Lots of people celebrate their dog or cat's birthdays because they are considered a part of the family. Well, I consider my tarantula, Marvin, a part of my family, so when he turned five (a feat in itself for a spider) I decided to celebrate.
There really isn't much you can do for a big, hairy spider. He recognizes me and a few other people by scent, so he'll come to my hand when I want to take him out of his habitat. So, what would a spider appreciate? What could I do that he might recognize as being a special treat? That was pretty easy.
I hired an artist to paint a beautiful jungle backdrop for Marvin. I put this trompe l'oeil around his glass cage and suddenly Marvin was transported to his homeland for a special birthday celebration.
Some of my friends came to sing Happy Birthday to Marvin. We ate cake and drank champagne and I invited each of them to have a picture taken with Marvin their shoulder. My girlfriend was afraid Marvin would climb into her hair and get stuck. I told her if he did, Marvin was pretty harmless. Instead I held him and she petted him with her fingers while one of my other friends took a picture.
I always feed Marvin live food. Just crickets so he can stay agile. His habitat is several feet long and has lots of things for him to climb on, but having to chase and capture his food does him the most good. Usually, I give him crickets. It might seem horrible to you, but I brought him a little mouse for his meal.
I opened the habitat and put my hand inside to let him know I was there. He came right to me. Then, I showed him the mouse. He knew exactly what that was. I put the mouse at the other end of the habitat, closed the lid and left the room to give Marvin some privacy.
I came back about a half hour later to find Marvin almost finished with his feast. Spiders, of course, don't show emotions, but for several weeks his energy seemed to be way up. Maybe those crickets just were too easy for him. Maybe it was the change in nutrients. Maybe he was really, really happy. I thought he was moving like he was half his age.
I added another small room to Marvin's habitat for a lasting gift. He really enjoyed exploring the new space. I also promised to bring him a mouse every three months. My friends really thought Marvin was very cool and enjoyed the get-together and I think Marvin liked all the attention as well.