Tarantula


The common name "tarantula" is actually a misnomer derived from the scientific name of a European wolf spider, Lycosa tarentula.  Neither the wolf spider nor the tarantula are significantly poisonous to humans.  However, a tarantula's bite is painful and there is always the chance of an allergic reaction or infection. 
    These spiders are ground dwellers and hunt their food rather than using a web to capture prey.  Both females and males, however, spin silk.  The female wraps her eggs in a silk pouch (usually in spring or summer).  Female tarantulas live up to 20 years and molt after maturity; males are relatively short-lived (usually less than 8 years) and do not molt after maturity.  The males only a few months to a year after reaching sexual maturity.  Sexually mature males are identified by the enlarged and hooked palps used to transfer sperm to the female.  (A palp resembles a leg and is located near the mouth). 

Availability: *Due to the high price of these spiders we cannot provide one to you.  But if you want to buy a tarantula on your own, we can let you know of good suppliers to go through.  Here are some rearing tips for you.

Housing: Because tarantulas are cannibalistic, each spider must be housed separately in a screen-covered container.  A glass, wire, or plastic cage with about 2 inches of soil in the bottom is recommended.  Place a water dish in the container and keep it full at all times.  Tarantulas are susceptible to overheating and may crawl into the water dish to cool off. 

Food:  Tarantulas eat almost any insect they can capture (e.g., beetles, mealworms, grasshoppers, crickets).  In the desert they hunt at night mainly by touch, as they are nearsighted and cannot see prey at a distance.  Although tarantulas may eat practically nothing from late fall to early spring in their natural habitat, in captivity they eat year-round if supplied with food.