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BEGINNERS

Buying your first spider:

The species most commonly sold in the pet store is the Chilean rose, Phrixotrichus cala
formerly known as the Grammostola cala or a related species. Phrixotrichus is a ground-dwelling species,staying in a burrow during the day & emerging at night for a feed.

Sometimes other species of spider are imported from other countries for sale especially dealers may offer lots of different kinds.

Here i have made a small list of which i think are the best tarantulas to have as a first time pet.just click on the name and you will see a picture of the spider & a little text about. This should give you a basic guide. All of these will make a good choice for your first spider.

1)The Chiliean rose-haired tarantula (Grammostola cala)
2)The mexican red knee Tarantula(Brachypelma smithi)
3)The pink toe Tarantula (Avicularia matallica)
4)The curly hair tarantula (Brachypelma albopilosum)


Somethings to be aware of:

1) Escaping:
Always ensure that your lid is on secure, as tarantulas can easily push up a lid that is not secure and they can make themselves half of their normal size to squeeze through small gaps!

2) Pesticide:
If you are keeping tarantulas at home, pesticides should not be used,such as fly spray, ant powder, flea spray or powder or even dog & cat shampoo, as they can or will be harmful to your tarantula,also catching food from out side in the garden may also contain some pesticide or harmful chemicals.

3) Urticating hairs:

some tarantulas have fine hairs which are barbed,and contain a mild venom,which they will kick off if disturbed (see photo). T
hese hairs can cause irritation to your eyes, nose or skin, it is advisable to keep your hands and arms covered, and your face a safe distance away from the spider , when feeding or cleaning their tank.

4) Housing:

Tarantulas are excellent climbers and, no matter what kind of cage you use, a secure top is a must! This will both keep the spider in and help keep poking fingers and other potentially harmful harassment out.
A few small air holes in the top will provide enough oxygen for the spider and at the same time help maintain the humidity required. This is important because both summer air conditioning and winter heating remove moisture from the air.
To prepare the container, put an inch or two of damp vermiculite or a mixture of sand, soil, and sphagnum moss in the bottom of the cage. DO NOT USE cedar shavings as they are toxic to many spiders.
Indoor/outdoor carpeting doesn't hold moisture and isn't recommended either. Rocks, real or artificial plants, or branches aren't really necessary for the spider, but can make the cage look like home.
Cactus is a bad idea, despite what some books show - you wouldn't want your spider to accidentally impale itself if it fell from the side of the container. Lastly, half a flower pot placed on it's side will provide a place for the spider to hide.
Room temperatures, around 70 - 75F or so, are acceptable to most species.

5) Food and water:
Tarantulas and other spiders are predators and will eat just about any living animal they can capture and kill. Crickets, most beetles, grasshoppers, earthworms, moths, and other animals are acceptable, and larger tarantulas sometimes eat small snakes, lizards and mice.
Avoid wasps and bees, since they could harm the spider, and don't use insects from an area that may have been sprayed for pests.
Your spiders will not over eat, so you can provide as much food as he animal will take and you don't need to offer food every day, just once aweek is fine. If your spider decides to stop eating for a few weeks, that's normal, and may signal an upcoming molt.
A plastic jar lid or similar container makes a good water dish, and putting in a large piece of sponge can make it easier for the spider to get water.
Keeping the water dish filled also helps maintain the cage humidity.
Many tarantula keepers gently spray the substrate with water once a week or so.


Chilean Red eating a mouse

6) Handling:
The less this is done the better for all concerned, since a fall of only a few inches might result in injury for your spider.
If you must pick up your spider, reach in the cage and gently urge it onto the palm of your hand. If the spider runs from your hand, or aggressively rears up towards you, it's probably best left alone. If you do pick the spider up, keep your hand close above some solid surface, such as a table top, and be aware that a puff of air or unexpected sound or movement can make the spider nervous.
If you want to make sure the spider is handleable before you purchase it, ask the salesperson to demonstrate the proper way to pick up and hold your spider. Many tarantulas have specialized defensive "itching" hairs on the abdomen, and they sometimes kick these off when disturbed. It's nothing unusual for a tarantula to have a bald spot on its abdomen; the hairs will be replaced at the next molt.
Some species cause more temporary itching than others, so it's a good idea to rinse your hands afterwards, if you do handle your tarantula.

7) Longevity (Lifespan):
Depending on the species and sex, some female tarantulas can live 20 years or more, although most don't achieve this age.
Males are relatively short-lived compared to females, and generally die within a year and a half of becoming adults.

If you have any questions or fears about purchasing
your first spider, please drop me a line.

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