Spiders As Pets
Although not for everyone, many children and adults enjoy raising spiders, also known as arachnids, as pets. Tarantulas and wolf spiders are interesting to observe and are the two most popular types of spiders kept as pets.
Before purchasing one for yourself, it is best to do your homework so you will be able to properly determine whether spider ownership is a good fit for you, and for other members of your household.
Pros and Cons to Consider
Here are some of the advantages of choosing a spider for a pet:
- Spiders are quiet and clean.
- They can live quite comfortably in a small terrarium.
- Pet spiders are interesting to observe.
- Spiders are inexpensive to maintain.
- You may be able to catch one as opposed to purchasing a spider from a pet store.
- A spider requires little to no socialization, so it won’t be lonely if you only own one.
Possible disadvantages of raising a pet spider:
- Nearly all spiders are poisonous to some degree. Some spiders have more potent venom than others and this should be taken into consideration before choosing a spider for a pet. Some people are allergic to spider venom, even if it has a low degree of potency.
- Tarantulas have more than one mode of protection. In addition to mildly poisonous venom, they can flick their hairs if they feel threatened.
- Many spiders are known escape artists and need a properly sealed environment.
- Most spiders, even in ideal conditions, don’t live very long. Tarantulas, the exception to this rule, can live over 20 years with proper care.
- Most spiders do not enjoy being handled. Dropping a tarantula can cause its abdomen to burst, which usually results in death.
- Spiders do not react well to other household pets.
- Some states prohibit the purchase or possession of spiders.
Choosing the Right Spider
If you have decided that a spider is right for you but you have never owned one before, it is probably best to select a species that isn’t delicate or dangerous. Some tarantula types that are ideal for beginners are the Chilean Rose or the Mexican Redleg. Their venom is fairly mild and they are docile compared to other tarantulas.
Find out about the care (housing, environment, diet) needed for the spider you are considering. While many spiders are inexpensive to obtain, providing them with the right environment can be complicated for some of the more exotic species.
Food and Water
Spiders are predators. Their diet consists of crickets, moths, grasshoppers, bees, butterflies, and flies. If you plan on capturing their food yourself, be sure the insects have not been exposed to pesticides or you may kill your pet spider. Usually spiders only need to eat one or two times each week, although this depends on the size and species, so check available information to ensure proper health of your pet.
Very small and shallow water bowls are all that is required, or even a soggy piece of sponge or cotton ball will provide sufficient moisture.
Although a spider is not the choice pet for everyone, they can give children and adults alike an interest in science and can also be a wonderful learning tool.
Links and Resources:
American Tarantula Society Headquarters Most Popular Pet Spider, the Tarantula
Pet Spiders and Pet Spider Care Pet Spider Care
The Spider Myth Site: Superstitions, Myths, and Misconceptions The Truth about Arachnids
Caring For Your Tarantula Spider Care
Guidelines for Keeping a Spider as a Pet Spiders as Pets
Cool and Educational Spider Facts All About Pet Spiders
Pet Care Spider Facts Fun Facts about Spiders
Boys Life Fun Stuff Boy’s Life Magazine, Spiders as Pets
The Pet Spider Chats and Forums for Spider Owners
Spider Digestion & Food Storage Feeding Your Spider (Downloadable Booklet PDF)
Spiders of the USA USA Spider Identification Chart with Venom Information
Spider Bites Medical Information on Spider Bites