Tarantula DIY enclosures part TRES!

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I’m always looking to update or improve on the tarantula housing situation, and I’ve found a really inexpensive way to build out arboreal enclosures using 2.5 gallon Aqueon aquariums. This size is sometimes referred to as a ‘Betta House’, referencing the beautiful Siamese fighting fish.

While I am fond of customizing Zoomed bugariums for fast moving T’s like the beautiful Poecilotheria genus, the front door vertical set up works really well for slower moving tree spiders such as large juvenile or adult Avicularia.

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Four Zoomed Bugariums and some AMAC boxes below left.

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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. 🙂

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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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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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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 #2

 

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“This is my poop and leftover food corner. There are many like it, but this one is mine!”  Grammostola rosea young adult female “Victory Jr.”

Tarantulas are one of the cleanest animals out there. In fact I only half joke when I call em’ “8-legged cats”. They behave very much like cats. From persnickety bathroom habits, to fastidious feeding habits, to grooming.  Yep, they groom…and they can spend hours doing it. (Of course with eight legs, this stands to reason.)

They also don’t give a rat’s butt about you, the Keeper. Oh they will pretend like they do occasionally, usually when it gets around feeding time, but nope, like cats, you are merely an object to be suffered through most of the time.

Some of the more persnickety snots on the exotic pet boards in social media will wave their hands and scream that tarantulas don’t have these traits, that it is pure anthropomorphism, but I aquire the look in this meme picture and move along.

sarcastic House

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The Tarantula molt process, or how to become a virgin again.

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Brachypelma smithi in her old clothes

This would have been a “tarantula bits” post, except I liked the title, so hey.

Last night my Brachypelma smithi, a purchase from a local Petco, molted, and Tom Moran posted up a Grammostola iheringi update where the molt had just occurred with one of his 8-legged cats.
SYNCRONICITY!   heh heh.

I had photo-documented the process with my B. smithi, so I figured I’d post up about the how, what and whyfores with some most excellent shots to illustrate just how Tarantulas “do”.

One of the interesting facets of the exotic pet hobby (not JUST tarantulas) is the molting process. Reptiles shed, as well as snakes, and almost all inverts as well.

[aside: This includes all of the sea-abiding cousins such as this kid here:]

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Tarantula Keeper’s Journal Entry 4 – News and updates

Family growth, another petco rescue, and happenings!

So I’ve been “doing” and not “writing” lately.

I’ve added several additional members to the T-family. Here’s the whole gang:

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Ahh, Petco. I will be avoiding this store, as everytime I go in, I end up rescuing yet another T.
Their corporate policy is to wet the substrate daily and throw in a bunch of crickets. This is like coming into your home, spraying the apartment with a firehose and then setting loose ten to twenty cats and a bunch of rats. The spiders tend to freak out, quit feeding, and end up on tip-toes because the ground is a mess.

My kids are in the lap of luxury. 🙂

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Speed needs to be respected.
Had my first chase recently. The chromatus housing went south when the little bugger decided to teleport away.
(They’re that fast at times.)
Spent half an hour trying to cup-capture and prod her out of tight corners to accomplish this.
Finally got that situation settled. No more “free-standing” chores with these dudes. A ten gallon empty tank will minimize the chances of this happening again. 🙂

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Food decisions, or why I hate freakin’ crickets.

After dealing with the hoppy little monsters (feeder crickets) I did some research and discovered that roaches are an excellent alternative. They don’t hop…they don’t smell like rotten food, and they are easy to “keep/raise”.

Some tarantulas are reported to not like em’, but ALL of mine have chowed down heartily. (Good, because I hate freakin’ crickets. 😀 )

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Siesta Senior?

The way is shut.

The way is shut.

As of this entry, I have three T’s that have burrowed and shut their doors. They do this when small so that they can molt. They are extremely vulnerable during this process, and so many of them do the deed in private. Sometimes taking months away from the surface world, many new “keepers” freak out and dig em’ up. This is not a good thing. Patience wins out here. (My Chaco has been “afk” for over two weeks, and I don’t expect to see her for some time. I just mist once in a bit to keep the humidity levels okay, and once a day take a peek.

The Ornata has molted. She’s gorgeous. She’s fast…at everything. She shed the old clothes within hours.
Unlike some T’s that take a loooong time to grow up, the P. ornata grows quickly. After seeing this, I’m going to have to agree with that.


There are two additional T’s that I’m going to be getting soon. The nice thing about this hobby is that purchasing them young, the costs are minimal, housing is cheap and easy to setup, and the food…well, I grow that myself. The regimen settles down quickly and like fish, these dudes are fun to watch.

The Psalmopoeus cambridgei – Trinidad Chevron
is an arboreal (tree climber). I want a good mix, and with several terrestrial species, this is a nice “change”.

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Trinidad chevron

Psalmopoeus irminia -Venezuelan Suntiger
Another arboreal, this one is a bit more dangerous (bite and venom are medically significant), but are stunning to look at.

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Venezuelan Suntiger

As for the whole “bite” thing. Some do and some don’t. I have the petco rescues and the Chaco and Brazillian pink hair for handling urges. The more dangerous species are exquisite to view, and that is where I’ll leave them.
Just like any other exotic pet, you have to learn about them, their habits, and their potential danger, to themselves and to you.

I’m really enjoying this. 🙂

Next post will be the unboxing of a couple tarantulas, showing how things should be done. I’ve learned a bit since the chromatus chase. 🙂