Have You Ever Been Bit By a Tarantula? A Survey

A new survey up for all you wranglers of 8-legged cats over on Tom’s Big Spider Blog. 🙂

Tom's Big Spiders

If you’re a hobbyist, please take a few seconds to participate!

Okay, I’m hoping to get as much participation as possible on this, so my sincere thanks to anyone who takes  a moment to answer or share these two polls.

The first question pertains to whether or not you’ve ever experienced a bite under any circumstances. I hear a lot of folks, mostly those new to the hobby, make statements like, “it’s only a matter of time until I get bit.” Do bites happen? Sure. But my belief is that they are not very common. So, who out there has experienced the business end of a tarantula?

The second question pertains to one of the hobby’s hot button issues; namely, are beginners who work with Old World species prone to getting bit? Logic would seem to dictate that someone used to slower, less defensive species could easily find themselves on…

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Guest Blog post: Neoholothele incei (gold) Communal by Casey J. Peter

In which I guest blog on Tom’s Big Spiders about communal living, Tarantula style! 🙂

Tom's Big Spiders

Introduction

As tarantulas are recognized as solitary creatures (mostly due to the fact that they view other spiders as lunch on eight legs) many find the idea of several tarantulas cohabitating peacefully to be a bit of a mind-blower. Perhaps that’s why successful communal setups garner so much curiosity and attention. A year ago, I started my first communal with 9 Monocentropus balfouri slings, and it has been incredibly rewarding and fascinating to watch these spiders interact. And, as I’ve shared my experiences through my blog and YouTube channel, it has also attracted a lot of attention from folks who would very much like to begin their own tarantula communals.

Although M. balfouris seem to present as one of the best species to successfully thrive in this set up, they are not the only species to display these tendencies. In fact, when I was originally giving thought to the idea…

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B. smithi is Now B. hamorii – A Breakdown of the Taxonomic Revision Paper

Nice breakdown of the recent change to an iconic tarantula species.

Tom's Big Spiders

“A rose by any other name would smell as sweet” – William Shakespeare

It was talked about and anticipated for years, and on April 26, it became official. Jorge Mendoza and Oscar Francke’s paper on the revision of the Brachypelma red-kneed tarantulas was officially published.  This paper had many informed hobbyists sighing in resignation as they reached for their label makers and bade farewell to a familiar name. As a result, the beloved Brachypelma smithi that has proliferated collections for decades has a brand new name…Brachypelma hamorii.

The B. smithi has long been a hobby staple, and many consider this beautiful species to be the poster child of tarantula keeping.  I’ve spoken to many hobbyists that admit that Brachypelma smithi was the first tarantula scientific name they ever learned, and you’ll often hear hobbyists argue that no collection can be complete without one. With this species’ “celebrity” status in…

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Tarantula bits #8

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Mature female Psalmopoeus cambridgei “Cami”

There comes a “first time” for stuff in every hobby. Breeding is one of these things in the exotic pet side of things. While it is not for every hobbyist, once the itch needs to be scratched, it’s only a matter of time.

That time, for me, came on this past Sunday.

One of my hobbyist friends mentioned online that she had two female Psalmopoeus cambridgei tarantulas that were being snooty toward her male, refusing to have anything to do with it other than as a potential snack.

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Fish Stuff and such

40 breeder freshwater.jpg

So here is the freshwater dirt-planted 40 gallon breeder tank approaching the end of the first year in operation. I couldn’t be happier…well if the fish would quit eating all the plants, that’d be great. But other than that. 😀

This type of setup is known as a “Walstad method tank” as it uses a dirt substrate capped with gravel rather than a complex system of filtration. In this method, all of the filtration is done with the plants absorbing the stuff that the fish leave off, giving back oxygen into the water.
In the “pure” method, that is all that is done other than water top offs for evaporation.

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Tarantula bits #7

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Avicularia sp. guyana

So in this episode of “bits”, I present the way I house (and rehouse) the gentle fluffball that is the Avicularia genus. These spiders are among the most docile creatures in the tarantula kingdom, as well as stunningly beautiful.

That said, spiders of this genus CAN be skittish and they WILL jump from time to time. So new keepers be aware, as this can be an issue with handling.  For instance, in the main photo above, right after I took the picture, the T jumped from there on my arm right onto the camera….then to the desk, and then back onto my other arm, coming to a stop on the back of my hand. I LOVE it when they do this, but the first time this happens can be…unnerving. Heh.

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Tarantula bits #6

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New shelving going to be needed soonish.

Rehousing Poecilotheria(s). [Indian ornamental tarantulas.]

Just a quick post with some pics of today’s adventures in rehousing a Poecilotheria regalis and a P. miranda.

The P. regalis was fun as it decided to explore the bathtub wall tile, but was easily catch cupped. Tarantulas roll in spurts, and the trick is to let em’ stop before trying to recapture.

The P. miranda on the other hand, waltzed gracefully from the old house to the cup to the new house.

This is the time that I’ve been expecting. Quite a few of my collection are growin’ up, and require better (bigger) accommodations.  In the next week, I will have to rehouse seven tarantulas, some arboreal, some terrestrial and one that can’t make up its mind whether it is one or the other. Heh.

A quick note on the large enclosure. A “bugarium” as is mentioned in the pictures is a Zoomed product. A surprisingly inexpensive 8 x 8 x 11″ terrarium of glass construction with a removable top. I custom built the top with acrylic and four 2″ round vents, leaving one of these loose to easily feed and water without major disruption for the tarantula. A rock weight keeps things from becoming accidentally “interesting”.   I am very…VERY pleased with this product, and will be using it to house quite a few more specimens going forward. While this doesn’t have “cross-ventilation”,  it is ‘airy’, and most adult tarantulas don’t need a breeze to thrive. Another positive for me with these is the uniform appearance. It will be quite simple to shelve these cubes for display without a lot of odd sized enclosures making things look cluttered.

Anyway, here’s the process of rehouse in pictures: (Click the coffee cup for the slideshow and captions.)

 

Poll – Was Your First Tarantula a “Beginner Species”?

A poll from Tom’s Big Spider Blog about which type of species you started with.

Tom's Big Spiders

If I could get just a moment of your time …

This is going to be a short and sweet blog post. Although I’m working on an article that the results of this poll would be really useful for, this question comes more from curiosity.

How many of you in the hobby began with a “beginner species?”

For the sake of argument, let consider the following a “beginner species.”

All Aphonopelma, Brachypelma, and Grammostola species, C. cyaneopubescens (GBB), Avicularia avicularia or metallica, Lasiodora parahybana (LP), E. capestratus, and Euathlus species.

And, for the more “advanced” species, let’s go with:

All “baboon” species, Pamphobeteus species, Phormictopus species, Nhandu species, Acanthoscurria species, Hapalopus species, Tapinauchenius species, Psalmopoeus species, and Poecilotheria species, and any other “Old World” tarantula not listed above.

If you’re not sure where yours falls, please take a moment to put it in the comment section.

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The Importance of Respect and Open-mindedness In the Tarantula Hobby

Excellent thoughts on the hobby and the ability to be polite and open minded.

Tom's Big Spiders

Or, Why we need to eliminate the “My Way or the Highway” Attitude in Tarantula Keeping

No matter the hobby or interest, there are always going to be debates and arguments between those with different views. Whether it be sports, music, movies, or cars, it seems that many folks believe that an integral part of becoming an “expert” in a particular area entails showcasing your vast knowledge in spirited kerfuffles with other enthusiasts. After all, what better way to show how much you know than to verbally beat down someone with less awareness on the subject?

The tarantula hobby, of course, is no exception. Anyone who spends time on a public forum or group dedicated to tarantulas will inevitably encounter some “grab the popcorn” level disagreements about various subjects. Topics like handling, water dishes, supplemental heating, and even basic husbandry can lead to many passionate, often nasty, disagreements between experts…

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