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New To the Tarantula Scene

Discussion in 'Tarantula Questions & Discussions' started by MrP, Apr 14, 2018.

  1. MrP

    MrP Arachnopeon Active Member

    What about a spider from the Brachypelma family? I REALLY like the Brachypelma albiceps. Would it be an alright start for me?
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  2. cold blood

    cold blood Moderator Staff Member

    Albiceps grow amazingly slow as slings...plus they tend to be more on the skittish side...not bad, you could deal with one...but they can be skittish.

    Hamorii and emelia tend to be much calmer and would be better choices IMO.
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  3. MrP

    MrP Arachnopeon Active Member

    Ooh I like the Emelia and the Albiceps! I'll pick between these two, probably. To me they embody everything that is a tarantula and everything that scares the living crap out of me. I'm really excited about this!

    Are they terrestrial? Please say they're terrestrial...
    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 15, 2018
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  4. WolfSoon

    WolfSoon Arachnosquire

    They’re terrestrial. :p All brachypelma are.
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  5. Mirandarachnid

    Mirandarachnid Arachnobaron Active Member

    I'm going to throw in a vote for B. emelia too. Mostly because I think they're gorgeous and I don't have one yet, so I'll live vicariously through you until I fork out the cash for my own :p

    I also want to extend a big fat Welcome to the Hobby! :D
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  6. AphonopelmaTX

    AphonopelmaTX Moderator Staff Member

    Start by reading a book or two on tarantula care before jumping in and buying one. Reading the following books will give you an introduction to what a tarantula is exactly compared to other spiders, answer a lot of typical questions such as how to sex a tarantula, and give you an idea of what you are getting yourself into. The "insane arachnophobia" part has me concerned you maybe moving too fast with asking for recommendations on what species you should buy.

    The best book out there to date on tarantula care is The Tarantula Keeper's Guide by Stanley and Marguerite Schultz. Another good one is Tarantulas and Other Arachnids by Samuel Marshall.
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  7. MrP

    MrP Arachnopeon Active Member

    So by reading these books, will I then be prepared? What do you reccomend so that I am fully prepared for the care and maintenance of a spiderling?

    So far what I have decided is:
    1. I should start with a spiderling as it's best to grow with the spider. While I understand that this also comes with more maintenance, I believe I've steeled myself into being okay with this decision.
    2. I'm picking from a B. emilia, B. albiceps, G. pulchra, and Chromatopelma cyaneopubescens. The flightiness and skittish nature is something that I should confront early. I'm not going around killing spider's out of arachnophobia, I just feel a bit of unrest when looking a spiders. I find that this disappears the more I research them.
    3. Handling is a no-go. Bad for spider and unintelligent for me.
    4. I'm gonna write down everything that I need to have before actually going out and getting whatever tarantula I decide on. Hopefully, I can show it to you guys for review. This includes the books you suggested AphonopelmaTX.
    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 15, 2018
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  8. Thekla

    Thekla Arachnobaron Active Member

    @Ztesch already linked @Tomoran's videos about beginner species and the sling guide, but I can also recommend his blog which has tons of useful and insightful stuff. You could also browse his whole youtube channel... I promise you'll spend hours and hours on that, and it'll prepare you really well IMO. :)
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  9. AphonopelmaTX

    AphonopelmaTX Moderator Staff Member

    The books will tell you everything you need to know about how to care for a tarantula adult and spiderling, and what isn't clear or what you need more information on, you can ask here and get a ton of answers. Expect a bunch of contradictory information here though. There is the theory of tarantula keeping, that is what you read, and there is the practice. Once you read those two books cover to cover for instance, you will be ahead of the curve of most tarantula keepers' knowledge level. On the other hand, books won't exactly prepare you with chasing a spiderling around when you try to unpack it from its shipping container into its permanent housing. That is something you will have to experience first hand and practice to get right.

    I'm still hung up about your self proclaimed arachnophobia. Just how bad is it and why would you think buying a tarantula would help? Is your arachnophobia so bad you essentially shut down when a spider is in the same room you are? Or maybe arachnophobia isn't the right word and perhaps you get a bit nervous around spiders? Either way, you will be interacting with your tarantula from time to time and no matter what species you get, they all have a tendency to move suddenly in short bursts of speed. My concern with a self proclaimed arachnophobe showing interest in buying a tarantula is that fear getting in the way of you being able to properly care for it. That is not to say you don't have the best intentions, but as an arachnophobic, how do you think you will react when your new spiderling starts running around and possibly runs up your hand? Just something to consider.
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  10. Ungoliant

    Ungoliant Malleus Aranearum Staff Member

    He is low maintenance, since he requires dry substrate. I just remove any boluses (balled up prey) I find with tweezers and keep his water dish topped off. Sometimes he does attach his webbing to the water dish, but he has been pretty good about leaving it accessible. (It helps to move the water dish away from other anchor points.)

    Attitude-wise, he is skittish. He is normally visible, but as soon as I start doing maintenance in the enclosure, he bolts into his webbed retreat.

    Chromatopelma cyaneopubescens is a great species, but as I said earlier (and as cold blood reiterated) something slow and docile might be better for recovering from arachnophobia. Brachypelma emilia tends to be quite docile, as does Grammostola pulchra.
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  11. Dave Jay

    Dave Jay Arachnoknight Active Member

    Welcome to the forum and the hobby!
    I agree a sling, or maybe more would be the best way to go, but what size is sold as a sling varies greatly.

    Definitely ask what size is being advertised, once over about 1" dls they are not as delicate and appropriately sized food is easier to find. (In shops, not catching your own)
    The most stressful part of keeping a tarantula is going to be when it arrives and you have to get it into it's home, or rehousing it later. Make sure you research unpacking and rehousing and prepare yourself. If possible have someone there to help unpack when they arrive, sometimes having three hands would be a blessing and you dont really know what your reactions will be.

    The first tarantula I unpacked popped out from under the lid onto my thumb and I instinctively threw the container into the tub in front of me. It was still clinging to the packing tissue with its back legs and went with the vial when I threw it, luckily it wasn't harmed.

    I don't know what my reaction would have been if it had gripped my thumb, but my usual reflex reaction to spiders on me is a scoop and throw action. I had unpacked lots of scorpions and had everything I needed in front of me, but I wasn't ready for it to jump out before I could put the container down into the large tub and pick up the tongs

    If that happened to you would you be together enough to put the lid onto the work tub so you could calm yourself and not let the spider escape? If you react badly to spiders it may pay to have someone else present. I've unpacked 25 more spiders since then and not one of them has jumped out like the first one btw, I don't mean to scare you off.

    You will enjoy keeping tarantulas, and I doubt you'll stop at one!
    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 15, 2018
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  12. MrP

    MrP Arachnopeon Active Member

    AphonopelmaTX, I believe my arachnophobia derives from a lack of interactions with spiders in general. Tarantula's especially as I have never seen one in the wild in my entire life. I find them interesting and also perfect for small apartments which is why I'd like to begin keeping tarantulas. The most exotic pet I've ever had is a snake which is nothing like a tarantula (I assume). Because I have no intention of really handling the spider, I think admiring it from its enclosure would be beneficial and pleasing to me. My fear is still prevalent which is why I'm working on understanding the correct protocol for interacting with the tarantula. Until I have sufficient knowledge of what to do, I wouldn't put me or any tarantula in danger by making a capricious decision to buy one.Ultimat, i think this fear comes from lack of knowledge about the creature. Through interaction, I believe this fear will have really been of the unknown as opposed to of spiders.
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  13. Sinned

    Sinned Arachnosquire Arachnosupporter

    I'm just gonna second(third, whatever) you just go read the blog of @Tomoran and visit his youtube channel, together with the forum members here and that of the dutch T community gave me the information to feel confident about starting out.

    Sidenote, I was warned though that "The Tarantula Keepers Guide" has some out of date info. Still a great book, might be I have an older edition. But even then, when in doubt or by default, it's always safe to ask here. Some things change as people learn, like ICU's are not viewed as beneficial in most cases. Bonus points if you trigger @boina into making a new post about the topic of your question.

    I felt comfortable taking on a juvenile GBB and (juv) A. geniculata quickly, but if I had any form(?) of arachnophobia, I wouldn't start there (a GBB). My juveniles are pretty skittish but they always go for their hides when disturbed. That will change later on. Every T can change it's demeanor after a molt ... or just have a bad day :p

    With my limited experience, if I had to point to a starter T for someone with any form of fear, it would be Brachypelma albopilosum or the Euathlus sp. red. (Warning Euathus sp. red will make you love him/her, as they are pretty "curious" and crawl out to see what is going on, keep this in mind!).

    Silly maybe, but I feel a bit more comfortable with my juvinele T's. Slings always seem faster to me (note: they aren't, all T's can teleport if they want, probably it's my eyesight going). Juveniles/sub-adults are also a bit more hardy and easier to care for.

    Still arachnophobia for me always meant "running out of a room in a (blind) panic" when confronted with a spider, if this is the case. Just don't start out with adopting a new pet and find out if it works, instead you might want to visit a person keeping T's first or visit an expo. A long time ago when I was planning on adopting a ferret, I asked around and a local keeper was more then happy to show me what to expect and invited me over for a visit. (Cute little bastards. Thanks now I miss my ferret...)

    Anywho, also needs to be said, /hats_off for trying to learn and beat your fear of them. /kudos :shame:
    Last edited: Apr 15, 2018
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  14. MrP

    MrP Arachnopeon Active Member

    If handling isn't a thing, where should i go to experience a tarantula first hand. It's different maintaining one as opposed to observing one from the other side of a glass.
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  15. Greasylake

    Greasylake Arachnoprince Active Member

    Some museums have tarantulas and other invertebrates you can look at. Just make sure they have an entomology department before you go. Reptile expos will usually have people selling Ts and you can go look at them in their containers, but there may be hundreds at a single table so it might not be the best option for you. While I dont approve of the care of most pet stores, sometime they have Ts and you can go take a look at them there.
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  16. Sinned

    Sinned Arachnosquire Arachnosupporter

    But it(handling) is a thing. No, no... put down the bloody torches! I'm not done yet. You there in the back, yes you! Drop that bloody pitchfork. ;)

    Any who, there are keepers that work with specialists treating phobia's, I don't honestly know if all go for handling T's but still. Since I been keeping T's, I still move around spiders found around the home in cups, glasses and mugs while escorting them out of the the premises. (Though if i ever find a really nice looking one, I might move it into an enclosure.)

    Seriously though, handling is a thing. First off, I don't handle. But, and there needs to be a but, the moment my B. albopilosum goes for it and I need to extend a hand to save it, stuff already has gone wrong in many ways. But I will do so and I'll be honest ... I'll probably enjoy it while being pretty safe. (YMMV) That's because as a grown man I might just end up with a couple of bite marks and bragging rights I got bitten by a T once. The T on the other hand, might bloody die or get hurt badly, as I'll probably flinch and sling it across the room. Killing it or worse, as mentioned. (edit: go meo_O, what is worse then killing your pet. *duh*)

    *Here, not pictured, me crying like a little b!tch for killing my pet*

    After all, most people wont risk the health of their pets in any way. I have better odds of a happy ending, flinging my cat across the room and it just landing on it feet. Go team mammals! I'm also guessing around the 3rd time I try to pick her up she is going to make me bleed for it. (I'm not that fast, she will probably just escape me or carve me up
    in such a way I wont be able to pick her up ever again. She is the last survivor of our 4 cats and *really* doesn't care about human life.)

    Handling a T is not a way to get past your arachnophobia... it's like saying you are afraid of fish and want to go swimming and hugging bull sharks. (pro-tip: don't)

    Keeping a T is something you can do as a (recovering) arachnophobiac(sp?), but handling is not the first step. I been keeping T's for (only!/) almost 6 months. Never touched one, my goal - not ever doing so. I don't know what part of the US you are from, but mention it. You might be surprised.

    TLDR: You can still keep a T easily without ever handling... read this: https://tomsbigspiders.com/2014/11/26/handling-tarantulas-some-things-to-consider/
    Last edited: Apr 15, 2018
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  17. MrP

    MrP Arachnopeon Active Member

    Dude tarantulas are BADASS. I went to a shop to pet store today and got to watch one just chill like a baller. After researching all about them seeing one was more exciting than scary. I actually felt bad for it because the container that it was in was WAY too small for it. I'm planning on checking out a couple of places where I can get a better look at a tarantula that isn't forced into an uncomfortable enclosure. Still, it was really cool seeing an actual tarantula. I'm pretty sure it was a Chilean Rose hair (hope I didn't butcher the name).
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  18. Ungoliant

    Ungoliant Malleus Aranearum Staff Member

    We generally use scientific names here to reduce ambiguity. The Chilean rose tarantulas (or similar names) seen in pet stores are usually Grammostola porteri or Grammostola rosea.
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  19. Hello!

    I am a first time tarantula keeper! I have had my tarantula for about a week now. Personally (perhaps because I am bias) I would recommend a juvenile avicularia avicularia (common/guyana pink toe). They are rather easy to find, inexpensive (I got my beautiful Lucifer aka "Lucy" for $30 and she is a 3"), and they're very beautiful!

    From the slings I've seen, they are really fast and kind of easy to lose lol, I haven't seen a lot of people lose their juveniles or mature t's but I've seen lots of videos and have been talking to some people and they've lost their slings in drawers or under couches and then they're desperately looking for them (they usually succeed).

    My avicularia is very docile, she's slow moving and tolerates being handled (not that I expect you to be handling them with your fear). The most aggressive she's been is when she shot her poop at my boyfriend who moved way too fast and startled the poor thing when he was handling her, although this is not recommended and we haven't handled her since that one time. I only mention that because you have arachnophobia and it's important that you be able to transfer the t into another enclosure and care for it without the fear that if you make a mistake it's going to immediately rear. Personally, I've never had an avicularia rear at me.

    Arboreal species are really fun and you can make their enclosures really beautiful, which might add to the appeal and help you get over your fear. I spent about $55 total setting up my babies enclosure (gallon mainstay container ($2) I poked holes in for ventilation, substrate- peat moss ($4), plastic bottle cap for water dish ($0 if it's lying around the house), foliage ($5), round cork bark ($7), feeding tongs ($7), catch cups ($5), and then my t was $30.

    Another great things about a. avicularias they have little pink toes that remind everyone of a cat with socks! I've shown my little t to a couple of my friends that are very arachnophobic and even they find her very cute. She has an instagram actually, @luciferthetarantula.

    She's decided to nestle herself into her round cork bark and web herself in, she's not the most active tbh. I do know that arboreal species tend to, as a whole, take cover and hide so perhaps the lack of visibility is not ideal.

    I don't really like Chilean rose hairs, or perhaps they don't like me, because they rear at me a lot. Any time I've tried to feed one or move them, they take a threat posture, which is why I didn't get one originally. Chances are I'm probably too fast and in your face for them lol. Also, one thing to note is that all tarantulas have different dispositions and even in a species it can vary widely. So it's not uncommon to get a tarnatula that is more or less aggressive than the species is advertised. But everyone highly recommends Chilean rose hairs, and in natural lighting they are very pretty, so it's definitely a species to look into.

    Green bottle blues are very beautiful and I almost got one but I did not want to buy a sling (they seem very popular and online <1" was all I could afford), and I really wanted a juvenile and personally was drawn to species I had to be more involved with (arboreals). GBBs web A LOT, keepers post amazing pictures of their GBBs webbing EVERYTHING in sight. So if you like a lot of web then they might be for you!

    Grammostola pulchras are seemingly expensive, very beautiful and I know everyone that has them is absolutely in love with them. Every single keeper gushes about their grammostola pulchra and just is enraptured by them. They're usually a favorite out of a large collection.

    Brachypelma klaasi, I've read about them a little and it usually says they're a bit more skittish than their cousins. But other species of brachypelma would be worth looking into.

    Watch some of those videos, and don't just take our advice, check some of the other forums on here and get to kind of know the species beforehand so you know what to expect! :) Definitely don't look at care sheets provided by pet shops/online, I know I found out really quickly browsing this site that care sheets are vastly inaccurate, they seem to be a how-to kill your tarantula. Luckily you've come to the right place, there's so many helpful and experienced keepers on here and there's a vast amount information to search through.

    Keep us updated, we would love to know what kind of t you end up getting!

    I'm not sure how large the enclosure was for the grammostola rosea (or how large he or she was) you saw was but it's best to know now that when it comes to tarantulas bigger is not always better. This goes against all pet keeping guidelines we know, I know. But tarantulas have relatively poor eyesight. They use all those wonderful hairs on their bodies to feel the things around them (they are very sensitive- many keepers will tell you not to breathe on your t because of this), and they use their webs to hunt. Because they establish very small spaces as their own, they might get stressed being in a large enclosure. But if you make sure they are comfortable (a general sign a t is stressed is when they ball up their front legs underneath themselves) and they can find their food/water then larger is okay. A general rule with enclosures is that they are 3-4 times the size of the t.

    Check out this forum for enclosure sizes: http://arachnoboards.com/threads/enclosure-size.133298/

    Also youtube is an amazing place, some wonderful tarantula keepers to watch:

    Exotics Lair, he has a wide range of tarantula species, does a great job with teaching people from his mistakes and is just really funny. Does not handle his ts outside of transferring them to new enclosures and whatnot.

    Josser's Jungle has a few t vids, not too many, she's a snake lady but she provides some information on DKS and avics. She is also very open to holding her ts. She also had arachnophobia I believe and bought her first t at a reptile expo.

    The Dark Den, such a funny and interesting dude. He is just so into the hobby, not as a breeder, just as a fucking nerd (I love him, love, love, love) and he shows every single mistake he makes and is so helpful and informational. I do not believe he handles his ts.

    Tyler Rugge, he keeps exotics in general, but really sweet and loves his pets dearly. Very okay with handling his tarantulas.

    Dark Den and Exotics lairs give you a more hobbyist approach to tarantula keeping (they have so many) while Josser's Jungle and Tyler Rugge are more into keeping them as pets (Josser has 4 and Tyler has one I believe).

    I would check out some of those channels, I know I've learned a lot. Actually seeing the tarantulas will give you an idea of how to handle and deal with them in a way you could never imagine. It's the best thing you're going to get before actually getting to handle your tarantula.

    Seeing them caring for their tarantulas will be vital to your success as a first time keeper, I promise. It gives you a visual experience of caring for the ts that a book/forum cannot give you.

    Be weary, anyone can give you misinformation- the experts on these forums, me, youtubers, etc. Always double check the information you are given and try your best to decipher the best care for your t. And remember, everyone makes mistakes :)
    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 16, 2018
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  20. Mvtt70

    Mvtt70 Arachnobaron

    Good to know you're trying to get over your arachnophobia, that's pretty cool. The Chromatopelma cyaneopubescens however isn't the best starter, they're pretty skittish and fast (not one I would really call docile). Some calmer species are Lasiodora parahybana & Brachypelma albopilosum, or if you want something colorful the Caribena versicolor.
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