Do tarantulas need a lot of space? You might have seen a lot of tarantula enclosures on tv or online that feature a lot of things. Some have a bioactive setup while others are simply stacked on top of each other in cabinets. So which one should you follow?
Tarantulas do not need a lot of space. The rule of thumb is less is more. As they do not move around a lot, they only need the bare necessities like a hide and a proper level of the substrate. In terms of space, there should just be enough space for your T to crawl around and spread his legs.
So it is very simple really, you just have to make sure that the space in your tarantula’s enclosure is big enough or small enough for him. Of course, space also depends on the size of your tarantula as well as his type. You will learn more about this as you read through this article.
Do Tarantulas Need A Lot Of Space?
Tarantulas do not need a lot of space. All they need is ample space to crawl and climb as well as space for them to burrow or hide. Therefore, a four to a five-gallon tank is more than enough for your tarantula’s space needs (this includes large tarantulas)
So why is it that some owners use a 10-gallon tank? The reason behind this is simply for tank customization. Doing this is not really for your tarantula, but for the owner.
If you have more space, then you have a chance to put in more decorations like plants, rocks, and the like. If you are also planning to have a bioactive setup, having more space will make this easy to execute.
Having a lot of space does not necessarily mean that your tarantula will have a better life. In fact, he will just utilize the space that he needs and end up not exploring the entire tank.
Definitely, there are certain pros and cons in doing a big setup. We will discuss this more as we move along. But as for now, a small setup will do especially if you are a first time owner of a tarantula.
Different Enclosure Size For Different Tarantula Type
You should always give enough space for your tarantula depending on his type. There are two types of tarantulas and of course, they also differ in some behavioral aspects which calls for a different tank setup and size.
Also, do not forget that you should only house one tarantula in one enclosure. Therefore, you do not need to plan out space for two tarantulas. Let us now take a look at the two types of tarantulas and their corresponding enclosure space.
Enclosure Size For Terrestrial Tarantula
Terrestrial tarantulas are the ones who stay on the ground and tend to do burrowing behavior. Therefore, their enclosure should have the space that is three times the span of their legs. Also, it should be double the size of their leg span in width.
A five-gallon tank will be perfect for this type. Just as long as they have enough substrate to burrow in, you are good to go. You do not have to worry about the length of the tank as you only need to think about how much substrate you can put in it to provide depth for your T.
For this type, you should be wary of the space at the top of the enclosure aka the height. As terrestrial tarantulas tend to be heavy, if they were able to climb too far, they can get injured once they fall unexpectedly.
Therefore, the height should not be higher than one size than their leg span. This is also one of the reasons why some owners use a 10-gallon tank for their Ts.
For this size, the height is slightly lower and their Ts are discouraged from climbing as they have more than enough crawl space.
In the event that your five-gallon tank has a lot of height, you can make up for it by increasing the amount of substrate in the enclosure.
You might be considering adding a hide inside the enclosure which is believed to work well with terrestrial tarantulas. You can read our guide on tarantula hides to know if allotting space for a hide is worth it.
Enclosure Size For Arboreal Tarantula
Arboreal tarantulas love to climb and build webs off of the ground. Therefore, they need more climbing room compared to terrestrial tarantulas.
More than that, they also need other enrichment activities inside the enclosure to encourage their climbing behavior. Things like twigs, branches, and other structures will surely help.
As arboreal tarantulas evolved differently and they have longer legs and slender bodies, they are more suited to climb rather than to burrow. Therefore, they require more height as compared to the floor space.
You can still do the initial space requirements wherein you double the size of the leg span as well as the width, but you have to pay close attention to the height. So an enclosure that is 2 in. in diameter and 3.5 in. in height will do.
If you have a large arboreal tarantula, you can get away with an enclosure that is 4 in. in diameter and 6 in. in height.
However, you also have to keep in mind that there should be enough space for the other things that you are going to put inside, like branches and other structures for climbing.
How Much Space Is Needed For Spiderlings?
Let us now talk about your tarantula babies or your spiderlings. As they are relatively small compared to your adult tarantulas, you can keep then in a plastic deli cup. Just make sure that you punch holes in it for proper ventilation.
In general, tarantula spiderlings have a 1.4 in. to 1 in. of leg span. Therefore, the ideal plastic container should be 2 in. in diameter and 1.5 in. in height for the terrestrial type. For the arboreal type, you can still stick with the 2 in. in diameter, but the height should be 3 in. to 5 in.
It is important to house your spiderling in the right container with the right space as it can help in increasing the chances of their survival. If the container is too big and there is a lot of space, your spiderling can feel overwhelmed and stressed.
More than that, it can be a bit hard for them to catch live prey inside a large container. Therefore, this results in poor growth and probably even death.
So you really have to keep a close eye on your spiderlings because you have to move them to another container as they molt and grow larger. Keep in mind that the increase in the size of the enclosure should always be gradual so as not to stress your spiderlings.
For a lot of tarantulas, they can be moved to a larger enclosure every six months up to one year. If your tarantula is already 3 in. or even larger, you can then rehouse them to a five-gallon or 10-gallon tank. This goes for both tarantula types.
Is The Space Inside A Plastic Container Enough?
We previously talked about putting your spiderlings in a plastic container. Is this also advisable for your adult tarantulas?
A lot of owners who have many tarantulas tend to go this route. The plastic container should just be wide enough for their tarantula to crawl a bit inside and also tall enough to put a good level of the substrate. Lastly, it should also have puncture holes for ventilation.
However, this setup is not ideal for arboreal tarantulas as they cannot fulfill their climbing needs. Also, a large plastic container, like the ones restaurants use for to-go soup is not still big enough to accommodate a hide and a water bowl.
Therefore, this can only be done for a short period of time, like if you are still in the process of preparing their enclosure. Moreover, this is a common practice for owners who are putting their newly owned tarantulas in quarantine.
Doing a quarantine is important when you recently got a new tarantula. It is not advised to immediately put him in his enclosure, instead, you can make use of plastic containers in order to observe him if he is not sick and eating properly.
But then again, after the quarantine period, you should transfer your T to a proper enclosure that can house its size. Only then will your T thrive and grow healthy and happy.
You can read our guide on using the right substrate so you can also estimate how much space will be left in the enclosure. You can also learn the substrate that you should never use for tarantulas.
Pros And Cons For Small Spaces
As we have mentioned earlier, tarantulas do not need a lot of space. But there are also pros and cons in keeping your T in an enclosure which only has ample space for him. Take a look at the following.
- Chances of injury are lessened
- Easy to feed live prey as they can quickly hunt for it
- Easy to maintain and clean
- Ventilation level will be good as the airflow is just within a small space
- Allots a lot of space for burrowing
- Easier to view your tarantula
- No space for enrichment activities
- Hides will be on the small side
- Limited space for a shallow water dish
Pros And Cons For Big Spaces
Let us now take a look at the pros and cons of having a big enclosure for your tarantula.
- Great for arboreal tarantulas
- Has space for enrichment activities
- Your tarantula can explore different places and find areas to warm up or cool down
- You can fully customize the setup of the enclosure
- Can lead to injury for your terrestrial tarantula
- Hard to maintain and clean
- Ventilation can be tricky
- Managing of temperature level can be a hassle
- Hard for your tarantula to catch prey