General care

TERRARIUMS FOR SUBADULTS AND ADULTS

The size of the cage should be atleast 30x30x30 cm (LxHxW) to normal sized spiders (ca 15 cm legspan). Smaller species can be kept in a 20x20x20 cm cage. For the giants Theraphosa, Pamphobeteus and Lasiodora it should be around 40x30x40 cm. For larger arboreal species, e.g. Poecilotheria, the cage can be taller 30x40x30cm – and smaller arboreal species, such as Avicularia avicularia and Psalmopoeus irminia, can be kept in a 30x30x30 cm cage.

It is important to have good ventilation in the cage so place the ventilation holes on different levels to get natural air circulation. For spiderlings you can use small plastic boxes. So called pet boxes, small plastic terrariums, works quite well if a part of the lid is covered with plastic to keep the humidity in the cage. For species living in dry habitats that is not necessary.

HOUSING FOR SPIDERLINGS AND JUVENILES

For spiderlings I use transparent plastic vials with a snap lid. Punch a few holes in the lid and a couple of cm with peat. For larger spiderlings and juveniles I prefer a smaller plastic box with ventilation holes on the top and sides. You can use a larger chunk of peat or plastic leafs for shelter.

DIFFERENT TYPES OF CAGES

The most common, atleast in Sweden, are a all glass terrarium with sliding glass doors at the front. If you decide to keep deep burrowing species in these cages there might be a small problem to fill the cage with enough peat to allow burrowing. You can solve this by placing the peat in a slope on the back or a side of the cage. I prefer to keep burrowing species in a glass cage with a top lid. Some use plastic boxes with a lid and it works well. Petboxes are often found in petshops and they work well for juveniles and smaller species. Old aquariums can be altered to terrarium by silicon glue a lid parted in two halfs. All glass cages can easily be done at home, just order the glass parts from a glazier and silicon glue it.

DECORATION

Its important for a spider to have some where to hide. In the wild many terrestrials dig burrows for shelter or they take over a abandoned burrow. To imitate these conditions in the cage you can put a thick layer of peat for the spider to burrow in. I usually advice not to put rocks in the cage since the rocks can kill your spider if she fall on to the rock. With a large collection most people furnish the cage simple – a piece of cork bark, a waterdish and a thick layer of peat. If the spider are provided with water and proper temperature the spider do well in that furnishing. The only cages I decorate further with plants etc are arboreal cages and large South American terrestrials.

DECORATE WITH PLANTS?

For rainforest species like Theraphosa that wants a high humidity its a way to keep the humidity high. The cages to the large terrestrials are also big enough so pests are easy to spot and there is room for the additional decorations.
So what plants can be used? For a rainforest cage you can use for example Philodendron, Fittonia and Peperomia. Avoid cacti because of the spines that can hurt the spider and the light in a spider terrarium is usually not enough for a cactus.

Theraphosa in terrarium
Above: Theraphosa blondi in terrarium with a Philodendron scandens plant

WATER

Tarantulas get most of their liquid from prey but provide the spider with a water dish which also increase the humidity. Some species drink direct from the dish while others prefer to drink from leafs and branches. I spray the cage three times a week if its a rainforest species and one time for arid living species. Make sure to always have fresh water in the dish and change it if theres food items or peat in it. For spiderlings and juveniles a light spray once or twice a week is sufficient.

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