Belfast Telegraph

Spiders are for life - not just for Christmas

By Kirsten Elder

Spiders are for life, not just for Christmas.

That's the message from a spider expert and pet shop owner to anyone thinking of spiders as pets or as presents.

Wayne Hull, owner of City Reptiles, says the animals are great pets but need care, attention and equipment.

The store is is based in Hope Street, Belfast, and has been trading for over 20 years.

All pets no matter what kind need proper care, food, attention and a good home all year round, whether it’s a spider or a puppy, says Wayne.

Wayne says if you have done the research and understand what's needed to keep spiders, then the best 'starter' spider is a Chilean Rose Tarantula.

Originating from Northern Chile, it is dark brown colour with a coat of reddish-orange hairs over the entire body, and have a leg span of up to 5inches (12.5cm) as adults.

These spiders are the easiest to handle and the females can live up to twenty years, he says.

Wayne Hull said: “Spiders make good pets, but I wouldn’t give one to a child without adult supervision.”

The Chilean Rose Spider will flick hairs if it is agitated or upset, this is not harmful but you need to be careful and wash your hands when you handle one.

Wayne Hull added: “I would sell four or five spiders a week, once people have one and care for them, it then becomes a bit of a hobby.”

This particular species of spider is not that difficult to care for however they do need the right size tank and lighting for inside so it is kept at the correct humidity, and of course food, which is crickets.

Young spiders are harder to care for as they can molt (shed their skin) every four to six weeks.

Spiders should be able to shade their skin by themselves if the tank is the correct temperature.

Wayne Hull said: “The owner will wake up one day and find two spiders sitting in the tank, when they molt they come out twice the size.”

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