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Scott's Tarantulas Frequently Asked Questions


Q:  What species of tarantula can jump? How far can they jump?
A:  All arboreal (tree dwelling) species can jump some distance, terrestrial species (ground dwelling) can sometimes jump short distances. I have had the Avicularia genus do the longest jumps for me, I've seen 5 to 6 feet several times. It's important to know that tarantulas don't jump up in distance as much as they do across and down. Most of the time they jump down to another surface.


Q:  How often should I clean my tarantula habitat?
A:  There are two levels of cleaning that I suggest. The first is the normal cleanup of old molts, emboluses, and dead food items. This should be done a few days after every feeding. This helps keep down any potential smell, the potential of mite propagation, and the potential of phorid fly propagation. The second level of cleaning is a complete change out of the tarantula's habitat. I do this every 8 months for adult tarantulas and tarantulas that are 4"+ in legspan. Smaller tarantulas are moved into new habitats more frequently than the 8 month time frame due to their growth rate. This 8 month time frame I use is based on my personal experimentation. Changing out a tarantulas habitat more frequently tends to stress them, they don't get comfortable in their environment. Changing out a tarantulas habitat less frequently tends to stress the tarantula more due to the messy environment. I have also logged a higher rate of mite propagation in habitats that aren't changed out at least once a year.


Q:  My child wants to have a pet tarantula. How old should he/she be?
A:  I don't recommend any child under 6 years old have a pet tarantula. Tarantulas are quite fragile and don't take mis-handling well nor can they be played with or knocked around as children frequently do with the family cat or dog. It's fine for the parents to have one that they care for that the child can view and enjoy.


Q:  My child has an interest in tarantulas. What can I do to encourage and assist their interest?
A:  You as the parent should first do some research online and also read some of the good hobby books such as "The Tarantula Keepers Guide" by Schultz & Schultz. You can then pass on this information to your children and let them continue doing their own research and reading. Getting involved with a local tarantula enthusiasts group is also a good way to get information and meet other people with a similar interest.


Q:  What organizations are available to join for outings and information?
A:  There is currently one national tarantula enthusiast group in the USA called the "American Tarantula Society" (ATS) which currently has operations centered in Carlsbad, New Mexico. They have an informative website and it's a great group of people to socialize with both at events and online. There are various sub-groups of both the ATS and regional arachnid groups around the USA, just look them up online. For Europe there is the "British Tarantula Society" (BTS) which is a great resource for arachnid information for anyone. Both the ATS and BTS have annual member events. I will add group website links in the links area of this website as I locate them. If your arachnid group has a website please email me a link and I'll consider posting it here on my site.


Q:  How many tarantula species are there in the world?
A:  Currently there are more than 850 formally recognized tarantula species in the world. It's speculated that there are at least double that amount that actually exist. As more expeditions are conducted into the remote regions of the world more are discovered.


Q:  My tarantula successfully molted. Is there any special care needed?
A:  Make sure your tarantula has a fresh clean dish of water. Tarantulas can lose up to 4% of their body mass during a molt from evaporation (my research). This loss of moisture leaves them thirsty after the molt, if they don't have access to water they can die of dehydration. Some species of tarantula will actually roll up their old exoskeleton like a food item in order to suck any remaining moisture from it, it's a survival strategy.


Q:  I have an unwanted tarantula in my yard. How do I get rid of it?
A:  Tarantulas are very beneficial creatures so unless it is really bugging you I suggest you let it stay, or if it's a male let him wander on his way. If it's really bugging you then here are 2 possible solutions:

(1) If it's a wandering male I suggest scooping him up in a study container and taking him away from you property and releasing him. He will wander off continuing to look for females.

(2) If you have a burrow you will need to get the tarantula out of the burrow, flooding with water or teasing with a stick usually both work. Digging should be a last result due to the effort involved. Once removed use the capture & release method as mentioned above.

If you personally don't want to perform this task you should try talking to some of the neighborhood children. They likely will enjoy performing the task and might even decide to keep it as a pet. Either way you've solved your problem.


Q:   My tarantula has an eggsac. What do I do?
A:  You have 2 choices:

(1) leave it with mom for her to care for it; or

(2) remove it from her and incubate the eggsac yourself by using a "mechanical mom" (see "The Tarantula Keeper Guide" p216). Species of some female tarantulas are good moms and take good care of the eggsacs, others are notorious for eating the eggsac at the slightest adverse condition including being disturbed. I donít recommend removing the eggsac unless the mother has abandoned it and itís starting to stink. Usually if the eggsac goes bad the mother will eat it to regain all the nutrition that was expended producing it, this should be allowed to help her regain her strength and stay healthy.

The odds of getting an eggsac to full term and hatch arenít good, even experienced breeders like myself typically only have a 10% success rate.


Q:  I purchased a tarantula at a local pet store. What species is it?
A:  There are several common species that the pet stores throughout the USA carry. Look in my gallery at the pictures of GRROS, AVAVI, EUCAM, PTMUR, BRALB, HALIV, APSEE, BRVAG, and BRSMI. You will likely see a match from this list. If you don't email me and let me know if you have good focused digital pictures that you can send. I supply a different email address upon request for ID pictures to be sent to. I can likely figure out what you have.

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