Do tarantulas need hides? You might be asking this question as you saw some tarantula enclosures that do not have hides. You probably want to have the same simple set up. But will this benefit your tarantula? Better yet, is there really a need for hides, or are they just for decorative reasons?
Tarantulas need hides as this is where they feel safe and secure. Hides are also great pieces that encourage your tarantula’s webbing behavior. Further, they can also crawl on top of it, keep themselves humid, and other enriching activities. Having a hide will surely improve your T’s well being.
In this article, we are going to discuss the benefits of having a hide inside your tarantula enclosure. We are also going to talk about some hide suggestions which you can easily purchase online. On a budget? Do not worry! We also have some DIY ideas for tarantula hides. So keep on reading!
What Is A Hide?
The tarantula’s enclosure can be compared to a human’s house. When it comes to their hide, this is the human’s bedroom. For us, this is the room we go to when we just want to chill, separate ourselves from the hustle and bustle in our household, and of course, for us to rest.
The same goes for your tarantula. The hide is somewhere where he can “hide” and get away from all the busy things inside the enclosure. This is also a place where he can eat in peace and most importantly, sleep.
There are different sizes of hides. Some even come in different textures, structures, and layouts. But its main function is to keep your T isolated from other things inside his enclosure.
Just like in the wild, your T will find a burrow or cave. He will then treat it as his own and will always go back to it after a successful night’s hunt. If your enclosure does not have a hide, your T will definitely know that there is something missing.
He will not feel as secure and safe. Yes, his enclosure is a controlled environment where nothing can harm him. But then again, he still needs a space that he can call his own and a place where he can be alone with his thoughts (whatever it is Ts think about).
Advantages Of Using A Hide
As simple as a hide can be, it really improves the life of your tarantula in his enclosure. Yes, he has the bare necessities like food, water, and substrate. But just like humans, what is life without the internet, books, Netflix, and bullet journaling?
For a tarantula, the hide is the answer to all of that! So let us take a look at the benefits of having a hide.
1. Security And Safety
Tarantula have senses that are fine-tuned that they almost always react to any stimuli. This can be a slight tap on the enclosure, a straggler feeder exploring the substrate, or any vibrations affecting his enclosure.
Therefore, he will always be on high alert so that he knows how to react appropriately. Of course, this can be really tiring and stressful for your T. He needs a place where he can simply relax and not bother with external stimuli.
The hide is best for that. It can be a place to hide and shut off all those external stimuli. It is also permanent, so your T knows that he can always go back to it.
In the hide, they can rest and just do whatever they want. They also tend to calm down much faster in the hide as compared to just being out in the open in their enclosure.
2. Adds Structure To The Enclosure
The use of a hide can also add structure to your enclosure. If your tarantula loves to burrow, he can also dig another burrow inside the hide.
Now, you not only have a sufficient amount of substrate, but you also have a hide that has a hidden burrow underneath it. This is great mimicry as to what happens in the wild. Surely, your T will also feel more at home.
Further, the burrow that your T dug will be more secure if there is a hide holding and supporting it. In addition, a hide can also encourage your T to create webs.
The hide can be a great anchor point to start the web as compared to other areas in the enclosure. It will not move and your T is familiar with it, so he will most likely start his web there. If you have a large hide, making big webs will be easy for your T.
3. Changes The Layout Of The Enclosure
Even though tarantulas are not the most active spiders, they can still benefit from the things around them, particularly the layout of their enclosure. They love to burrow and crawl, so adding a hide will surely add to the layout of your enclosure.
Not only can they burrow underneath the hide, but they can also crawl on top of it. It is like adding another layer or floor in your enclosure.
If they get tired of the levels of your substrate, all they need to do is to climb on the hide or stay inside of it, and they have a completely new experience.
4. Aesthetically Pleasing
This is actually more of a benefit to you than your tarantula. If you are one of those owners who set up the enclosure of their tarantula in a way that resembles the wild, having a unique-looking hide will surely please you.
In fact, even though you are just starting out with a simple set-up, when you add a hide, it elevates the look of your enclosure. The truth is, some owners especially focus on the hide as this is the place where you will be viewing your T for most of the time.
What To Look For In A Hide?
You really do not need such an extravagant hide. You can keep it as simple as you want, just as long as it is the right size for your tarantula. It also does not matter whether you bought it or just made one, your T will appreciate it all the same.
However, there are some things you should take note of, just so your T will not get injured inside the hide and to make sure that he will be comfortable inside it.
- Take note of your budget
There are some hides that are really expensive online and you do not have to stress yourself out if you do not have the budget for it. Just find the hide that will work with your budget. If all else fails, you can always create your own hide.
- Quality of the material
Some hides that you can purchase, especially the ones that are natural are usually made of materials that will eventually break or rot. So always choose the ones that can match how much maintenance you can do in your tarantula’s enclosure.
There are also plastic ones which are easier to clean. But you have to make sure that its ends and opening is not that sharp which may potentially harm your T.
Always buy from a reputable seller and do not forget to check the reviews for more reference.
Types Of Hides That You Can Buy
If you are really not good at DIY projects, and you have a set budget for purchasing a hide, then buying them will be a perfect choice! Here are some of the hides that you can choose from.
Half Log Hide
This is actually one of the most popular hides in tarantula enclosures. It can be treated as a hut if you put it on top of the substrate or you can also opt to burrow it in the substrate at a 45º angle to act as an entrance to a burrow.
Using a half log hide will make your enclosure look more natural. Also, there are a lot of durable ones you can find in the market and a lot of them do not cost you a fortune.
This one from Zilla will work great if you have a big enclosure. You can put it in the middle and your T will have a lot of space to hide.
Cork Bark Hide
This is a good choice for you if you want to customize the hide. Usually, when you buy this type of hide, it comes in one large piece. You can then just cut it into a smaller piece if you want to fit it in a smaller enclosure.
You can check out this hide from Zoo Med. You can cut it into smaller hides and you can also adjust the opening based on how big or small your tarantula is.
Coconut Shell Hide
This hide is made from a hollowed-out shell of a coconut. This is perfect if you have a tropical design in your enclosure. This is also great for larger tarantulas as the shell is thinner, so there will be more space inside.
A word of warning, this hide is prone to rotting and molds. So you always have to check it if it has started to decay.
You can take a look at this one from Niteangel. For this, you do not need to customize the entrance as it is enough for larger tarantulas.
Plastic Box Hide
This is also a very popular hide, especially for those who have small tarantula enclosures. It is very upfront in terms of its purpose, although it is not that aesthetically pleasing.
This one from Pangea is a favorite among tarantula owners (see it here). It may not look much, but it certainly does the job. Also, it is durable and easy to clean.
DIY Tarantula Hides
You really do not have to be a master crafter to make your own tarantula hide. Here are different ways on how to do so.
You do not need any tools for this (yay!). All you have to do is to bury 1/3 of the cup into the substrate and voila! You have a tarantula hide. You can also put a bit of moss at the exposed part of the cup to help with humidity.
You can get a small plant pot and put it into the substrate or you can break the pot in half and put it on top of the substrate. This is a more natural option and the material of the plant pot will also be great for the level of humidity inside.
Cut the container in half and also cut a big enough opening to fit your tarantula. Use a glue gun to cover all the sharp edges. If the plastic is transparent, then you can paint a dark color on it like black or brown.
You can purchase any type of molding clay in shops and you only need to let it set under the sun or in an oven. In this way, you can customize the size and shape of your tarantula hide.
Just make sure that the interior and the exterior of the hide is thick enough to handle the abuse of your T.