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1/2" Brachypelma smithi enclosure question

Discussion in 'Vivariums and Terrariums' started by Camille, Jan 8, 2012.

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    So my husband has convinced me into getting our first Tarantula(Well as a couple he had one years back). He wanted a Goliath bird-eater Spider (Theraphosa blondi) but I am not comfterable with a Spider that size. So We haggled and aggreed on Brachypelma smithi which is the only Tarantula to date next to the cobalt blue(Which I would never keep as it is SUPER fast and aggressive, Ive met one close up at a private tour of our local zoo in the back room). That I woud keep as I like the look of them. And other than being a bit nervous Are known to be a bit slower moving.

    Our friends husband Asked for A Tarantula as well so we are going to be going in on an order with the wonderfull Tarantula Canada(Only place I vowed I would ever order from If I ever did get one) and Both of us have decided on the same Species.

    Now when we get them they will be around 1/2" and We were wondering what to house them in at first(We were thinking a Critter keeper of some sort) and what substrate etc). A good in depth caresheet on them as well as Tarantulas in general would be welcome also.
  2. HI,
    I have a B. Smithi as a first and I now own Three T's. but yes, mine is about 1/2-1 inch in size and right now i have it housed in a clear plastic Critter keeper. she looks like she does fine in there, but she is becoming a bit bigger around the abdoman and becomeing really dark...she will probably be molting. But your best bet is a good sized critter keeper!:)
  3. Do not waste a lot of time, effort, or money on caging for your baby B. smithi. In a few months or a year it'll only outgrow it. In this respect at least, baby tarantulas are a lot like baby humanoids. After it has grown to nearly its adult size (in 5 to 15 years) you would be justified in arranging a much fancier and more permanent cage for it, though.

    At a half-inch size a really good container might be a half pint or pint jam jar. The rule of thumb is that the shortest horizontal dimension of the floor space should be at least 2 or 3 times the baby tarantula's diagonal leg span (DLS). (But note that enthusiasts are always violating these "Rules of Thumb!")

    Check out the jar in the back row on the right. Click on the thumbnail if you need a larger image.

    (Uploaded with ImageShack.us)

    And, either peat or shredded coconut husk (SCH, also called coir) will work well as a substrate. Their differences are ultimately unimportant and they both work well.

    Shredded Coconut Husk (SCH): This product is available as smallish, compressed, dried bricks from most pet shops, sold under a variety of trade names but at rather high prices. It is available from most landscaping and garden centers in much larger bricks and in pellets, but also much cheaper. It swells to 6 or 8 times its dry size once moistened. Use a small saw to cut only what you need (or a little more to be safe) from the brick. Store the rest away in a dry place. Use only one-half the recommended water to soak it, and let it soak overnight. The next day you can sift it through a french fry basket to remove any remaining lumps. For very small quantities, wrap a portion into a small rag and twist it to remove excess water. In larger quantities use a sturdy pillowcase. (Warnings: This will ruin the pillowcase for future use as a pillowcase. And, do not use anything made of terrycloth as the SCH will become tangled in the nap.) You'll only want a little more than an inch (about 3 cm) firmly tamped into the bottom of the container.

    Peat: This is a dark brown to black dirt-like substance dug from the bottoms of old "peat bogs." A few larger, more sophisticated pet shops sell it in small bags at relatively high prices. But, it is more readily available from landscaping and garden centers in larger quantities but at lower prices. A little water will probably have to be added to it after it is sifted through a french fry basket, but that's about all that needs to be done to it before tamping a little more than an inch (about 3 cm) into the bottom of the baby's container.

    Punch only 6 to 10 holes in the lid or sides of the container for limited ventilation and to prevent the container drying out too fast.

    Be forewarned that right after receiving the baby tarantula, as well as every time you change it to another container or clean it's cage, it will probably hang from the cage's walls for several days to several weeks. There's nothing wrong. It merely doesn't recognize the place as "home" and feels some anxiety over it. It'll get over it soon with no lasting damage to its psyche.

    WARNING: INCOMING, UNABASHED, SELF-SERVING SALES PITCH! If this sort of thing offends you, please move to the next post in this thread, or to the next thread.
    Go to your favorite, neighborhood, public library and check out a copy of The Tarantula Keeper's Guide. If they don't have a copy on the shelf they can order one from another branch or through the Interlibrary Loan System. Read the section entitled "The Babies" beginning on page 253. You may have to also backtrack to other sections to learn more about concepts you don't immediately understand.

    In the meantime you might also read Stan's Rant. Pay particular attention the these parts:

    1> Do not believe anything a pet shop tells you unless you can verify it here first.

    2> Do not believe anything that you read on an Internet care sheet unless you can verify it here first.

    3> Read the four books mentioned. Note that you don't have to buy them. Your favorite, neighborhood, public library should either have them or be able to get them for you.

    Two other issues:

    1> The only truly dumb questions are the ones you don't ask.
    Dumb questions are a lot easier to deal with than dumb mistakes.



    You've been warned! {D
  4. Thank you so much for the great reply! And I dont find no offence in suggesting your book! I saw it in the Rosie caresheet section and was already talking to my husband about buying it. Ive been reading since yesterday and looking at all the photos on the board and am getting excited about getting our little one. Actually I found a few species I would be interested in! Im thinking we could possibly get that are available at Tarantula Canada:

    Grammostola rosea
    Brachypelma smithi
    Acanthoscurria geniculata

    Maybe even get all three XD. When I came home from work and told him I thought we should maybe get one or two more species Shook his head and told me I was the best wife ever XD.

    Other species Id possible like are
    Brachypelma boehmei
    Chromatopelma cyaneopubescens(This one is a bit pricy so I would wait untill I am a bit more comfterable with Tarantulas first)
    And two species they dont have available right now are:

    A.avicularia(Would wait on that one also as Ive read that it can jump which would also make me nervous at first!)
    Grammostola aureostriata

    Im thinking of going to get those cubes at Michaels some people use for the Slings(The one with a bit more floor space) as I could make it look nice while still keeping it simple.

    Im pretty sure once we have the little guys here I will get over my nervousness. As I have handled a Tarantula before so Im not that much of a lost case XD. And I don't like being afraid of any living thing. I was petrified of bats when I was younger then one came into our house and my friend and I caught it and sat there looking at it for half an hour then let it go outside and got over our fear. Besides. i think that Smithi and geniculata are gorgeous and I also think their kinda adorable as slings XD

    ---------- Post added 01-09-2012 at 07:27 PM ----------

    ---------- Post added 01-09-2012 at 07:42 PM ----------

    It must be nerve wracking during your first molt! I remember when I got my first snake and It seemed like It took FOREVER for him to shed. I was 16 back then and my grandmother kept calling me at work telling me the snake hadn't shed yet and that it must be suffering and maybe we should put it out of its misery! LOL! Now it doesn't seem like much time at all. Sometimes you miss those days when you felt a little inept and unsure and everything was So amazingly new. Im hoping that feeling will come back with these Tarantulas(As well as a little nervousness I bet, Which will go away)
    Last edited: Jan 9, 2012