Acquired: Pet store
Posted Sep 14, 2015
To many people, the tarantula is a strange little creature, filled with fear and nightmares. But to my daughter, a strange little creature in her own right, they are the ideal pet.
Ashley acquired her tarantula—she named him Spike—in the summer of 1999 when she was only 10 years old. She immediately fell in love with her somewhat furry friend (that’s right, tarantulas have hair on their bodies).
Taking care of Spike was second nature to Ashley. She loved to let him crawl on her arms, and he seemed to love doing it!
Dinner time was quite an adventure. Ashley trapped crickets in the yard and watched in fascination while Spike performed his ‘dinner dance’ prior to pouncing on and devouring his victim. He only needed feeding a couple of times a week, so Ashley never grew tired of his antics. Unfortunately, this is where the story turns bad.
It just so happened that the year she had Spike was also a year with an enormous cricket infestation in our city. This was a good thing when she could find crickets in our yard, but it turned out to be a bad thing when our own supply of crickets dried up. Ashley captured a few crickets that were covering the walls of a gas station and fed them to Spike. She had no idea that the gas station had sprayed the crickets with a slow-acting poison. Within a few days, Spike was dead. It was a lesson in life—never feed your pets with food you don’t find on your own land or purchase in a store.
My daughter truly enjoyed her time with her pet tarantula, and I’m glad she had the experience—even if it creeped me out a little.
Tarantulas can make an outstanding pet for an owner who is fascinated by nature. They require a good home (an aquarium about twice their leg span with a couple of inches of organic potting soil, a piece of driftwood, a pre-made burrow, and a water source will suffice) that is kept sufficiently warm to mimic their natural habitat. They also require insects to eat, a steady hand, and a love of all living things (except maybe crickets).