Keeping a Barking Spider as a pet is not without some complications. Firstly, there are a few breeders if any and finding in taking one from the wild is likely a legal and impractical anyway. If you are able to locate one they certainly make for a spectacular pet.
The barking spider so named because the sound they make when they rub their Palap spines against spines on their legs which produces a Barking noise, they do this to deter predators.
Though dwarfed in size by the large tarantula is of the Americas they belong to the same family of spiders called Mygalomorphs
In the wild are found in the in many parts of Australia, from the central deserts of the Northern Territory to the rainforests of Queensland. They generally live in deep burrows dug underneath piles of leaf litter. They are incredibly well adapted to their environment. Though they live in predominantly dry areas are able to cope with flash flooding which may fill the burrows by trapping air in bubbles in the hair on their bodies which can sustain into some time. Their oxygen requirements a small especially when motionless.
Prey in the Wild
As a large spider, the prey is made up of anything that stumbles onto the entrance of the burrow that is reasonably small enough to overpower including common desert insects such as crickets and grasshoppers but also small lizards and frogs and sometimes of the year.
Keeping A Desert Barking Spider as a Pet
Some important things to consider when keeping was a pet are:-
a. As a borrowing spider will spend most of their time hidden. Certainly, when a catching their prey this can be a dramatic example of spider behaviour that most of the time your spider enclosure will appear to be empty.
b. They are burrowing spiders that they can climb. They can climb branches twigs rocks…. but also the glass walls of a fish tank as they have clawed toughs which when combined with oil they excrete from special glands – a Barking spider becomes very much like Spiderman able to climb sheer and slippery surfaces.
c. They are aggressive. They will tackle a scorpion, there will tackle a mouse and they will certainly bite you if you are silly enough to try and handle them. Their vision is poor and they find their prey through sensing vibrations the travel down through the Web lined burrow. Disturbing a common house spider will likely result in a fleeing – disturbing a Barking spider will likely result in it standing its ground to attack.
d. They are large fanged and venomous. Individuals with fangs exceeding 1 cm a common. The bite is certainly powerful enough to penetrate a leather gloves or even a fingernail. They should not be handled. The poison is especially venomous to cats and dogs – a bite will likely be fatal to such an animal within an hour.
e. They are strong. Make sure the lid to your Spidey enclosure is well secured because if it is not there is a good chance they’ll be able to push their way out.
f. They can jump to quite a height considering the size so be very wary of giving them an opportunity to jump out of their enclosure or to jump on to and bite your hand
They do not require a very large enclosure as they are burrowing as opposed to roaming spiders. A 30 x30 x 60cm fish tank will be sufficient. They require a substrate to the building of the burrow of at least 6 cm deep though some will desire to be at least three times this depth. Typically, they would build the burrow underneath a piece of bark or something similar rather than just dig a hole in the open so you will need to provide this in their enclosure. The best results you borrow yourself on the edge of the fish tank in place a piece of bark over it. When you and your Barking spider to the enclosure it will likely find this burrow and make it it’s own. This will give you the opportunity to view the barking spider when it is in the burrow – this certainly makes things more exciting during feeding as you’ll be able to see them with their prey after they drag it into the burrow.
Feeding your Barking Spider
Your spider will eat anything smaller than itself gets too close to its burrow when it is hungry. Crickets and grasshoppers are ideal, as are cockroaches. Often moths grow to the correct size as well and they will eventually flap around and land near the entrance to the burrow. Buying spider feed such as mealy worms and crickets from the pet shop can get expensive so you may wish to breed these yourself if you are concerned (rightly so) of your spider been poisoned from garden insects that may have been exposed to pesticides.
Your spider will need to drink to ensure that you keep water in something like jar lid to drink from. Use your common sense when choosing a lid – two deep and you risk your spider falling in and drowning
Barking Spiders seek out humid microenvironments such as leaf litter to live in as they prefer a fairly humid environment. Their cage should certainly not be allowed to get bone dry however if you allow it to be too wet they can be affected by fungi or mites that will breed in the moist soil and then feed on and irritate the spider. Rotting vegetation can cause problems so only introduce plastic plants as opposed to natural ones. Keep the cage clean of insect corpses. Only remove dead insects with long pincers or tongs – you don’t want to picking out their crickets arid have Spidey, bite your fingers after feeling the vibrations from your actions
Barking spiders do not make a good pet for a child, they are too aggressive they are too difficult to look after and the repercussions are too large should the child make a mistake such as trying to handle it. For an older child or an adult, they can make a fascinating and spectacular hobby animal. Enthusiasts speak excitedly about how dramatic it is watching and take down their prey.