Caresheets

With over 50 years collective experience in the reptile trade we have a wealth of knowledge on offer to help with any reptile related problems you may have.
These care sheets are written by the staff at Reptiles Plus and are how we would suggest caring for and keeping each of the following animals.

Spider and Scropion Care Sheet

Tank Set-Up

Exo-Terra Glass TankIt is best to use a glass tank because of the moisture levels needed to keep a tarantula. The floor dimension of the tank should be roughly 6 times that of the tarantula.

Most tarantulas don’t like overly humid environments. Make sure your tank is ventilated. Between 70% and 80% humidity is good.

Flame Leg TarantulaMost tarantula’s need a temperature of around 76-80°f. It is easiest to achieve this temperature with a heat mat placed under your glass tank. Never cover more than half the tank with your heat mat. If the tank is overheating either use a thermostat or pull the heat mat out from under the tank until the correct temperature is achieved.

Spider Set UpsEven terrestrial Tarantulas are very well equipped for climbing. So it is essential you have a secure lid.

Never place your tank in direct sunlight, near radiators or put it in busy areas of the home e.g. doorways, hallways, or in cold rooms. A quiet, shaded and warm room is best.

Substrate, Cleaning And Furniture

Spider SubstrateAlways use a substrate that holds moisture, preferably a peat or vermiculite based one. Be sure if using a peat based substrate it has no additives e.g. fertilizers. Never let the substrate completely dry out, always keep it moist, not wet. The substrate should be spread out inside the tank to depth of around 2-5cm (more for deep burrowing spiders). If your tarantula’s tank appears dirty, clean it out. It is only normally necessary to clean them out every 3-6 months. Most disinfectants, soaps and detergents are toxic to tarantulas. Don’t use them.

Always provide a suitable hide for your spider, after a while it should naturally burrow. Always provide access to water. It is best to place a piece of unused sponge, rolled up tissue or a pinch of solid water in a small water dish. Never use a bowl of standing water or cotton wool. It can be dangerous to your tarantula.

If you don’t have an arboreal tarantula and your tank is quite tall (over 30cm or more) it is important that you put plenty of tank furniture around the sides of your tank. This will prevent your tarantula from falling to far if it climbs the sides.

Feeding, Handling And Health

LocustTarantula’s need very little food so a meal every week to a fortnight is plenty. The meal should be no bigger than the size of the carapace (The middle part of a spider). Make sure your tarantula’s abdomen never gets too distended. A tarantula will take most types of cricket or locust as food. Some may even be persuaded to eat meat products such as pinkies and ox heart. If the tarantula doesn’t eat its food within a few hours remove it and don’t feed it again for at least a week. Un-eaten food may damage your tarantula.

It is never necessary to handle any tarantula; doing so could be dangerous to your health and the tarantula. Firstly no tarantula can be trained not to bite and all of them have venom. Although not normally life threatening, unless you have an allergy, it will still be very painful. Secondly most species of tarantula also have what are called urticating hairs on their abdomen. Getting these hairs on your skin or in your eyes can cause an irritable reaction. If you are bitten or get hairs in your eyes, it is best to rinse thoroughly and seek medical advice. Thirdly for the tarantula’s safety it is best not to handle them because they are very delicate. When bitten most people will drop the spider or try to remove their hand with such speed that the animal is flung some distance. If you drop the tarantula from as little as 20cm it could burst the abdomen.

Reptile HealthNever use any aerosols, cleaning solutions or anything that might produce fumes around your tarantula. This includes polish, air fresheners and paint.

Occasionally your tarantula may shed its skin. It may choose to shed in an enclosed burrow or out in the open. If you are lucky enough to see your tarantula shed in the open, it will first flip it’s self on to its back. Do not flip it back; it will almost certainly kill it. It will then climb out of its skin. This can take 24 hours or more. Once it is out it will be very fragile and must not be fed or touched until it is fully hardened. This will take in some case’s 5-7 days may be more. Your tarantula may stop feeding some months before it starts this whole process. Do not worry it is quite normal. Unfortunately for your tarantula this whole process is quite complex, and during this time a lot can go wrong. There is very little anyone can do if it does. If you feel at any time that something may be wrong with your tarantula, seek professional advice.

To summarize, if kept sensibly, a tarantula can be a fascinating and rewarding pet. They are clean, odor free and extremely easy to keep.

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