Spiders are fascinating creatures to watch, but before purchasing one for yourself, it is best to do your homework so you will be able to properly determine whether spider ownership is both a good fit for you and the other members of your household. These fascinating creatures are special, and while they are not excessively demanding in their care, you should have the same amount of dedication to caring for them as for any other pet.
Advantages of Owning a Pet Spider
A lot of owners get pets on impulse, and as soon as the novelty wears off they tire of caring for them. This happens frequently with spiders. Here are some of the advantages of choosing a spider for a pet:
- Spiders are quiet and clean.
- Spiders can live quite comfortably in a small terrarium, taking up very little space.
- Pet spiders are fascinating to observe.
- Spiders are inexpensive to maintain.
- A spider requires little to no socialization, so it won’t be lonely if you only own one.
Possible Disadvantages of Spiders as Pets
Despite their convenience and simplicity, the following may need to be considered before owning a spider:
- Nearly all spiders are poisonous to some degree. Before choosing a spider for a pet, you must consider that some spiders have more potent venom than others. There are some people who are allergic to spider venom (even very weak potency) just as some people would be allergic to a bee sting.
- Tarantulas have more than one mode of protection. In addition to mildly poisonous venom, they can flick their abdominal hairs if they feel threatened.
- Many spiders are natural escape artists and need a properly sealed environment in order to protect themselves and your home.
- Most spiders, even in ideal conditions, don’t live very long. Tarantulas, may be the only exception to this rule; sometimes living over 20 years with proper care.
- Most spiders do not enjoy handling. Dropping a tarantula can cause its abdomen to burst, which usually results in death.
- Spiders do not react well to other household pets.
- Some states prohibit the purchase or possession of spiders.
Selecting the Right Pet Spider for You
If you're in the beginning stages with a spider, it's best to select a species that's neither fragile nor harmful. The best beginner spider would be a tarantula such as the Chilean rose, Mexican Redleg, or Costa Rican Zebra. These species aren't terribly venomous and are pretty docile when compared with some other tarantulas (their venom is comparable to bee venom). Remember that if you have kids, many insect pets belong to the "look but don't touch" category, mainly because they may be too delicate for constant handling beyond their main caregiver.
Things to Remember Before Buying a Pet Spider
Consult local, county and state government organizations with regards to legality. Not all locales allow the keeping of spiders, venomous or not, so it is a good idea to research this before making a purchase.
Find out about the treatment (housing, environment, diet) required for the pet you are considering. While many pet spiders are inexpensive to own, offering the suitable surroundings may be tricky for some species, especially for the greater exotic tarantulas. In most cases, you would like to simulate their natural environment as closely as possible. Find out what is required for food and take into account if you will be able to offer the proper diet.
Check the life expectancy of the species you have chosen. A lot of spiders have fairly short life-spans, but some tarantulas can live for 20-30 years (and females are considerably hardier than males).
Learn the proper method of handling your spider. While this is an obvious need for venomous animals, it is just as crucial for non-venomous arachnids as well. They can suffer critical or fatal wounds by incorrect handling.
Find out, from a reputable source, exactly which species are venomous; understand that even a mildly venomous tarantula may cause a lot of pain. Also, tarantulas have special fine hairs on their abdomen, which they expel if threatened; these could be incredibly irritating and dangerous if they get in your eyes. If you're getting a tarantula, make sure you find out not only how best to avoid bites, but also how to deal with bites should they occur. You should also find out what to do if exposed to the spider's irritating abdominal hairs.
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