Australian Tarantula Care Guide

Housing

Australian tarantulas are found in a wide range of habitats from the Mallee of North West Victoria, through the deserts of central Australia and WA up into the Tropics of the North of Australia. Despite this all, tarantulas are often found in close proximity to a potential water source.

Being a burrowing animal a “false chamber” setup 1L enclosure is your bare minimum, 30x30x30cm is best. As a predominately burrow dwelling animal ventilation is not overly important, a small number of holes in the sides and roof will provide them with all the fresh air they’ll need, higher ventilation will likely stimulate them to burrow to seek higher humidity levels. At higher humidity and/or low light they will stay surface active.

Appropriate substrates for housing tarantulas include, cocofibre, pesticide/fertilizer free soil, loam, our burrower mix and our forest floor mix. The enclosure should be filled over halfway with this substrate (a fall of 15cm or more can cause abdomen rupturing or internal damage), which must be kept slightly damp, add water until a ball can be formed in your hand using the substrate. Many keepers prefer to make various additions to the substrate, most commonly sand, vermiculite and peatmoss.

Temperature for Tarantulas needs to be kept between 10-30 degrees Celsius. They are able to tolerate temperatures below this for short times, but activity, metabolism and growth with slow down and came to a stop. Temperatures exceeding 34-35C will cause catastrophic injuries to your tarantula resulting in irreparable damage, often presenting itself as a “death curl”, which will not come good with water consumption..

Feeding/Watering

In the wild Australian tarantulas are opportunistic ambush feeders, often feeding on whatever triggers the web around the surface of their burrow, where they sit in wait at night. Due to the likelihood of catching prey this way, Australian tarantulas have adapted with a very slow metabolism. Conveniently higher when there is more prey activity in the warmer months allowing more growth. And very slow during cold months when prey activity has slowed done.

In captivity Australian tarantulas can be fed large crickets, wood roaches and even pinky mice (keep these to less than 3 times a year). Feed them 3-4 appropriately sized insects every 1-2 weeks during summer months, it is not unusual for them to not eat at all for several months over winter. Remove any waste or uneaten insects within 24hrs of feeding, crickets can kill a moulting tarantula, half eaten prey may attract unwanted pests such as fungus gnats as well as allowing mould to flourish.

Australian tarantulas get majority of their water from their prey, but mist surface of the enclosure slightly weekly or as the substrate begins to dry out, Australian tarantulas will chew on the substrate drawing out moisture.

Sexing

Sexing Australian tarantulas can be done relatively accurately from 4cm leg span. Males of all species will begin exhibiting swelling around the base of the last segment of their pedipalps, eventually developing into palpal bulbs in mature specimens. Immature females will have this swelling in the centre of the last segment of the pedipalps

Sexing mature male Australian Tarantulas
Sexing mature female Australian tarantulas

Lifespan

Up to 25years

Common Concerns

Why is my tarantuls not eating? Tarantulas may not eat for various reasons, if it is winter they may not be metabolising their food as fast as they’re being fed, they may also just be full. Centipedes can go for over 18 months without food at times.

Why is my tarantula always hiding? Tarantulas burrow to seek higher humidity a burrowing tarantula is a happy tarantula, if it is wandering on the surface it is likely seeking an appropriate place to call home.

Why isn’t my tarantula burrowing? Burrowing invertebrates burrow to reach an area with higher humidity levels and to hide from predators. Try drying out the enclosure slightly or place in a better lit area of the house, the sunlight can stimulate them to burrow.

Why is my tarantula curled up? This could be due to a number of reasons, firstly is it on its stomach or back? Back it is likely moulting and best left alone for a day or 2 while it sheds its exoskeleton, do not feed until it has hardened back up this could take up to 2-3 weeks. If its on its stomach is its legs curling underneath it or up over its eyes? Curling up over its eyes is a normal resting position nothing to be concerned about. Curling underneath may be a “death curl” this often comes about due to dehydration. Try placing a waterdish in the enclosure with the tarantulas fangs in the water.

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1 thought on “Australian Tarantula Care Guide

  1. Why does my tarantula sling only eat dead crickets? I’ve had it for over a month now and I still have to freeze kill the crickets before feeding. The t has moulded once in the time I’ve had it and is much bigger than when I got it as a result of that, the crickets I feed to it are much smaller than it is and so I figured it’s just a bad eater and I just say that’s it’s personality. Could there be another reason?

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