct UV light. This species is especially sensitive to UV light, and such exposure will cause stress and ultimately death

Temperatures should be…

Day Time

73 – 77 °F is recommended.

Night Time

No lights are necessary. 70 – 73 °F is recommended. If it is too cold to achieve this temperature without lights, I recommend using a heat emitter or a reptile infrared heat light. Make sure to check temps at night, to reassure the temps are good to avoid stress.

Feeding

Tarantulas will eat crickets, grasshoppers, moths, mealworms, superworms, houseflies and  small cockroaches. Some tropical tarantulas readily accept earthworms, and some larger tarantulas will accept live baby rodents, lizards, and snakes. When feeding, a good rule of thumb is to offer prey items that are half the spider’s leg span or just slightly smaller than the length of its body.

Humidity and Hydration

Humidity levels depend on the tarantula species you have. Some species may need humid climates while others may need dry desert like climates. If your humidity levels need to be high, you may achieve this by spraying down the tarantulas enclosure twice daily, once in the morning and once in the evening.

 

For hydration, your tarantula will mainly get it’s hydration from it’s food that it eats. You may also put a water dish to drink and hydrate from. When filling the water bowl, make sure to use de-chlorinated water. Make sure to change out the water as necessary to avoid bacteria buildup and to make sure the water is clean. Use a bottle cap for baby tarantulas or a shallow water dish for adult tarantulas.

Substrate

People use different substrate and have different opinions. You should choose a substrate that is easy to clean and that will provide a good amount of humidity. The two preferred substrates are eco-earth and forest bed. You should have a few inches of substrate that will allow your tarantula to dig if he/she chooses to.

Molting

Tarantulas need to shed their complete exoskeleton in order to grow. This is the time when the tarantula is its most vulnerable. Molting may occur as often as once a month in young ‘spiderlings’ or only once every year or two in adults. As a molt approaches, the tarantula may refuse food, sometimes for several weeks or even months prior to the molting. Further evidence of an impending molt is reduced activity, increased use of silk as it creates a web ‘molting mat’ and dull coloration. If you believe your tarantula will soon molt it is extra important to make sure you remove uneaten food and pay close attention to temperature and humidity levels. A slight increase in humidity is recommended. Leave the tarantula undisturbed (not handling or moving it).

 

When a terrestrial tarantula molts it will turn onto its “back” and sometimes on it’s side. Don’t be alarmed. It is not dead. Dead tarantulas usually are ‘right side up’ and have their legs curled beneath their bodies. Pressure changes within the molting tarantula will cause its old exoskeleton to separate at the carapace and abdomen. It will pull its legs out of its old skin. The cast exoskeleton (or exuvium) will look much like a hollowed-out tarantula. Once the process is completed,the pale-colored tarantula will rest for as much of a day and then spend the course of the next week or so with its legs outstretched as its short growing process occurs and its new exoskeleton hardens. Do not disturb or feed your tarantula for at least a week after molting. A young tarantulas may fully harden in three or four days, but an adult may require two weeks. It is extremely delicate at this time and can even be injured by attempting to flick urticating hairs off its soft abdomen. Leave it alone.

Leave a Reply