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The Best Tarantula Breeds For Beginners

If you find arachnids fascinating rather than freaky, it may have crossed your mind at some point that you would like to get more up close and personal with spiders in general, possibly even keeping one as a pet! Tarantulas are one of the more common varieties of exotic pets kept within the UK, and a wide range of species and types of tarantula are available on the market for the first time spider keeper to consider.

If you have already spent some time researching the care, housing and feeding requirements of tarantulas in general and are ready to narrow down your hunt for the perfect pet spider even further, giving a lot of thought as to the type of tarantula that would be a good choice to own is the next natural step to take.

Different types of tarantula have different care requirements, feeding requirements and many other essential differences that are important to understand before going out and looking to buy a spider from any source, and some tarantulas are considered to be much more suitable for the novice or first time keeper than others.

If you are looking for some advice on choosing your first pet tarantula and don’t know where to begin, read on for our top tips, plus some suggestions on the best tarantula breeds for the first-time keeper.

What makes a good tarantula for a beginner?

All tarantulas are not created equal! Different tarantula varieties hail from all over the world, and there are significant variations between the temperament, care requirements and hardiness of different spiders across the range.

Generally, a good tarantula for a beginner or first time keeper is one that is fairly hardy and easy to keep without any particularly specialist care requirements, as well as being comparatively docile and not prone to defensiveness or aggression under normal circumstances. Here are four of the best tarantula breeds for beginners, with some further information about each one.

The Chilean Rose (Grammostola rosea)

The Chilean rose tarantula is quite possibly the most popular beginner tarantula overall. They grow to an impressive size when mature, are hardy, comparatively docile, and one of the most readily available to buy varieties within the UK.

Origins: The desert and scrubland areas of Northern Chile and the surrounding region.

Living environment: Terrestrial (ground dwelling).

What they eat: Crickets and other larger insects, plus pinkie mice.

Average size when full grown: Around five inches.

Temperament: Calm , docile and usually slow moving.

Housing, substrate and temperature required: The Chilean Rose is a ground dwelling tarantula, needing more floor space than height. A tank of five to ten gallons capacity lined with a couple of inches of peat moss or soil is fine. A temperature of 21-29 degrees Celsius is optimum.


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The Mexican Redknee (Brachypelma smithi)

The Mexican Redknee tarantula is right up there with the Chilean Rose vying for the most popular pet tarantula, and is a good pick for beginners. They are docile and calm, and are the tarantulas that you are most likely to see on tv when a scary-looking spider is required! The Mexican Redknee can live for well over twenty years if well cared for, and often much longer for females.

Origins: The scrubland and desert of Mexico on the pacific side.

Living environment: Terrestrial (ground dwelling).

What they eat: Crickets, other large insects, lizards (in the wild) and pinkie mice.

Average size when full grown: Over five inches.

Temperament: Calm, docile and generally slow moving.

Housing, substrate and temperature required: As with the Chilean Rose, a large area of floor space is important for this ground-dwelling spider, with a couple of inches of soil or peat moss. The Mexican Redknee’s optimum enclosure temperature is between 21 and 32 degrees Celsius, and they are relatively tolerant of variations within this range.

The Costa Rican Zebra Tarantula (Aphonopelma seemani)

The Costa Rican Zebra tarantula is hardy, inexpensive to buy and relatively easy to find offered for sale. They are very docile and slow moving, but possibly not the best pick for someone who wants to spend a lot of time holding and handling their pet, as they are easy to startle and fast to run off!

Origins: A wide range of terrain including Costa Rica and the Southern USA, Panama and Guatemala. The Costa Rican Zebra is at home in tropical forest and cleared hillside areas.

Living environment: Burrowing or tunnelling.

What they eat: Crickets, other insects and pinkie mice.

Average size when full grown: Four to four and a half inches.

Temperament: Docile and not prone to defensiveness, but also rather nervous.

Housing, substrate and temperature required: These spiders make their homes in burrows, meaning that a peat or soil substrate of around 5” deep is required. They require a tank of around five gallons capacity, with lots of floor space. Their optimum temperature range is from 21-29 degrees Celsius.

The Curlyhair Tarantula (Brachypelma albopilosum)

The Curlyhair tarantula grows to a fairly large size, and is distinctive thanks to its wavy hair! At first glance they may appear to be a dull brown colour, but in fact, their bodies are bronze with flecks of gold, and very beautiful to look at up close. They are very hardy, and one of the better picks for owners that like to handle their spiders on occasion.

Origins: Central America, in mountainous and forested areas.

Living environment: Terrestrial (ground dwelling).

What they eat: Crickets, other large insects, pinkie mice, and in the wild, lizards.

Average size when full grown: five to five and a half inches.

Temperament: Calm, docile and one of the better tarantulas to handle.

Housing, substrate and temperature required: A five to ten gallon tank with plenty of floor space, and a couple of inches of peat or soil substrate. A temperature of 23 to 29 degrees Celsius is optimum.

 

These are just four suggestions of good tarantula breeds for the first time keeper; some other options to look into include the Brazilian Black Tarantula, Pinktoe Tarantula, Pink Zebra Beauty Tarantula and the Mexican Bloodleg Tarantula.

There are of course also many other species of tarantula that can theoretically be kept as pets, but many of these are not well suited to the novice handler or first time keeper, and it is strongly recommended to choose a beginner-suitable spider for your first foray into the world of arachnid keeping!


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