There are many species of Tarantulas all over Australia, and although they are found in many different climates, terrains and biomes, setting up an enclosure for them is surprisingly simple.
Now before we get into the tutorial, we just want to give a little disclaimer that this is in no way a "must follow exactly" tutorial. This is merely a template for you to tweak and see what works best for you and your critters, whilst hopefully sparking an artistic flare for you to get creative with.
1. Size of the enclosure
In terms of the size of an enclosure, it all depends on the size of the Tarantula. For smaller species such as the "Pygmy Rainforrest" or the C. Tropix, 15cmx15cm is ample space. But for a tarantula such as the Phlogius Goliath, you would preferably have a enclosure around 25cmx25cm, which would work for most tarantulas anyway. But if you can go bigger, go for it! There is no limit to how big you can go! As a general guide, the preferable size of an enclosure would be about 3x as long as your tarantula and about 6x as tall to allow for a deeper substrate that they can burrow in. Of course most of us don't have the luxury to have big enclosures due to the sheer numbers of critters in our collections.
As for what to use as the enclosure, use you imagination! A lot of people in the hobby use the good old "Sistema" containers, storage tubs from KMART, BIGW and Bunnings. But don't limit yourself, it is very rewarding when you build your own enclosures. (If you would like to see a tutorial on the basics of creating your very own enclosures, let us know in the
This part is up to you. Coir peat is a great substrate to use as it retains moisture and helps with humidity whilst also acting as a source of water for your tarantula as they are able to drink from the moist substrate. For adult tarantulas mixing a handful of play sand into the substrate may assist in preventing burrows from collapsing. (Adding moss, dead or alive, will also help with humidity and act as another source of water for your tarantula. Water dishes are another option). And as to how much substrate to put in, preferably 10cm or more. Although your tarantula may not have ever burrowed before, there is always the chance that it might start, therefore putting a deeper substrate will save you the stress of taking apart your enclosure and rehousing it yet again. If you are after coir peat, your local Bunnings will sell it for around $2. Follow the instructions on the back for how to hydrate it and ensure your get the fertiliser and pesticide free brick, such as the one pictured above.
Providing your tarantula with the choice of shelter other than burrows, will help your tarantula feel more at home as it accommodates for their natural instinct to seek shelter from predators. You can use almost anything as a hide; such as containers, small flowerpots, wood, etc.
For slings and juvies, having a few holes poked in the top or side of the enclosure is suffice, but for sub-adults to adults its recommended to have cross ventilation. Some techniques of creating ventilation holes in plastic tubs and containers include poking holes with a hot soldering iron, drilling holes or even cutting out parts the enclosure for ventilation discs as shown to the right.
Hope you find this guide helpful, again, if you would like to see a tutorial on the basics of making your own enclosures (including some photos of enclosures created by some of the team for inspiration), let us know by commenting or liking this post!
- The True Blue Wildlife Team