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REPTILE / new pets

A Set-up Guide for Scorpions and Tarantulas

Tips for habitat, health, food and fun


5 things to know about your arachnids

Scorpions and tarantulas:

  1. They a part of the spider family
  2. Watch out, they’re venomous (tarantulas can bite; scorpions sting with their tail)
  3. They come from tropical places
  4. They shed their skin as they grow (can grow up to eight inches)
  5. They’re long lived (up to eight years for scorpions and up to 15 for tarantulas)

Your creepy-crawly’s lair

Keep your pet arachnid in a terrarium of at least 10 gallons, with a locking screened lid. Rose Hair Tarantulas enjoy—and prefer—the single life, while Emperor Scorpions are more social. If you choose to get more than one scorpion, the terrarium size should increase.

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Terrarium heat and humidity

Your new pet arachnid hails from Latin America or equatorial Africa, so their habitat should be just as toasty. Keep one side of the tank warm and one side of the tank about 10 degrees cooler so your critter can wander between microclimates to regulate their temperature. An under-tank heater will help the warm side stay that way.

Details matter when it comes to maintaining your arachnid’s health. Install a thermometer at each end of the tank and carefully monitor the temperature. It’s also good to have a hygrometer, to make sure the humidity in the enclosure remains in the 50-to-80% sweet spot, preferred by tarantulas and scorpions alike.

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  • Both sides of the terrarium should have a target range of 50-80% humidity.
  • Cool side should between 70-75 degrees Fahrenheit.
  • Warm side should be between 80-85 F.

Terrarium lighting for arachnids

Scorpions and tarantulas need 12 hours of light a day. However, they really get their party on at night. If you want to see what they do in the dark, you can get a special night viewing bulb.

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Arachnid habitat decor

Line the terrarium with two to three inches of coconut fiber or reptile bedding. Your many-legged pet will also enjoy if you include a rock, branch or other hiding place on the cool side of the habitat. Mix in other branches or plants to create an arachnid paradise.

Remove waste from the terrarium weekly and completely change your arachnid’s bedding once a month.

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Arachnid health

Let your new arachnid settle in for three or four days before picking it up. If it exhibits any of these symptoms, it may be time for a vet visit:

  • More time spent hiding
  • Eating or drinking less
  • Swollen joints
  • Missing limbs

If you have questions about the health of your pet, talk to a veterinarian familiar with arachnids.

PETSMART CARES: Pets purchased at PetSmart are part of our exclusive Vet Assured™ program, designed by PetSmart veterinarians to help improve the health and well-being of our pets. Our vendors meet a high standard in caring for pets and screening them for common illnesses. This program also includes specific standards for in-store pet care.

The PetSmart Promise: If your pet becomes ill during the initial 14-day period, or if you’re not satisfied for any reason, PetSmart will gladly replace the pet or refund the purchase price.