Tarantula & Invert FAQ

What is an invertebrate?

The Merriam-Webster definition of “invertebrate” is as follows; “lacking a spinal column”, meaning that any animal that does not develop a spinal column is an invertebrate. This includes mollusks, annelids, cnidarians, and, our point of focus, arthropods. A whopping 97% of all animals on earth are invertebrates and of that, 84% are arthropods. This means that roughly 87% of all animals are arthropods.

What does it mean to “keep” a tarantula or other invertebrate?

To “keep” any animal is to care for it as you would a dog or cat, “keeping” is simply the term used by invertebrate hobbyists.

What does it mean to “breed” a tarantula or other invertebrate?

Breeding an animal is to have a species reproduce, brooding young, in your care. This is done when hobbyists carefully recreate the natural setting of their invertebrate, and introduce a male into the female’s environment at just the right time, resulting in copulation, or simply, sex. The keeper will then care for the female and in many cases readjust her environment to recreate the season in which she would produce an egg sac! This is usually only possible once a keeper has gone through many hours of research and is very meticulous in his work.

Are tarantulas and other invertebrates easy to keep?

While this answer is entirely dependent on the keeper’s skill, the climate the keeper lives in, and the species being kept, most keepers will generally state that YES invertebrates are easy to keep. However, it must be kept in mind that this is relative to other animals, invertebrates do still require a knowledgeable keeper to care for them and have unique needs.

Are tarantulas dangerous?

Tarantulas can absolutely be dangerous, just as a dog can be. The difference between the danger associated with a dog and that of a tarantula is that the dog owner themselves requires proper training along with the training of their dog to ensure the dog never harms anyone, whereas a tarantula cannot be trained. Therefore the keeper’s safety relies solely on themselves. This is NOT to say that tarantulas are unpredictable and scary. Many keepers have kept hundreds of tarantulas for years without ever being harmed by their pets. When a keeper achieves this it is often worn as a badge of honor.

Why do people become invertebrate keepers?

People often become keepers because they were simply interested in a certain animal, whether it be tarantulas, mantids, or any other invertebrate. The important part is that they continue to keep for various reasons, many keepers find that keeping such calm and delicate animals can be very relaxing and meditative, as a bonsai tree is! Some people particularly enjoy collecting many different species, some people like having something to occupy their time, but most keepers find an incredible community of like-minded individuals who enjoy the animals for all of the same reasons they do!

How are these animals important to the environment?

Making up 97% of the animals in an environment comes with quite a few roles! Most notably, invertebrates are responsible for the vast majority of composting done (an absolutely essential part of any ecosystem). And, they are a rich food source for the majority of other animals. With this information alone ,it is obvious that an ecosystem would become wildly imbalanced without these animals.

How does someone become a keeper?

There isn’t a single path that leads to becoming a keeper, it often happens on an individuals accord, that is, they simply want to own an invertebrate and decide to do so.  Experienced keepers will state that this is not the suggested route, often voicing that practical studying be done beforehand, this is likely the best way to begin your keeping journey; studying, joining a community, and asking lots of questions.