Breeding Tarantulas for Fun and Profit
By Stephen Bucaro
Tarantulas are a species of very large hairy spiders that are native to southwestern
and central United States. Tarantulas can have leg spans as large as 12 inches. Although tarantulas
are venomous, their venom is not very potent and they do not usually attack humans.
A tarantula can be sold for between $20.00 and $40.00. You can advertise on the Internet,
and you can sell to people who want an exotic pet and also to breeders. Since they can have
about 400 or 500 babies, the tarantula breeding business can be quite lucrative.
They need to be kept in an escape proof container that provides good ventilation. An
aquarium with a sealed top with air holes will work. Put about two inches of soil on the bottom,
and provide a water dish. Feed the tarantula live crickets, which can be purchased at most
pet stores. In order to grow, a tarantula needs to shed its exoskeleton every couple of months.
To breed tarantulas, you first must ensure that your male and female are the same species.
The male is smaller and has small hooks on his front legs which he uses to hold the female's
fangs during mating. The male should always be introduced into the females enclosure rather
than the other way around.
Before mating the male will produce a hammock shaped web in the corner of the enclosure.
He then places sperm in the web, and uses a small pointed hook called an emblolus to take up
the sperm which he stores until he's ready to mate.
You'll need to rescue the male after mating otherwise the female will kill him for food
for the babies. After mating the female will produce an egg sac. Make sure the female is well
fed after mating or she'll eat her eggs. Otherwise the mother will care for the eggs by keeping
parasites and mold off the egg sac. After about ten weeks nymphs will come out of the egg sac.
The nymphs look like tiny spiders, except they're hairless and all white.
Tarantulas should be shipped only when the temperature throughout the entire route will
be between 40 degrees and 90 degrees Fahrenheit (F). To ship, coax the spider into a large
paper cup, then crumble a dry paper towel and place that in the end of cup, then put the lid
on the cup. Place the cup in a shipping box protected with Styrofoam peanuts.
You should ship tarantulas by Express Mail, which will allow them to spend as little
time as possible in the container. Express Mail is delivered within 26 hours. An alternative
is Priority Mail, which takes two to three days for delivery and so has a greater chance of
the spider arriving dead.
Since a female tarantula can have 400 to 500 babies or more, breeding them can be a lucrative
home business. But it would not be a good business for someone with arachnophobia.