- 8 months ago
- 8 months ago
Hi guys! One of my favorite topics about tarantulas is their behavior. Today I’m going to be posting about their defense mechanisms and how you know your tarantula is about to display some defensive behavior.
Tarantulas generally have 3 things they will do if they’re about to attack to try to ward off potential predators (4 in my opinion/experience):
- Kick/rub urticating hairs
- Stand up on their back legs while lifting up their carapace and front legs
- Bare fangs
- Play dead
Every tarantula has little hairs on their abdomens known as urticating hairs. These hairs, if thrown or rubbed onto a potential predator, will cause discomfort and irritation! They’re hard to get out and can give you a rash, bad itch, or other forms of skin irritation. I’ve never experienced this with my tarantulas (yet), but it’s not uncommon for them to do when they’re feeling threatened.
When a tarantula is angry, they’ll stand up on you, looking something like this-
If your tarantula looks like this on you, LEAVE IT ALONE. You could get bitten! Usually if they’re left alone they’ll calm down and be just fine. Some tarantulas can be moody and will get upset at the “slightest” things.
Before a false charge or an actual bite, a tarantula usually will bare it’s fangs. You’ll be able to tell because instead of being under them near their mouth, they will be out like this-
Now, playing dead isn’t something that is widely reported among tarantula owners. I have read a few accounts of people explaining their tarantulas going into a “death curl” (pictured below)
and then “coming back to life.” I have experienced both my tarantulas “playing dead” on me before. With each of them, this has happened after a session of being placed in a strange environment or being held too much/ put under stress. You should NEVER assume a tarantula is actually dead until you can smell it. It’s normal for other spider species to play dead, it’s just not widely spoken about with tarantulas.
After about 3 or 4 days Maia had uncurled and was back to her old self. I have also handled her similar to how I handled her then since then, and she has done just fine. My G. Rosea, Borislav, is exhibiting this behavior at the moment, after his “attack” on me the other night. I do catch him jumping at big vibrations, however, and his spinnerets move now and again. I would suggest waiting about a week to even consider your tarantula as dead. If it starts to smell or has shown NO signs of moving, it’s probably dead. Before a death, tarantulas can be sick and will exhibit sluggish behavior, stop eating, etc.. This was not the case with Borislav, however, so I’m adamant that he is ok.
Be careful when handling your tarantulas and look for these signs. If it’s standing up, DON’T TOUCH IT OR PROVOKE IT. Watch out for urticating hairs and those fangs, and don’t get too upset when your tarantula curls up mysteriously!
Best of luck :)
- 8 months ago
Hi guys! As my first text post, I’ve decided to talk about the basics of owning a tarantula. Tarantulas are fascinating creatures to observe, and they look pretty awesome, too.
So the first thing I believe that is crucial to owning a pet tarantula is doing your own research BEFORE you decide if you want one or not. You should look up:
- Habitat setup
- Tarantula defense mechanisms
- General tarantula behavior
- Best tarantulas for beginners
I was extremely lucky to have Maia as my first t because she’s such a sweetheart. She’s never stood up/ rubbed hairs on me, she’s never bared her fangs. The avicularia species however is generally very docile, but if frightened, they’re very fast and are able to bolt. The avicularia species is a med-high speed tarantula, which you should only worry about if you’re going to handle your t.
Tarantulas eat mealworms, other worms, crickets, roaches, and even mice and small lizards. I feed my t’s crickets and mealworms because of their size. NEVER FEED YOUR TARANTULA ANYTHING YOU’VE CAUGHT YOURSELF. Buying your own food for tarantulas is crucial, because you know they won’t be ingesting anything that could hold parasites or other diseases, which will be transferred to your tarantula. Almost every pet store will have meal worms or crickets available.
Tarantulas don’t need giant enclosures (unless you have a giant tarantula). I keep my small a. Urticans in a 12x6x8 terrarium, and my g. Rosea in a 15” or so enclosure. Arboreal species are recommended to be kept in tall enclosures, but as long as they’re given a long stick or piece of driftwood to crawl up, that should serve them just fine.
Research the best beginner tarantulas. T. Blondi’s may be amazing, awesome looking creatures, but a Bird Eater as your first tarantula may not serve you well due to feeding regimens, size, attitude, etc.. G. Rosea’s are a common beginner species, but they are known to have strange behaviors and may lead you to a constant cycle of research and questions. In my opinion, the avicularia species is the best species to start out with, which is what my baby Maia is a part of.
Lastly, and probably even more important than research, is your comfort level with spiders. I was terrified of spiders my whole life, 17 years, until one day I just wasn’t scared anymore, and actually became intrigued at the arachnid class. I’ve read several accounts of people purchasing tarantulas in order to overcome their fear of spiders, and it never works out. It’s not fair to your or the tarantula if you’re too afraid to touch, see, or take care of it. And if possible, hold or pet the tarantula you anticipate to buy BEFORE buying it. Learn it’s temperament, ask as many questions as you can, even if you don’t always get an answer (which will happen). Also, don’t put your full trust into a pet store employee, as they could just be making up information to sell it to you.
Pet stores will not know the sex of the tarantula, and it’s almost impossible to find out what your tarantula is without looking at their molts.
Relax, and know that these creatures are harmless and very friendly, if their buttons aren’t pushed. NO ONE HAS EVER DIED FROM A TARANTULA BITE, so keep that in mind if fear sets in. Also, they won’t jump on you. They’re not interested in being disturbed anyway.
They’re also cheap, about $20 a tarantula where I live.
Hope this information has gotten you thinking about owning a tarantula, as they’re wonderful and very low maintenance pets! Good luck and thanks for reading :-)