Not everyone is a fan of creepy crawlies – especially arachnids. Often thought to be frightening and even at times dangerous, spiders are usually the stuff of nightmares for most people. But there are a chosen few who choose to look beyond that hair-raising extraterrestrial appearance to appreciate their unconventional beauty. Others still opt to get even closer by caring for tarantulas as pets.
If you’re one of the few people who’ve taken a liking to tarantulas, then it’s important to understand that these delicate, isolated creatures require optimal living conditions to guarantee their health and happiness. So if you want to make sure your little six-legged friend is optimally care for, you need to provide it the best habitat. Of course, that starts off with choosing the best substrate for tarantulas.
Exo Terra Coco Husk Terrarium Substrate
The Exo Terra Coco Husk Terrarium Substrate (Click here to check for product prices and availability) is a popular substrate among tarantula care experts because of its authentic feel, ideal humidity, and affordable cost. Perfect for burrowing and building nests, this material encourages tarantulas to thrive and live as they would in the wild, giving them a comfortable habitat that doesn’t stress them out.
The substrate is made from natural terra coco husk which is mimics the tropical landscape that tarantulas are known to naturally dwell in. This improves the humidity rating of the tank to meet the unique needs of your pet tarantula. With high humidity levels, your six-legged friend shouldn’t experience any issues the next time it moults which – as you know – is a stressful and delicate process that requires optimal conditions.
In the arena of maintenance, this substrate is a major investment. The material naturally resists mold and bugs, ensuring that your tarantula isn’t exposed to any potential health threats overtaking its habitat. On top of that, the husk doesn’t get mucky and muddy even after extended periods of use. So when you find that it’s time to replace the substrate, you shouldn’t have too much of a struggle.
To use the substrate, simply soak a brick or two (however many you need) in a bucket of water and wait for the material to soak. Once it’s fully expanded, take it out of the bucket and set it on a flat surface to remove excess moisture. It should retain quite a bit of the water, which is how it manages to maintain the right humidity levels for your tarantula. After that, you can expect to change after 1-2 months or as needed.
Price wise, the Exo Terra Coco Husk Terrarium Substrate is a steal. Each brick costs under $10 USD, and a single pack may be more than enough to fill up standard tarantula enclosures. Considering the fact that it might take months before a replacement, you can be sure you’re getting the best substrate in terms of value and performance.
Sphagnum Peat Moss Substrate
Compared to the previous substrate, this material is a lot finer, which smaller particles that may work better for certain tarantula species. This makes it easier for smaller specimens to dig and burrow, creating the perfect environment for building nests. Many owners find that the material is great for tarantulas to create underground nests lined with their silk – definitely an entertaining display for any eager tarantula owner.
Most tarantula care sheets would tell you that peat moss is often best for containments if they’re mixed together with a coarser material, like husk. This helps make a more authentic natural environment, more similar to the kind that tarantulas are used to.
In terms of maintenance and cleaning, peat moss does have a few downsides. For starters, the smaller particles make it harder to collect the substrate once it’s time to replace. Of course, if you soaked them well before laying them down at the bottom of the tank, you may be able to perform spot replacements by using a small shovel and taking out the soiled areas of the substrate instead of cleaning everything out all together.
When it comes to moss and bugs, peat moss might not be as effective at deterring them. But it really depends on how much moisture you leave behind after soaking the material. That said, you may want to get an actual humidity measuring instrument to make sure you haven’t left more water than necessary. This won’t only guarantee the ideal conditions for your pet, but will also help prevent the rapid development of mold and other unwanted issues.
Finally – cost wise, it’s really not that expensive. The peat moss retails for a reasonable cost. Their smallest bag may be more than enough to fill up a small to medium sized tarantula habitat, depending on how thick you want your bedding to be. Plus the fact that you can replace just portions of the substrate instead of taking everything out, the Sphagnum Peat Moss Substrate can really be an intuitive choice for budget-conscious tarantula owners.
Sure, they might not be the prototypical idea people have when they hear the word ‘pet’, but owning and caring for a tarantula can be a pleasantly rewarding experience. These little critters are calm, mysterious, and fairly easy to have as pets, making them a great starter for anyone who wants to explore the wonderful world of exotic animals.
Of course, as with any pet, a tarantula will call for specific requirements to guarantee a happy and healthy existence. So be sure to take the time to visit your local pet store to learn more about tarantula care best practices, and start yourself off on the right foot by checking out our recommendations for the best substrates for tarantula habitats.