If you are passionate about arachnids and are considering adopting one as a pet, but don’t know how to go about it, this article is for you! You must in fact think about your project in order to choose the animal that best meets your expectations, but also to offer it a suitable environment.
How to choose the right species of spider?
To make the right choice, you must mainly evaluate two criteria.
The first is that of behavior. Each species of spider has its own behavior and activity level. For example, jumping spiders are known for their agility and ability to jump on their prey, making them very active, while tarantulas are often slower and calmer. You must therefore find out about the behavior of the species you are considering adopting, to go beyond purely aesthetic considerations.
The second criterion is that of the dangerousness of the animal. If you are considering adopting a venomous species like the violinist spider, make sure you understand the potential risks of handling this spider. Be aware of necessary precautions to avoid bites.
What advice for a beginner?
For a beginner who wants to adopt a spider as a pet, jumping spiders (Salticidae) are generally recommended. They are relatively small, usually less than 1 cm to 2 cm in length, which makes them more manageable and less intimidating. They are active and curious, which makes them very interesting to observe.
They are generally simpler to care for than many other species. They do not need a lot of space and their diet consists of readily available live insects. Jumping spiders are also generally less aggressive and less likely to bite when handled with care.
However, even with a beginner-friendly species like jumping spiders, it is essential to do thorough research into the species’ specific needs in terms of habitat, food, temperature and humidity.
Phidippus regius, native to North America, is often recommended. It eats fruit flies, but also worms and other crickets. Its environment must remain humid.
Tarantulas (Theraphosidae) are very popular among spider enthusiasts because they are low maintenance. But we must take into account the fact that they have greater space requirements and a longer life expectancy than most spiders. Long-term commitment is a point to emphasize. Adopting a spider as a pet is a responsibility that you take on. You welcome a living being and must take care of it. Evaluate the stability of your life and your ability to care for this animal for the necessary length of time before making your choice. Some species can live for several years, even decades.
Pink-toed tarantulas are interesting in that they build silken skins to live in. These skins are strong and feel a bit like fabric to the touch. But once they have built this hiding place, they tend to stay hidden there. We may no longer see them for weeks. Curly-haired tarantulas are more active but they are burrowers and if you pick it up it will probably stay still. Chile Rose tarantula spiders are large and beautiful. They are terrestrial but do not dig. They prefer to hide under a piece of wood. If you handle it, it will happily walk around on you.
Create a suitable environment for the spider
The spider’s environment is important to its survival and well-being.
You should choose a terrarium suitable for the size of your chosen spider species. Make sure it provides adequate ventilation and is easy to clean. Maintenance should be as easy as possible because the terrarium must be cleaned regularly to avoid unpleasant odors and infections.
The choice of substrate is also made according to the species. Coconut soil or sand, it must be clean and free of contaminants.
Spiders may need hiding places. Find out whether you should line the terrarium with tree bark, leaves or stones. This is necessary so that they can develop a feeling of security.
Spiders must be kept under precise temperature and humidity conditions. You must therefore equip yourself with a thermometer and a hygrometer. Some species may also require heat lamps or humidifiers.
Feeding your spider
Diet varies depending on the species. Live insects or frozen prey, this can certainly influence your choice of spider to the extent that you are not necessarily able to provide fresh, live food. You also need to make sure that the size of the prey is appropriate for the spider.
Generally speaking, you should not handle spiders too much as it is a source of stress. So this should not be a motivation for you. Furthermore, it is important to respect the laws and regulations concerning the possession of spiders, because the adoption of certain species such as tarantulas is subject to obtaining the certificate of knowledge for pets of domestic species (ACACED).
We must not neglect the fact that adopting a spider remains a real commitment. It is therefore important to make the right choices upstream in order to be able to assume this new responsibility. You must also adopt good behavior when purchasing by checking where the spiders offered for purchase come from. If you can’t get clear information, it’s likely they are wild-caught animals. Do not give in to temptation because you are doing a disservice to the survival of these animals. They are fragile animals in more than one way!