Tarantulas: Theraphosidae

Tarantulas in general do not have a good reputation. Is it perhaps the hair, the many legs, or the predatory way of life? They have always been a kind of “creepy animal” for the population, killing people immediately if they are bitten. But that’s not the case!

Are Tarantulas Really That Poisonous?

How dangerous a tarantula bite depends on several factors. For example, on the species of the spider itself, the amount of poison, the sex of the spider, and the state of health of the person. Most tarantulas are not dangerous and are happy to be left alone. Some withdraw quickly when trading in the terrarium, others react a bit aggressively.

Tarantulas Come in Many Sizes and Colors

Tarantulas (Theraphosidae) are a family with 900 species described so far within 116 genera. Their habitat is predominantly tropical and subtropical climatic zones. Tarantulas have four pairs of legs and one pair of sham legs/buttons. The body is divided into a head-chest piece and the abdomen. The subordination of the tarantula has jaw claws placed in parallel. The smallest species have a body length of less than 2 cm, but the largest can be over 13 cm. Many species have very colorful drawings.

Tarantulas molt so they can grow. This completely renews hair, eyes, lungs, and genital organs, among other things. If a part of the body is missing, such as a leg link, even this is replaced again by a molt. Adult males never molt again after moulting, but adult females still moult every one to two years. When moulting, for which the animals turn on their backs, they must not be disturbed. However, there must be sufficient moisture (not wet). The life expectancy of tarantulas depends on the species and gender. Females can live up to 30 years old, males up to 7 years old.

What Tarantulas Eat

Tarantulas feed mainly on insects, occasionally also on other spiders and smaller vertebrates. Since tarantulas can only consume liquid food, the prey is pre-digested outside the body. Adult and well-fed tarantulas can go without food for more than a year. However, if the air is too dry and there is no water, they die of thirst within a few days.

The Terrarium for a Tarantula: How Much Space Does It Need?

There are two different types of terrariums for keeping tarantulas. The variant with sliding doors and the one with a trap door. Since it happens again and again that you accidentally leave the sliding doors ajar in the terrarium and thus offer the spider the chance to escape, it is advisable to choose the trapdoor variant for safety reasons. Depending on the type and size of a spider and the way of life, a small terrarium measuring 30 x 30 x 30 cm is often sufficient. The facility depends on the species and whether it is a tree or ground dweller.

Note on Species Protection:

Many terrarium animals are under species protection because their populations in the wild are endangered or could be endangered in the future. Therefore the trade is partly regulated by law. However, there are already many animals from German offspring. Before buying animals, please inquire whether special legal provisions need to be observed.

Mary Allen

Written by Mary Allen

Hello, I'm Mary! I've cared for many pet species including dogs, cats, guinea pigs, fish, and bearded dragons. I also have ten pets of my own currently. I've written many topics in this space including how-tos, informational articles, care guides, breed guides, and more.

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