Best Pet Spider: Our Top 10 Picks for Beginners

Best Pet Spider: Our Top 10 Picks for Beginners

The allure of pet spiders has captivated the hearts of many enthusiasts around the globe. These fascinating creatures, with their diverse array of colors, sizes, and behaviors, offer a unique window into the natural world. From the docile and majestic tarantulas to the agile and curious jumping spiders, the variety available to potential pet owners is vast and varied.

In recent years, the trend of keeping spiders as pets has seen a significant uptick, signaling a growing appreciation for these often misunderstood beings. The purpose of this article, “Our Top 10 Picks for Beginners,” is to guide you through the captivating world of arachnids, helping you find the perfect spider companion that aligns with your lifestyle, interests, and care capabilities.

Understanding Pet Spiders

Understanding Pet Spiders

Spiders, with their intricate webs and precise hunting techniques, are among the most intriguing pets one can own. Unlike traditional pets, spiders offer a unique blend of natural beauty, fascinating behavior, and low-maintenance care that can be particularly appealing to those looking for a less conventional companion.

However, before venturing into the realm of spider ownership, several factors must be considered. Space, for instance, is a crucial element. While most spiders do not require extensive room to thrive, the correct type of enclosure is vital to mimic their natural habitat and ensure their well-being. Commitment is another aspect to ponder; although spiders are generally low-maintenance, they require consistent care, including habitat maintenance, feeding, and health monitoring.

The level of care varies significantly among different spider species. Some, like the docile Chilean Rose Tarantula, are perfect for beginners, requiring minimal daily attention. Others, like the more delicate and active jumping spiders, may need more engagement and specialized care. Understanding these nuances is key to ensuring your eight-legged friend’s healthy and happy life.

In the following sections, we will delve deeper into what makes each of these creatures the best pet spiders, considering their individual needs, temperaments, and care requirements. Whether you’re a seasoned arachnid aficionado or a curious newcomer, this guide aims to provide you with all the information needed to make an informed decision on your ideal pet spider.

Factors to Consider When Choosing a Pet Spider

Factors to Consider When Choosing a Pet Spider

When selecting a pet spider, several critical factors must be taken into account to ensure the safety and well-being of both the spider and its owner:

Venom Potency and Safety

Understanding the venom potency of a pet spider is crucial. While most pet spiders have venom that is not harmful to humans, some species can cause allergic reactions or more severe symptoms. Always research the specific species and consult with experts if necessary.

Temperament and Handling

The temperament of a spider can greatly affect its suitability as a pet. Some species are more docile and tolerant of handling, while others may be skittish or aggressive. Consider your comfort level with handling and the spider’s behavior when making your choice.

Care Requirements

The habitat requirements, including the size of the enclosure, temperature, humidity, and diet, vary significantly between species. Ensure you can meet these needs to provide a healthy environment for your spider.

Why Jumping Spiders and Tarantulas Make Good Starter Spiders

Jumping spiders and tarantulas are often recommended for beginners due to their generally docile nature and straightforward care requirements. They are less likely to be aggressive and adapt well to captivity. This is why our list consists solely of tarantulas and jumping spiders.

Top 10 Best Pet Spiders

Mexican Red-Knee Tarantula

1. Mexican Red-Knee Tarantula (Brachypelma smithi)

The Mexican Red-Knee Tarantula is a striking species, celebrated for its vibrant red and orange bands that contrast beautifully against its dark, velvety body. Originating from Mexico’s Pacific coast, this tarantula has become one of the most iconic and photographed species due to its distinctive coloration and docile nature. It’s a favorite among beginners and experienced enthusiasts alike, providing a gentle introduction to the world of tarantulas.

  • Venom: Mild, similar to a bee sting.
  • Temperament: Docile and good for beginners.
  • Care: Requires a dry environment with low humidity; feeds on insects.
  • Lifespan: Females up to 30 years, males shorter.
  • Special Considerations: Popular in the pet trade, making them more accessible.
Chilean Rose Tarantula

2. Chilean Rose Tarantula (Grammostola rosea)

The Chilean Rose Tarantula, hailing from the deserts of Chile, Bolivia, and Argentina, is known for its serene demeanor and captivating coloration. Its body ranges from a dark brown to a light rose hue, which can vary based on the spider’s mood and environment. This species is particularly favored by first-time tarantula keepers due to its low maintenance and calm temperament, making it an excellent choice for those looking to start their arachnid journey.

  • Venom: Mild and generally safe for humans.
  • Temperament: Very docile, making them great for handling.
  • Care: Prefers a warm and semi-humid environment; eats insects.
  • Lifespan: Up to 20 years for females.
  • Special Considerations: Can go through long fasting periods.
Curlyhair Tarantula

3. Curlyhair Tarantula (Tliltocatl albopilosum)

Native to Central America, the Curlyhair Tarantula is a beloved pet due to its unique appearance and amiable nature. As its name suggests, this spider boasts a covering of curly, dark brown to black bristles that give it a distinctive, almost cuddly look. This species is known for its robustness and ease of care, making it a perfect match for newcomers to the hobby who are seeking a less intimidating, yet engaging, pet spider.

  • Venom: Mild.
  • Temperament: Extremely docile and tolerant of handling.
  • Care: Thrives in a humid environment; diet consists of insects.
  • Lifespan: Females live up to 8 years.
  • Special Considerations: Ideal for first-time spider owners.
Pink Toe Tarantula

By Luis Alejandro Cisneros – Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=32978309

4. Pink Toe Tarantula (Avicularia avicularia)

The Pink Toe Tarantula is a visually stunning species with a velvety black body and contrasting pinkish toes, giving it a delicate and exotic appearance. Native to the rainforests of South America, this arboreal tarantula enjoys climbing and requires a vertical habitat to thrive. Known for its docile yet skittish nature, the Pink Toe is a fascinating species for those interested in observing the more agile behaviors of tree-dwelling spiders.

  • Venom: Mild.
  • Temperament: Generally docile but can be skittish.
  • Care: Requires a vertical space for climbing; prefers high humidity.
  • Lifespan: Up to 10 years.
  • Special Considerations: Arboreal species that needs space to climb.
Costa Rican Zebra Tarantula

5. Costa Rican Zebra Tarantula (Aphonopelma seemanni)

The Costa Rican Zebra Tarantula, also known as the Striped-knee Tarantula, features striking black and white striped legs that stand out against its overall dark body. Originating from the grasslands of Costa Rica and surrounding countries, this species is known for its burrowing habits and relatively calm demeanor. While it can move quickly when provoked, the Costa Rican Zebra is generally considered a good choice for those new to tarantula care.

  • Venom: Mild.
  • Temperament: Docile but can be fast-moving.
  • Care: Dry habitat with low humidity; insect diet.
  • Lifespan: Females can live up to 20 years.
  • Special Considerations: Burrowing spider that requires deep substrate.
Regal Jumping Spider

6. Regal Jumping Spider (Phidippus regius)

The Regal Jumping Spider is a charismatic and visually appealing species, known for its large, expressive eyes and vibrant color patterns that can include hues of black, white, orange, and metallic green. Native to the southeastern United States, this diurnal hunter is admired for its curiosity and impressive jumping ability. Despite its active nature, it is one of the more approachable jumping spider species, making it a captivating pet for enthusiasts looking to explore the world of arachnids.

  • Venom: Mild.
  • Temperament: Curious and less likely to be aggressive.
  • Care: Small enclosure with room to jump; moderate humidity.
  • Lifespan: Around 1-2 years.
  • Special Considerations: Highly visual hunters that require daylight.
Bold Jumping Spider

7. Bold Jumping Spider (Phidippus audax)

The Bold Jumping Spider, identifiable by its stout body and bold, iridescent chelicerae (mouthparts), is a common sight across North America. This species is known for its curious and investigative behavior, often observed stalking its prey with precision and agility. Despite its hunting prowess, the Bold Jumping Spider is generally friendly towards humans and can make for an engaging and interactive pet.

  • Venom: Mild.
  • Temperament: Bold and curious, enjoys exploring.
  • Care: Needs vertical space and moderate humidity.
  • Lifespan: 1-2 years.
  • Special Considerations: Can be hand-fed due to their curious nature.
Zebra Jumping Spider

8. Zebra Jumping Spider (Salticus scenicus)

The Zebra Jumping Spider, with its distinctive black and white striped pattern, is a small but mighty hunter commonly found throughout the Northern Hemisphere. This species is known for its excellent eyesight and precision jumping, which it uses to pounce on unsuspecting prey. While it may be less inclined to human interaction than other jumping spiders, its active daytime behaviors and striking appearance make it a fascinating subject for observation.

  • Venom: Mild.
  • Temperament: Active and entertaining to watch.
  • Care: Small enclosure; does not require high humidity.
  • Lifespan: Typically 1-2 years.
  • Special Considerations: Excellent hunters; enjoy basking in sunlight.
Bronze Jumping Spider

9. Bronze Jumping Spider (Eris militaris)

The Bronze Jumping Spider, though less colorful than some of its relatives, captivates with its metallic bronze sheen and graceful movements. This species is typically found in open, sunny habitats across North America and is known for its hunting skill and agility. While it may be more reclusive than other jumping spiders, the Bronze Jumping Spider can still provide an intriguing glimpse into the natural hunting behaviors of these remarkable arachnids.

  • Venom: Mild.
  • Temperament: Shy and less aggressive.
  • Care: Simple setup with places to hide; low to moderate humidity.
  • Lifespan: Around 1-2 years.
  • Special Considerations: Prefers natural light and a varied diet.
Fringed Jumping Spider

By Akio Tanikawa – http://spider.fun.cx/okinawa/Keasihaetori.htm, CC BY-SA 2.5, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=3472918

10. Fringed Jumping Spider (Portia fimbriata)

The Fringed Jumping Spider stands out for its complex hunting strategies and remarkable intelligence. This species, part of the Portia genus, is known for its ability to plan and execute intricate approaches to capture prey, often outsmarting other spiders. With its fringed appearance and keen problem-solving skills, the Portia fimbriata offers a unique insight into the cognitive abilities of spiders, making it a fascinating addition to any collection.

  • Venom: Mild but effective on their prey.
  • Temperament: Intelligent with complex hunting strategies.
  • Care: Requires a varied environment to simulate hunting; moderate humidity.
  • Lifespan: Up to 2 years.
  • Special Considerations: Fascinating behavior but less suitable for handling.

Each of these spiders offers a unique glimpse into the world of arachnids. Whether you’re drawn to the calm nature of the Chilean Rose or the dynamic hunting of the Fringed Jumping Spider, there’s a pet spider out there to meet your interests and care capabilities. Remember, the key to a healthy and happy pet spider is understanding and meeting its specific needs.

How to Care for Your Pet Spider

How to Care for Your Pet Spider

Importance of a Proper Habitat

The well-being of a pet spider hinges on the owner’s ability to cater to its unique environmental, dietary, and psychological needs. Creating a conducive living space is paramount. For arboreal species like many jumping spiders, vertical enclosures that mimic tree trunks or plants provide the necessary climbing space. Conversely, terrestrial tarantulas, such as the Mexican Red-Knee, thrive in wider enclosures that offer ample ground for burrowing. The choice of substrate is critical; coconut fiber, peat moss, or vermiculite not only supports the spider’s natural behaviors but also aids in maintaining the enclosure’s humidity at optimal levels.

A secluded hideout within the habitat is essential for your spider’s sense of security, offering a retreat from the stresses of captivity. Temperature and humidity control cannot be overstated; each species has its own requirements that mimic their natural habitats, ensuring their health and comfort.

Feeding and Diet Specifics

Feeding your spider involves providing a diet of live insects. The size and type of prey should be compatible with the spider’s size and species. Tarantulas may prefer larger prey such as crickets, mealworms, or roaches, while jumping spiders, being smaller, often fare well on fruit flies or smaller insects. Regular feeding schedules, typically once or twice a week, help maintain the spider’s health without leading to overfeeding. Be sure to keep an eye out for when your spider molts, as they will be more vulnerable than normal and could be injured during feeding. Hydration is equally important, with a shallow water dish suitable for larger species and regular misting beneficial for smaller, arboreal types.

Handling and Interaction Tips

Interaction with your pet spider should be approached with caution. While the curiosity may tempt frequent handling, it’s important to remember that spiders, by nature, are solitary creatures and can become stressed with excessive contact. Observing your spider’s behavior from a distance can be equally rewarding and less intrusive. Safety is paramount, not just for the spider but for the handler as well; always ensure hands are washed thoroughly before and after any direct interaction to prevent any potential spread of bacteria or stress to the spider.

spider ownership

Legal and Ethical Considerations

Before embarking on spider ownership, it’s imperative to acquaint oneself with the legal framework surrounding exotic pet ownership in your locality. Laws and regulations can vary significantly, with some areas imposing strict restrictions or requiring specific permits for keeping spiders. Additionally, verifying that the spider species you intend to keep is not protected or endangered is crucial to avoid legal repercussions and ethical dilemmas.

The debate between wild-caught and captive-bred spiders is significant in the arachnid community. Opting for captive-bred individuals helps alleviate pressure on wild populations and typically results in healthier, more acclimated pets. As a responsible spider owner, committing to the lifelong care of your pet, recognizing its needs, and ensuring its well-being should be your paramount concern.

Where to Get Your Pet Spider

Selecting a source for your pet spider is a decision that should not be taken lightly. Reputable breeders and pet stores, identifiable by their positive reviews and transparent practices, are preferable. A healthy spider should appear active, with clear eyes and no visible injuries. Knowledgeable sellers should provide comprehensive care information and demonstrate a clear understanding of the species they offer.

Adoption or rescue offers a compassionate alternative to purchasing a new pet. Many spiders find themselves in need of new homes and can make wonderful pets once given a second chance. Assessing the health and temperament of a rescued spider is essential, as they may come with unique challenges or require additional care. Whether adopting or purchasing, the commitment to providing a nurturing environment for your spider remains the same.


Owning a pet spider can be a rewarding experience, offering unique insights into the fascinating world of arachnids. However, it comes with significant responsibilities, requiring a commitment to providing proper care, a suitable environment, and respect for the spider’s natural behaviors. By choosing to become a responsible spider owner, you contribute to the well-being of your eight-legged companion and foster a deeper appreciation for these remarkable creatures.


Do pet spiders recognize their owners?

While spiders do not recognize owners in the same way dogs or cats might, they can become accustomed to their keeper’s presence and handling routines.

Can pet spiders be dangerous?

Most pet spider species kept by hobbyists have mild venom that is not dangerous to humans. However, proper handling and care should always be practiced to avoid bites.

How long do pet spiders live?

The lifespan of pet spiders varies significantly between species, with some tarantulas living up to 30 years, while many jumping spiders live for 1-2 years.

Do spiders need companions?

Spiders are solitary creatures and do not require companionship. In fact, housing spiders together can lead to stress and cannibalism.

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