6cm Brachypelma Smithi Housing

VioletChileRose

Arachnopeon
Joined
Dec 3, 2012
Messages
3
Hi everyone :)

Just wondering which enclosure would be better for a 6cm Brachypelma smithi. I have both a large Exo Terra Breeding Box (415mm x 265mm x 148mm/16.3in x 10.4in x 5.8in) and an Exo Terra small/low terrarium (45cm x 45cm x 30cm/18in x 18in x 12in - W x D x H).

She's arriving on Tuesday, and I was hoping to put her straight into the big terrarium, because it's more stable on the table and I don't want to disturb her when she moults. However I've also been told that she'd be better in a smaller one to start with, but I worry about that one wobbling - it's less stable, and I don't want the fluid to get stuck in between the two exoskeletons if it wobbles when she moults.

I was hoping that one of you guys would have experience with this - which would be better? Is there a disadvantage to keeping a smaller spider in a larger terrarium for the time being, even if I feed her with tongs, so crickets aren't constantly on the loose (solving the problem of her losing the feeder insects)?

Any advice would be appreciated, and sorry for the essay.
 

Ungoliant

Malleus Aranearum
Staff member
Joined
Mar 7, 2012
Messages
3,884
Just wondering which enclosure would be better for a 6cm Brachypelma smithi. I have both a large Exo Terra Breeding Box (415mm x 265mm x 148mm/16.3in x 10.4in x 5.8in) and an Exo Terra small/low terrarium (45cm x 45cm x 30cm/18in x 18in x 12in - W x D x H).
For a terrestrial tarantula of that size, I really like the small Exo Terra Breeding Box (205 x 205 x 140 mm or 8" x 8" x 5.5").

If those two containers are your only options, I would use the large breeding box, because it's shorter. The small/low terrarium is still 12" tall, which is way too much height, and you can't simply make up the difference with substrate, because it opens in the front, and the doors make up about 2/3 of the height.

It is extremely important to limit vertical space (the space between the top of the substrate and the lid) to no more than 1.5-2x the tarantula's diagonal legspan (DLS), as they will try to climb the walls, and falls from a significant height can be lethal -- the bigger and bulkier the tarantula, the more vulnerable it is to falls.

The small/low terrarium also comes with a mesh lid, which would need to be covered or replaced. (Tarantulas can break their fangs or amputate legs when stuck, and they've also been known to fall while trying to free themselves.)


Is there a disadvantage to keeping a smaller spider in a larger terrarium for the time being, even if I feed her with tongs, so crickets aren't constantly on the loose (solving the problem of her losing the feeder insects)?
An oversized enclosure (horizontally speaking) doesn't harm the tarantula provided that it has all of the appropriate cage furnishings, but it does come with two downsides:
  1. It may be harder for the tarantula to find her prey.
  2. When (in all likelihood, when, not if) you decide you'd like more tarantulas, you may find that you regret using all that space for one enclosure where you could have comfortably housed two or three tarantulas.
 

VioletChileRose

Arachnopeon
Joined
Dec 3, 2012
Messages
3
Is the large breeding box okay for her though? I've managed to totally stabilise it now, so it'll be fine for her when she arrives.

Also, do you think when she's a bit bigger, she'll be able to go into the big terrarium?

And how do I go about covering the mesh lid?
 

Ungoliant

Malleus Aranearum
Staff member
Joined
Mar 7, 2012
Messages
3,884
Is the large breeding box okay for her though? I've managed to totally stabilise it now, so it'll be fine for her when she arrives.
It's OK as long as you limit her vertical space (by adding more substrate) to no more than 1.5-2x DLS.


Also, do you think when she's a bit bigger, she'll be able to go into the big terrarium?
I wouldn't use the small/low terrarium for a terrestrial simply because you can't really fill in that extra space with substrate without substantial modification to the enclosure.


And how do I go about covering the mesh lid?
The less permanent option is to can have a sheet of acrylic cut, add ventilation holes, and place it beneath the screen.

You can also replace the whole mesh with acrylic if you're handy.

One initially-temporary measure I took that worked out really well in an Avic cage was to drape a thin sheet of cotton beneath the screen. Before I did this, my Avic would occasionally climb onto the screen, and I worried that her claws would get stuck and/or that she would fall.

However, the sheet has effectively discouraged them climbing on the ceiling. I saw her try to climb onto the sheet once. She seemed to immediately realize that she didn't have secure footing and moved back to the glass.
 
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