Advertisement Introduction Well with more and more people getting into the tarantula keeping hobby I thought some of this information on housing and care on spiderlings may be of some use. Many people when first starting out in keeping tarantulas will be advised to buy an adult starter species and sometimes warned away from rearing spiderling’s due to their higher mortality rate. Although this is a feasible recommendation, I think that rearing spiderling's certainly shouldn't be ruled out. As long as you follow a few simple guidelines of care I think most people will find that they aren't that hard to rear to adult. Obviously as with everything there are the pro's and con's to consider. And some of the negatives about rearing spiderlings is that the mortality rate is higher than that of an adult tarantula. Even the most seasoned keeper with really good husbandry will from time to time lose a spiderling although, that being said I don't think they're as hard to care for as some people make out. Also its worth mentioning, with them being young they do require a little more of your time to raise although if you're keeping tarantulas for a hobby, I cant see why having time to rear spiderlings cant be enjoyable. On a more positive note, there isn't a lot more within the hobby as rewarding as watching a small spiderling grow, developing through all the various stages into a beautiful adult tarantula. And as another positive you will usually find that buying a spiderling is a lot cheaper than buying an adult tarantula of the same species. For myself personally, I find the positives vastly outweigh any negatives. Spiderling Housing Spiderlings can be housed in a vast amount of different enclosures, the main thing to take into account is that the enclosure should be suited to what kind of spiderling species you intend to house in it. The three main categories of enclosure are Arboreal, Terrestrial & Burrowing. Arboreal For Arboreal spiderlings the enclosure should be vertically inclined as to give the spiderling enough room to climb and web. Because the spiderling is Arboreal it will not need as much substrate as others as they spend most of their time on vertical surfaces. For housing Arboreal spiderlings I recommend using pill vials or plastic rearing jars. Many species of Arboreal spiderling will be dependant on higher humidity and a good cross ventilation set up, species such as Avicularia, Psalmopoeus and Tapinauchenius etc. To achieve the correct humidity you can moisten the substrate in the enclosure although try not to make it too wet. For cross ventilation you will need to drill holes along the sides of the enclosure and also on the lid. As for furnishings, when the spiderlings are small I don’t tend to add any, although if you wish you can add a small piece of cork bark or maybe some fake plastic leaves. Examples Terrestrial Terrestrial spiderlings like their adult counterparts will need enclosures that don’t offer much height although allow for more floor space. Again pill vials, rearing jars and maybe small RUB’s will be fine, depending on the spiderlings size. One thing to bare in mind though is that Terrestrial spiderlings will need more substrate as when they are small they will tend to make small burrows to live in, species such as Brachypelma, Grammostola and Lasiodora will do well in such a set up. Again for humidity you have to take into account the species of spiderling, as general rule of thumb dictates the species that don’t require as much humidity do better when provided with more air holes than those that do require higher humidity. Again for furnishings, I rarely provide very small spiderlings with furnishings finding that they will mainly make their own retreat from substrate, although adding a small piece of cork bark to hide under may likely be beneficial. Examples Burrowing A Burrowing spiderlings requirements are very much the same as that of the Terrestrial spiderling, the main difference being that slightly more substrate is required. Many species of burrowing spiderlings such as species of Ephebopus, Haplopelma and Pterinochilus etc. will dig into the substrate and make small webbed burrows to live in. For housing, depending upon the size of the spiderling I tend to use pill vials and rearing jars again. The required humidity can be achieved via drilling various amounts of holes as previously explained. Burrowing spiderlings don’t need any furnishing at all but some may be added at the owners discretion. Examples General Spiderling Care As mentioned previously in the thread, caring for spiderlings takes a little more time and effort than caring for larger tarantulas, this is mainly because they are so small and delicate. As a general rule I tend to check on spiderlings at the least every two days or so, things to check for are... • Humidity within the enclosure - is it too dry in there? • The spiderlings overall health - does its abdomen look healthy? • Dead or leftover food items - is there food bolus' to remove? Things like the issues listed above are pretty standard things to check for with any tarantula although with spiderlings are slightly more important. Because they're so small incorrect humidity, leftover rotting food items or even under nourishment can prove to be fatal for a spiderling, although if you keep on top of it you will usually find that the spiderling will be fine. Many spiderlings are too small to give a water dish, they get all the moisture they need by eating prey items or they take it from moist substrate. Every two days or so you should moisten up to one third of the floor space with fresh clean water so as your spiderling can take on the moisture it needs. Also for the more humid species you can slightly spray the inside of their enclosure with a spray bottle to add the extra humidity they may need. Just be careful not to spray the spiderling directly as they wont appreciate it! For feeding, you'll find a spiderling will rarely refuse food unless it is in pre-moult. Signs of this include the darkening of the abdomen, extra webbing and loss of appetite. If you notice a spiderling hasn't eaten a food item within 24 hours or so, its best that you remove it immediately. Crickets and other live foods will attack moulting spiderlings and sadly it usually proves fatal. It's up to you how often you feed your spiderling, although over feeding (power feeding) will often lead to faster moulting cycles, it may also reduce life span. I'd recommend that you feed your spiderlings adequate size prey items at least twice a week. Anyway, I've rambled on enough now so happy spiderling rearing!!!