Goliath birdeaters are the largest species of arachnids on the planet. Also known as the king of spiders, these giant creatures are up to 6 ounces in weight and their legs can be as long as 1 foot each. Contrary to its name, a goliath birdeater tarantula does not usually eat birds, but it got this name because it is large enough to do so.
Dogs and cats are common pets that you can easily find in almost every home, but some enthusiasts are habitual of keeping tarantulas as pets. If you want to keep the world’s largest spider as your pet, here are the five most important ways to take care of it.
Handle It with Care
While many tarantula species can be kept calm as pets, these giants are impossible to be tamed, and you should never trust them on your skin. They get irritated very easily even if you have given them the best of conditions in captivity. They quickly flick their hair and tend to bite when they see a threat.
To avoid being bitten, do not handle them with your hands. If you need to move it, always use tongs with long handles to put it in a plastic container. Always wear glasses, as their hair may enter your eyes, for which a cornea surgery may be required.
Give Them the Right Place to Live
Specially designed aquariums are built for tarantulas, known as terrariums. They are high style tanks that allow your goliath birdeater tarantula to live in deep burrows. Since they can climb glass and escape, put some extra clips on your spider’s cage. A 30-40 gallons aquarium would be adequate for such a giant-sized tarantula.
Choose the Right Substrate for the Terrarium
Since these are rainforest natives, a mixture of topsoil, peat moss, and coconut husk works well. Add some water so that the substrate can stay stuck together when you squeeze it. This will prevent caving in of the burrow walls. Adult tarantulas would be happy in a substrate that is at least 8-12 inches deep.
Maintain Ideal Temperature
The natural habitat of goliath tarantulas is the hot and humid rainforests of South America. Therefore, you would need to maintain a temperature between 80 and 86°F. You may install a sub-tank heat mat or a ceramic heater emitter to keep the terrarium warm. You may also add some night viewing bulbs that will not only keep the tank warm but will also allow you to observe your pet’s nocturnal activities.
Arrange the Right Food for Them
Crickets are the basic diet of tarantulas, but you may also add some earthworms, roaches, locusts, moths, wild insects, and katydids to give them variety. Vertebrate-based food like lizards and frogs is not recommended, but you may occasionally offer them a pre-killed pink mouse for added protein.
So, these are 5 primary ways to take care of your goliath birdeater tarantula. However, this is a tough pet, and you need to be considerate about many other things. To be safe, keep a distance from them and never try to handle them with your bare hands.