Keeping spiders as pets may seem like lunacy to many people. I know it did to me. I used to have Arachnophobia – a fear of spiders.
About two years ago I decided that I’d like a pet. Not just any pet, however. It needed to be something different – something interesting. I thought maybe lizards but mostly you need a license and they’re a bit of a pain in the ass to keep. Snakes? Same deal. Then I discovered people were keeping spiders as pets. The whole concept gave me the shivers. I could deal with snakes but not spiders.
I had read somewhere about someone that had bought a pet spider to get over their arachnophobia so the concept of keeping one as a pet gradually took hold in my brain.
I’m still not sure if I was either brave or foolhardy but either way, after being unable to find a decent-sized spider locally, I drive to Sydney to buy a Tarantula from a pet store. I was trying to keep my shit together but I think the guy in the store must have known I was freaking out (because I was!). I bought my first Tarantula (a Selenotypus Wallace to be specific) for what I think was about $180. I drove the 350km home and commenced the somewhat delicate and admittedly heart-stopping procedure for transferring my new baby from its tiny container into its new terrarium.
Yeah ok, it was at this point that I chickened out. I had intended to open the container and gently coax the spider into its new home. During the research that I had done previous to making the decision to buy, I had read that you can just open the container and put it in the new terrarium and let the spider make its own way out overnight. So, still being terrified of these things, that’s what I decided to do.
The next morning Penelope (as I had decided to name her) had exited her container and was sitting face down in one of the holes I had pre-dug for her in the Terrarium (before I put her in).
I never handle her and I never will. Her fangs are shiny black centimeter long things that look like they’d be really painful.
Since getting Penelope by arachnophobia has gone and I now have 41 spiders: Huntsman, Wolf Spiders, lots of Tarantulas and even Funnel Webs. I’ve stopped collecting though. Most of them are babies and will grow quite large so it’s prudent of me to stop before they take over my entire apartment.
My favorites though are the Huntsman spiders. Creepy little fuckers with their small bodies and gangling legs but fascinating all the same. More on them later.
So if you really want to cure your fear of spiders, I suggest keeping one as a pet. You don’t have to handle it. You just need to get used to having it around. Observe it, feed it, clean its tank. You’ll be catching spiders with your hands in no time.
Here are some Spider pictures. Some are my pets.