Are these good begginer species?

Hyeniik

Arachnopeon
Joined
May 28, 2017
Messages
7
Grammostola pulchra

Brachypelma Boehmei

Brachypelma albiceps

Monocentropus balfouri

I really love these all, but I´m looking for calm, mostly docile species. Are these species good? Anyone has these? Any pointers and tips on keeping these babies?

I already have a B. Smithi and she´s the biggest sweetheart.
 
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chanda

Arachnoking
Old Timer
Joined
Jun 27, 2010
Messages
2,177
Grammostola pulchra

Brachypelma Boehmei

Brachypelma albiceps

Monocentropus balfouri

I really love these all, but I´m looking for calm, mostly docile species. Are these species good? Anyone has these? Any pointers and tips on keeping these babies?
Grammostola, Brachypelma, and Aphonopelma are generally good beginner tarantulas. All of them are relatively calm and easy to take care of. I do not have those exact species but do have several other Grammostolas and Brachypelmas. As with any tarantulas, handling is not recommended.

I wouldn't necessarily call M. balfouri a beginner tarantula, though. Being an old-world species, they lack urticating hairs - but make up for it with a more potent venom. They are a bit skittish and spend a great deal of time in their burrows or webs, particularly when they are young. I have five of them and - so far, at least - they've been pretty easy to take care of. They do not seem to be aggressive, preferring to run into their burrows and hide when disturbed. As old world tarantulas go, they're probably easier to keep than some - but they are also pretty expensive, so that may be something to factor in for your first spider.
 

Kendricks

Arachnoknight
Joined
Jan 18, 2017
Messages
152
I have a G. pulchra (still a sling).

- Calm as a kitten
- Out all the time
- Basically not webbing
- Not digging much
- Not kicking much hair
- Not defensive
- Not skittish (unless 1-2 weeks post-molt)
- Eating very well
- Hardy
- Slow growing (Personally I have no problem with that. What's the rush?)

Haven't heard anything negative about them, ever.
And they become so beautiful when grown up.
In my opinion the most beautiful "all black" species.
 

Ungoliant

Malleus Aranearum
Staff member
Joined
Mar 7, 2012
Messages
4,058
Are these species good? Anyone has these? Any pointers and tips on keeping these babies?
Any reasonably priced Grammostola or Brachypelma is a good first tarantula. Of the ones you listed, the Grammostola pulchra is likely to be the most docile. (I love mine!)

If you want a more docile Brachypelma, you might consider Brachypelma emilia. (They look stunning too.) Brachypelma albopilosum is another common starter species -- docile and inexpensive.

However, I would not recommend the Monocentropus balfouri as a first tarantula. Although it is supposed to be relatively easygoing by Old World standards (I have not kept one), it's still an Old World, and that generally means more potent venom, more speed, and/or more defensiveness. It may be a good option when you are ready to move into Old World species, but for your first tarantula, I would stick to the New World.

For additional beginner options, see these videos by @EulersK. (He has other videos with setup advice.)



Anyone has these? Any pointers and tips on keeping these babies?
Enclosure

Juvenile and adult Grammostola and Brachypelma can generally be kept on dry substrate with a water dish. (Slings may need some moisture in their substrate.) Do not worry about humidity; there is no need to monitor it (contrary to what many care sheets say).

Coconut fiber (or coir) is a very common substrate. If you buy the compressed bricks, you will have to hydrate, break up, and then dry them before use. This is a hassle, so if I want coir, I usually pay extra for the loose, dry bags.

Topsoil and peat also work, and you can mix different substrates together to alter the texture and moisture retention. Just make sure whatever you get does not contain any pesticides, fertilizers, fungicides, etc.

Do not use wood chips, and do not use any furnishings made of cedar or pine. Wood chips are abrasive and unsuitable for burrowing; your tarantula could also impale itself during a fall. Cedar and pine are thought to have insecticidal properties and is known to irritate the respiratory tracts of some animals.

In most cases, there is no need to worry about temperature with these species. Any temperature that you're comfortable in while wearing normal indoor clothing is generally fine. Don't waste your money on a heating mat or heating lamp.

Bulky terrestrial species are particularly vulnerable to falls. Falls from more than a few inches, especially onto a hard surface, can rupture their abdomens, which is often lethal.

Make sure the vertical space (the distance between the top of the substrate and the bottom of the lid) does not exceed 1.5 times the tarantula's diagonal legspan. (Even terrestrial tarantulas will climb from time to time, but they're not very good climbers, so you want to limit the distance they can possibly fall.)

You should also include a hide. The best hides are light-weight (in case she undermines the hide, so it won't crush her), do not have a surface that is jagged or sharp (in case she falls onto it), and don't have a bottom, so they can dig deeper if they want. Cork is a very common hide, as it meets all of these criteria, but there are many options that will work.

Whatever you end up using as a hide, bury most of it and dig out the entrance as a starter burrow. They will excavate more space if they need it, but they don't seem to figure out that they can move substrate into a hide that's too big.

Feeding

The ideal meal size is no bigger than the tarantula's abdomen. If you have slings, you can dice mealworms or give them cricket drumsticks. (Slings will often scavenge on pre-killed prey.)

These species have slow metabolisms, so you only need to feed juveniles and adults 2-4 times a month (depending on the size of the meal). Try to avoid overfeeding, as a fat tarantula is more vulnerable to falls and may scrape its abdomen while dragging it around. (Slings, however, can be fed as much as they will eat. I generally feed mine about twice a week.)

As a new keeper, I used crickets, because I only needed a few, and they are readily available in pet stores. Now that I have a few more tarantulas (seven), I have been moving away from crickets, as they smell bad and don't seem to be very hardy. But for one tarantula, it's no big deal to pick up a few crickets from the pet store.

Other common feeder options include mealworms (the larvae of darkling beetles), superworms (the larvae of a bigger species), dubia roaches, and red runner roaches (smaller and faster than dubias). If you can get over the gross-out factor of roaches, they make pretty good feeders, as they don't smell as bad as crickets, are hardier, and can't jump or climb (a big plus).

If you feed mealworms or superworms, be sure to crush the head. This prevents injuries to your tarantula (they have strong mandibles) and prevents them from burrowing. You can also crush roach heads to stop them from burrowing. (Both mealworms and roaches will continue to wriggle for a long time despite having crushed heads; I think they actually die of thirst/hunger.)

Cage Maintenance

Species that can be kept on dry substrate generally have low maintenance requirements. If you see any boluses (the indigestible remains of prey) or uneaten prey, remove it. You can keep it on the same substrate for a long time; I generally only change mine when rehousing.

Get a pair of long tongs for doing your cage maintenance. It reduces the risk of bites and reduces exposure to urticating hairs. (Most New World species have a special patch of hairs on the abdomen that can be shed or flicked as a defense mechanism. If they get on your skin, they may cause an itchy rash. You don't want to get them in your eyes; that requires a trip to the doctor's office.

Wash your hands after feeding, doing enclosure maintenance, or handling the tarantula.

Handling

Handling is generally discouraged, as it risks injury/death/escape without providing any benefit to the tarantula. (Tarantulas do not enjoy being handled. At best, they tolerate it.) However, if you do choose to handle, I would limit the frequency, and I would always do so no more than a few inches above a soft surface with a catch cup handy in case it falls or bolts.

Molting

If you ever see her on her back or on her side, do not disturb her. This is perfectly normal. It means she is molting (shedding her old exoskeleton). That's a vulnerable time for tarantulas, so you don't want to risk injury by messing with her or startling her.

During pre-molt, your tarantula may refuse food. After molting, she will be hungry, but don't feed her until her fangs turn black. (Soft fangs might break.) Just keep her water dish full and leave her alone.
 
Last edited:

Hyeniik

Arachnopeon
Joined
May 28, 2017
Messages
7
I have a G. pulchra (still a sling).

- Calm as a kitten
- Out all the time
- Basically not webbing
- Not digging much
- Not kicking much hair
- Not defensive
- Not skittish (unless 1-2 weeks post-molt)
- Eating very well
- Hardy
- Slow growing (Personally I have no problem with that. What's the rush?)

Haven't heard anything negative about them, ever.
And they become so beautiful when grown up.
In my opinion the most beautiful "all black" species.
Yes, they are definitelly my favorite tarantula right after G. Smithi, as my first T is a Smithi and I love her to the moon and back, the specie has just got to me, as it was my first and I build a strong bond with it. Definitelly getting Pulchra next! <3
 

EulersK

Arachnonomicon
Staff member
Joined
Feb 22, 2013
Messages
3,301
Any reasonably priced Grammostola or Brachypelma is a good first tarantula. Of the ones you listed, the Grammostola pulchra is likely to be the most docile. If you want a more docile Brachypelma, you might consider Brachypelma emilia. (They look stunning too.) Brachypelma albopilosum is another common starter species -- docile and inexpensive.

However, I would not recommend the Monocentropus balfouri as a first tarantula. Although it is supposed to be relatively easygoing by Old World standards (I have not kept one), it's still an Old World, and that generally means more potent venom, more speed, and/or more defensiveness. It may be a good option when you are ready to move into Old World species, but for your first T, I would stick to the New World.

For additional beginner options, see these videos by @EulersK. (He has other videos with setup advice.)




Enclosure

Juvenile and adult Grammostola and Brachypelma can generally be kept on dry substrate with a water dish. (Slings may need some moisture in their substrate.) Do not worry about humidity; there is no need to monitor it (contrary to what many care sheets say).

In most cases, there is no need to worry about temperature with these species. Any temperature that you're comfortable in while wearing normal indoor clothing is generally fine. Don't waste your money on a heating mat or heating lamp.

Bulky terrestrial species are particularly vulnerable to falls. Falls from more than a few inches, especially onto a hard surface, can rupture their abdomens, which is often lethal. So if those are actual rocks in the enclosure, I would remove them. (The best cage furnishings are light, in case the tarantula undermines it while digging, and don't have hard or jagged surfaces. Cork bark is commonly used for hides, but there are other options.)

Make sure the vertical space (the distance between the top of the substrate and the bottom of the lid) does not exceed 1.5 times the tarantula's diagonal legspan. (Even terrestrial tarantulas will climb from time to time, but they're not very good climbers, so you want to limit the distance they can possibly fall.)

You should also include a hide. The best hides are light-weight (in case she undermines the hide, so it won't crush her), do not have a surface that is jagged or sharp (in case she falls onto it), and don't have a bottom, so they can dig deeper if they want. Cork is a very common hide, as it meets all of these criteria, but there are many options that will work.

Whatever you end up using as a hide, bury most of it and dig out the entrance as a starter burrow. They will excavate more space if they need it, but they don't seem to figure out that they can move substrate into a hide that's too big.

Feeding

The ideal meal size is no bigger than the tarantula's abdomen. If you have slings, you can dice mealworms or give them cricket drumsticks. (Slings will often scavenge on pre-killed prey.)

These species have slow metabolisms, so you only need to feed juveniles and adults 2-4 times a month (depending on the size of the meal). Try to avoid overfeeding, as a fat tarantula is more vulnerable to falls and may scrape its abdomen while dragging it around. (Slings, however, can be fed as much as they will eat. I generally feed mine about twice a week.)

As a new keeper, I used crickets, because I only needed a few, and they are readily available in pet stores. Now that I have a few more tarantulas (seven), I have been moving away from crickets, as they smell bad and don't seem to be very hardy. But for one tarantula, it's no big deal to pick up a few crickets from the pet store.

Other common feeder options include mealworms (the larvae of darkling beetles), superworms (the larvae of a bigger species), dubia roaches, and red runner roaches (smaller and faster than dubias). If you can get over the gross-out factor of roaches, they make pretty good feeders, as they don't smell as bad as crickets, are hardier, and can't jump or climb (a big plus).

If you feed mealworms or superworms, be sure to crush the head. This prevents injuries to your tarantula (they have strong mandibles) and prevents them from burrowing. You can also crush roach heads to stop them from burrowing. (Both mealworms and roaches will continue to wriggle for a long time despite having crushed heads; I think they actually die of thirst/hunger.)

Cage Maintenance

Species that can be kept on dry substrate generally have low maintenance requirements. If you see any boluses (the indigestible remains of prey) or uneaten prey, remove it. You can keep it on the same substrate for a long time; I generally only change mine when rehousing.

Get a pair of long tongs for doing your cage maintenance. It reduces the risk of bites and reduces exposure to urticating hairs. (Most New World species have a special patch of hairs on the abdomen that can be shed or flicked as a defense mechanism. If they get on your skin, they may cause an itchy rash. You don't want to get them in your eyes; that requires a trip to the doctor's office.

Wash your hands after feeding, doing enclosure maintenance, or handling the tarantula.

Handling

Handling is generally discouraged, as it risks injury/death/escape without providing any benefit to the tarantula. (Tarantulas do not enjoy being handled. At best, they tolerate it.) However, if you do choose to handle, I would limit the frequency, and I would always do so no more than a few inches above a soft surface with a catch cup handy in case it falls or bolts.

Molting

If you ever see her on her back or on her side, do not disturb her. This is perfectly normal. It means she is molting (shedding her old exoskeleton). That's a vulnerable time for tarantulas, so you don't want to risk injury by messing with her or startling her.

During pre-molt, your tarantula may refuse food. After molting, she will be hungry, but don't feed her until her fangs turn black. (Soft fangs might break.) Just keep her water dish full and leave her alone.
Jesus o_O
No need to quote me, you've got this covered.
 

mconnachan

Arachnoprince
Joined
Aug 5, 2012
Messages
1,244
All but the M.Balfouri are great starter T's the M.Balfouri need a bit more experience, but there's no real problem as long as you do your homework before getting the sp. that you've mentioned, all lovely sp. I would start off with slings as you can get to know their requirements through experiencing the slings behaviour, after raising them to 1"+ things should be quite straight forward.
 

Walker253

Arachnobaron
Joined
Jun 12, 2016
Messages
555
Grammostola pulchra

Brachypelma Boehmei

Brachypelma albiceps

Monocentropus balfouri

I really love these all, but I´m looking for calm, mostly docile species. Are these species good? Anyone has these? Any pointers and tips on keeping these babies?

I already have a B. Smithi and she´s the biggest sweetheart.
Of that list, the first and third are best. The second and fourth are best for "Look and don't touch"

Personally, the B boehmei is the prettiest, but is a horrible hair kicker, as a friend said, "Get a hazmat suit". The M balfouri is pretty good for an OW, but it is an OW. Nothing docile about OW's. Does that mean it's coming after you? No, but they will be defensive if they need to and the bite has a typical OW bite. It will ruin your day. Gorgeous baboon though.

All 4 are cool, just depends what you want. Nothing hard about caring for any of them.
 
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viper69

ArachnoGod
Old Timer
Joined
Dec 8, 2006
Messages
14,328
Grammostola pulchra

Brachypelma Boehmei

Brachypelma albiceps

Monocentropus balfouri

I really love these all, but I´m looking for calm, mostly docile species. Are these species good? Anyone has these? Any pointers and tips on keeping these babies?

I already have a B. Smithi and she´s the biggest sweetheart.

1 Brachypelma Boehmei

2 Brachypelma albiceps

3 Monocentropus balfouri
1. No

2. Yes

3. No

I own all 3 but albiceps.
 

mistertim

Arachnobaron
Joined
Sep 4, 2015
Messages
549
M. balfouri is relatively easygoing as Old Worlds go. But they are still OW tarantulas which means they are fast and pack a serious punch with their venom. My sub-adult female spends most of her time in her burrow and I have not ever seen any defensive behavior from her...she is much more skittish and quick to bolt into her hide/burrow if she is disturbed. They aren't hard to take care of but they're still inherently unpredictable, as all tarantulas are...and with their speed and venom that unpredictability can lead to some much nastier consequences for mistakes than NW tarantulas.

M. Balfouri is a good first Old World tarantula for someone who has experience with faster and more defensive New World specimens and is looking to get into OWs. But IMO it is not at all a good beginner species in general.
 
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