We all want that our pet tarantula is happy in its cage but how can we know for sure that our spider pet is happy? In this article, I will tell you all the signs of a happy and unhappy tarantula and what you can do to make your tarantula happy.
As a whole, a happy tarantula will not move a lot and simply sit around and wait for the next meal. An unhappy tarantula, on the other hand, will try to escape the cage, threaten you with an aggressive stance, will have bald spots on its abdomen, or is extremely active.
So if your tarantula is just sitting around and seemingly doing nothing then you did something right. A happy tarantula won´t do much and won´t move around a lot.
If you have a male tarantula that was calm at first but then started getting more and more active with regular escape attempts but you didn´t change anything then the poor little man wants to find itself a mate and you, unfortunately, can´t do anything about that unless you give him a female.
Signs of a Happy Tarantula
There aren´t really signs of a happy tarantula it’s more a case of what a tarantula doesn´t do that tells you that your tarantula is happy.
As a whole, the signs of a happy tarantula are that it doesn´t move a lot, that it doesn´t try to escape, and that it sits on the ground if it is a ground-dweller or higher up on some bark or a branch if it is a tree-dweller.
So, unlike humans, if a tarantula just sits around and seemingly does nothing then it is happy.
But remember, a happy tarantula eats and drinks and usually also grows. So if your tarantula is sitting around but it doesn´t eat or drink at all then you might want to visit a veterinarian.
The signs of an unhappy tarantula are often more telling on what to do to make your little pet spider happy.
Signs of a Unhappy Tarantula
There are many signs that can show you if your tarantula is unhappy. The real challenge is finding out why your pet spider is unhappy and how to fix it.
As a whole, an unhappy tarantula will threaten you when you come near it by raising its front legs and showing you its fangs. It will sometimes have bald spots on its abdomen from flicking off its urticating hairs (a defense mechanism) or it will constantly try to escape.
It Threatens You or is Afraid
If your tarantula curls up with its front legs above its head then it is frightened by you or something else.
This can happen in the first week if you just got the tarantula and you put it in a brand new cage. It most likely needs some time to adjust to its new environment.
Some tarantulas can also threaten you when they are afraid in which case they will raise up their front legs and show you their fangs as a warning. Don´t get close to them now or they will attack.
Give them some time if they are new in their cage and make sure that no bright light, loud sounds, loud music, or too much going on in front of their cage disturb them.
Bald Spots on the Abdomen
A Tarantulas’ main defense mechanism isn´t biting but using their urticating hairs on their abdomen to defend themselves.
They kick these hairs off with their hind legs when they feel threatened. The hairs are very strong and can easily break your skin where they can cause skin irritations.
If you see a tarantula’s abdomen getting bald then this means that the spider feels threatened in its cage by something.
So make sure that there isn´t a lot of traffic in front of the cage and make sure that you don´t use andy bright heat lamps that might disturb the spider.
Also, don´t mist the tarantula’s cage too often or spray the tarantula with water directly.
Tries to Escape or Climbs a Lot
If your tarantula tries to escape all the time by pushing up the lid of the cage or if it climbs a lot even though it isn´t a tree-dwelling tarantula then that is a sign that your tarantula isn´t happy in its cage for some reason.
This might be because it doesn´t get enough food or water, or it can´t relax in its cage because it is disturbed by something.
Male tarantulas can also become uneasy and try to escape when they get a little older because they want to find a mate. Unfortunately, there isn´t much you can do here.
Doesn´t Calm Down and is Very Active
If your tarantula seems to never or only very rarely rests then something is wrong. A happy tarantula will barely move but an unhappy one will never calm down.
So make sure that nothing disturbs the tarantula in or in front of their cage and make sure that you feed it enough.
What Causes a Tarantula to be Stressed and Unhappy?
There are several things that can cause a Tarantula to be uneasy or unhappy. But the most often reasons that I come are across are:
- A new cage or enviroment
- Bright light or the wrong light
- Constantly disturbed by traffic in front of its cage
- Bass, loud music, or noises
- Too hot or cold
- Wet substrate or too high humidity
Generally, tarantulas want to be undisturbed and just be fed regularly.
Anything that annoys them or disturbs them will stress them and make them unhappy.
How Long Does it Take for a Tarantula to get Comfortable?
You might have gotten your first tarantula and now you are wondering how long it takes for your new pet to feel at home in its new cage.
As a whole, depending on the species and how stressful the transport was, it can take anywhere from a few days to two weeks before it feels comfortable in its new home. It is best to keep the tarantula in a quiet place with little traffic to make sure it isn´t disturbed often.
If your tarantula shows no signs of calming down after a few days then you might want to test if it is hungry or if there is something else that disturbs it.
There is a list of things that might stress a tarantula above.
Lisa is one of the two founders of Animal-Knowledge. She has been very interested in animals and insects from a very young age and has owned different kinds of pets such as snails, ants, fish, turtles, mice, rats, hamsters, rabbits, a dog, … you get the idea 🙂