Buying a Tarantula

Deciding to buy a tarantula, or any pet for that matter, should not be a spur-of-the-moment choice. Not only do these arachnids require specialized care, but they can also live for more than 20 years, which is a long commitment. Due to these factors, it is crucial that potential tarantula owners think long and hard about whether or not they can dedicate almost a quarter of their lives to a pet.


If you believe you are ready for an arachnid and want to go ahead, you will not be disappointed. Although tarantulas aren’t the type of pets to cuddle and play with because they are exotic animals, they are good for learning about and observing. Plus, many tarantulas are low maintenance, which can be a lot easier than a dog that requires multiple walks a day.


However, as there are many different species of tarantulas, choosing the perfect one might be tougher than expected. With this guide, you will be shown the five best beginner tarantulas and where to buy your chosen species.

Can You Have a Tarantula as a Pet?

As exotic animals, tarantulas are not domesticated. Even tarantulas that have been bred as pets have the strong instincts of those living in the wild. With this nature, as well as the defensive behaviors these arachnids can exhibit, pet tarantulas are more for looking at and caring for than they are for handling.


But this does not mean it is impossible to have a pet tarantula; it just means the owner must be knowledgeable and responsible to care for the arachnid efficiently. The necessary care that is required will extend to ensuring the safety of the tarantula as well as those who may encounter it within the home.

Best Pet Tarantula Species for Beginners

Although all tarantulas can cause injury, some are less likely to do so, similar to exotic pets such as scorpions, snakes, and more. The more amenable tarantula species are considered to be the best starter pets for those new to spider-keeping. Typically, the easiest species to keep as a beginner are native to Argentina, Chile, Mexico, Paraguay, and the USA.


However, it is vital to remember that this does not mean docile species will not bite or flick bristles to defend themselves. Thankfully, the venom of the tarantulas mentioned will only cause a small reaction, similar to a bee sting, in most people.


The best tarantula species for beginners have been listed below:

Chilean Rose Tarantula (Grammostola rosea)

The Chilean Rose tarantula, also known as the rose hair tarantula, is one of the easiest species to keep, making it perfect for beginners. It has also become one of the most commonly kept pets. Chilean Rose tarantulas are generally docile and move rather slowly in comparison to other tarantulas. A Chilean Rose tarantula can withstand gentle handling if kept comfortable and isn’t prone to biting. Of course, this does not mean that this species will not bite if provoked, but the venom is harmless to the majority of people.


Native to Chile, Argentina, and Bolivia, the Chilean Rose tarantula can be black or brown in color, with bristles in hues of reds and oranges, making it a classic-looking tarantula. Adult females tend to grow up to five inches in leg span and have long lifespans of 20 years, while males only live up to five years old on average.


This species is considered to be hardy, which makes caring for it easier as long as the temperature and humidity requirements are met. These tarantulas are terrestrial, although youngsters will burrow, and require a large enough enclosure for growth and movement. 

Chilean Rose Tarantula in new enclosure set-up

Curly Hair Tarantula (Tliltocatl albopilosus)

Curly Hair tarantulas, as you would imagine, are covered in long, curly bristles. They have become well-known for their good nature and toughness, which means keeping Curly Hair tarantulas as pets is a good option for people who are new to tarantula-keeping. However, potential owners should be committed to the tarantula’s long lifespan. Curly Hair tarantulas have a slow growth rate, which means females can live up to 30 years old and males can reach 10 years old. This lifespan relates to how long these tarantulas need to grow to full maturity, which should be a leg span of 5 or 6 inches.


As ground-dwelling tarantulas, this species will require a terrestrial enclosure. The enclosure should also have a deep layer of the substrate to allow for burrowing, and hides, such as cork bark, branches, and other items, should be provided. Their diet consists of live insects, including crickets, locusts, and roaches, and it can be fun to watch them hunt their prey.


Handling a Curly Hair tarantula should be kept to a minimum, as they can become defensive when frightened. Although its venom is not fatal to humans, its urticating hairs can cause irritation to the eyes, nose, and skin.

Curly Hair tarantula showing bristles

Pink Toe Tarantula (Avicularia avicularia)

An option for the best beginner tree-dwelling species is the Pink Toe tarantula. Because of their dark coloring with pink tips on their feet and the ease of keeping them, Pink Toe tarantulas are highly sought after as starter pets. This species’ average lifespan of seven to 12 years is relatively shorter than the other tarantulas featured in this list, which might be preferable to some arachnid enthusiasts. Being a medium-sized tarantula species, adult males will mature at three and a half inches, while females can grow to five inches.


Being an arboreal tarantula, the Pink Toe can be skittish at times, randomly jumping or running when spooked. This behavior is similar to that wild Pink Toes display in the treetops of their habitats. Due to this, this tarantula species requires a tall enclosure with a front or side opening rather than one with more surface area. Most people usually buy a 10-gallon tank to convert into a suitable tarantula enclosure. The top of the enclosure should have lots of foliage to provide the tarantula with cover.


Unlike the other beginner tarantula species on this list, the Pink Toe tarantula has an additional defensive measure; the tarantula squirts feces at whatever it perceives as a threat. Owners should exercise caution when handling or caring for all tarantulas, especially if they want to avoid being hit with Pink Toe tarantula poop. 

Mexican Red Knee Tarantula (Brachypelma hamorii)

The Mexican Red Knee tarantula, formerly known as B. smithi or Smith’s Red Knee, is repeatedly described as one of the most striking pet tarantula species. With vibrant contrasts of orange and black, it was – and still is – the introductory species to pet tarantulas for many spider keepers. Again, tarantula is not for someone who cannot commit to a decade or two; males can live up to ten years, but females have an impressive lifespan of 25 to 30 years. With such a long life, females can mature with a leg span of six inches.


Native to Mexico, this terrestrial species requires a warm and relatively dry environment with a deep substrate for burrowing. The humidity levels should be around 50-70%, and the temperature should range between 18-28ºC. 

Mexican Red Knee tarantula on log

Brazilian Black Tarantula (Grammostola pulchra)

Despite its all-black appearance, the Brazilian Black tarantula has become known as something of a gentle giant recently. This stems from the fact that females of the species can grow up to eight inches, while they all can have a relatively calm nature. Brazilian Black tarantulas can tolerate gentle handling most of the time, and they are one of the least likely to flick their urticating hairs. Even in the wild, a Brazilian Black tarantula is more likely to attempt to flee than fight.


As another slow-growing species, adult females can live to an impressive 25 to 30 years old, while males rarely make it to a decade; this is still more than the average lifespan of other male tarantulas. Sadly, this species is not readily available to buy as pets despite being in high demand by many arachnid enthusiasts.


Native to Brazil, Brazilian black tarantulas spend most of their time in their burrows. This helps to keep them safe, as they have several predators, including the Tarantula Hawk. However, this instinctual behavior extends to those kept as pets. Due to this, an enclosure for a Brazilian Black tarantula should have a lot of surface area and a deep substrate to allow burrowing. 

Brazilian Black Tarantula on cork bark

Where Can You Buy a Pet Tarantula?

Once you have decided which species is the best fit for you, it is time to look into buying your tarantula. Buying pet spiders is not a simple task, as there are a number of aspects that can affect the process, including where you can buy a tarantula. However, this section will cover the options that are available when buying a pet tarantula.


The most preferable option is to find a reputable tarantula dealer or breeder, as explained below:

Reputable Breeders

A reputable tarantula breeder will be knowledgeable about the care these arachnids require, which ensures any future questions can be answered from a first-hand source should issues arise. The person should be experienced in breeding and caring for tarantulas. People who breed tarantulas ethically will likely want the best lives for the spiderlings they sell, which means they do not sell their arachnids’ offspring to just anyone. They can help potential tarantula owners decide which species would be best for them and their lives, setting up an enclosure, feeding, etc.


Finding a tarantula breeder is relatively easy; you can do this online or through word-of-mouth. If you know people who own tarantulas, then you can ask them where they bought theirs from. If not, then you can do a quick Google search to find ethical breeders in your area. Once you have found one and verified they are reputable, then you must discuss how you would like to receive your tarantula. 

In Person

Meeting a reputable breeder in person is the best option. Although it can feel daunting, this allows you to observe how the breeder interacts with their pets and with you. You can see the conditions that their pet arachnids are kept in to ensure the one you buy has come from a safe environment and has been well-cared for. This also avoids the risks when a live arachnid is posted by the breeder.


Of course, the breeder might not live in your area, which means another method must be used: the tarantula is shipped to you.


Receiving a parcel labeled “live animal within” can be strange, but it is the norm for those who receive tarantulas and other live creatures via the post. The majority of breeders will only use this option when the conditions are correct, such as when it is neither too hot nor too cold, as the wrong temperature or weather can prove fatal to tarantulas in the mail. If the breeder does not take this into account, do not buy from them.


Tarantulas are usually shipped in ventilated tubs that have been wrapped in paper or tissue and polystyrene for additional protection and temperature control. There will usually be rolled-up paper towels inside the ventilated tubs to provide the tarantula with something to hide in. Some breeders will offer a Live On Arrival guarantee, which means you will receive a refund or replacement if the tarantula is dead upon delivery.

Exotic Pet Stores

Pet stores are a regular sight for many; however, there are some checks you should carry out before purchasing a tarantula from a local pet store, such as:


  • The conditions and enclosures the tarantulas are kept in: If the enclosures are dirty and unkept, the temperature and humidity conditions are incorrect, and the enclosures are placed in locations that would cause the tarantulas stress, avoid buying from this store.
  • The knowledge staff can and cannot provide: Asking questions about the tarantulas will uncover just how knowledgeable the staff is, especially if you have researched beforehand. If they cannot provide the tarantula species, instar, etc., then there is the risk that these tarantulas have been mass-bred or are even wild caught, both of which should be avoided.


Exotic pet stores should be more knowledgeable than ordinary pet shops, but these checks will still apply. Unfortunately, exotic pet stores are not as accessible. If you are lucky enough to live near an exotic pet shop, you can visit them when looking for a tarantula.