Basics how to Care for a Tarantula

When working with exotic animals it is essential that the people involved have a wide knowledge on the particular species. There are many different exotic species that can be kept as pets and one of them is the Mexican Red Knee Tarantula. The following will discuss how to care for the tarantula and will include things like accommodation and furnishings, toxicity and ferocity, handling and much more.

So firstly, feeding and dietary preparation. Tarantulas are lazy so it is possible to overfeed them. Overfeeding shortens the spider’s lifespan. Tarantulas should be fed one cricket every three weeks. The cricket should not be placed in the vivarium whilst the spider is in moult as the cricket will attack the spider. Tarantulas can also be fed on pinkies and small mice.

Tarantulas moult so that any damaged or parasitic skin is shed. It also enables them to grow. Death can sometimes occur during the moult. The Mexican Red knee has a large body covered with black hairs and red hairs on its knees – hence the name Mexican Red Knee. It only travels approximately six inches in either direction and likes to burrow under the substrates. Tarantulas like to feel the walls of their home close to them. They also like to burrow and rarely leave or let any other tarantula in except for when mating.

A 10″ x 8″ plastic or glass tank is ideal for terrestrial tarantulas. Suitable substrates would be peat, 2″-5″ deep and/or vermiculite, which must be moist. Sand, gravel, stones and rocks should not b used as they are dangerous.

The tarantula must be kept alone as it will almost definitely fight with others. The lid of the vivarium must be stable and escape proof but provide easy access for the owner. Moss could be added as the Mexican Red Knee likes to camouflage itself. Plants can be added but are not essential; however, cacti must never be used.

In order for the tarantula to survive to survive, the temperature must be approximately 70-75 degrees Fahrenheit. Heating pads are used under the tank so it is not a good idea for the Mexican Red Knee as it is a ground dweller and likes to burrow. A heat pad would cause the spider to be too hot.

Tarantulas are very inactive and eat, sleep and breed with as little movement as possible. They can die from dehydration so water and bathing opportunities are a must. Owing to the risk of drowning, a bowl should not be placed in the vivarium. Instead, the inside of the vivarium should be lightly misted with water.

A regular health check is necessary for maintaining good health. Any blood which can be seen as clear liquid, can be stopped with unscented talcum powder. Ticks can be removed with tweezers and the vivarium should be fully cleaned. Mites are often more difficult as a chemical spray must be used to remove them. The mites can kill but so can the toxins in the spray; therefore, there is always a risk of death.

Safe waste disposal is essential for the prevention of rodent infestation and prevention of contamination and spread of disease. As tarantulas are fed on live crickets and dead rodents, any waste food must be put into a clinical waste bag and incinerated. Other waste such as soiled substrates can be put into a black bin that goes into a skip.

If a tarantula feels threatened, it will flick its hairs which can stick to skin, hair and clothes. Flicked hairs and bites can both cause allergic reactions. Tarantulas should not be handled unless it is absolutely necessary to do so. A method of handling which is also a restraint is to place two fingers between the spider’s second legs and one finger on its carapace. Once turned upside down it will freeze.

Tarantulas can be easily transported by using a cricket box and it lid. Using the lid and a pair of tweezers, coax the tarantula into box. When it is fully inside the box an the lid is on, the box should be placed into another more secure box ready for transportation.