Woman turns spare bedroom into haven for tarantulas and snakes
When most people choose a pet, they tend to pick something cute and fluffy to share their house with. But 31-year-old nursing assistant Keira Jarvis is different: she and her girlfriend Cathrine share their abode with all manner of creepy-crawlies.
Keira has now amassed a veritable menagerie of seven tarantulas and two snakes. She thinks they are utterly adorable and friendly, and wants more people to become accepting of unconventional pets.
She first became fascinated with the idea of keeping atypical wildlife in her childhood and begged her parents to let her care for exotic spiders, but both of them were against the idea. However, when Keira moved out of their house, she was free to pursue her passion, and has now adopted several species of snake: a cobalt blue named Nebula, a pinktoe called Demi, a Brazilian black named Nyx, a Chilean gold burst called Orion, a Mexican Red Knee called Indi, a curly hair named Miri, and a purple bloom bird eater named Cas.
There's also Humbug, a black and white king snake, and Wiggle the milk snake, which she bought for approximately $53 each.
Commenting on her esoteric pets in a recent interview, Keira stated: "Forget cute and fluffy creatures, I had lizards and exotic fish as a child, but my mum would never allow me to have something like a spider or snake. She was completely against it, however my dad was never bothered by the idea, as he loved more unusual creatures, like iguanas, and taught me how to love all animals, not just cats and dogs.
"I never felt I needed to have a cuddly puppy. Instead, I was fascinated by tarantulas and how they act in nature – doing things like shedding their outer skin and getting bigger every time. I’m always questioned about them and why I would want them, but I don’t mind at all. I like to educate people and let them know that these kind of creatures aren’t as dangerous or aggressive as you might think from watching TV shows...
"I feed them mealworms and crickets and make sure to keep their water topped up in their tanks. I put soil in their tanks and small logs to replicate the environment they would have in the wild."
She added: "Everyone who thinks they’re an expert tries to claim that some of the tarantula species I own, like the cobalt blue, are aggressive, but the reality is that I have never been bitten or attacked by any of my pets. I want to get more of these exotic animals and show everyone how they can be just as fulfilling and exciting as any other pet."
Despite other people's reservations, Keira insists that her large tarantulas make excellent, low-maintenance pets, since they only require food once every two weeks, water, and for their uneaten mealworms to be cleared away.