In the Eye of the Beholder, or “I don’t see what you see.”

 

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= in my eyes.

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I’m sitting here slurping coffee, getting ready to feed a bunch of tarantulas in a short bit and I was musing about some reactions on faffbook in response to arachnid galleries and posts…from people who obviously aren’t in the hobby.

These reactions range from just “EWWWWW!” to “I’m scared of spiders” to “kill it with fire”…with a few folks taking the high road complimenting on color or beauty, but quite often appending with “I’m terrified of…” or “but they are creepy”.

cute jumping spider

Arachnophobia is a real thing. I know this, because I have a mild form of Apiphobia, which is the fear of bees and wasps. It is a completely irrational fear for me, and one which I’ve endeavored to get over by forcibly NOT running away at the mere sight of one of these beautiful animals. I still get anxiety around them, but by dealing with the fear, I no longer bolt when one swings by.

wasp

 

 

So I CAN relate to the reaction.

 

 

 

 

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Tarantula Bits #1

 

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“Tiphane” Grammostola porteri mature female 6″ My first and still favorite.

A new take on my old “last bits”.

I ranted like crazy about this on faffbook in a local group. Posting the 2-part rant here for posterity:

Local shops rant #1
Irritated. There are times in this hobby when I get pissed about pricing. Specifically local herp (reptiles and snakes) shops. Been on the hunt for a B. smithi for awhile now, and found two…one at a local reptile store, and the other at…drumroll…Petco. Same size, everything. (juvenile to young adult approx 3-3.5″)

Guess who wanted 150+$ and were offended when I counter offered the price range I KNEW I could get the T for?
Then wild guess who sold me mine for 75$?

People hate on the chain stores, but I have had better luck in general with them then the “locals” in this hobby.
I do not and will not name names. Just “local” ranting. :-/

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Local shops rant #2:

I have yet to see a listing of T’s on ANY local pet store website. No prices, no species, nothing. Unless you call. Then it is, “Oh sure, we have a lot of them, come on down.” And when you do, you generally will see outrageous prices that would drive an online vendor out of business faster than you can shake your head as no one would make that kind of buy.

While I will exclude Naturebox (local vendor here in Denver) from the pricing irritation (they are an excellent source for reasonably priced tarantulas), even that store has a website section for spiders that is empty and has been since I first checked em’ out quite some time ago.
On the other hand, online vendors look like the 2nd picture.  Species, new arrivals, availability/sold out info, origin locale info, pricing, and general information as to species care.

Consider this an “I wish” posting rather than grrr argh.

[Aside, there were some web captures illustrating my points. I’ll leave them out of this post as they are local to the Denver area, and this blog has a wider reach.  Just pretend you saw blank pages where listings should go. heh.]

addendum to the rant:

I just saw an A. versicolor 1/2″ sling selling for 60$ on a shelf at a local shop. Almost choked. Then I looked at the other selections, some of which were absolutely crazy high as well.

Then when I asked why the prices were so high, I received the stock used car salesman answer, “Oh they’re on consignment.” -this is a magic term for “just because we think there are enough suckers who will pay it.”
:-/


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Aphonopelma seemanni

Back to me blabbing on the blog here:

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Vendor Review: PetcenterUSA

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Just a quick review of an already respected Tarantula vendor who does retail and wholesale work.

Paul Becker has been in the 8-legged cat game for a long time, and with good reason.

I’m not going to go into screaming detail, as these things have been done many times via social media, (A good overview here from Tom’s Big Spider Blog)  but as I am 100% pleased with the selection, service and health of the specimens I just received, here’s the post!

Packaging = perfect.

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Enclosures part deux! How to build a house for a spider.

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I’ve been asked a few times to write up how I build my smaller enclosures. I figured sure, why not?

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To start with, the tools and materials needed:
 

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Pre-step A!!!!
SAFETY FIRST.  Any time you are working with plastic/glass/acrylic and cutting, shaving or using high speed rotary tools, ALWAY ALWAYS ALWAYS use safety goggles. Your eyes are more important than a little plastic box!
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A. AMAC plastic boxes. These are available directly from the manufacturer, or several vendors. I get mine from “The Container Store“. I know that in some places these are hard to find overseas, but there are (should be) equivalents locally. They are cheap, easy to futz with and modify, sturdy and best of all, reusable.

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Exotic Pet Updates

The Evolution of a reef tank

The Evolution of a reef tank

Tiphane - G. porteri. Mature female. Six inches. "Havin' a snack".

Tiphane – G. porteri. Mature female. Six inches.
“Havin’ a snack”.

There is nothing like a day where the two applications I have for managing my reef tank and my tarantula feeding schedule sync up. That was almost work. 😀

Lack of blogging…lack of writing…well, just chalk that up to “I’m DOING” instead of talking about it. Things are finally settling down though. The nano-reef has settled in, and all the chemical tests have been optimal for weeks now even after adding various corals and cleaner crew members. Sub 40 gallon tanks are called “nano” when a reef tank is involved. (Fish setups as well, but more it is used more in the ‘reef’ side of things.)

Cleaner crews = hermit crabs, snails and cleaning shrimp. They are a necessary part of the reef tank’s life support. They scavenge junk/detritus/dead stuff, and scarf up algae and such. Some of the snails act like the sandworms of Dune and surf around UNDER the sand, eating stuff and with this motion giving vital oxygen to the bacteria that lives  there.

15 tarantulas. There are times I wonder how folks do it with 3-4 times as many, but usually I only wonder this when the feeding schedule coincides for almost all of em’ on the same day. heh. I’m getting very good at wrangling prey, so it is getting a lot easier, and I have also discovered that I was tensing up every single time I opened an enclosure. Not from fear of the tarantulas, but rather a fear I’d have a runaway. This is part of the ‘noob’ process to veteran tarantula keeper. The T’s LIKE where they are. They would bolt out of fear, but they actually have set their homes up to their liking, and if the Keeper (that’d be moi) gets the environment right, then the whole ESCAPE!!! thing isn’t really an issue.

I’ve got some pictures of the latest goings on in the hobby side of things, and rather than blather on, I’ll post em in a gallery, and stick relevant comments in there.

Work is going well, writing…slow…but that is changing now that I’ve finally gotten all of this zoology stuff in place and running smoothly.

I’ve been asked a few times if that bothers me that I’m not pounding the keyboard every single day lately, and I thought about it…and no, I’m not sussed about it all. I am living my life and doing things that appeal to me. Writing is ONE of those things…not the ONLY thing. (I have never been one of those writers who loses the “mojo” of a story by going away from it for a bit. I always come back refreshed, mental batteries charged, and tend to go like blazes following a break.)

The last couple months have been “setup” for some things I’ve long desired to get involved in or get BACK involved in (aquaria), and now that I have these things in place, I can get back to ‘primary’ which is the writing.

I’m having a blast. 🙂

And with that, here comes ze gallery!

Tarantula roundup 9-9-2015

“This is my water dish. There are many like it…but this one is mine.” -Victory Jr.

So this post will show all of my kids at this particular time. I’m also using this to test the gallery feature of wordpress, and what better way than to show off the menagerie?

At this point we have fifteen in the gang. I am most definitely going to add a few more to the zoo, but unlike the bigger collectors in the hobby, I’m very satisfied with the species variation I have here. There are a couple more arboreals I am interested in for color as well as behavior, and 2-3 more terrestrials for similar reasons. I will most likely top this out at 20 in the collection for awhile. One of the nice features about keeping these animals as pets is that space issues are truly not that big a deal, and as most tarantulas take quite awhile (relatively) to get to full size/mature, there is some nice “lag” between rehousing situations.

Clicking on any picture will bring up the gallery feature: