Having curly hair tarantulas as a pet is a great hobby. But keeping and caring for them is not an easy task. Read this article to know how you can do that.
The curly hair tarantula mostly has a spherical body. Their whole body is surrounded by long, slightly curled bristles. Most of the bristles are dark brown or black, although some golden bristles can also be seen. This provides an overall bronze sheen to the tarantula.
Curly hair tarantulas are burrowing, terrestrial species. They are native to Central America. Almost all the curly hair tarantulas found in the pet commerce are bred in captivity.
These spiders are usually hardy, calm, and easy to look after. Therefore, ideal for new pet owners. They need housing, similar to their natural habitat, together with dwell prey. And while some people do manage their tarantulas, they are largely hands-off pets.
Curly Hair Tarantula Temperament and Behavior
Curly hair tarantulas are extraordinarily quiet and mellow pets. They wander around its enclosure and may rearrange some of the items you keep in the enclosure, like pieces of bark. But most of the time, you will find it sitting in a restful state unless hunting its prey. Therefore, if you were expecting a lively animal, you may be disappointed.
Moreover, they are a docile species, which makes them popular among those who enjoy handling their spiders. Some of them don’t mind sitting on your arm or hand, as long as you deal with them very gently and calmly. The best practice is to sit on the floor while dealing with these tarantulas in case they get scared and attempt to flee since they are easily spooked. They can be seriously injured or killed even if they fall from a few feet.
These tarantulas use their defense mechanisms when they feel threatened. They kick off their abdominal hair that can irritate your skin and cause injury if they enter your eyes. Therefore, it is extremely important to wash hands properly after handling your tarantula or something in its enclosure. Also, be careful not to rub your eyes.
They may also bite to defend themselves. There is a mild venom in their bite that can cause swelling, redness, and local pain. The discomfort has been compared to that of a bee sting. However, certain people can have more severe allergic reactions, such as difficulty breathing.
Keep your tarantulas away from young children and other pets in your home who may handle them inappropriately. Curly hair tarantulas are solitary animals. You shouldn’t house them even with other spiders of their species. Expect to spend some hours cleaning and feeding them every week, and then simply get pleasure observing this interesting creature.
Housing the Curly Hair Tarantula
A tank of 5 to 10 gallons is enough for a curly hair tarantula. They are not great climbers, therefore floor space is more significant than height. The breadth of the tank should be two to three times greater than the leg span of the tarantula.
Add a layer of vermiculite, chemical-free potting soil, or peat moss at the bottom of the tank, no less than 3 inches. Coconut husk bedding is another great option, which can be found in many pet stores. Then add a hollow log, some pieces of cork bark, or half of a small clay flower vase which will work as a hiding space for your tarantula.
Keep the tank between 75 °F to 85 °F. A heating pad placed under the tank can be helpful in maintaining the perfect temperature. You need to check the heating pad regularly with the help of a thermometer. Keep the tank away from direct sunlight.
Maintain a humidity level of 65% to 70%, which can be measured by a hygrometer. When needed, spray the tank with water in a twig bottle to elevate the humidity.
Get rid of any uneaten prey after 24 hours to maintain the cleanliness of the enclosure. Regularly monitor for mold growth in the bedding, and if you notice any, immediately remove that portion. It is healthy to change the full bedding every four to six months.
Curly Hair Tarantula Diet
Curly hair tarantulas eat live wax worms, roaches, crickets, and other insects. These insects should be smaller than the body size of the tarantula. Occasional pinky mice can also be given to adult tarantulas. Young tarantulas typically eat every two to five days whereas adults need feedings roughly once a week. Consult your veterinarian to understand the appropriate quantity and variety of food for your pet.
The spider remains more active in the evening. So it is recommended to feed them during this time of the day. Just drop the prey near your spider in the tank, and you are good to go!
Although they receive most of their hydration from food, you should still keep a dish of water in the tank. The dish should be shallow enough for the spider to smoothly climb in and out of it.
Tarantulas usually do not face many health issues if they are kept in a suitable environment and get a proper diet. If you notice signs of anorexia and lethargy in your spider, you do not need to consult your veterinarian right away.
In most cases, these behaviors are an indication of molting. At the time of a molt, tarantulas shed their exoskeleton and form a new one. Many tarantulas molt when they lie on their backs with their legs curled up. New pet owners can mistake it for a spider dying.
The whole process takes weeks to complete, although the actual molt takes only a few hours. The new exoskeleton needs to be hard, to protect the spider. However, if you notice your tarantula’s molt is taking more time than usual, or if you notice any other abnormalities, consult with your vet.
Purchasing Curly Hair Tarantula
In most places, it is legal to have curly haired tarantulas as pets, but certain homeowners and local laws and regulations may prohibit it. This species is available at pet stores. But it is usually simpler to join an exotic pet rescue group and become a reputable breeder. A local exotic animal veterinarian can also help you find a good vendor. The expected value is between $20 and $50 as a whole.
The vendor should be able to provide you details on the tarantula’s health and origin. You should examine the spider in person before going for any commitment. Make sure it is energetic with a circular stomach and shiny hairs. A shriveled or dull appearance usually indicates illness. If it is possible, demand to see the spider eat.