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Classroom T questions

Discussion in 'Tarantula Questions & Discussions' started by vyadha, May 15, 2019.

  1. vyadha

    vyadha Arachnosquire Active Member

    Hi all
    I spend most of time in the myriapod section. Im a teacher at a private school and I get to keep various inverts in my class. The kids understand the safety requirements around venomous inverts and have been asking about tarantulas for next year.
    Im thinking about a Pamphobeteus machala, I have a thing for purple. Thoughts?
    Other species that arent very difficult?
    Thanks all
  2. EulersK

    EulersK Arachnonomicon Staff Member

    Well, the absolute first question is this: Do you plan on handling or allowing your students to handle? You will get a vehement "Never ever handle!" on this forum, but I personally understand why educators would want this feature. Their venom is relatively mild compared to other species out there, and they're generally docile. The girl I once had was the exception to that rule, and you should know that any spider can end up being defensive regardless of what their species usually exhibits. From a pure liability standpoint... yeah, just don't do it. Not worth the risk to you and especially the spider. Spiders should not be feared, especially because they are so delicate that a small fall could kill them.

    My personal opinion? Get a C. cyaneopubescens ("Greenbottle blue") sling at the beginning of next year. If kept warm and fed well, there is no reason you wouldn't have a decent sized juvenile by the end of the school year. They are most certainly not a handling species as they are much too skittish. But in terms of education, they're wonderful. They are some of the fastest growing (beginner) species out there. My personal favorite quality to them is that they go through a color change just about every molt until they hit adult coloration. This will keep the kids interested long term to see what their class pet has turned into this month. And yes, you should expect a molt about ever 4-6 weeks when it is small. They also web quite a bit, which furthers the interest factor. Unlike other species, you'll be able to clearly demonstrate a spider's use of tripwires in their ambush hunting strategy. You run a science room, I assume? Given how many exuvia you'll have, you can also go over anatomy quite easily with the use of an overhead microscope. Tarsal claws, sucking stomachs, venom ducts, spermatheca (if it's female), etc etc etc. Just be prepared to rehouse as it grows, because it will certainly need that a couple times before the end of the school year.
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  3. jrh3

    jrh3 Knights of The Arachno Table Arachnosupporter

    To be honest my favorite new world is Brachypelma Albopilosum.
    They generally feed good.
    Are not super slow growers.
    Most have good temperaments.

    Kinda the perfect classroom Tarantula.
    Any kid that is the first time viewing a Tarantula will be in awww no matter The species. Just B. Albopilosum are an easy beginner species with alot of hair.
  4. EtienneN

    EtienneN Arachnonovelistmusician Arachnosupporter

    Pamphos are pretty skittish/bolty. I’d recommend something more sedate like a B. albopilosum, G. pulchripes, A. chalcodes or G. pulchra. I know someone on Arachnoboards was raising several Grammostola pulchra in his classroom and they did well. I’ve had two of them and they have great personalities and are definitely my number one beginner T pick.
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  5. EulersK

    EulersK Arachnonomicon Staff Member

    Absolutely love this species, it's been #1 on my wish list for years. I'm just too impatient to raise one on my own and too cheap to buy an adult female :hilarious:
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  6. vyadha

    vyadha Arachnosquire Active Member

    Thanks! I’ll look into all those!
    We have assassins and centipedes and scorpions in the class, these are not to be handled. For handling we have hissers, millipedes, Dynastes. Though some students go rockflipping with me and we collect S polymorpha and A pococki.
    Most of the inverts are more for viewing/observing. A tarantula would be the same.
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  7. EtienneN

    EtienneN Arachnonovelistmusician Arachnosupporter

    Then, once you get the hang of tarantula keeping, you can either add in ones that have a little more attitude, like the P. species machala, or keep one for yourself at home!
  8. chanda

    chanda Arachnoprince Active Member

    For the classroom, my absolute favorite is my G. porteri ("Rosie" - named by some of my students) because she is such a pet rock. She is almost always cooperative and allows me to take her out and handle her during classroom presentations, which happen roughly twice a year. (Gasp! Horror! Break out the torches and pitchforks!)

    My students also love the A. genic because he's such an aggressive feeder, very attractively marked, and almost always out in the open and active. (He is not handled, nor are the majority of my other spiders.)

    If you want to start with a sling and let the students watch it grow, then I have to second the recommendation for a GBB. They are a fast-growing species, they undergo some pretty remarkable changes from one molt to the next, they are aggressive feeders, and the heavy webbing is cool to watch. They are a bit more skittish than many of my other spiders and more prone to kicking hairs - but as long as you don't plan to handle them and are careful about feeding or cage maintenance (use tongs or wear gloves when cleaning out the cage) you should be fine.
  9. VanessaS

    VanessaS Grammostola Groupie Arachnosupporter

    My concern would be geared more towards the hairs on a Pamphobeteus. While I have to come in direct contact with all my other species to be negatively affected by their hairs, my Pamphobeteus are the exception. I can feel them stinging my hands the minute I open the enclosure. I really wouldn't risk having a species in a classroom, where there is such a heightened chance of skin sensitivities, that could potentially cause irritation. They don't have to be actively kicking them at you, they cover their enclosure with them and they can easily become airborne during maintenance.
    I would stick to NW species who have less irritating hairs, like Grammostola, Euathlus, Homoeomma, Thrixopelma, or even an arboreal like Avicularia.
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  10. vyadha

    vyadha Arachnosquire Active Member

    @EtienneN i think you nailed it... one for the classroom, one for me!
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  11. Theneil

    Theneil Arachnoprince Active Member

    i think EulersK gave a good write up. the C. cyaneopubecense (aka the GBB) is exactly the species that came to mind. One thing i didn’t see him say which osnprobably an added benefit is that the species does exceptionally well in enclosures that are “too big” so you can rehouse into something a bit oversized for it to grow into and limit the number of rehousings to probably 2 or 3.

    I don’t think a pamphobeteus species would be out of the question, and once it put on some size would also be great as it will likely be very visible in general, but they don’t do the web work that the GBB will, they require more moisture, and also the bright purple colors you probably saw when you looked them up were most likely a Mature a male specimen. Females and immature males are a dark brown black color with just a little purply brown highlighting.


    that being said, just get something that wont die, like B. hamorii or B. albo

    dont get the later though, they are stupid overrated Ts.

    I have a P. Machala, they are actually fairly easy, and their food aggression is at a good point where I fond it beneficial, compared to fickle spiders.
  13. SuzukiSwift

    SuzukiSwift Arachnoprince Active Member

    My mother is a teacher and I help set up her class with tarantulas from time to time. Each year they’ll have a different one, they’ve had a G. rosea, A. avic, B. smithi and now they have a C. versicolor.

    I recommend getting a new world species and I recommend never handling. Arboreal is a good choice, especially something that likes to web
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  14. the kids would probably like that.

    I let my little brother bring in my Avic to an eyemtaray school for a volunteer presentation on tarantulas. Apparently a hobbyist is not a credible quote :oops:

    but the kids really liked it, I told him that he cannot open the lid and I let him believe he owns my B smithi, so he understands a lot about Ts. But they really liked my big girl. No way in heck was I gonna let him take any of my old worlds or slings though :playful: not without me at least.

    I feel like an avic is pretty beautiful and has a well enough appetite to intrigue kids.
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