I’ve had pet tarantulas my whole life, and they make great exotic pets. However, if you plan to handle your pet tarantula, you can’t just get any species. I’ve found out the hard way that some tarantulas are better than others for handling. Some are as cuddly as kittens, while others are downright mean. If you never plan to touch your pet arachnid, then you can get just about any type. This is a guide for those who want to regularly handle and bond with their pet tarantulas.
The Best Pet Tarantulas for Handling:
Pink Toe Tarantula (Avicularia avicularia)
This is a species of arboreal tarantulas, which means they climb and live in trees. I especially like the Martinique pink-toe (Avic. Versilcolor) with its purple hue. Unlike most tarantulas, these are very social, living in groups. Therefore you need at least 3 of them together in your terrarium, 1 is not enough. All other tarantulas need to be kept separate, but Pink Toes live in groups. Put a few tree branches in a tall terrarium, and they will climb about it. They are not aggressive, won’t bite, and they love being handled. They will climb on your hand and up your arm. Pink Toes are smaller than most species, usually black with pink hairs on their toes, and a purple or blue sheen on their backs in the sunlight. They need high humidity and good ventilation in their terra-home. They eat crickets, moths, and flies.
Mexican Red-leg Tarantula (Brachypelma smithi)
This is the kind you’ll see most often in pet shops. They live long and can get large. Mine lived 20 years and got to be 12 inches from toe to toe. They have beautiful orange colors on their leg joints, and deep black abdomens. These arachnids are very gentle, never bite, and will gracefully crawl on you. However, as they get large, it might get difficult to hold one, so use both hands. Mine got used to being petted, I would smooth the hairs on her back. She would relax and settled into a low position. When a tarantula raises itself on all legs, high, then it’s nervous and about run or attack. In a low position, they are relaxed and happy.
House your red-leg (also called red-knee ) in a 20 gallon aquarium or terrarium, longwise, as they live on the ground. Put at least one form of protection in with him, like a hollow log or flower pot turned on its side, for protective cover. Add lots of loose soil for digging. They eat crickets and mice.
The Mexican Fire-leg is even prettier, but a little faster on the run. Still, a good pet and able to be handled.
The Chilean Rosehair is not as docile as the two above, but still a nice gentle pet. It’s hardier than most, and can live in almost any terrestrial terrarium.
The Worst Tarantulas to Handle:
The Honduran Velvet is often seen in US Pet shops, and he is a beauty – deep black with a blue hue in the sunlight – but hard to handle! These little guys will bite! It’s not poisonous, but it hurts.
Brazilian Brown tarantulas are also common in pet shops. The females can be semi-docile, but still hard to handle. The males will bite aggressively.
The Indian Ornamental is probably the most aggressive biter. They’re very pretty, but cannot be handled, so avoid this one, despite its gorgeous apperance.
Create a natural environment for your spider friend, and he’ll live a long happy life. Make a natural terrarium, add crickets and other insects, and always keep water in a small bowl with a sponge. It will suck the water from the sponge daily.
Handle with care, and be sure not to drop your little friend. Their bodies cannot stand the shock of a fall.
See Also: The 10 Best Pets to Keep in a Small Apartment or Condo