By Zoe Salvador

When considering animal companionship, spiders and tarantulas are often not the first choice that pops into mind. Arachnids are fascinating creatures that are usually painted in a negative light, especially in mainstream media, which is why it is important to break the stigma that surrounds caring for them as companions. After all, they deserve just as much love as any other living being.

More is not necessarily more

When it comes to advice for arachnid care, look no further than Dondi Carillo. He has been an arachnid parent for over 30 years and is a proud advocate of their conservation. As administrator of the group Philippine Tarantula Keepers, he has come in contact with quite an array of arachnid lovers all over the nation. His passion for the creatures is something that he continues to grow and nourish.

He began caring for spiders at a young age. The common orb weavers were his introduction to the lifestyle. He has since grown his family of arachnids but has recently begun holding more importance for environmentalism rather than continuously growing his arachnid family. After all, these creatures are not simply meant to be “collected,” as more is not always better. It is crucial that they get proper care in the correct habitat.

When asked what advice he could give to aspiring arachnid parents, he was eager to share what he has spent 30 years honing.

What to consider before adopting an arachnid

This is how to get started as an arachnid parent.

1. Get ready to research

Jumping straight into adoption before learning more about these creatures can lead to negative outcomes for both human and animal. There are many different types of arachnids out there, each of whome have different needs.

2. Join local groups

There is a plethora of online communities where you can find people who have experience caring for arachnids. It can help you get an idea of life with your new companion. These arachnid lovers can also help you find your companion through ethical means.

3. Evaluate your reasons

Some people tend to take interest in arachnids for the “coolness factor” of it all. If that is your current mindset, it is likely that you are not ready to be an arachnid parent. You have to make sure you have real passion for them.

Try to evaluate if you are adopting for yourself, or if you are adopting for the approval of others. If it’s the latter, it is best to put the adoption on hold, and if not, go out there and find the community of your choice. Research and communication are key!

Arachnid biodiversity in the Philippines

According to Carillo, there are multiple species of arachnids found right here that have yet to be described! Among these are Phlogiellus, Orphnaecus, Selenocosmia, and the Ornithoctoninae. This points how biodiverse the Philippines truly is.

Learn the environment of the arachnid

Always make sure to consider the natural habitat of the arachnid. You must always make sure to learn to help your companion adapt to their new home. You have to be willing to replicate their natural habitat as closely as possible. Their comfort should always be your prime consideration.

This is a science, not just a pastime

Every animal companion is a commitment, no matter how big or small. The research is something that never stops when handling these creatures. Arachnid care is not simply a hobby; it is a lifestyle that grows and adapts the longer you do it.

This appeared in Animal Scene magazine’s November-December 2020 issue.

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– 3 new spider species found in Calabarzon