Tarantulas are primarily nocturnal, meaning that they are most active after dark. As a result, light is not considered to be a necessity for their successful care. That said, there are some reasons why you might want to consider providing some form of light to your tarantula.
Why Give Tarantulas Light?
If tarantulas don’t need light then the obvious question is why you might consider providing any form of light at all? Here there are a few options to consider:
Aesthetic Tank Appeal
Many of us invest considerable time and money into creating visually appealing tarantula habitats.
We add rocks, bark, moss and more to simulate the wild environment.
Under these circumstances there is no denying that adding an artificial light makes the whole tank look better.
Sometimes the right light can be the only difference between an “ok” tarantula cage and one that looks incredible.
If you have opted for a naturalistic or bio-active tarantula tank then you’ll need to consider any live plants in the tank. These will need the right wavelengths of light if they are to thrive.
If you go down the bio-active route you’ll therefore want to consider adding a proper light that encourages plant growth.
Better View of Your Pet
As tarantulas are nocturnal they often go unseen by their owners. Some keepers therefore opt to add lighting so they can better see their pets at night.
It is generally accepted that tarantulas cannot see red light. Adding some red LEDs to the cage can therefore be a great way to enjoy watching your pet, without disturbing it in any way.
Simulating Seasonal Cycles
In the wild tarantulas go through very obvious seasonal cycles. They moult at similar times each year, they lay eggs at similar times and so on. Some keepers believe that day length may form part of the environmental cues that help to determine these seasonal cycles. The science on this one is, however, in its infancy.
Do Tarantulas Need UV Lights?
Tarantulas do not need UV light.
Unlike many pet lizards, there is no evidence that UV light is needed to absorb calcium from the diet or build a strong skeleton.
Indeed, the fact that tarantulas are nocturnal and spend most of the daylight hours hidden away from view underlines the lack of importance of UV light.
Any light you provide can simply be for aesthetic purposes.
What Lights are Good for Tarantulas?
There is currently no evidence that tarantulas benefit from any sunlight. Therefore there is no need to provide expensive UV lights and suchlike. Simple low-wattage bulbs can work well for tarantulas.
For those of us with larger collections LED lights are particularly popular. They allow you to add lighting to a range of tarantula cages at the same time.
Many LED lights will change colour on command. In this way you can use white light during the day to make your tanks look great. Then in the evening you can switch to red light, so as to not disturb your tarantula when it is most active.
Should My Tarantula Get Natural Sunlight?
There is nothing wrong with exposing your tarantula to natural sunlight. However consideration should be given to preventing overheating. The last thing you want is to position your tarantula tank in direct sunlight. Under these conditions a tarantula tank can quickly heat up, slowly cooking the spider inside.
However there is nothing wrong with indirect sunlight.
All the same, if your tarantula tank naturally receives some daylight it is advisable to ensure a suitable hide is present. In this way your tarantula can hide away somewhere dark where it feels safe during daylight hours.