Exotic insects pets
Important Information - Keeping and caring for insects, spiders, and their relatives is great way to observe these fascinating creatures. It is also a big responsibility. Never keep an animal in captivity unless you are prepared to provide the proper living conditions.
Also be aware that, although most spider and insect species that are sold in pet stores are not considered dangerous, any animal can be dangerous under the right circumstances. In fact, other than giant cockroaches, it is best NEVER to handle any of the arthropods mentioned here, especially tarantulas and scorpions, both of which are capable of delivering venom.
Container: These roaches should be kept in a 2.5-10 gallon aquarium or similar container. About a dozen adult roaches (plus many immature roaches) can be kept in a 2.5 gallon tank; more can be held in larger tanks. The roaches will not harm one another if enough food is present. These roaches (especially the babies) are expert escape artists, so make sure to use a lid that is escape proof but that is also well-ventilated (to reduce mold).
Housing Features: Line the cage with 1-2 inches of dry bedding material such as red bran, aspen chips, or shredded newspaper (do not use cedar chips, which can be toxic). Replace with fresh bedding material at least once a month. You should also provide a place for the roaches to hide, like a dried coconut half, egg crates, rolls from paper-towel tubes, or a chunk of wood for the roaches to burrow beneath.
Food: green lettuce, apples, carrots, bananas, other fruits and vegetables. Small amounts of dry dog- or cat food should also be available to the roaches at all times.
Humidity and Water: These roaches need relatively high humidity (apx 50%+). Keep the humidity high by heating the cage from underneath (as with an aquarium heater) and by keeping a dish of water in the cage. The dish of water will provide humidity and drinking water.
Temperature: room temperature or warmer, up to 90 degrees F.
Life span: 2-3 years
Breeding: For breeding to occur, make sure to maintain the temperature in the high range (80-90 degrees) and keep the humidity high. When the babies are born, they are very small and can escape through small holes, so make sure that your container is escape proof (a 1" swath of petroleum jelly wiped around the inside of the container near the top will help keep the babies from escaping).
For additional details on keeping Madagascar roaches, see the Madagascar Hissing Cockroach care sheet at www.petbugs.com.
Chilean Rose-Hair Tarantula, Grammostola rosea: The common rose-hair is the most popular pet tarantula species and has a well-deserved reputation for non-aggression. Adults are commonly available on-line and at pet stores for less than $20. These spiders grow to 4-5 inches and females can live for 15 or more years (males will only live for 4-5 years at most).
Mexican Red-Knee Tarantula, Brachypelma smithi: Probably the second-most popular tarantula, the red-knee is known for its attractive brown and orange pattern and its docile temperament. This spider is usually more expensive than the rose-hair; typically $40-50 for adults. Red-knee females can live for 20 years (males will only live for 4-5 years) when cared for properly and can grow to about 5-6 inches.
Brazilian Black Tarantula, Grammostola pulchra:...