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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The Best Tarantula Species For Beginners Revisited (Video Version)

A video update to Tom’s Big Spider “best beginners article. Well worth the read..and now the watch! 🙂

Tom's Big Spiders

“What is the best tarantulas species for a beginner?”

I’ve spent a lot of time answering this question over the years, and for those just dipping their toe into this amazing hobby, it’s an excellent and important question to ask. Several year ago, I wrote my article “The Best Tarantula Species for Beginners” in which I detailed the species I thought make excellent first tarantulas for someone just starting out. In this first version, I included only species I kept and cared for so that I could share my own experiences and anecdotes on them.  To be truthful, my opinions on some of the species (I’m looking at you A. chalcodes, A. avicularia, and B. vagans!) have changed over the years, so I’ve continued to periodically revise the original text to jigger the order and to add new species deserving of the title. With the post nearing 50,000…

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Tarantula Sling Husbandry – A Comprehensive Guide

Outstanding and in-depth. Great article on care of Tarantula slings.

Tom's Big Spiders

A-HEADER-SLING-ARTICLE

I can remember getting my first two slings, a L. parahybana and a C. cyaneopubescens, several years ago. Although I had kept adult tarantulas before, these tiny little gals just seemed so tiny and fragile. I had spent hours researching the care, and had even spoken to a couple of keepers about them. I thought I had the correct setups, and my temperatures seemed okay, but I couldn’t shake the feeling that something with my husbandry was amiss and that I would inevitably end up with two dead slings.

Even folks who have kept larger specimens for years tend to experience more than their fair share of anxiety when they keep their first slings. Part of the problem is that much of what you read about sling care can conflict with what you read about their adult counterparts. For example, good husbandry information will tell you that the Brachypelma smithi is…

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Tarantula Controversies – Should You Give Tarantulas Water Dishes?

The pros and cons of water dishes. Great article breaking down both sides of the argument in this hobby.

Tom's Big Spiders

Tarantula-controvesies-3Recently, I sat down to write an article about some of the divisive, hot-button topics that dog the tarantula hobby and often ensnare uninitiated keepers in heated debates. These are subjects that new hobbyists are often interested in learning about, but an internet search or an innocent forum query produces two equally heated and opposing answers. My hope with this feature is to present both sides of these gray-area arguments so that keepers can develop their own informed opinions and make equally informed decisions. For the third installment, I’ve decided to take on the topic of using water dishes with tarantulas.


Background

Just recently, a popular YouTube enthusiast posted a video about a “sick” Poecilotheria that he had found in a semi-death curl. After plucking the poor creature out and putting it into a tarantula ICU with plenty of water, the animal quickly perked up. Whew…his quick thinking saved the day and miraculously cured…

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Tarantula Controversies #2 – Handling Tarantulas

Excellent breakdown of the arguments both pro and con regarding one of the big controversies in the tarantula keeping hobby. Also some of the pics are mine. 😀

Tom's Big Spiders

hand

Recently, I sat down to write an article about some of the divisive, hot-button topics that dog the tarantula hobby and often ensnare uninitiated keepers in heated debates. These are subjects that new hobbyists are often interested in learning about, but an internet search or an innocent forum query produces two equally heated and opposing answers. My hope with this feature is to present both sides of these gray-area arguments so that keepers can develop their own informed opinions and make equally informed decisions. For the second installment, I’ve decided to tackle the “explosive” topic of tarantula handling. 

Background

I’ve mentioned many times in various posts and videos that when I bought my first tarantula 20 years ago, it was partially to get over my fear of spiders. I had arachnophobia since I could remember, and I was hoping that by keeping, observing, and eventually handling my new G. porteri, I could overcome…

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New Year, new posts

IMG_20160102_055042 (2)

I’ve been away a bit. Doing stuff, and work has taken a turn for the busier. As this is what I consider my “journal”, I’m not going to spend a bunch of time on the missed items, as most of it is boring day-to-day stuff. Instead, here are few shots of the zoo, which I DO find interesting, and I hope you all do as well!

Aquatics is progressing nicely. I have branched into freshwater planted stuff just to see if I can do it. (So far so good!)
The reef stuff is going along smoothly, and the Fish only tank is populated and happy.

 

The Tarantula gang lost a member, and gained two new denizens, so I’m up to twenty at this point. Other than the late lamented P. ornata, everybody else is doing nicely, building tunnels, molting, and generally just doing their spiderly bits.  My OBT (Pterinochilus murinus) has decided to become an avid fan of all things computer screen-ey, and as such, even during meals has created a silk TV chair to watch the screen. This is one of the T’s that is supposed to be a terror and purveyor of the “Major Threat Display!(tm)”. So far, this kid has been calm, figured out the noise at the top of the enclosure is “feeding time”, and is a fan of “The Expanse’.  Go figure.  😀

The Pterinochilus murinus in a comfy chair, eating and watching scifi.  :-D

The P. murinus in a comfy chair, eating and watching scifi.  😀

 

 

Writing is picking back up for those who are waiting with baited breath. I’m not pushing it. There has been a minor pause for a rework on the outline and a critical look at the manuscript as it progresses. I’m having fun. If you can’t wait for book #2, I suggest getting into tarantula keeping or fish. heh heh.

 

Anyway, here are some shots of my passions…er hobbies.

 

I hope the new year is treating all of you well, and if not, you should grab the new year by the ears and smack it with a trout.  😉

Last Bits 25

The lair at night.

The lair at night.

1. So it has been awhile since I posted up a “last bits”. I’ve been busy. So nyah! Anyway, let’s get to the points.

2. Writing has slacked off.

There is something that I’ve noticed about myself over the last several years. Sometime between late June and mid July until early to mid September…every single year…I slack off pounding the keys, and delve into other things that interest me. The stories are still there, the passion is still there…BUT…other things also interest me. As I write for ME, scratching an itch as it were, and not a deadline or for others, I have come to terms with this. At first, every time this happened I would feel guilty and TRY to continue the pattern that is my norm, and this irritated me every time. This year, when the waning of the key pounding started again, I consciously decided to just give into it and go with the flow…after all it is MY LIFE, and the things I want to do also interest me.

This year, those things have been hobbies. One of them a life long passion since childhood…and the other…hmmm…also a lifelong passion since childhood.

A reef under construction

A reef under construction

A. Salt water aquariums

(Some of you thought I’d say tarantulas first, huh? -heh.)

The actual reasoning behind the tank you see in the picture above actually DID have a lot to with tarantulas (which are a passion that is a subset of arachnids in general). Originally the thought was to have just a basic tank with some scaly dudes in it to increase the humidity in the bedroom-office FOR the tarantulas. (As well as me as I’ve been dealing with a dry skin condition for some time now that humidity seems to knock back down quite well).

The more I thought about it and researched, however, I discovered that the advances in the technology, lighting and things associated with salt water and reef keeping have advanced to a point where maintenance is nearly as easy as that of my 8-legged furry friends. So with that in mind, I started putting together a basic system to build a “nano-reef”, which is mostly live corals and a few fish/shrimp to keep things in balance.

Without going into a lot of detail, the end result is that I have had a lot of fun, not just in the building of the system, but in the research and learning involved. 🙂

The picture NASA doesn't want you to know about...the spiders of Mars! :-)

The picture NASA doesn’t want you to know about…the spiders of Mars! 🙂  This is my pride and joy. Tiphane, posing in red light. Beautiful G. porteri.

B. Tarantulas. Yep. As some of you have seen, I have been heavily involved in this hobby as well. The reason I took so long to get into this? First, I thought that they were truly “exotic” and just assumed would be a royal pain in the ass expense wise and care wise. Turns out once I started to actually do the research, neither are true. Second, I have shied away from “hobbies” for years due to life long patterns brought about by travel and strange houred jobs.

Set up is more time consuming, but if done properly this is mostly mechanical, and in this hobby, a LOT of the enjoyment is actually designing and building the enclosures for my 8-legged friends, as a tarantula (most of em, anyway) are NOT crazy-time-party-animals. They are slow in their day to day lives and other than insane bursts of speed come feeding time, ‘EXCITEMENT’ isn’t on the menu. –and that is okay by me.

3. So back we go to the writing situation. I’m not concerned about it. I have over 80,000 words in the current project down, and already feeling the urge to ramp back up and “get er’ done”. I love the world I’ve created, and the story intrigues me just as much as it always did, so back to the writing chair I go.

4. Driving has been going very well. Crazy busy the last four days with the labor day weekend. Happy that it is over, but also very pleased that I was able to take care of my customers.

5. So that about wraps it up for this last bits post. I hope all of you out there in reader-land have had a great weekend and that life is treating you all well!

Power Feeding Tarantulas

An excellent treatise on the pros and cons as well as the “whys” and “why-nots” of power feeding captive tarantulas.

Tom's Big Spiders

Powerfeeding-for-dummies

Power feeding: The act of accelerating a tarantula’s growth by increasing temperatures and the amount and/or frequency it is fed.

If you’ve been in the hobby for any amount of time, you’ve likely been privy to a debate between hobbyists about the virtues or dangers of power feeding tarantulas. Although a less incendiary topic than handling, this subject still manages to elicit some strong views as folks are fairly split over whether this is a harmless practice or a detriment to tarantulas’ health and longevity.

However, like other contentious topics in the hobby, the answer might not be so black and white. While snake breeders have used power feeding for decades in order to quickly get their specimens to breedable size, the practice has been recognized for having adverse effects on the animals’ health. Therefore, the assumption is that the same practice would also be harmful for arachnids.

Unfortunately, comparing snakes to tarantulas, two…

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