Terrariums for spiders and insects

Terrariums for insects and arachnids

Fans of spiders, scorpions and most insects have an enormous advantage: the terrariums are relatively small, compared to tortoise or lizard terrariums. Although tarantulas or scorpions are longer than a small lizard, their radius of action is significantly smaller and is not limited by a small terrarium.

Setting up terrariums for arachnids and insects

The right terrarium setup for spiders, scorpions and insects

In the following we'll offer some advice for the setup of the terrarium for individual species or groups. Even within a group, for instance tarantulas, the terrarium setup may vary greatly. If you want to keep a different species to those mentioned, ask your terrarium retailer for details.


Tarantulas are always kept individually and for most a terrarium measuring 40 x 40 x 30 cm (L x W x H) is suitable. The bottom substrate ought to have a layer thickness of 8-10 cm. Depending on the species, the substrate needs to be selected individually. The popular American pink toe (Avicularia metallica), for example, needs moisture-retaining material, such as JBL TerraBasis or JBL TerraCoco Humus .

Whereas for Chilobrachys huahini or Grammostola actaeon you should choose a mixture of soil and sand.

In general a hiding place, e.g. one made of curved cork, is necessary. A few tarantula species build their hiding places by themselves (C. huahini). Chromatopelma cyaneopubescens needs a vertical place to hide (propped up cork tube).

All spiders need a small and flat drinking bowl ( Bowls & containers ). These bowls are available in various colours, so that you can select them to match the substrate. The JBL drinking bowls have the advantage that the feeder animals can save themselves from the water by using a small rescue ladder.

Any further design features need to be adapted to the specific needs of the species. Some prefer stones, others wood and leaves, while others like climbing opportunities.


The right light for arachnids and insects

Arachnids or insects don’t need UV emitting lighting! You can choose lighting that either produces heat or not, depending on whether or not you want to heat up the terrarium during the light phase. Since arachnid and insect terrariums are often quite small, it is important to ensure that the lighting is selected to match the size of the terrarium and that heat protection screen for the lamps have not too large slots, so that the animals don’t come into contact with the hot lamp.


Lighting is one of the most important topics in terraristics. What do you need to consider?


The temperature control of terrariums for arachnids and insects

You have the choice of producing the right temperature with a lamp or a heating mat. For the lamp please remember to use a heat protection screen to protect the animals from coming into contact with the lamp, and don’t forget that the lamp will only produce heat during the lighting phase. Often this is exactly what is wanted, so that there is a reduction in temperature at night. If you do need a higher temperature during the night, you can always use a heating mat, like the JBL TerraTemp heatmat .


How do you get your terrarium to the right temperature? Why does it need warm and cooler spots?

Scorpions are not only found in deserts, they are also in rainforests. The yellow fat-tailed scorpion (Androctonus australis) comes from the steppes and deserts of North Africa. Its terrarium with the minimum dimensions of 30 x 20 x 20 cm (L x W x H) needs to be set up with sand ( JBL TerraSand natural yellow or JBL TerraSand natural white ) and stones, as well as with a gnarled piece of wood. A flat water bowl is a must ( Bowls & containers ).

The emperor scorpion (Pandinus imperator) lives in the rainforests of Central and West Africa. Its terrarium needs the dimensions 60 x 40 x 40 cm (L x W x H) and should be equipped with soil as its substrate. Plants can be used, but are not necessary for the animal. The humidity needs to be 60-8 0%. JBL Cork Bark provides a hiding place for the animal.


Praying mantises, leaf insects, walking leaves, grasshoppers and beetles are very popular terrarium animals. Their demands on the terrariums vary considerably.

Praying mantises do not need much space. Small terrariums with a 30 cm edge length are ideal. A slightly moist soil-sand mixture is best for the substrate, and a setting to a 25-30 ° C daytime temperature and a 22 ° C nighttime temperature with about 70% humidity. Please remember to add a lot of branches with leaves for climbing.

Stick insects and leaf insects (Phasmatodea) are especially popular with children. Terrariums with a 40 cm edge length are ideal for these animals, and they like to be kept in small groups. For a substrate use a layer of about 3 cm with coconut or terrarium soil ( JBL TerraCoco Humus or JBL TerraBasis ). Forage plants are placed in small pots.

Beetles like flower chafers and ant-like flower beetles from Africa are very popular. Terrariums measuring 30 x 20 x 20 cm (L x W x H) are absolutely sufficient. The beetles love a thick soil layer of leaves, forest soil and rotten wood.

Centipedes and scolopendra

Unlike the highly toxic scolopendra species, crawling millipedes (in the order of Julidae) are completely harmless. They mostly live in the tropics almost all over the world. Scolopendra are predators and need terrariums with an edge about 40 cm long. A slightly damp substrate from a sand-soil mixture with moss pads and a piece of cork for a hiding place are ideal. A flat drinking bowl is necessary.

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