Making a Case for the Tarantula | Overstuffed Overstuffed

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Making a Case for the Tarantula

Our library recently acquired a new pet tarantula.  It is a Mexican Red Knee Tarantula and my kids, especially Bria, are fascinated by her.  We've been going to the library several times a week this summer for story time and various other activities, and they can't help spending quite a bit of time in front of its enclosure staring at the thing.

Bria has the fact sheets memorized and is begging me to make sure we are there every Tuesday morning to see it be fed.  (It is fed a cricket every week.)

So, I just got this email that says that patrons are complaining about the tarantula (I do understand why, but come on peeps!  It's educational, and the kids adore it!) and that the library has until next Wednesday to "make a convincing case for keeping our beautiful new friend."  The main thing is to find out if other libraries in the nation have a library pet.

So help me out, here.

Does your library have a pet?  Or do you know of other libraries that do? What kind of animal is it?  What is the name of the library?  You can email me if you don't want to leave the answer in the comments...lalakme at gmail dot com.

I thank you very much for your help in this.  And so do my kids!  They will be so sad if the tarantula has to go somewhere else....they haven't even had a chance to vote on her name yet!

Oh, and the picture is from the internet.  Our tarantula is much smaller...she's still just a baby yet.


  1. Oh, I WISH ours had a pet! Good luck.

  2. well that is totally lame. our library does not have a pet but I'm sure my kids would LOVE a tarantula. who are these lame people that want to ruin everything?

  3. Whaaaat?
    That's just crazy.
    I mean, I wouldn't want to be the librarian that feeds it, but i'm sure someone would.

  4. The Northfield Township Library in Whitmore Lake, MI has pet Degus in an aquarium and the Ann Arbor District Library, Main Branch has a huge aquarium of fish. I can't even imagine patrons demanding the library "make a convincing case" to keep a tarantula. It's in an enclosure of some kind I'd imagine, more than likely an aquarium, right? People keep them all the time...well, certainly not me, but people! (-:

  5. Shouldn't someone need to first make a "convincing case" against keeping the tarantula? Because I don't see it. Just 'cause it freaks some people out? Heck it freaks me out, but I'd never ask a place like that to get rid of it for me. I just won't go stare at it at length myself. I mean, I'm assuming that it's in a cage, not roaming the stacks. Grow up, bibliophiles! The good case should be that it will prevent these kids from becoming another generation of adults afraid of nature.

  6. Our library doesn't have a pet (unless you count some of the people that come in there) but people complaining about the tarantula? Puh-leeeez! This world has gotten too soft and wimpy. I hope the library doesn't cave. People need to suck it up.

  7. My fifth grade teacher had a pet tarantula. And a boa constrictor, too.

    IN the classroom.


  8. convincing case, what do you mean? so it looks safe? or why the library should have it? People need to relax. What kind of container is it in now? What exactly are they complaining about? Is it in a central location where people HAVE to look at it... sheesh!

    I also had teachers growing up with all sorts of animals in the classroom, fish, snakes, spiders, dogs, cockroaches (on purpose) -- it was GREAT!

    Our Logan Library has an big aquarium full of fish and my kids love it.

    Now, I'm a bit of a "bug lover" myself (spiders included) and yes, I would consider a baby tarantula very cute in fact... ha ha ha. No really. :) I studied Entomology in college and I've never heard of Tarantulas being dangerous to humans.

    I pulled this off a website:

    "Are tarantulas dangerous? Some tarantulas are more dangerous than others. Western hemisphere spiders tend to rely more on urticating hairs (hairs that cause irritation) than biting, as a method of defense, and even if they do bite, their venom isn't particularly strong. However, the venom of some African and Asian species are thought to be much more toxic.

    Reassuringly, there are no reliable reports of any death resulting from someone being bitten by a pet tarantula. However, a large tarantula (e.g., one with a 6" leg span) could give you a very painful wound, similar to a bee or wasp sting, ... but they don't generally attack unless provoked (although many tarantulas are notoriously unpredictable, so you shouldn't assume anything). In general, however, you're far more likely to be scratched by your cat or bitten by your dog, and far more people die from being bitten by snakes than spiders."

    If you need a convincing case, give 'em the facts. Maybe you could call the Entomology Extension office at one of the local Universities for some "proof" that tarantulas are safe to display in a public location (that even sounds silly). They're not having the children hold it, it's just on display.

    Good luck! I'd love to know how this turns out.

  9. OH and for the record, if I had a girl tarantula for a pet, I would name her Tansy. (It's actually my last girl name I never got to use.. it's the name of a type of bright yellow wildflower) yep, I'm a geek.

  10. The Kearns library in Salt Lake had several pets. I am not sure if they still do. They used to have a guinea pig, gerbils, and a lizard of some kind.

  11. i think it is a fabulous idea to have pets at the library. i can't think of a better way to get kids to go who may need a little push when it comes to reading, plus the educational aspect of reading about a tarantula and actually seeing one is pretty cool. i hope they let you guys keep it!

  12. Our library does not have a pet, but I think that this is a great idea. It gets kids into the library and perhaps reading more. Come on people, chillax!!

  13. The Alamogordo Public Library in Alamogordo, New Mexico has and has had several different pets over the years in the children's section of the library. During the summers, the head of the children's section has wonderful educational lectures about the different animals along with a selection of books she's pulled from the shelves about the animals for the children to read or check-out. I don't know her entire name, but everyone in town knows her has Miss Amy from the library.

  14. Hey, at least this tarantula is safely in a cage, and not squished on the road like Joel saw that one time!

    I really hope your library keeps it. What a neat idea!

  15. I've never heard of a library having a pet, but I think it is a BRILLIANT idea. Maybe they should just move the darling to a spot that you don't have to look at her if you don't want to.

    If not, they should give it to your Bri

  16. Just a baby? That explains the one measly cricket per week. (Sorry, no experience with a library pet but ours once had an inflatable dragon.)

  17. I don't understand the complaints. It isn't like the tarantula crawls around the books. Our library have fish and the kids love to watch them every time we go. I would love a pet tarantula there.

  18. I really hope your library is able to keep its tarantula, mostly for Bria's sake.


    I can't really come up with a compelling reason to keep any animal that has even a little bit of potential to hurt someone. Mostly because people are often careless, and kids don't always have the best sense.

    For what it's worth, I'd kind of feel the same about hamsters or anything that could bite. Fish? For sure. Lizards? Absolutely, as long as they don't bite. Rodents, biting spiders, snakes? Ummm...not so sure about that.

    Again, this is not because I have a problem with any of the animals. It's people you can't always count on, you know?

  19. My son's elementary school (NashElementary in Kenosha, WI) has an aviary inside the library with maybe 10-15 finches...but then they also have a vintage car parked in the library too. ;)

  20. The library at my school also had a tarantula. Funny!

  21. Oh, so sorry. I wouldn't want a tarantula in my library in less it was in a book in two dimensional form.

  22. Taking god out of schools!

    Taking educational pets out of schools.!

    Maybe we should pull a footloose and start burning books also. (I hope you can read the sarcasm) But if we do I get to play Kevin Bacons Roll.

    Jonny Piko Preston

  23. Our town library (Springville, UT) used to have a parakeet, but he passed away a year or two ago. Just recently they had some caterpillars that they grew into butterflies.

  24. OK, so I hope I'm not too late, but ours DOES have a pet. It's the Aliante library in North Las Vegas. It has a rather large goldfish.

    Good luck!!

  25. Wow. It sounds fun--as long as it is in your library, not mine!

  26. I can't understand why people who personally object to something want it taken away from everyone. I mean, unless the tarantula is walking around loose and crawling into people's hair while they read, what's the problem?

    I've never heard of a library pet, but class pets are super common—so what's the big deal, people? I hope the tarantula gets to stay!

  27. This is a crying shame... I know I am a little late, but what are the results for the tarantula case?

    It's ironic that library patrons are made uncomfortable by this tarantula. I would have thought that patrons of such an establishment would be less ignorant and selfish.

    The case for the tarantula is this: The children enjoy it and they are fascinated by it and inspired to learn from it. If any adult library goer is too weak-minded and weak hearted to understand this, maybe they'd be better off burning books instead of reading them.