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For the love of spider toes ...

August 31, 2010 | Tag(s): Tarantulas
By: Lauren, Assistant Manager of Animal Collections at the Insectarium
Chilean Rose Hair Tarantula (Grammostola rosea)a

Probably one of the most popular animal groups we keep at the Insectarium is not an insect at all but rather an arachnid.  Spiders, both big and small, inspire strong emotions wherever they go – be it fear or fascination. 


When I first started working with arthropods I loved spiders but also did not have a great desire to work with them.  I never was big on holding tarantulas and mostly thought it was best to just leave them in their box.  I had handled tarantulas on occasion but I was never big about handling them unless something was forcing the issue.  However, that all changed after I met Harriet – our in house Chilean rose hair tarantula. 


Chilean rose hairs are a common pet tarantula and often said to be a perfect beginner tarantula.  I do not know if I agree with that statement because, as a species, they are known to have their own idiosyncrasies, but I will say that all the ones I have worked with have been the poster children for good behavior.  While holding Harriet I became fascinated with her tarsi (her “feet”).  In a fit of extreme patience she would sit on my hand for hours at a time while I played with her tarsi so that I could see her tarsal claws extend and retract. 


After spending a year harassing Harriet and not only becoming more comfortable but also growing fond of her I became interested in getting my own tarantulas.  Over the next year I accumulated twelve of my own personal tarantulas - most where presents from people who found out I was interested but I did actually purchase a few specific species that I really wanted (including my very own Chilean rose hair) .  I am now a huge proponent of them as great pets. 


I believe that before you get one that you should do a great deal of research on the different species and I even suggest for beginners getting adults for their first try (though most of mine I have raised from early ages).  That being said, however, they are amazing pets with great behaviors and many do not require a great deal of special care.

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