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Scott's Tarantulas Frequently Asked Questions


Q:  What species of tarantula are good for beginners?
A:  A good beginner tarantula should be hardy, low maintenance, generally docile in behaivor (can be handleable if worked with), and can handle a fairly large temperature fluctuation (60-90F) without adverse consequences. It is recommended to buy a captive bred tarantula, instead of wild caught, whenever possible. The following species fall into the above category:
Aphonopelma chalcodes
Aphonopelma hentzi
Aphonopelma seemanni
Brachypelma albopilosum
Brachypelma smithi
Brachypelma vagans
Eupalaestrus campestratus
Grammostola aureostriata
Grammostola rosea


Q:  What are these abbreviations, GRROS, etc, I'm seeing on your site?
A:  The abbreviations are a system I came up with for bridging the gap between the ambiguity of common names (vendors and pet stores will come up with ever more colorful names to sell product) and the difficulty of pronouncing the scientific names. The first 2 letters of the 5 are the first 2 letters of the genus and the last 3 letters of the 5 are the first 3 letters of the species. GRROS = GRammostola ROSea.

For more in depth answers to these questions I recommend "The Tarantula Keeper's Guide" by Schultz & Schultz.


Q:  Are tarantulas venomous?
A:  Yes, all tarantulas are venomous, its how they incapacitate they're prey. In general the toxicity of a black widow bite will cause a worse reaction than that of any tarantula. I know numerous people that have been hospitalized for black widow bites but still haven't met anyone that's had to do the same for a tarantula bite. If you don't want the chance of getting bitten don't handle the tarantula!


Q:  Can tarantulas bite?
A:  Yes, this is their ultimate defense mechanism.


Q:  Can I die from a tarantula bite?
A:  A tarantula bite has never been proven to cause a human death. However there is always the rare possibility that a person could have an allergic reaction to the bite and go into anaphylactic shock which can be life threatening. NOTE: I normally advise persons that are allergic to bee/wasp stings not to handle their tarantulas, this is just a prudent precautionary measure.


Q:  Can I feed my tarantula fruit or vegetables?
A:  No, tarantulas are carnivores and must eat live prey. You can potentially feed fruits and vegetables to your tarantulasí prey to help keep them healthy.


Q:  Can I house multiple tarantulas together?
A:  No, unless you are an advanced hobbyist keeping a colony of Avicularia or Poecilotheria. In general if you place 2 tarantulas in a container together you will end up with either one fat tarantula or two injured tarantulas, possibly fatally. This does not apply if you are breeding tarantulas.


Q:  What is the recommend temperature and humidity to keep tarantulas at?
A:  It depends on the species. In general tarantulas should be kept between 65-90F and have at least 45% humidity. Species that are from tropical forest environments generally do best in the 70-90F and 60%+ humidity.


Q:  What should I do if my tarantula is having trouble molting?
A:  The first thing to do is make sure the tarantula is on its back (this doesnít apply for arboreal species). If itís not on its back I advise you to gently flip it over if possible. Tarantulas that molt upright against their body weight frequently have molting problems. The second thing to do is to check the humidity. Low humidity, less than 50%, during a molt can be disastrous. Mist the inside of the container with water as a first step, donít spray the tarantula. If that isnít enough you can cover part of the housing with plastic wrap to reduce evaporation for the duration of the molting process.


Q:  My tarantula got stuck duing a molt. What should I do?
A:  If the tarantula is deformed but can still move around and eat and drink then I recommend not taking any action. Feed and water as usual and make sure conditions are better the next time it molts. If the deformation restricts it's ability to eat and drink you will need to take action. First gently try to remove any old exoskeleton with forceps or similar grasping device. Be very careful when pulling on legs, if damaged they might pull off and cause bleeding. Amputation of a stuck limb(s) is a last resort for saving a tarantula. This is very traumatic to the tarantula, they sometimes struggle but if proper action(s) arenít taken they may not survive. NOTE: Old exoskeleton stuck to the opisthosoma (abdomen) around the book lungs can be fatal if not removed quickly. Blockage of the booklungs will cause suffocation within just a few hours at most.

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