A Few Questions

ShaggE

Arachnopeon
Joined
Aug 2, 2007
Messages
7
I don't own a tarantula, but after a random Google search yesterday, they've really peaked my interest.

I have a few completely layman questions:

1. How intelligent are tarantulas? After reading a few anecdotes by owners, they seem to have a bit of personality to them, and seem to know (as far as a spider can "know" anything) who their caretaker is. Is that just the owners personifying their pets (as all pet owners do)?

2. I have a strong stomach, but the idea of taking care of egg sacs and raising roaches as food for them is more than a little off-putting. Is the process really as unnerving as it sounds?

3. I rent my apartment with someone who despises all spiders, especially ones of the large hairy variety. If I were to decide to take the plunge and buy one, how could I convince my room mate to accept it's presence?

Probably somewhat strange questions, hehe. :p
 

Aurelia

Arachnoprince
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Jan 4, 2007
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1. They go completely by instinct, they don't learn and they don't recognize people. Humans just personify everything. :)

2. I've never raised an eggsack myself but I don't think it's really that bad, it just takes a lot of time and dedication. Breeding colonies of crickets and roaches is effortless if you keep their enclosure clean and make sure they're well-fed. You don't have to care for their eggs if that's what you're worried about.

3. I've converted quite a few people. Tell them how fascinating they are and explain to them that there's really nothing to be worried about. You could keep it in your room so your roomie doesn't ever have to see it.

Hope that helps!
 

ShaggE

Arachnopeon
Joined
Aug 2, 2007
Messages
7
Thanks :)

I was skeptical about tarantulas having any sort of cognitive skills, but after hearing about that parrot that has the intelligence of a 2 year old, I've found never to take an animal's brain for granted, hehe.

As for the eggsack worries, it's more just the idea of insect (or arachnid, in this case) eggs in general. I see them and automatically associate them with larvae, or maggots to be more specific, which I have an almost paralyzing fear of.

But anyhoo, thanks again!
 

jen650s

Arachnobaron
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May 29, 2007
Messages
333
I'll tackle the last question first. I live with someone who is a borderline arachnophobe. He's 6'5" and will get me to get a daddy long legs out of the shower{D . I also have 26 Ts. How we get along is this. He respects my interest, asks that I don't have them out when he's around, and make sure the enclosures are tight. The couple times I have had escapes in the almost 20 years we have been together it has been a little rough, but stuff happens.

2. If you don't want eggs buy slings or captive bred adults that have never mated. Problem solved. Roaches are up to you. I used to be of the same mindset, but couldn't handle the stench and mess of crickets. Roaches are much cleaner.

1. Spiders are not pets that will ever recognize you and be responsive to you. If they respond at all it may be that they associate the vibrations you make with the arrival of food, but that's about all. That said, they are facinating, have endless variations, and individual personalities. But if you want an 8 legged dog you are looking in the wrong direction.

If you do decide to take the plunge there will be many folks here on these forums willing to answer questions and offer advice as well as sharing your fascination with these incredible arachnids.

---Jen
 

ShaggE

Arachnopeon
Joined
Aug 2, 2007
Messages
7
1. Spiders are not pets that will ever recognize you and be responsive to you. If they respond at all it may be that they associate the vibrations you make with the arrival of food, but that's about all. That said, they are facinating, have endless variations, and individual personalities. But if you want an 8 legged dog you are looking in the wrong direction.
Actually that's a relief, the idea of a smart spider would pretty much guarantee my not buying one :p. Some creatures are better off without sentient thought :)

Thanks for the advice, though. I'll probably lurk the forums for awhile and just chime in whenever curiosity strikes, I'm still torn on actually owning one. (plus I wouldn't be able to forgive myself if I bought one before I learned all I could about safely raising them, since my beliefs hold spiders as sacred creatures)
 

rattler420

Arachnosquire
Old Timer
Joined
Nov 13, 2006
Messages
51
if you do get one though, just because they arent "smart", u definately shouldnt underestimate them. they are quite fast & can all be defensive if they want to be. but as long as all the proper precautions are made etc, they are really no problem.
 

Drachenjager

Arachnoemperor
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Jan 23, 2006
Messages
3,513
Thanks :)

I was skeptical about tarantulas having any sort of cognitive skills, but after hearing about that parrot that has the intelligence of a 2 year old, I've found never to take an animal's brain for granted, hehe.

As for the eggsack worries, it's more just the idea of insect (or arachnid, in this case) eggs in general. I see them and automatically associate them with larvae, or maggots to be more specific, which I have an almost paralyzing fear of.

But anyhoo, thanks again!
if you do it right you wont see anyting but tiny psiders when you open the sac. unless you want to see the eggs sprout legs and then molt...
 

JMoran1097

Arachnoangel
Old Timer
Joined
May 14, 2007
Messages
924
I don't own a tarantula, but after a random Google search yesterday, they've really peaked my interest.

I have a few completely layman questions:

1. How intelligent are tarantulas? After reading a few anecdotes by owners, they seem to have a bit of personality to them, and seem to know (as far as a spider can "know" anything) who their caretaker is. Is that just the owners personifying their pets (as all pet owners do)?

2. I have a strong stomach, but the idea of taking care of egg sacs and raising roaches as food for them is more than a little off-putting. Is the process really as unnerving as it sounds?

3. I rent my apartment with someone who despises all spiders, especially ones of the large hairy variety. If I were to decide to take the plunge and buy one, how could I convince my room mate to accept it's presence?

Probably somewhat strange questions, hehe. :p
1. To my knowledge, T's aren't intelligent. they run purely off instinctive measures. they don't recognize owners like a dog would, but they can become conditioned to a particular routine and touch. however, if they feel threatened, they will defend themselves usually by flicking hairs or biting or maybe even shooting poop.

2. raising roaches or any other feeders isn't as disgusting as someone outside of the exotic pet world think. you get used to it. even if you don't wanna use your hands, there are always other methods of feeding the insects to your T. they sell wooden tongs for such things at local pet stores and herp shops. as for egg sacks, the simple way to avoid this is to buy a guaranteed male or just suck it up and remove the egg sack or hell, just pray to whatever deity you believe in that it's not a gravid female.

3. if you keep it in a secure enclosure and can convince your roomate that you've taken every precautionary measure to insure that your T won't escape, i'm sure he'll be fine. i think most people are afraid of T's because they worry about the fangs sinking into flesh after they escape. quite the contrary. T's, if they escaped, will probably just search for a dark, warm place and are easily startled by light.
 
B

babylon5girl

Guest
go for it!!!:) a rose hair is a nice starter species and is cheap too:D

there are great threads here about 1st tarantulas

you have my full support
 

pinktoe23

Arachnosquire
Old Timer
Joined
Apr 5, 2007
Messages
147
a rose hair or an avic are good beginner t's.

My first was a pinktoe and she's still my favorite! Just make sure you read up on the requirements for the specie you are interested in. Avics need well ventilation and like high humidity as opposed to rose hairs that should be kept with no humidity except their water dish. I say go for it! Keeping t's is a lot of fun :)
 

ShaggE

Arachnopeon
Joined
Aug 2, 2007
Messages
7
Well, if I can convince my roomie, I think I will. I was looking at some rosehairs on YouTube, and they are incredibly... well, I can't say beautiful, hehe... non-ugly?

Wish me luck, I'm going to need one hell of a strong pro-tarantula arguement. {D
 

ShaggE

Arachnopeon
Joined
Aug 2, 2007
Messages
7
UPDATE: I talked her into it, so when I'm ready I'm going to get myself a rose hair. :D
 

MizM

Arachnoprincess
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Jan 13, 2003
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4,918
Also a good starter, Brachypelma albopilosum or "curly hair". (You can find them on the For Sale/Trade forum here.)

They are the pet rocks of the hobby, I'm lucky if mine move even during feeding. Instead af ambushing prey, they wait for crix to crawl in their face then leisurely fang them!:eek:
 

Aurelia

Arachnoprince
Old Timer
Joined
Jan 4, 2007
Messages
1,255
w00t! welcome to the wonderful addiction...I mean hobby of tarantula keeping!

I recommend Grammostola aureostriata. Low maintainence, very docile, the get huge (8 1/2") and they have pretty coloring.

good luck!
 

ShaggE

Arachnopeon
Joined
Aug 2, 2007
Messages
7
Wow, those are really nice-looking! I'll definitely keep my options open.
 

Bothrops

Arachnobaron
Old Timer
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Jan 6, 2004
Messages
583
All those options are valid and very nice.
Another 'classic' first T would be Brachypelma smithi. Beautiful colours, easy to care for, and pretty cheap.
 

Stan Schultz

Arachnoprince
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Jul 16, 2004
Messages
1,674
... 1. How intelligent are tarantulas? ...
While they are not capable of great intellectual leaps they do change their behavior to adapt to new circumstances and lots of us think that they learn to recognize their owners.

For instance, there are many reports of tarantulas that move to the fronts of their cages when their owners enter the room and began working, but will either remain where they are or retreat to their lairs when a stranger does the same thing. This would seem to suggest both the ability to adapt to new circumstances (in nature, someone moving near their burrows would elicit a quite different response) and their ability to recognize and distinguish at least one or two individuals. However, having said that, no one that I've heard of has ever done a behavioral analysis of their actions, or offered any other proof beyond anecdotal reports.

In all probability they can learn to some small extent, but exactly to what extent is still unclear. Can they really recognize us? The jury is still out.

... 2. I have a strong stomach, but the idea of taking care of egg sacs and raising roaches as food for them is more than a little off-putting. Is the process really as unnerving as it sounds? ...
In truth, it is very difficult to get tarantulas to breed in captivity. It takes a concerted effort on the owner's part, and few enthusiasts ever have the good fortune to breed their tarantulas even once. So, that's a non-issue.

However, one of the more popular ways of getting tarantulas is to buy captive raised babies. These usually come with a little soil or other substrate in a small plastic container like a small condiment cup or pill bottle. Thus, you may find yourself taking care of one or more tiny spiders anyway. On that note, if you decide to acquire such babies, I would urge you to buy at least 3 of each kind. The probability of you getting at least one female among the 3 is 7 out of 8. The reason this is important is that female tarantulas are usually considered to be much more desirable as pets than the males.

What do you do with any males? You farm them out to other enthusiasts who want to try breeding them.

Secondly, it is not necessary to breed roaches for food, and the majority of enthusiasts don't. The fast food for tarantulas is crickets, available rather cheaply from a lot of pet shops and fish bait dealers in your area. You buy what you need (perhaps 5 or 6 per adult tarantula once or twice a month!), feed them off and then ignore the issue for a couple weeks. No big deal.

... 3. I rent my apartment with someone who despises all spiders, especially ones of the large hairy variety. If I were to decide to take the plunge and buy one, how could I convince my room mate to accept it's presence? ...
This is a huge problem! Clearly, your room mate will have to make some concessions or you'll have to find another hobby.

I can think of one small way to insert a wedge into that fear and loathing, however. It takes a pretty heartless person to despise a baby. Is it possible that you, under carefully planned and orchestrated circumstances, could introduce (BUT NOT SURPRISE!) your roommate to one or more of the tiny baby tarantulas so that both they and you could become accustomed to them as they grew? How good are you at understanding and manipulating human psychology? How impressed is your roommate with babies in general?

Lastly, before you do any of this, you need to gain a better insight into keeping tarantulas. The majority of people who do, did so by first buying a tarantula, then groping for answers and making a lot of serious mistakes along the way. This is pretty stupid when you think about it. In North America there are at least 3 good books on elementary tarantula care and they're available for free from just about any of the larger libraries in your area. If you like what you see they're available for sale "off the shelf" from many of the pet shops in your area, by special order from any bookstore and by order over the Internet from places like amazon.com, barnesandnoble.com, alibris.com and BooksPrice.com. I list them here:

Breene, RG. 2005. QUICK AND EASY TARANTULA CARE. TFH Publications. An almost painfully simple book with all the basic information. Even though it is extremely inexpensive it has no gross errors. A good starter book.

Marshall, SD. 2002. TARANTULAS AND OTHER ARACHNIDS. Barron's Educational Series, Inc. A somewhat more advanced book than Breene's, but very, very good.

Schultz, SA and Schultz, MJ. 1998. THE TARANTULA KEEPER'S GUIDE. Barron's Educational Series, Inc. Written for the advanced beginner as well as the novice, you'll want to read this book over and over as you discover more and more about these fascinating creatures.

Read these three books, or as many of them as you can lay your hands on.

None of these books costs as much as a tarantula, but any one of them could save you a bundle in wasted time and money on useless stuff and dangerous care regimens, not to mention dead spiders. It would not be too surprising to find that you had a copy of each in your personal library within the next few months.

Best of luck.
 

spid142

Arachnobaron
Old Timer
Joined
Apr 9, 2006
Messages
492
I would suggest a Brachypelma smithi, very colorful, and make a good display T.
 

WARPIG

Arachnoangel
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Jun 29, 2007
Messages
822
Thanks :)

I was skeptical about tarantulas having any sort of cognitive skills, but after hearing about that parrot that has the intelligence of a 2 year old, I've found never to take an animal's brain for granted, hehe.
I have an African Grey Parrot, 18 yrs. And yes they are smarter than the average kid, and most adults!!!{D

T's are effortless in terms of a pet. If you only have a few 20 or less, you do not have to raise prey, 2 bucks gets you 40 crickets enough for a couple of weeks. Problem solved.

Regarding an egg sac, unless you actually breed your T's or happen to get a wild caught which is gravid, then thats another aspect of the T's you don't have to worry about.

Get a T and have some fun enjoying their company. As far as your roomie goes, keep it in your room, they will never know, it doesn't bark, smell, or need walking!!!{D
 
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