Pet tarantulas are every spider owner’s ultimate dream. These mostly large and hairy spiders are surprisingly gentle, and some even make perfect first pet spiders. Mostly harmless towards humans, pet tarantulas come in a large variety, with some being very popular exotic pets. Native to tropical and desert climates, many tarantulas are being bred in captivity, making acquiring a pet tarantula relatively easy.

With nearly 800 species to choose from, people wanting to own a pet tarantula need to first figure out which species is most appropriate for their level of experience with spiders. Tarantulas are broadly divided into two categories, depending on their origin. These two categories are Old World and New World, wherein, Old Word tarantulas are natives of Africa, Europe, Asia to name a few, while New World tarantulas belong to North and South America. Old World tarantulas are the more venomous and more aggressive variety, whereas New World tarantulas are the more docile, though they attack using urticating hairs, which can cause severe itching and irritation to eyes and mouth of humans.

After this, you need to decide whether you want an arboreal tarantula, which climbs and lives in trees, tall rocks and other high places, or terrestrial tarantulas, which are a lot more active, as they go out hunting at dusk, and live under a bark of tree or other dark places not much above the ground, or lastly, burrowing tarantulas, which dig deep burrows and build webs inside to trap prey in; these tarantulas spend most of their lives in their burrow.

Now even though tarantulas are comparatively larger, they mostly eat insects such as crickets, grasshoppers, roaches and moths. But some species of tarantula also eat mice, lizards and small birds. Depending on your capabilities, get a pet tarantula that you can keep well. Some tarantulas require specific temperature and humidity levels, which have to be maintained in their habitat.

Another feature of tarantulas is that they have very long life spans, and some species can even live up to 25-30 years. So if you are not ready to put in the kind of commitment this requires, do not get a pet tarantula. For beginners, a pet Mexican Red Knee tarantula is a great option, as they are docile and easy to look after. For a slightly more active species, but still docile and safe, a pet Pink Toe tarantula is best. They require some specific levels of humidity and a lot of ventilation and tend to jump a lot, so care needs to be taken while handling.

Apart from these some other options are the Honduran Curly Hair tarantula, Green Bottle Blue tarantula or even a pet Goliath bird-eating spider. Be sure that you can handle these large spiders, after which you need to do extensive research on the species you are getting before you decide to get yourself a pet tarantula.

Noted – Tarantulas are not available as pets in Australia – try a wolf spider instead.