I’ve been keeping pet tarantulas for roughly 25 years so I obviously think they’re pretty neat. That said, still to this day I have people asking me whether tarantulas are really a good pet.
The answer, of course, is that it depends.
In this article I’m going to break to the good and the bad and once and for all answer the question: “is a tarantula a good pet?”
Reasons Tarantulas Make Good Pets
Let’s start with the good stuff. The reasons why I think you should definitely go ahead and get your first pet tarantula.
Just appreciate there’s negative stuff further down the page – so be sure to read the whole thing to get a balanced view.
Can Be Fascinating to Watch
Owning a tarantula is like having your own private zoo.
You get to watch and enjoy a live and exotic animal going about its daily life.
You watch it catch food, you observe it moulting and growing.
You can set up a naturalistic vivarium with bark, moss and more that becomes a real focal point in your point.
This can make owning a tarantula a fascinating hobby.
Little Space Required
400;”>Tarantulas don’t need big cages. A 30cm x 30cm tank will be large enough for many popular mid-sized tarantula species. In this way, even people living in a tiny apartment can accommodate one or two tarantulas.
Little Time Required
Once your tarantula is all set up in its home, there’s very little required in terms of ongoing maintenance. Spiders don’t need to be walked or groomed. They just get on fine with an occasional feed and water change.
Can Be Long Lived
The females of some species can live for several decades, so this isn’t a “here-today-gone-tomorrow” invertebrate pet.
Easy to Care For
While getting your first tarantula can be rather intimidating initially, many common species are quite easy to look after. This is particularly so when compared to other exotic pets like bearded dragons that have far more specialist feeding and lighting needs.
A True Talking Point
Get a tarantula and you’ll never run out of things to say again. You’ll be amazed at what a conversation starter it can be when people find out you own a giant hairy spider!
The tarantula community is a strong and passionate one. And while there will always be a few bad eggs, in general it’s a great community to be part of.
Reasons Tarantulas Make Bad Pets
So far, so good. Tarantulas sound like the perfect pet. But hold on there for a moment, because there are a few home truths you need to understand before taking the plunge…
No Pet/Owner Bond
Unlike a cat or dog, which is pleased to see you when you get home, tarantulas couldn’t care less. For some people, this lack of a “relationship” with their pet seems odd.
Pet Rocks Vs Pet Holes
Tarantulas might be beautiful and fascinating, but the truth is they don’t really “do” much.
Hobbyists talk about “pet rocks” – tarantulas that just sit there motionless for hours or days at a time.
They also have “pet holes” which, as the name suggests, applies to burrowing tarantulas that only rarely come out.
For some people, this is a disappointment, and may make tarantulas “boring” for them.
Some Species are Expensive
Tarantulas can vary massively in price, but be aware that some of the more beautiful species can come with a hefty price-tag.
Eat Live Insects
Your tarantula needs live feeder insects to eat. Roaches, crickets, locusts and the like. They can be expensive, and many people don’t like handling these live insects either.
Be confident that you’re happy to do this before you buy a pet tarantula.
I don’t know whether this a good thing or a bad thing if I’m honest. The truth is that once you get into tarantulas, one is rarely enough. If you’re not careful within weeks you start to accumulate a “hitlist” of species you want, as your collection starts to grow at a worrying pace.
Males Are Short-Lived
Once maturing, male tarantulas don’t live long. Their lifespan can be even shorter if they get munched by a female. For some people it can be a bit depressing to spend a few years lovingly rearing up a tarantula, only to find it’s a male.
Landlords Hate You
As someone who rented properties for years, rest assured that landlords don’t take kindly to tarantulas. Your choice will be taking a chance by not telling the landlord, or taking a chance by telling them and hoping they’re OK with it. Either way it’s a risk.
Family May Hate You Too
Unless you live on your own, you’ll also need to consider the opinions of your partner or family. If they’re dead-set against you getting a tarantula then your plan may be derailed before you even start.
Difficulties with Pet Boarding
Lastly, consider what you’ll do when it’s vacation time. Most boarding kennels won’t accept a tarantula no matter how well-trained he or she is!
Conclusion: Are Tarantulas Good Pets?
So – are tarantulas good pets? Personally, I think they make great pets. They’re silent, reasonably priced, easy to care for and make a fascinating hobby.
On the flipside, however, you need to be aware of the negatives when you decide if a giant spider is really the most suitable pet for your circumstances.
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