Pet Spiders & Pet Spider Care
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Pet Spiders & Pet Spider Care




SPIDERS AS PETS

Many people enjoy raising spiders as pets. Spiders (arachnids) and insects may be suitable as pets given proper living conditions. Many types of spiders, such as tarantulas and wolf spiders, make excellent exotic pets and are quite interesting to observe.

There are both advantages and disadvantages to raising pet spiders.

Some advantages of raising a pet spider are:
  • Spiders are clean, quiet pets.
  • Spiders require little living space. A terrarium can serve nicely as a pet spider habitat.
  • Pet spiders can be fascinating to watch.
  • Pet spiders require little or no socialization.
  • A pet spider is far less expensive to maintain than a traditional pet such as a cat or a dog.
  • You may be able to acquire a pet spider from within your local habitat.
  • A pet spider, as is true of any pet, can serve as a valuable learning tool for a child of proper age, teaching responsibility (if the child must care for their pet spider) and perhaps sparking interest in nature and science.

WARNING:   Spiders are venomous, and can, through their bite, inflict varying degrees of harm on both human and animal. The author and owner of this website neither advocates nor condones permitting a child to keep a spider as a pet or in any other manner or for any other purpose. It is a parent’s responsibility to determine whether a spider is suitable as a pet for a child. Any parent choosing to permit their child to raise a pet spider, and anyone (such as parents, teachers or others) keeping a spider or other venomous animal as a pet or for other purposes in the vicinity of children must be fully aware of that animal’s behavioral patterns and potential to cause harm and must take appropriate measures to safeguard against such harm.

A FURTHER CAUTION:   Any animal capable of biting or scratching is also capable of transmitting bacterial, viral or fungal infection; this not only includes spiders, but common household pets such as cats and dogs. Far more people are bitten by dogs each year than are bitten by spiders (approximately 4.7 million dog bites per year in the U.S. versus over 13,000 spider bites in 1996 — Source:  Children’s Hospital and Health System Pediatric Health Information). Exercising proper care with any animal greatly reduces risk of injury.


Some disadvantages of raising a pet spider are:
  • Nearly all species of spiders are venomous to some degree. As with venomous snakes, the severity of a spider bite depends upon the potency of the venom, method by which the venom acts upon the body, quantity of venom delivered, site of the wound on the body, and allergic reactivity of the victim. A species of spider possessing potent venom may not necessarily be able to inflict significant injury to humans if its fangs (the delivery system) are not able to easily penetrate the skin.
  • Tarantulas, in addition to a (mildly) venomous bite, possess urticating hairs which can be flicked when the spider feels threatened or is stressed. These hairs can cause irritation and can cause vision damage if they enter the eye.
  • Many spiders have precise temperature, humidity, lighting, habitat or nutritional requirements.
  • Many species of spiders are adept climbers and some can escape through small crevices. It is necessary to keep your spiders enclosure properly sealed, enabling airflow but preventing escape.
  • Most spiders have short lifespans when compared to traditional pets. Tarantulas tend to be an exception. Given proper care, a tarantula can live for many years in captivity, with some tarantulas living as long as 20 to 30 years.
  • Spiders, like other animals, may be susceptible to disease, fungal or parasitic infection. Very few veterinarians will know how to diagnose or treat your pet spider.
  • Most spiders cannot be handled and do not tend to interact well with humans or other pets. Dropping a tarantula may cause its abdomen to rupture, resulting in almost certain death. Introducing your cat to your pet spider will result in a dead (possibly eaten) spider or, perhaps, a severely ill or dying cat if the cat is bitten and the spider is highly venomous. Spiders also don’t usually interact well with other spiders, since they are predatory by nature.
  • Depending on species, mating your pet spider may prove difficult.
  • Some localities may have laws or regulations restricting purchase or possession of some or all types of spiders.
  • Liability insurance may not cover injury sustained from the bite of a spider raised as a pet, leaving you legally responsible for damages.
DO NOT decide to raise a spider as a pet because it is “cool” or because you want to impress or shock your friends. Owning a pet — ANY PET — requires a high level of commitment, dedication and respect for the life and well-being of the animal for which you choose to become responsible. Do some research, then think carefully about whether you want the responsibility that comes with having a pet and whether a spider is the right pet for you.

Authored by Kenneth L. Anderson.  Original article published 30 December 2003, updated 24 June 2006.


Follow links to the right to learn more about spiders and about raising and caring for spiders as pets. At the left margin, Related Links address topics of interest pertaining to locating a pet, protecting your pet’s well-being and health, and maximizing your pet’s quality of life. If you have an interest in pet ownership that goes beyond arachnids (remembering, of course, that spiders and other pets should be kept apart), check out Pet Adoption & Rescue. If you already own a pet, you may be especially interested in Pet Care & Pet Health and Pet Products & Supplies. View the Exotic Pets SiteMap for a complete list of exotic pets topics.


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