Tarantulas are some of the most interesting pets that someone can own. These spiders are hairy, huge, and downright disturbing for some people. However, they're also fascinating creatures that not too many people know a lot about.
One of the questions people frequently ask about tarantulas is: How much does a tarantula cost?
We've calculated that the first year of tarantula ownership costs between $105 and $325, while each additional year costs between $30 and $90. There are a couple of factors that can contribute to the discrepancies in their cost, though.
Tarantula Cost Breakdown
When calculating the total cost of a tarantula, you need to take several different factors into account. There's a handful of essential supplies that you'll need to purchase besides the tarantula itself, such as housing, food, substrate, and the occasional medical care.
In the table below, we've broken down these factors into costs that you can expect to incur.
The "Initial Cost" column includes all of the costs of supplies you'll purchase in the first year of ownership. This includes one-time purchases such as a terrarium and accessories. The "Yearly Cost" column covers the recurring costs of tarantula ownership that you'll need to pay yearly.
For more information on each item, you can either click on the name of the product or service or simply scroll past the table.
Product / Service
$20 - $150
$30 - $50
$5 - $10
$5 - $10
$10 - $50
$10 - $50
$10 - $20
$10 - $20
$10 - $20
$10 - $20
$105 - $325
$30 - $90
Cost Of Purchasing The Tarantula Itself
The tarantula itself can either be a small or a large portion of the total cost of pet tarantula ownership depending on the kind that you get. There are over 800 varieties of tarantulas, with each one having unique properties that can make it more or less valuable than other varieties.
You'll find that most tarantulas cost within the range of $20 to $150. Occasionally an extremely rare or very unique specimen will come up and sell for $200, but this is not a common occurrence.
As for common types, Pinktoe tarantulas sell for around $40, Goliath Birdeater Tarantulas sell for around $50 - $70, and Curly Haired tarantulas generally don't exceed $75.
While the species plays an importance in a tarantula's cost, there are a few other factors. Females typically sell for more than males because of the fact that they live much longer (typically 3 to 4 times longer!
Additionally, tarantula slings sell for a lot less than mature sexed adults because they're smaller and their sex isn't known yet.
There are a couple of places that you can acquire a tarantula from, such as pet stores and online/local tarantula breeders. Many people also opt to purchase their tarantula online from marketplaces such as BackwaterReptiles.
Turning to an online marketplace provides you with a very large selection, competitive pricing, and generally comes with a guarantee to ensure the health of your tarantula.
Tarantula Enclosure & Accessories Costs
Tarantulas are one of the easiest and least-demanding pets that you can own. They aren't creatures that require very large or diverse habitat in order to thrive. In fact, simplicity is key here.
Their enclosure should mimic their natural environment that they're used to, but you shouldn't go overboard with it. Only a few key things are required for a tarantula's enclosure.
Since tarantulas are more of a "look don't touch" animal, they'll be spending all of their time within their terrarium. Therefore, you need to provide them with an enclosure that's safe, secure, and large enough to house them comfortably.
There are two nuances you should be aware of when it comes to a tarantula enclosure's size. First of all, the dimensions of a terrarium should be at least (3" * leg span) x (2" * leg span) x (1" * leg span) or larger.
Before purchasing a terrarium, it helps to know the final leg span of the tarantula species you're looking to purchase.
You should also know if the species of tarantula is arboreal or terrestrial. Arboreal tarantulas live in the trees while terrestrial tarantulas live on the ground. So, arboreal tarantulas will need a taller terrarium with a more climbing-focused build, while terrestrial tarantulas need a flat terrarium.
All living creatures require water, and tarantulas are no exception! All that you'll need to supply them with is a small, natural-looking water bowl that's non-porous and easy to clean.
You can find many bowls that'll fit perfectly into a small terrarium for between $5 and $10. This one is a great size and even has stairs to help dumb crickets save themselves from drowning in the bowl.
Water dishes aren't something that you can set and forget, though. You'll need to clean and refill the water dish daily as tarantulas absolutely love to dirty their water bowls. The benefits that come from good husbandry are massive, though!
Tarantulas are fairly hermit-like, so a hide is a necessary addition to their enclosure. A hide will give your tarantula a place to stow away to relax or to feel safer. It also makes for a great cave that they can take their food to to eat it.
Most tarantula owners simply opt to use a hollow half-log as a hide, and it works excellently for a $5 - $10 accessory.
A good strategy for placing this hide is pushing it down into the substrate at an angle and forming it into a burrow for the tarantula to hide in. The video below shows a tarantula owner doing exactly this with his hide.
Plants are a great addition to any tarantula enclosure as they make the space feel a lot more natural. They also provide a little bit of an extra hiding space for your tarantula. There isn't a specific style of plant that you should go for, so you have a few options decor-wise.
However, fake plants are definitely the better choice over real plants as they don't require any care.
Another great benefit of plants is that they provide a good anchor point for tarantulas to attach their webs to. For heavy-webbing species, this is a great benefit that will help them feel more comfortable in their space.
If you have an arboreal tarantula, plants that can be climbed are definitely preferable. Something like these fake vines that can run down a side or two of the terrarium. Terrestrial tarantulas will do well with fern-like plants.
Because of the fact that these plants are quite cheap and will last a lifetime, you shouldn't have to spend much more than $10.
There are a couple of other accessories that you can use to round out your entire tarantula setup. There are two specific tools that most tarantula owners use.
First of all, feeding tongs make it much easier to grab crickets and place them in front of your tarantula to eat. They're a very simple and cheap accessory, but they work phenomenally well.
Additionally, every tarantula owner should have a quality spray bottle on hand. This bottle will be used to mist your tarantula's enclosure to keep it damp and maintain the humidity levels. While we've linked a high-quality bottle, you can find cheaper ones at any local hardware store.
Accessories are quite cheap and typically won't cost more than $20 or $30.
Tarantula Consumables Costs
Consumables are supplies that your tarantula will use up over time, requiring you to purchase more throughout the course of their life.
All three of the consumable supplies highlighted here are very important for tarantulas, so it's advised that you get the highest-quality product possible. Low-quality variants can potentially harm your tarantula and shorten their lifespan.
Your tarantula's food is obviously a very important aspect of their overall care. Fortunately, tarantulas aren't too complex when it comes to feeding. Adult tarantulas only need to be fed once a week, and in some cases they can be fed even less.
It's recommended that you feed your tarantula crickets as they're extremely nutritious and can't dig into the substrate to escape.
Banded crickets are the recommended cricket type as they're a bit more hardy, thus making them easier to ship. You can buy a box of 500 banded crickets that range from 1/8 inch to 1 inch for around $20 to $25.
When stored and fed properly, these crickets can live for quite a long time and even start to breed. Giving the crickets pieces of fruit to eat or a specialty cricket food will help them live longer and make them more nutritious for your tarantula.
Throughout the year, you won't be spending too much money on crickets and cricket food, but it will be a consistent cost.
Substrate is the material that will cover the bottom of the terrarium and provide the tarantula with a place to burrow. It also has the job of retaining moisture to keep the enclosure at a healthy humidity level.
You need to find a substrate that doesn't have sharp pieces, retains moisture well, and is decently easy to burrow into.
Zoo Med Loose Coconut Fiber Substrate is a great choice for all kinds of terrariums. It works to absorb and break down odor and waste while remaining fresh for quite a long time.
You'll only need to entirely change out the substrate once every 2-3 months, so your yearly costs won't be very high -- only around $20.
Moss is added to a tarantula's enclosure to help aid in the retention of moisture. A high-quality moss such as this New Zealand Sphagnum Moss excellently retains moisture and lasts for quite a while without rotting or growing mold. Scattering this moss around the enclosure and misting it occasionally will help to keep humidity at an optimal level for your tarantula.
Since you're able to purchase 1/3 of a pound for a little over $10, this won't cost you too much throughout the course of a year.
Are Tarantulas Cheap Pets To Own?
Overall, yes, tarantulas are definitely very cheap pets to own. Tarantulas are creatures that do not have crazy environmental demands and are easy to please when it comes to their enclosure.
As long as you provide an enclosure that's big enough, humid enough, and has a place to hide, they should be entirely happy.
If you're purchasing a very rare tarantula and building a large and intricate enclosure for it, then your initial costs could be decently high. However, yearly costs are very low as you'll only need to purchase crickets, substrate, and moss.
If you're interested in purchasing a tarantula, there's not much holding you back from getting one. They're such fascinating creatures that are quite easy to keep and even easier to enjoy.