Wednesday, October 10, 2012

The tarantula is vulnerable

There are so many different sizes and color combinations and temperaments to choose from. Some have stripes like a tiger, and some have markings like a skeleton. Most are hairy. They can be found in America, Africa, Asia and Australia. The African and Asian tarantulas are known as old world, and typically have stronger venom and are more aggressive than the new world tarantulas found in America that usually will just flick irritating hairs when threatened. They eat quite a variety of living things, from crickets to mice. Some are arboreal, living high up in trees and others are terrestrial, living on the ground or in burrows.

They are easy to find in the pet trade. They range in size from a fingernail to a dinner plate. In an appropriate size enclosure, the burrowing species will dig and line a hole with webbing. Mine do this right up against the glass so I can always see them even when they are hiding. Feeding is entertaining. Drop the cricket or roach in and watch the tarantula dash out and grab it. The largest ones can be fed mice or rats, but it is unadvisable because the rodent might hurt the tarantula. Large dubya roaches work well for large tarantulas. Some tarantulas go long periods of time without eating, either because they simply aren’t hungry, or are getting ready to molt. That is also interesting, to peer into the enclosure and see what looks like 2 tarantulas! Because when they molt, they lay on their backs and step out of their old skin, leaving behind what looks like another whole tarantula. Don’t feed for a few days after molting as the tarantula is vulnerable and the fangs need to harden.

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