Recently, the popularity of exotic pets has increased markedly. Quite often, instead of the usual fluffy, baleen and tailed, rare fish species act in this role, terrifying reptiles, as well as unusual insects, frightening one with their species. And in this row of exotic pets are spiders. Someone disgusts them, someone panic, and someone sincerely admires. And if you are one of the latter and want to see such an eight-legged creature as your friend, then it will be useful for you to find out what the content of spiders at home is.
Choose a pet
Since a pet should definitely play the role of a pet, it will certainly be an eye-catching specimen, respectively, and the version with our almost "native" haying spider will immediately recede into the background. And why bother the cute eight-legged “neighbor” by driving him into the terrarium, besides, these creatures are already domestic and probably huddle in one (in most cases several) of the cozy corners of your house. We’ll leave them there, but for home maintenance we’ll choose someone more sympathetic, for example, a tarantula. By the way, representatives of this particular species are the most common and popular spiders for home maintenance. And there are several reasons for this:
- firstly, they are very beautiful - bright colors, large sizes, furry body,
- secondly, it reproduces well in captivity, respectively, it can be bred,
- thirdly, lives relatively long,
- fourthly, this species includes several hundred subspecies, which opens up a huge selection.
On a note! The poison of a tarantula spider is not fatal for an adult healthy person, but for other pets its bite can become fatal, for example, for cats, dogs, etc. In addition, tarantula venom can pretty much undermine the health of a small child and a person with allergies!
However, tarantula spiders are far from the only representatives of their squad who are chosen for home maintenance. In addition to them, wolf spiders, often tarantulas, spider-crosses, and even kids-horses, are also in demand.
Criterias of choice
Arriving at the pet store, say, for a kitten, we roughly understand what requirements are put forward for it: clean eyes, ears, a wet nose, etc. And what about the spider? What parameters should this creature advise?
So, we examine the attracted spider. It should be:
- Active. If he is absolutely not mobile for a long time or moves very slowly, then, most likely, this instance is sick.
- Healthy. The state of his abdomen speaks about the health of the spider: when dehydrated, it becomes wrinkled, in healthy arachnid, on the contrary, it is even and smooth. You should also pay attention to the condition of the hairs in this area - in a sick spider, they will be of unequal size and combed in places.
On a note! When the spider is disturbed by pain, it scratches the abdomen with its hind legs, while tearing off some villi!
Equipping a terrarium
In order for your new pet to live happily ever after, no special conditions are required - a modest terrarium is enough. Spiders belong to gloomy ascetics and spend most of the time allotted for themselves in sitting in one place, only occasionally making “runs” - so, stretching their legs. A cozy spider house with optimal sizes is a terrarium for two lengths of the full range of its legs, that is, even the largest spider will feel great on a living space of 40 × 40 cm.
But do not forget that spiders are able to move fairly well on vertical surfaces, so the main thing is a reliable lid that will close well and hold the poisonous pet in its rightful square centimeters.
We proceed to create optimal conditions for the spider.
- Substrate. “Cover the floor” in the spider’s dwelling is necessary with a special flooring. Vermiculite is considered an ideal option - a special mineral rock that is used in crop production. The layer is from 3 to 5 cm. If you cannot find one, then you can also use coconut substrate or regular peat. By the way, the latter is recommended to be mixed with sphagnum moss. In an extreme case, when there is nothing at all, garden soil (only from a flower shop and in no case from the nearest flower bed!) Is suitable or the soil used to grow indoor plants. However, it is advisable to use this option for a short time and try to quickly replace the substrate with a more acceptable spider.
- Temperature. Spiders are heat-loving and prefer to stay in the temperature range, which will be close to +22. 28 ° C. These pets are insensitive to a slight short-term decrease in temperature, but it is undesirable to abuse such situations. But at the same time, it is not recommended to overheat the terrarium. This situation is especially dangerous for well-fed animals, in which the processes of decay of undigested food can begin in the stomach.
- Lighting. The spiders that are nocturnal residents, it is enough that the natural lighting that is present in the room. No additional sources are needed. Moreover, direct light from a lamp can quickly destroy this fragile creature.
- Humidity. To ensure its optimum level, the drinker and the correct substrate help to some extent. If the readings on the hygrometer are too low, then from time to time you will have to irrigate the terrarium with spray water. But again, increased humidity is dangerous, so when buying a spider, immediately find out from the seller what humidity is needed specifically for this species.
- Filling. For a spider in a terrarium, the main thing is a shelter in which he can hide in the daytime, and if you have a normal look, then a “house” is simply obligatory for him. Without him, such a pet will be in constant stress. To arrange such a shelter is very simple - you can lean against a wall a piece of bark, coconut shell, put in the corner an inverted half of a flower pot, etc. Everything else, for example, decorative driftwood, artificial plants and other similar elements, is superfluous. Spiders are completely indifferent to them, so you purchase and install such accessories exclusively for yourself.
And the last thing to feed the spider at home. In fact, these pets are very convenient in terms of feeding, because, firstly, they eat absolutely any living creature, which will be smaller than their size, and secondly, if you do not have time or you forgot about feeding - it's okay, that's okay can be done tomorrow or the day after tomorrow, or in a couple of days. The spider will not be offended, since in the wild it is able to do without food for several weeks.
At home, spiders are most often fed with crickets, flour worms, Drosophila, cockroaches. Adults may well be offered chicks, frogs and mice. At the same time, it is desirable that the victim be alive - in this case, when moving, it will definitely interest the hunter. Although there are sometimes specimens that are quite willing to eat pieces of beef or fish fillet, everything is individual here: one spider will have a “dead” food to taste, the other will turn its nose.
The nutrition process in spiders is long and takes about a day, sometimes more. Adults usually eat once a week, during the breeding season - more often. In this case, food debris should always be removed from the terrarium.
In general, spiders are almost perfect pets: feeding is infrequent, they don’t need to clean, in fact, they don’t leave their hair on furniture, they don’t mark their territory, they don’t exude odors, and their house takes up very little space. This is a perfectly acceptable option for busy people who want to have a pet, but are not able to devote a lot of time to it. Of course, you will not receive love, affection or at least some kind of return in terms of feelings from spiders, but for decorative purposes and the realization that someone is waiting at home, they are exceptionally good. And here everything is honest, since he also does not need much from the breadwinner.
Tarantula spider. What's in a name?
I'd like to start an article about spiders with a mention of the fact (which should be known to everyone) that spiders are not insects. This fact cannot be ignored for the simple reason that many people still persistently call them that. And you can’t say that you are alike. Spiders belong to the class of Arachnida (Arachnida), which also includes scorpions, false scorpions and ticks (yes, ticks are also not insects). These amazing creatures appeared on our planet about 400 million years ago in Paleozoic. Petrified spiders are found in Devonian and Carboniferous deposits. Moreover, these fossils are not very primitive than modern in structure. Today, spiders are ubiquitous and it is very difficult to find a corner of the Earth on which their four pairs of paws would not step.
Specifically, in this article we will talk about such a family of arachnids as tarantula spiders - these are beautiful eight-legged and hairy creatures. The family of tarantulas has 10 genera, containing several hundred species. Its representatives populated all continents of the planet, except Antarctica, and their sizes vary from 0.8 to 20 cm with paws. The largest and most beautiful many love to keep at home as exotic pets.
It’s hard not to say a few words about the name “tarantulas”. After all, they don’t eat birds, and if they dine with some kind of pike, then this is more an exception than a rule. So why are they called that? But the thing is that at the beginning of the XVIII century, an artist who was not indifferent to spiders named Maria Sibylla Merian made an expedition during which she was lucky to find that rare moment when the tarantula ate a hummingbird. Amazing luck. At the end of the journey, Madame Merian published a work that included an engraving with the meal of a spider. The scientific community did not believe that arachnids can eat vertebrates, but the name has taken root.
A little history of how a spider thought of keeping a house. Not a cat after all
It's no secret that people and spiders are old neighbors who have shared one living space since time immemorial. But the status of a pet spiders acquired only recently. Perhaps this is due to the fact that terrarium science, as such, is a fairly young phenomenon in Russia, and also partly due to the fact that a fairly large number of people are simply afraid of spiders. However, in vain.
And yet, when and why did a reasonable person think of consciously keeping a spider at home, feed, love and care for him? If you do not take into account the natives of Laos and Cambodia, who hold spiders as livestock (they do not argue about tastes), and the latter also “milk” nephil spiders for the web, then the earliest mention of an attempt to keep arachnids at home, found at The writing of this article dates back to August 17, 1796. This is the protocol of the Holy Tribunal No. 119110 in the case of a resident of Toledo named Joaquim Ricardo. The defendant caught spiders in the forest and, according to him, kept and fed them in his house in order to find out whether yarn from their web is good. Unfortunately, Joaquim was not familiar with the natives of Cambodia and could not ask them this question. And they would answer him that it’s good, because they have long woven rugs and made fishing lines for fishing from a web of nephils. Nevertheless, the tribunal still did not believe Joaquim and punished him because the latter was engaged in some kind of heresy. The fate of his pets is unknown.
However, people began to study spiders long before Joachim. Aristotle mentioned these amazing creatures in his writings, referring them in his own classification system to the genus Entoma - “jointed animals with many legs”, which belongs to a large group of “animals without blood”. The real flourishing of arachnology fell at the beginning of the 19th century thanks to the research of Latrail and Walker. Regarding Russian arachnology, one of the first systematic descriptions was made in 1770 by E. Laxman.
The very fashion of keeping and raising tarantulas at home appeared relatively recently - in the 19th century. And since then it has been rapidly gaining momentum, which, however, is not surprising: tarantula spiders are very unpretentious in content, very beautiful and varied, and watching them is a pleasure.
Home spider. Pros and cons
If we compare a tarantula spider with any other familiar pet, then the obvious advantages of an eight-legged friend of a person pop up right away: it does not shit in slippers, it does not yell at night, it does not require walks, and it takes up little space. Well, seriously, when choosing a universal office favorite, it is worth taking a closer look at tarantula spiders. Even in the smallest office you can find a corner for a small terrarium (he doesn’t need a large one), and the pet will calmly spend the weekend without your attention. He does not need so much food and special care, in addition, the metabolism of the spider can hardly be called fast.
There is a strongly embellished minus of the tarantula in the role of a pet - its toxicity. But, as they say, the devil is not so terrible as his ceremonial portrait. Most species are not so poisonous, and the consequences of their bites are actually quite boring: not just like a mosquito, but nothing criminal. Of course, if you are not allergic. Typically, a tarantula bite is comparable to a wasp bite. And the more poisonous species of spiders are initially recommended for maintenance only by experienced arachnocippers.
In addition to biting, some danger to humans is represented by annoying tarantula hairs. In case of danger, fear or a bad mood, the spider can begin to comb them. Oddly enough, this is also never deadly, neither for the spider, nor for its owner. Upon contact with human skin, the hairs cause itching and irritation, in the worst case, something similar to hives. But a bouquet of unpleasant sensations is provided to those who get into their eyes. So, if you held the spider on the handles - it’s better to wash them. Handles, not a spider.
A particularly ridiculous example of fear of the annoying hair of a tarantula was described in one of the American tabloid newspapers of the 90s. A local “expert” studying spider hair was pictured in a suit resembling a spacesuit. In the article itself, he strictly warned readers to approach tarantulas without such vestments. Since otherwise terrible dermatitis and all 7 executions of Egypt are threatened.
Separately, it is worth writing about molting a spider, although it is difficult to attribute it to the pros or cons. This is an extremely fascinating phenomenon that deserves an independent article, so now only in brief. Firstly, a spider molt is not something that happened suddenly: the whole life of a tarantula consists of 4 stages, each of which smoothly flows into the next, forming a continuous cycle: predlink stage, molting itself, post-molting stage, inter-lap interval. It’s very difficult to live in front of the molt itself - the old “armor” is shaking, audible and hard to see, so there is no complaining to anyone else. And the process of dropping the old carapace itself can frighten the beginner: the pet will be transferred to his back and may lie for some time. Do not rush to bury the tarantula - molting does not always happen instantly, moreover, dying tarantulas do not roll over on their backs. Then, like a phoenix from the ashes, the spider will rise in a brand new exoskeleton. The old skin is called exuvium.
By the way, about the exuvia. The authors of the book “Theory and Practice of Arachnid Cycling”, Stan and Margaret Schulz, recommend that he not be thrown away, but carefully (since the spider is very vulnerable after molting) to remove the molt from the terrarium, until it has dried, straighten and stuff the still wet opistosome (the back of the tarantula, including abdomen) with cotton lumps.Thus, you can create a historical exposition of all ages of your favorite.
It is worth saying a few words about the content of tarantulas. First you need to start from whether it is burrowing or arboreal. Burrowing spiders will need a small horizontal terrarium (it is easier for them to hunt in small containers), and the height should not exceed 25-30 cm, since gravity is merciless even to tarantulas and falling from a high height can lead to rupture of the abdomen and become fatal. As a soil, a coconut substrate is perfect, but do not overdo it: a burrowing tarantula can dig deep, and you will look for it for a long time. Perhaps even under the sofa, while an unsuspecting spider just sits in a mink. So 3-5 cm of soil is enough.
Tree species of tarantulas are used to slightly different conditions, they need something for which they will joyfully climb. For example, driftwood or bark, so that they feel comfortable, as in their native forest. Especially jumping ones need a little more space than their ground counterparts. But gravity is still better not to joke. When keeping both burrows and wood spiders, it is necessary to monitor the maintenance of a certain humidity and temperature, this is easily done with a thermometer and a hygrometer. In cool rooms it is necessary to equip artificial heating, and maintaining the necessary humidity is very simple - periodic spraying and a small drinking bowl from which the animal can safely get out without drowning.
Arachnophobia. Or wedge by wedge
Unbelievable, but the fact that enough people are afraid of spiders. But, at the same time, many former arachnophobes share stories online about how to overcome their fear, having acquired a furry eight-legged friend. As a rule, not one, because it will be very difficult to stop at one tarantula. So, before rushing to say “fu” and “oh, they are terrible,” check out a small selection of photos of tarantulas, or rather, watch them live.
1. Avicularia versicolor 2. Brachypelma smithi 3. Brachypelma albopilosum
4. Davus fasciatus 5. Lasiodora parahybana 6. Grammostola pulchra
7. Brachypelma vagans 8. Heteroscodra maculate 9. Psalmopoeus cambridgei
Adult body: 7 cm
Leg span: 14-16 cm
Duration of residence: Female - 12 years, male - 3 years.
Natural lifestyle: The white-tailed tarantula is one of the calm species, it allows you to freely pull yourself together. Close contact should be avoided only with hungry spiders, in order to avoid a bite. The spider inhabitant of tropical forests lives in a dug hole in the roots of trees.
Protection: It protrudes the chest and throws off the hairs from the abdomen, which, upon reaching the mucous membrane of the eyes or the surface of the skin, cause discomfort.
Content at home: Poultry eaters should be kept in containers of glass or plastic with a volume of at least 5 liters. The terrarium must be closed, as spiders move well on the surface of the glass.
Vermiculite, lichen, coniferous sawdust, moss sphagnum are suitable as litter. Pieces of bark or a coconut shell should be added to the litter to equip the hole. The substrate is applied with a layer of at least 5 cm.
Each individual of this species should be kept separatelyhungry spiders are characterized by cannibalism. For young individuals, feeding is performed 2 times in 7 days, for adults once a week. The menu serves newborn mice or insects of the appropriate size.
Air temperature: 23 ° C to 28 °.
Shedding: The tarantula during or before molting can limit itself in food, sometimes to the point of complete failure. Shedding is critical. The spider stops moving and lies on its back. The interval in an adult varies from 2 months to 1 year. In young people, the process
Adult body: 9-10 cm.
Leg span: 20−25 cm
Duration of residence: 12 years with the female. Males are often eaten immediately after the mating process.
Features: Lives in the rainforests of Brazil. Females are larger in size than males. Color two-tone: reddish-brown or grayish-black. A sedentary individual, often spends its time near a hole.
Protection: With its hind legs it shakes off the hairs located on the abdomen. Hair can cause an allergic reaction.
Content at home: Terrarium - 30 × 30 × 30 centimeters. Litter - 5 cm Use peat or coconut substrate. Feeding is carried out 2-3 times in 7 days, as giant tarantulas prefer to eat well. When deciding to take an individual in his hands, one should be extremely careful, the poison is not very toxic, but it is aggressive in its effects.
Temperature in the terrarium: 22 ° C - 26 °.
Adult body: 7-8 cm.
Leg span: 15-16 cm
Duration of stay: Males - 4 years, females - more than 20 years.
Natural lifestyle: The two-color tarantula is one of the calm by nature individuals. The venom from a bite can be compared with bee venom. When buying this type of spider, you should be extremely careful with close contact, a bite can cause allergies.
Protection: Without hesitation, uses hairs that cause itching on contact with the body.
Content at home: Terrarium of standard sizes with a litter of 5 cm. A coconut look is more suitable as a substrate. Feeding is done 1 or 2 times in 7 days. Large-sized feed insects are served as food.
Temperature: 24 ° C-28 °.
Adult body: 6-7 cm.
Leg span: 15-16 cm
Duration of stay: More than 25 years
Content at home: Inhabitant of semi-desert regions of Mexico. Spends most of his life near the hole. The character is calm, can become a friend to the newcomer to the content. The substrate is poured from 5 cm and above, the individual is used to digging holes. The Mexican red-legged tarantula will be glad of the constructed shelter and a cup of clean water in the terrarium. The usual insects are used as food, once a week. Young individuals are given 2-3 times every 7 days. The bite of this domestic spider can be harmful only to those who suffer from allergies when bitten by a bee or wasp.
Protection: Used by irritating hairs.
Temperature: 25 ° C-28 °
Adult body: 9-10 cm.
Leg span: 20 cm
Duration of residence: Up to 15 years (females).
Content at home: Temperament is individual for each individual, from good revelers hand in hand, to spiders that are malicious in character. The home spider has a pretty good appetite and rarely refuses food. Prefers everything they give. Feeding is done 1-2 times in 7 days for adults and 2-3 times for babies. The terrarium is suitable horizontal with dimensions of 40 × 30 × 30 cm. As a substrate, coconut substrate is preferred. The poison is not deadly.
As a feed suitable:
- Larvae of beetles.
Protection: Combes allergenic hairs at every opportunity.
Temperature: 23 ° C-27 °.
Adult body: 6 cm
Leg span: 15 cm
Duration of stay: 15 years or more.
Content at home: This domestic spider is a native of East Africa and has 1 horn on the cephalothorax. He leads an active life position, especially at night. Horned tarantulas are not advised to be given to beginners, since the representative of this species is very aggressive in nature.
Stag beetle can freely bite onewho dared to disturb him. Although poison is not fatal, it is quite capable of causing health problems. Individuals are very nimble, they require good observation. The terrarium is suitable cubic with litter up to 10 cm in height. The spider is of the normal type. It makes no sense to establish a drinking bowl and scenery, the inhabitant will quickly bury it or weave it with a web.
Temperature: 26 ° C-28 °.
Adult body: 9 cm
Leg span: 25 cm
Duration of residence: Females up to 20 years, males 4 years.
Content at home: Blue tarantula indigenous to the monsoon forests of Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia. Color bright blue. Lifestyle - nornik and petrels. Equipping the terrarium, it is necessary to lay the ground and provide the spider with a tree (snag). The specimen is suitable only for professional holders, since there are no stinging hairs in the domestic spider, and its poison is very dangerous and has not been fully studied by researchers. Temperament is very complex. The terrarium is cubic; the underlay is coconut.
Temperature: 25 ° C to 27 °.
Adult body: 8 cm
Leg span: 15−19 cm
Duration of stay: up to 20 years
Maintenance at home: Homeland - Eastern Brazil. Most of life passes in burrows under the roots of trees and shrubs. There are stinging hairs on the stomach, but the spider uses them very rarely. The character is calm, sometimes nervous, active. The terrarium is suitable horizontal with dimensions 40 × 40 × 30 cm.
The substrate is 5-10 cm, moss, peat, coconut. In the terrarium you need a drinker. Adult food once a week. On the menu there are insects with a suitable size. They rarely bite, but the bite is toxic, caution should be exercised upon contact.