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Hey! - feedback please =)

Discussion in 'Tarantula Questions & Discussions' started by umon, Oct 3, 2009.

  1. umon

    umon Arachnopeon

    Well, hello everyone. I'm new to the tarantula keeping, and got my first spider a few days ago! I decided on the Aphonopelma "New River" Rust Rump, because its simply beutiful. Its currently a juvenile around 8cm long and it was sexed as a female from the retailer (the spider shop).

    I've been watching closely at its behavior and making sure its comfortable in the new home, i realise that my terrarium is probably way to big for a juvenile, i was going to buy an adult at first but since i settled on this species it was a quite expensive for an adult/subadult.

    So, i put it in, it's fairly active, moving around following the glass edges stopping every now and again, somtimes moving towards the heated side and hanging for a while. Few hours later, starts commiting suicide (lol) going to the top of the terrarium, and falling of due to slipping (16-17 inch drop =o) did this about 10 times while i was watching, i notices the vermiticule was sticking to the toes which i was worried about it seemed to make it loose grip more often on the glass. it also got one of its legs stuck in the ventilation mesh at the top and dangled from the top, i then saved it and put it on the ground. and not long after that it stopped climbing the glass (think it got the hint). Oh and i handled it for a minuit or two while it was wandering around, very calm and happy it seemed, put it back in and it carried on.

    So later in the day it was taking longer breaks, walking around the glass edges (favouring the corner closest to me on my computer) which is furthest from the heat mat. and towards the end of the day, it finally went into one of the 2 hides i made (the smaller one) i saw it webbing for about 30 seconds making a bed or somthing, and stayed in there until i went to sleep.

    I woke up in the morning and it was curled up at the opposide end of the hide, on the heated side, right next to the water bowl (note, havnt seen it drink yet) and it wasnt moving at all, being a newbie i was over cautious and had to give it a little tap on the abdomen, it didnt react much, moved about half a centimeter forward and relaxed again, this was about 10am in the morning. since then its only moved one or two centimeters and still in pretty much the same position, curled up with the front legs covering the carapace.

    Probably nothing to worry about, i mean it is only day 2, but feedback is helpful and reasuring, i recorded a video for the first day when it was more active and took a picture as its curled up now. thanks for reading


  2. AudreyElizabeth

    AudreyElizabeth Arachnodemon Old Timer

    Alright. You need to move that substrate WAY up. A fall from that distance will kill your new pet. Leg span and a half is the general rule I think, from the top of the container. I would personally ditch the vermiculite, and switch to peat moss or eco earth (coconut fiber). Vermiculite is very loose, and is probably the reason your tarantula is (was) so active. It was probably searching for more stable footing.
    I hope that your tarantula is not injured already from a fall, could you post a recent picture of it?
  3. umon

    umon Arachnopeon

    Audrey: That picture is recent, about 30 mins ago. and i've already purchased aload of cocunut fibre(16ltrs?), need to wait a few days for it to arrive, and yeah, no way i can fill my tank of substrate for 1.5 legspan its a pretty big tank.. ill edit this post and upload a picture of the tank (I'm guessing ill have to get some sorta tub/small enclosure to until it grows up?)

    Jayefbe: 65 without heat mat, 70 with, but its infared i don't think it has a great inpact on a thermometer? might be wrong. however the spider somtimes goes toward the heat mat, sitting directly on it on the glass, i can only assume that it does that to be warmer

    pics from 5 mins ago:

    [​IMG] [​IMG]

    [​IMG] [​IMG]
    Last edited: Oct 3, 2009
  4. jayefbe

    jayefbe Arachnoprince

    First, don't use vermiculite. I use coco fiber (can buy it at most pet stores, it's those bricks you soak in water) mixed with a bit of vermiculite for terrestrials. You can use straight coco fiber, but nobody would recommend straight vermiculite. You can also use peat moss (no fertilizers, pesticides, or other added chemicals).

    Second, I'd get a critter keeper/herp haven container. You definitely don't want that much height for a terrestrial. If it falls from the top it could very easily be fatal. Another option would be to add a TON of substrate so there are only a few inches between the top of the substrate and the top of the cage.

    Third, I don't know what the temps in your room are, but I'd get rid of the heat mat unless absolutely necessary (room temps significantly below 70 degrees). I'd be worried about overheating more than it being too cold.

    Good luck and congrats on your new tarantula!
  5. ghordy

    ghordy Arachnoknight

    Definitely fill that tank up to lessen the drop, and use coir or peat. You can mix in the existing vermiculite if you want.
  6. Exo

    Exo Arachnoprince

    That cage would be awesome for a burrowing T.....oh wait, I didn't see the doors, so I guess it wouldn't! :eek:
    Last edited: Oct 3, 2009
  7. If I were you, I'd get a smaller enclosure like a Pet-Pal or Kritter-keeper. Even if you take the substrate up to the doors, that's still an awful long drop from the roof for a T of that size. I only use Exo-Terra cubes for arboreal species. Those front-opening doors mean you can't really get enough sub in there to create a safe environment for terrestrial species without customizing the hell out of it first :) .
  8. Congratulations and welcome to the addiction. that is a wonderful pick for a first T and I agree, they are very beautiful.

    The problem isn't so much that it is too big, but that it has too much height. In order to make that enclosure safe for your T, you would need to fill it up with substrate to at least that back vent. Obviously that won't work with the front opening doors. Your T should be able to fall no more than a legspan and a half to be safe.

    That is a scary distance for a terrestrial T to fall. You are risking it falling and rupturing its abdomen. This is fatal in most cases.

    It is slipping on the glass. because it is a terrestrial T and is not as well equipped to climb the glass as an arboreal would be.

    Ditch the vermiculite. I wouldn't even mix it in with the coco fibre as there is no need for it. Your T is a dry loving species, so there is not a need to keep the humidity up. The vermiculite also will not hold a burrow, which your T may choose to make, if given enough appropriate substrate.

    This is a very bad thing. If it gets stuck to that screen and cannot get down, it may choose to cast off the leg. If it does that, it will regenerate it, but all the same I bet you wouldn't want it to do this.

    Just because it stopped at that point in time, does not mean that it got the hint. It could do it again as soon as your back is turned or you are asleep.

    Is that vermiculite damp? This could be the reason it is roaming and climbing. Dry loving species don't like to have their feet wet.

    A happy T is one that sits in one place all day and then moves a little bit and then sits in that spot. If your T is constantly moving, there is something about the enclosure that it doesn't like.

    Are you in Europe? If not, i don't really see a need for a heat mat. The rule of thumb is(for most species) if the temp is okay for you, it is okay for the T. What kind of heatmat are you using?

    Catching a T drinking is not an oft occurrence, so don't think it isn't drinking, just because you haven't seen it do so. Make sure the water dish is always full and it will drink when it needs to.

    i know you are new to this hobby, but unless you see the toes curling under the body there isn't really a need to worry. The way it is pulling its knees up over the carapace is a sign of stress/ pouting. I can't say that it was caused by you nudging it, but it probably didn't help.

    You are correct, that pose it nothing to worry about. Once you get its enclosure appropriate for it, it will take days/ weeks/ months for your T to settle in and feel safe. What I mean by that statement is that every T is different and it can take different amounts of time for it to settle in.

    Good luck on finding a more suitable enclosure for it and please post pics when you do. There is a link in my signature to a sticky that has a lot of good information, you should give it a look! :D