MJ and labaria in SurinameExotic Fauna is the web home of Michael Jacobi, author of Animal Planet's Tarantulas, former proprietor of Michael Jacobi's SPIDERSHOPPE and Tarantulas.com, and creator of The Tarantula Bibliography and ARACHNOCULTURE E-ZINE. He also is the former general manager of Northwest Zoological Supply (2007-2012). Michael is an author, photographer, naturalist, educator and breeder with vast arachnid and reptile experience. He currently focuses on nature travel and photography and has recently retired from the exotic pet industry and his active role in arachnoculture and herpetoculture. Although he maintains a small collection of favorite tarantulas and other spiders, his 33 years as a seller and breeder have come to an end and he currently works in the firearms industry. An avid enthusiast of the shooting sports for several decades, he currently makes his living as a firearms salesman and instructor at On Target Range and Tactical Training Center in Crystal Lake, Illinois. He has a handgun related Instagram account.

Michael's current involvement in arachnoculture is primarily limited to three projects mentioned in detail below: serving as North American Coordinator of the British Tarantula Society and Editor of its Journal, his Tarantula Bibliography, which is an online catalog and bibliographic reference to the world's theraphosid spiders, and his blog KISS MY BIG HAIRY SPIDER.

Kiss My Big Hairy Spider

Michael's decades of experience keeping and breeding reptiles and arachnids is wide-ranging. Over the course of 35+ years he has specialized at one time or another in pythons, arboreal vipers, geckos and tarantulas, and has also worked extensively with chameleons and frogs. He has bred about one hundred species of snakes, lizards (especially geckos) and dart frogs, as well as several dozen species of tarantula. He has operated under numerous "doing business as" monikers including: Jacobi Herpetoculture, Chicago Reptile, The Living Terrarium, Spider Shoppe, and Michael Jacobi's SPIDERSHOPPE.

Michael's book Tarantulas was published in September 2011 by TFH as part of the Animal Planet Pet Care Library. His next book Geckos (A complete guide to Gekkota), part of the Complete Herp Care series by TFH, was slated be released in 2013, but as of this writing still does not have a release date.

MJ & goliath tarantula in SurinameThrough Exotic Fauna Enterprises, he published ARACHNOCULTURE, an international print journal for keepers of tarantulas and scorpions that has now been replaced by an online e-zine version. In 2006 he filmed the TARANTULAS IN THE TERRARIUM instructional DVD, which is now available in its entirety FREE via YouTube. His work with arboreal vipers included the WORLD OF ATHERIS website, which was online from 1999-2012. He also has a strong interest in field research and accompanied renowned tarantula authority Andrew M. Smith of lovetarantulas.com on a 2006 expedition to Costa Rica where they found and studied a dozen species of theraphosid spider. In November 2012 he again traveled with Andrew in search of big hairy spiders in Suriname, South America along with Andrew's long time field trip partner Paul Carpenter and Guy Tansley of giantspiders.com. In November 2014, Michael joined Guy, Paul and Mark Carpenter for an adventure in Sri Lanka to search for his favorite tarantulas. The trip was a success with Poecilotheria subfusca (both lowland and highland forms) and P. ornata being found and photographed. In December 2015, Michael will be returning to Costa Rica.

BTSMichael is the North American Coordinator of the British Tarantula Society and was the keynote speaker at the BTS Lectures in February 2007 and February 2015. He recently became the Editor of the prestigious Journal of the British Tarantula Society. His current priority in arachnoculture is his roles with the BTS. He has also lectured at reptile events and the annual conferences of The American Tarantula Society and ArachnoCon, a 2006 and 2007 convention he also helped organize. In March 2014, he hosted A Chicagoland ArachnoGathering as part of the NARBC (North American Reptile Breeder's Conference) weekend in Tinley Park, Illinois, lecturing at that event and also to the public during Saturday's reptile show. The 2nd Annual ArachnoGathering took place March 13, 2015. Now retired from an active role in arachnoculture, it is presently doubtful that a third ArachnoGathering will take place.

Michael was born in Chicago, Illinois in 1964 and grew up and spent much of his adult life in suburban Chicagoland. Since 2000, he lived in eastern Washington, Nashville, Seattle, Milwaukee, and Seattle again, but in March 2013 returned to the Chicago area to be with family. He has settled in Huntley, Illinois, but continues to travel as often as possible, particularly to the UK. His dream is to permanently retire to the southwest within the next 10 years. His passions include nature and the outdoors, shooting sports, disc (Frisbee™) golf, guitar and music, reading and writing. Michael is happily divorced and, thankfully, has no children.


Animal Planet's TarantulasAVAILABLE!
Michael Jacobi's Tarantulas, a part of the Animal Planet Pet Care Library Series. Click here to order an inscribed copy from the author.

Michael's next book will be Geckos (A complete guide to Gekkota), part of TFH's Complete Herp Care Series.


Costa Rican Tarantulas


Andrew Smith's Love Tarantulas