Classroom Pet Tarantula Advice

MrTeacher

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Hello Arachnoboards! (First Post woot!)

I am a 3rd grade teacher in California and I've been looking for a class pet for our classroom. After looking around from more common pets like bunnies to reptiles like bearded dragons, I couldn't really find one that made sense for our classroom. I almost settled on getting a pet fish for the students, but I know I can do better. So I've decided to do some research on tarantulas and I think they may be a perfect class pet as they would be great for the students to feed and watch grow. The class loved the idea luckily! I am in no ways having myself or my students handle these beautiful creatures, but they enjoyed the idea of feeding them and watching them grow over time (a better "fish" in my opinion).

Before I make the plunge, I just wanted to know if there are any tips or words of advice for having a tarantula as a class pet. I've been doing lots of research on care for T's, but I'm always up to learn more. And I already have firm rules in place to make sure kids don't disturb the T, tapping on the enclosure, etc.

Also, could anyone recommend any beginner T's for a classroom environment? I'm thinking of a tarantula that eats very often (so kids can feed it/watch it eat), is often out and on display, and one that grows pretty fast (molting is something the kids would love to see and would never get tired of). My novice research has led me to think the Lasiodora parahybana (Salmon pink birdeater) is a good choice considering what I'm looking for or even the Chromatopelma cyaneopubescens (Green Blue Bottle), but I of course want to hear suggestions from the experienced folks on this website!

Thanks so much for reading and hopefully you can help our class find a T that's right for us!
 

Ungoliant

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Welcome to the hobby! I'm happy to see new people being introduced to these wonderful animals.

Having kept both tarantulas and fish, I can definitely say that tarantulas are "a better 'fish,'" as you put it. Tarantulas are much lower-maintenance than even the simplest aquarium, and many species are long-lived.

Before I make the plunge, I just wanted to know if there are any tips or words of advice for having a tarantula as a class pet. I've been doing lots of research on care for T's, but I'm always up to learn more. And I already have firm rules in place to make sure kids don't disturb the T, tapping on the enclosure, etc.
This being a classroom pet, I would recommend one of the low-maintenance New World terrestrials that tolerate a drier environment. Try to avoid males, as their days are numbered once they reach sexual maturity. (Females live for much longer, sometimes decades in the case of desert species.)

A few days ago, I wrote a post for Reddit that you may find helpful. While I was speaking about Grammostola pulchra (the Brazilian black), much of this applies to other New World terrestrials that are juveniles or adults.

Enclosure: As with other terrestrial species, the enclosure should not have more than 1.5-2x the tarantula's diagonal legspan (DLS) in space between the top of the substrate and the bottom of the lid. Terrestrial tarantulas can suffer lethal injuries in any significant fall -- the bigger and bulkier, the more vulnerable. Horizontal space should be about 3x the DLS in any direction. (More horizontal space does not hurt; it's just not needed.) I like small Exo Terra Breeding Boxes for juvenile terrestrials.

Avoid screen lids, as tarantulas can get their claws or fangs stuck in the mesh, putting them at risk of injury or fall.

Substrate: The most commonly used substrates are coconut fiber (coir), peat, topsoil, vermiculite, or some combination thereof. (Top soil can be problematic depending on what organisms are present in it. Do not use pure vermiculite.) Be sure to read the packaging to make sure your substrate does not contain pesticides, fungicides, fertilizers, or other such additives. My pulchras are currently on pure coconut fiber, but when I rehouse them, I am going to mix in some peat.

This is not an obligate burrower (fossorial), so you don't necessarily need a lot of substrate, but I would provide a couple of inches or more.

Furnishings: The only furnishings the enclosure really needs are a hide and water dish. The hide can be almost anything. Cork is commonly used, as it's light. Avoid anything too heavy, so if the tarantula undermines the hide while digging, it doesn't get crushed.

Provide a water dish that is wide enough for the tarantula to submerge its whole face if it wants. (Tarantulas will not drown unless held under water for a long time, so you don't have to worry about that. They don't even breathe through the mouth.) I try to keep the dish just a little above substrate level. Do not include a sponge in the dish, as that's just a growth medium for bacteria. Keep the dish full at all times. Clean the dish if the tarantula fouls it with a bolus (food remains) or poop.

Decorations like fake leaves and sphagnum moss are optional, more for your enjoyment than the tarantula's. Avoid anything too hard or sharp (in case the tarantula falls onto it).

Humidity: Disregard any care sheet that specifies humidity ranges. You do not need a hygrometer. The best way to raise humidity is to moisten some of the substrate, such as by overflowing the water dish a bit. (Let the area dry out completely so that you don't end up with mold.) I find that my pulchras do just fine on dry substrate, but learn to read your spider. If it hangs out by the water dish all the time, it's too dry. If it's constantly trying to avoid the substrate, it's too wet. Substrate should never be wet, just slightly damp in places.

Note: The above only applies to juveniles and adults. Spiderlings or "slings" (1.5" or smaller) should be kept on slightly damp substrate, as they haven't yet developed the waxy layer on their exoskeleton that prevents them from drying out.

Heat: Many species, particularly those recommended to beginners, are fine in any temperature that you are comfortable in while wearing normal indoor clothing. If the temperature regularly gets below 70 °F, however, some extra heat may be necessary. It is far safer for the tarantula to heat the room rather than the enclosure. Do not use heat lamps, as they will desiccate your tarantula. Heating pads should be avoided if possible, especially under the cage or in a position where the tarantula can come in direct contact with the glass, which is in direct contact with the heating pad. See this post for additional information.

Light: The cage does not need a light, but if you do use one, make sure it's (1) not a heat lamp and (2) turned off at night so as to give the tarantula a proper day/night cycle.

Feeding: I feed mine about every 7-10 days, depending on how the tarantula looks (obese tarantulas are more vulnerable to falls) and the size of the meal. Meals should ideally be no bigger than the tarantula's abdomen. Do not use wild-caught prey, as it may be contaminated with pesticides or parasites.

Common feeder insects include crickets (widely available but smelly), mealworms, and roaches (such as dubias). If you feed mealworms, be sure to crush the head to prevent the mealworm from injuring your tarantula or burrowing into the substrate. (Even as larvae, mealworms have strong mandibles.)

Hygiene: Grammostola pulchra and most other species from the Americas have what are called urticating setae (pronounced SET-ee) or hairs. This is a special patch of defensive hairs on the abdomen. Tarantulas often line their burrows with these hairs, and many species can kick/flick hairs, which will remain airborne for a while. These hairs irritate the eyes, mucosa, and respiratory tracts of potential predators. For humans, depending on the species of tarantula and the sensitivity of the person, they can cause itchy bumps or a rash on the skin.

Grammostola pulchra hairs are considered mild, and most pulchras are relatively easygoing and disinclined to flick hairs. Urticating hairs are generally not a medical problem, but you should take precautions to prevent them from getting in your face (especially the eyes). Do not put your face close to the tarantula. Wash your hands after doing cage maintenance or feeding the tarantula (to prevent yourself from inadvertently transferring hairs from your hands to your eyes).

Molting: Last but not least, tarantulas, like all other arthropods, must periodically molt (shed their exoskeletons) to grow. Adult female tarantulas continue to molt throughout their lives. When your tarantula enters pre-molt, it will not accept food, may act more skittishly, and may seal itself into its burrow. Pre-molt can last days in the case of tiny slings or weeks in the case of juveniles or adults. (The bigger the tarantula, the longer this period is.) Do not disturb a molting tarantula, as it is very vulnerable during this period.

Note: tarantulas often flip onto their backs or roll onto their sides to molt. This should not be misinterpreted as a sign of trouble. (A dying tarantula typically goes into a "death curl" with its legs curled under its body.)

Once the tarantula has successfully molted, it will be callow (soft and pale) until its new exoskeleton hardens. (It is normal for the tarantula to remain flipped over in the molting position for a while after molting.) It is still vulnerable while callow and should not be disturbed.

Tarantulas are very hungry after molting, but do not feed the tarantula until its fangs have finished hardening. (They start out white and will gradually darken to a reddish brown, and finally turn black.) If you can't see the fangs, wait a week to be sure (for slings) or 2+ weeks for juveniles and adults.

The water dish should always be full, but it's especially important during pre-molt and after molting, as the tarantula needs to be properly hydrated to molt. (It produces a lubricating fluid to help slip out of its exoskeleton.)

Once you have settled on a species, search Arachnoboards for care advice and setups. Feel free to ask questions and request feedback on your setup. (It's easier to change the setup before the tarantula is in it!)


Also, could anyone recommend any beginner T's for a classroom environment? I'm thinking of a tarantula that eats very often (so kids can feed it/watch it eat), is often out and on display, and one that grows pretty fast (molting is something the kids would love to see and would never get tired of). My novice research has led me to think the Lasiodora parahybana (Salmon pink birdeater) is a good choice considering what I'm looking for or even the Chromatopelma cyaneopubescens (Green Blue Bottle), but I of course want to hear suggestions from the experienced folks on this website!
Unfortunately, not many beginner species are fast growers, so you may want to consider starting with a juvenile (2" or bigger). Not only will they be easier to see, easier to find appropriately sized feeder insects for, and less likely to burrow, but they also tend to be hardier than slings.

Lasiodora parahybana can be successfully kept by beginners, and they do grow quickly, but I'm not sure I'd want to deal with their urticating hairs, which are on the nasty side (not as bad as a Theraphosa but pretty bad). They're not necessarily docile either.

@EulersK made a great video highlighting some of the common beginner species. Some tarantulas that meet your criteria:

Chromatopelma cyaneopubescens (greenbottle blue): This is a stunning display species that has attractive coloring at all stages of its life. (The spiderlings or "slings" of many species are often rather drab.) Despite being a heavy webber, it is usually out on display. It is very hardy, even as a sling.

Notes: From about 1" and bigger, it should be kept bone-dry. In addition to a water dish and hide, which all tarantulas should be offered, you should include lots of anchor points for its webbing. (I use fake twigs and leaves.)

Downsides: Their urticating hairs are moderately itchy. This species is also faster than some other beginner terrestrials, but once it has built a web, it tends to retreat there instead of trying to bolt out of the cage.

Grammostola pulchripes (Chaco golden knee): This is a hobby staple and a favorite beginner species. It tends to have a docile temperament, and fully grown, it can reach an impressive 7-8" in diagonal legspan. Slings may burrow, but juveniles and adults are usually out on display. Its urticating hairs are relatively mild. The one downside is that it's not a very fast grower, so you may want to look for a juvenile (2" or bigger).

Really, any reasonably priced Grammostola is a great starter species (I love Grammostola pulchra), although many recommend against Grammostola rosea just because it does everything slowly.

These will tolerate a drier setup, but you may want to overflow the water dish a bit, especially if the tarantula spends a lot of time hovering around the dish.

Brachypelma albopilosum (curlyhair): It's docile, and its long hair makes it look pretty neat for a tarantula. It gets to be about 6" and should be kept dry. Other reasonably priced Brachypelma species are good options as well.

Aphonopelma seemanni (Costa Rican zebra): This species is on my wishlist, as it's described as being active. They do like to burrow, especially as slings, but juveniles and adults are often on display. It likes some moisture, so overflow the dish a bit.

Euathlus: another popular starter tarantula, assuming you can find one at a reasonable price, given that it has a reputation for being docile.

I'm also a fan of Acanthoscurria geniculata, but I'm not sure I would recommend that for a classroom environment, especially if this is your first exotic pet. It gets big and has an insatiable appetite, but it also thinks everything is food and reacts accordingly. Its urticating hairs are moderately bad, probably the worst on this list except for Lasiodora.

Species to avoid in a classroom setting:
  • anything from the Old World (Africa, Asia, and Australia): These species have more potent venom and tend to be both fast and defensive.
  • swamp dwellers (e.g., Theraphosa): These require a moist environment. It can be challenging to dial in the right moisture level without ending up with a dead tarantula and/or problems with mites/fungi. Additionally, Theraphosa's urticating hairs are the worst.
  • arboreals: While there are New World arboreals, the beginner arboreal, Avicularia, is much more susceptible to novice errors than the other species that I recommended. (Misled by pet stores and Internet care sheets, new keepers often end up putting their Avics in stuffy, damp enclosures in an effort to reach some arbitrary humidity reading, which is a death sentence for Avics.) While it is possible for a well-educated beginner to keep Avics as their first tarantulas (I am one such success story), the odds are against it. Additionally, my Avics spend more time in their silken retreats than out on display. (The other New World arboreals are not recommended for beginners due to their speed.)
  • obligate burrowers (fossorials): While some of these can be successfully kept by new keepers, these are pet holes, not display spiders.
 
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chanda

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What a wonderful idea for your classroom! I'm sure your students will love it!

@Ungoliant seems to have covered pretty much everything very thoroughly already. Just one word of advice - make sure none of the kids are ever unsupervised in the classroom with the tarantula, even if they all "know" the rules about not opening the cage or disturbing it. Sometimes kids do stupid things! I teach summer school classes, and it is not customary for the part-time teachers to have keys to the school. They just unlock all the doors first thing in the morning because we're supposed to be there before the kids get there anyway. My first summer teaching, I walked into my classroom to find one of the kids (the son of one of the other teachers, which is why he was at school so early) with his hand inside the scorpion cage! It was just an Emperor scorpion, not something lethal, but still... Needless to say, I had a few words with the headmaster and have had my own set of keys ever since!

If you can, try to get the molts of some OW tarantulas. (Maybe some of the friendly people here would be willing to help you out?) When I teach the kids about molting, it's nice to have an actual molt that they can touch - but those of NW species aren't good for handling because of the urticating hairs. I keep mostly NW terrestrials, but got the molt of an H. lividum from a local reptile/exotic pet shop a few years back, so that's the one I let the kids hold. They particularly like touching the fangs!

Best of luck with your new pet!
 

Andrea82

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In addition to what @chanda posted, it might be a good idea to get an enclosure with a locking mechanism of which only you have the keys.
Another good display beginner species is the Eupalaestrus campestratus. Get a juvi or adult though, since they grow slowly. Not easily found unfortunately, but a good beginner nevertheless. Great feeding response, but docile and calm temperament.
I think it's great to get a T for your class!
 

chanda

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In addition to what @chanda posted, it might be a good idea to get an enclosure with a locking mechanism of which only you have the keys.
Another good display beginner species is the Eupalaestrus campestratus. Get a juvi or adult though, since they grow slowly. Not easily found unfortunately, but a good beginner nevertheless. Great feeding response, but docile and calm temperament.
I think it's great to get a T for your class!
Excellent suggestion! I sometimes wish I could do that for mine - but I don't just have "a classroom pet." The whole class is about bugs and spiders, so I have dozens of cups and cages ranged around the room, containing anything from caterpillars and ladybugs to centipedes, tarantulas, and scorpions and even (when I can catch one) tarantula hawk wasps.
 

Andrea82

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Excellent suggestion! I sometimes wish I could do that for mine - but I don't just have "a classroom pet." The whole class is about bugs and spiders, so I have dozens of cups and cages ranged around the room, containing anything from caterpillars and ladybugs to centipedes, tarantulas, and scorpions and even (when I can catch one) tarantula hawk wasps.
Now why didn't MY teachers do that when i was in high school :shifty:
 

chanda

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Now why didn't MY teachers do that when i was in high school :shifty:
Well, it's not like my classes are part of the regular curriculum or anything. They're just fun summer classes for elementary and middle school students - essentially a two-week-long "show and tell" where I bring in anything I can find with more than four legs and try to teach the kids a few things about them. My goal is for the kids to leave with at least a basic understanding of the different types of arthropods, an awareness of their incredible diversity, and a respect and appreciation for them.
 

Venom1080

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Well, ungoliabt covered pretty much everything . But IMO, I think a Lasiodora, Nhandu, or A genciulata would be a good choice. They are all fast growers and ravenous eaters. A word of caution, they will spin and vite if touched, they seem to think everything is food. Handling isn't really much of a option. They also kick hairz, which can cause a mosquito bite sensation. The Nahndu chromatis as the worst hairs out of the three. Washing your hands after maintenance is a good idea.
Wish I had a teacher like you haha
 

cold blood

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Wow, i hate computers...an hour worth of typing and the page switches and I lost everything.:rage::rage::rage::rage::rage::rage::rage::rage::rage::rage::rage::rage::rage:

So much for the auto-save...which never ever ever works when its actually needed.
 

Ungoliant

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Wow, i hate computers...an hour worth of typing and the page switches and I lost everything.:rage::rage::rage::rage::rage::rage::rage::rage::rage::rage::rage::rage::rage:

So much for the auto-save...which never ever ever works when its actually needed.
This is why I always type lengthy posts in Word.
 

cold blood

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Short version.

Don't be concerned with a female, I would argue that a male is just as good, if not better for a classroom situation. A male will grow and possibly mature while the same kids are there, allowing them to see an entire process. If its a female, the kids would need to come back while in college to see the end product...plus, an MM is a learning experience unto its self. I would search out an unsexed juvie as it will be about 1/4th the price of a sexed female. This male vs. female is the only thing in @Ungoliant 's post I don't agree with (otherwise a stellar post).

My suggestion is G.pulchripes...to me its the perfect choice...big, slow growing, yes, but not as slow as most beginner species....on top of that, if you consider all the larger beginner species, pulchripes is probably the most docile, yet they are active and maintain an excellent feeding response throughout life.

They're easy to keep and look great. I just sold one to a teacher a few weeks ago for a class pet.

Here's something else to consider (both of my parents are retired teachers)...schools tend to be kept on the cool side...often with minimal (if any) heating on the weekends as heating a huge building when no one is there isn't very cost effective....often the heating isn't even that warm when school is in session. Normally most beginner ts wouldn't require heat, but knowing schools, most would be just a bit too cool IME.

But not to worry, the solution has multiple benefits.

What I would do is get a large tank, with a (lightly) ventilated, but lockable top. I would put a small heat pad on the back of that, and place the enclosure with the (future) t within that. This will not only provide a safe gentle heat, but it will also place the actual t enclosure our of reach for those willing to break the class rules (there's always a few). When its warm, just unplug.
 

Ungoliant

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Don't be concerned with a female, I would argue that a male is just as good, if not better for a classroom situation. A male will grow and possibly mature while the same kids are there, allowing them to see an entire process. If its a female, the kids would need to come back while in college to see the end product...plus, an MM is a learning experience unto its self. I would search out an unsexed juvie as it will be about 1/4th the price of a sexed female. This male vs. female is the only thing in @Ungoliant 's post I don't agree with (otherwise a stellar post).
That's a good thought about males. I assumed that the OP would prefer a pet that would last for many years, but the shorter life cycle of the male does provide a good opportunity for observation. (And when he reaches maturity, you can always lend, trade, or sell him to a breeder and get something else.)
 

Andrea82

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Short version.

Don't be concerned with a female, I would argue that a male is just as good, if not better for a classroom situation. A male will grow and possibly mature while the same kids are there, allowing them to see an entire process. If its a female, the kids would need to come back while in college to see the end product...plus, an MM is a learning experience unto its self. I would search out an unsexed juvie as it will be about 1/4th the price of a sexed female. This male vs. female is the only thing in @Ungoliant 's post I don't agree with (otherwise a stellar post).

My suggestion is G.pulchripes...to me its the perfect choice...big, slow growing, yes, but not as slow as most beginner species....on top of that, if you consider all the larger beginner species, pulchripes is probably the most docile, yet they are active and maintain an excellent feeding response throughout life.

They're easy to keep and look great. I just sold one to a teacher a few weeks ago for a class pet.

Here's something else to consider (both of my parents are retired teachers)...schools tend to be kept on the cool side...often with minimal (if any) heating on the weekends as heating a huge building when no one is there isn't very cost effective....often the heating isn't even that warm when school is in session. Normally most beginner ts wouldn't require heat, but knowing schools, most would be just a bit too cool IME.

But not to worry, the solution has multiple benefits.

What I would do is get a large tank, with a (lightly) ventilated, but lockable top. I would put a small heat pad on the back of that, and place the enclosure with the (future) t within that. This will not only provide a safe gentle heat, but it will also place the actual t enclosure our of reach for those willing to break the class rules (there's always a few). When its warm, just unplug.
Never thought about the fact that kids don't get to see the maturing of a spider....makes perfect sense to get a male. Genius!
 

cold blood

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That's a good thought about males. I assumed that the OP would prefer a pet that would last for many years, but the shorter life cycle of the male does provide a good opportunity for observation. (And when he reaches maturity, you can always lend, trade, or sell him to a breeder and get something else.)
Yep, a MM can easily be traded for a free fresh start.:)
 

MrTeacher

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Hey everyone! Wow first I wanted to say thanks for all the speedy advice and support! My class and I can definitely feel the love from everyone here on arachnoboards and we truly appreciate all the help! Our class T will be a rewarding learning experience for all of us, haha. I'm sure we will be frequent posters on this site in the future for our T questions to come! :)

Thanks for all the information and great tarantula recommendations! I definitely didn't consider how severe the Salmon Bird Eater's hairs are, so I think I'll stray away from that one. Upon looking up the other species I really like the Grammostola pulchra suggested by Unigoliant (nice Undertale Avatar btw!) and the Chaco Goden Knee suggested by cold blood.

But I'm also still really interested in the Green Bottle Blue. Their webbing and coloration is what the students find really beautiful, I just worry about how fast people say they can be. Is this really a T that will constantly bolt across the room if I open the enclosure??? How fast are other T's in comparison? Haha, I guess it would be good to keep my heart pumping fast.

Also, huge shout out to the terrarium suggestions! I still need to do more research on those, the Exo-Terra ones look great though I would love one that locks to prevent any "accidents" from kids who don't know boundaries. Safety first for the T and the kiddos of course! Does anyone have any dealers/links to places that sell such enclosures with lockable lids for a fair price? Even big clear ones that I can put the Exo-Terra in to lock in the tarantula would be stellar.
 
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Ungoliant

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You're welcome! Be sure to let us know what you get and post pictures of the new tarantula.


Upon looking up the other species I really like the Grammostola pulchra suggested by Unigoliant (nice Undertale Avatar btw!) and the Chaco Goden Knee suggested by cold blood. But I'm also still really interested in the Green Bottle Blue.
You can't go wrong with any of those three species.

The only real downside to Grammostola pulchra is that it can be a little expensive. (I paid $50 for a .75" sling and $80 for a 2" juvenile, which fortunately both ended up being female.)


I just worry about how fast people say they can be. Is this really a T that will constantly bolt across the room if I open the enclosure??? How fast are other T's in comparison?
GBBs are by far the fastest of the three. The other two you are considering are much slower, especially as they get big and bulky. My GBB definitely tried to bolt when I rehoused it into its juvenile enclosure, and it sometimes surprises me with a sudden burst of speed when I am working in the cage. (Fortunately, I did the rehousing within a larger bin. Search the forum for rehousing techniques before doing your first rehousing.)

Before it settles into its new home, it may make a bid for freedom when disturbed. However, once it settles in and has built a web retreat, it usually flees to its safe place instead of trying to get out. I think their speed is manageable for a new keeper, but just be aware of it when feeding or doing cage maintenance, and do not leave the cage open and unattended, even for just a minute. (This is true for any tarantula.)


Does anyone have any dealers/links to places that sell such enclosures with lockable lids for a fair price? Even big clear ones that I can put the Exo-Terra in to lock in the tarantula would be stellar.
A lot of keepers do DIY setups with things like Hobby Lobby display cases, Really Useful Boxes, and other appropriately sized plastic containers. (Some of these are clearer than others.) You can find tutorials and examples of setups here.

If you can't find an inexpensive enclosure that comes with a lock, one option is to modify it yourself. Depending on the material, you can drill holes in the side and the lid to accommodate a padlock. I have not tried drilling an Exo Terra Breeding Box, so I don't know how well that would work. (Some plastics just shatter when you try to drill into them.)

Another option, as @cold blood suggested, is to place the enclosure within a larger container and then lock and heat the larger container as needed. This would have the added benefit of making escapes less likely, as there would be an extra barrier for the tarantula to have to overcome. In a worst-case scenario, if it got out of its home, you could put the lid on the second enclosure until it settled down enough to put it back in its home.


Unigoliant (nice Undertale Avatar btw!)
I love Undertale; Muffet is my favorite character from the game. (All proceeds go to real spiders!) I wanted to carve her last Halloween, but I couldn't make a pattern that both looked good and was sufficiently challenging, so I ended up carving Undyne instead.
 

PanzoN88

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Soon the addiction will take someone else and there is no cure for it, the only thing you can do is keep adding more. You may say "oh, I think I'll just cap it off at 1" and next thing you know a few months later you will have 10. Tarantulas are like potato chips as many say.

As for recommendations, anybody who reads my posts in recommendation threads know I can go on about E. Sp. Red all day. They may be smaller and slow growing but as classroom pets for observation are concerned this species is definitely a good option. They are constantly moving and rearranging. Oh yeah, I should also mention they have a habit of wandering out of their enclosures when opened.

Option 2: B. Albopilosum, are great to start out with l. As a matter of fact this was the first species I started out with. Many are calm but do tend to kick urticating hairs (I am sure I misspelled that word terribly) particularly when in juvenile stage.

Both are great options as well as many others but what matters is what appeals to you and multiple 8-9 year olds. With the knowledge you gain from this thread and many others, you will be able to make an educated decision that will be rewarding in many ways.
 

cold blood

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the Exo-Terra ones look great though I would love one that locks to prevent any "accidents" from kids who don't know boundaries.
Exo terra enclosures are for arboreals and totally inappropriate for terrestrials. They are way too tall and the front doors prevent the addition of enough substrate to make the enclosure safe.

Keep it simple....use a kritter keeper and put in within a gently warmed aquarium.....protection from escapes, and prying little fingers while still allowing for maximum visibility...win, win.
 

Ungoliant

Malleus Aranearum
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Exo terra enclosures are for arboreals and totally inappropriate for terrestrials. They are way too tall and the front doors prevent the addition of enough substrate to make the enclosure safe.
I think he was referring to the Exo Terra Breeding Boxes I recommended, which are low-profile and top-opening. (I currently have four small terrestrials housed in these containers.)
 

cold blood

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I think he was referring to the Exo Terra Breeding Boxes I recommended, which are low-profile and top-opening. (I currently have four small terrestrials housed in these containers.)
Yeah, for larger ones they are great....but we can't narrow down the size until we know the size of the t eventually purchased. A juvie would do fine on one of the smaller KKs. Sub-adults and adults would be perfect for those breeder boxes.
 
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