Anyone who knows me knows how much I love my dog and how much I pamper her. What most people don’t know is that sometimes twice the legs is just as lovable, and hence my undying love for tarantulas.
Really and truly I have a deep fascination with a lot of arthropods, including phasmids as well. Phasmids are a family of insects which can grow quite large. More commonly they are called stick insects. However arachnids are my favourites, not only because they can have amazing colouration and interesting habits, but also because one can learn so much from them.
I get a lot of weird looks about my tarantulas, but I believe it is only because there are a lot of misconceptions about the creatures. For example, while ALL tarantulas are poisonous, they are not dangerous to humans and a bite is not strong enough to kill anyone. In fact, no one has ever died from a tarantula bite. This does not mean that you won’t have to handle a couple of hours of pain though. The fact that they are not deadly, unlike how many people perceive them, is probably one of the main reasons why they became so popular in the exotic pet trade.
Tarantulas are divided into two sections, old world and new world. Old being from Asia, Australia and Africa, while new being from the South America. The old world ones have a more potent bite, however those from the new world can kick the so called urticating hair on their abdomen, causing itching. There is also another division, terrestrial tarantulas, those who are ground dwelling, and arboreal, those who live in trees.
They are often very hairy, which in my opinion makes them look really cute. They are able to spin webs like the common spiders, however for completely different purposes. While the spider makes it to trap its food, a tarantula makes its web to cover her borrow, or to produce hammock like structures to rest on. Another major difference is that while a spider’s average lifespan is two years, a tarantula can live up to 25 years.
There are several reasons why tarantulas make perfect pets. First of all they do not need a large amount of space, they do not make any sound, maintenance is minimal, and they don’t smell. This makes them perfect for apartment living, especially for anyone who doesn’t have the time to go for long walks, or hates cleaning after their pet. They don’t need you to play with them, and they won’t require company. They won’t even raise you electricity bill as they do not need specific lighting, just a simple low wattage heat mat. And as an extra bonus, if you need to go on holiday you don’t need to worry about their feeding, as they can fast for months without any effect on their health.
Even though a lot of people are terrified of spiders, I do know of arachnophobes whose heart was stolen by a tarantula.