Holy Spirit Interactive
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Inside HSI Youth

The Tarantula

Before you buy your Tarantula

Image courtesy http://web.ics.purdue.edu/~slichti/photos/bugbowl2001/images/photos/Tarantula-01.jpg This is important, so don't forget it. Thousands of people all over the world, including kids, keep tarantulas as pets, but a few people have been known to have bad reactions to tarantula bites. Just to be on the safe side, you should make sure that you're choosing one from among the less venomous types. The best way to keep safe is to never handle your tarantula, and instead look at it through the tank glass.

In any case, pet shops usually sell the ones that are considered 'safe', but don't skip the educational bit, and read up as much as you can about your new friend before you invite him or her home. There are lots of websites that tell you about choosing and caring for tarantulas, and as a responsible pet owner, you ought to check them out.

Also, make a firm decision that if you do want to handle your pet, you won't do it too much. Think of how you'd feel if King Kong kept picking you up and prodding you every time!

Set up a small 5-10 gallon tank that is about two to three times wider than the leg span of the spider, two-and-a-half times as long, and only as tall as its leg span. 2-3 inches of vermiculite can be used as a 'substrate' (the bedding your spider will walk on), covered by a thin layer of chipped bark, which should be available at the pet store. This must be kept damp to maintain the humidity levels. Wood, cork bark, or half of a small clay flower pot can be used as a Hairy's hideaway. Use a locking screen to cover the tank, because tarantulas can climb glass and can easily escape if you leave the tank open. That would make him Hairy Houdini now, wouldn't it!

Remember, the two most important factors in keeping tarantulas healthy are the humidity level and a constant temperature above 75 degrees Fahrenheit. Some even require temperatures at around 80 degrees Fahrenheit. Under-tank heating pads are the safest way to warm Spidey up, and these can be found at stores that keep reptiles. Light bulbs or hot rocks aren't a very good idea because they can burn or dry tarantulas out. A humidity gauge will tell you how humid it is inside the tank, and this level should not drop below 60%.

Next: Choosing your pet

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