Australian Tarantulas

dragonblade71

Arachnobaron
Old Timer
Joined
Jul 1, 2007
Messages
422
Hello all - this is my first post and I am looking forward to joining the exciting world of tarantula keeping sometime in the near future.

After reading the ‘Beginner Info’ section in the forum, I note that it’s best to start off with a New World Tarantula as they generally seem to be less aggressive and venomous. However, as I live in Australia, I really have no choice but to start off with an Old World Tarantula. I notice in the US there is a large assortment of tarantulas with varying temperaments and habitat requirements but none of these are available here. In Australia, we are limited to Selenocosmia (the whistling and barking spiders.) I live in South Australia and although it is rare for pet shops here to stock tarantulas, I get the impression that the very few who do would likely obtain the Selenocosmia spiders that mainly live in Queensland. I would actually prefer not to keep this particular tarantula because I am not very fond of creating humid conditions in my room (where I would keep the tarantula) as I also keep my photographic gear in here and humidity is no good for camera gear. Additionally, this spider would need a warm environment and South Australia can get quite cold in winter.

Just recently, I learned of a type of Selenocosmia (I can’t recall the exact full name but it may be 'stirlingi') that occurs naturally in South Australia, Victoria and Queensland. These must be extremely rare because I have never seen a tarantula in my state in the wild (and I observe spiders and other wildlife as much as possible when I am out in the wilderness.) I would prefer to keep this particular spider because it shares the same climate that I live in - ie no need to artificially create a particular kind of environment for it. I would also prefer to obtain one from a captive breeding program as opposed to buying one from a place that would likely sell ones that have been caught from the wild. I am wondering if anyone on this forum would know of any dealers, breeders or shops that would likely sell these South Australian Selenocosmia spiders?

Additionally, I hear that Selenocosmia generally live in a burrow. For those of you who keep Selenocosmia spiders, are they hidden away most of the time or do they show themselves a reasonable amount now and then? I assume they would at least reveal themselves at feeding time. With keeping any pet, I think part of the pleasure is in seeing the animal so visibility is a key factor for me.
 

Widowman10

Arachno WIDOW
Old Timer
Joined
Jan 25, 2007
Messages
4,212
wow. well first of all, welcome to AB! it's great ;) second of all, don't be scared about the "old world" T's, every T has it's own personality. hey, my rosie is actin all mean right now whereas my lividum and murinus aren't bad... so no worries. third, don't worry so much about keeping humid-type environment Ts. i house roseas and lividums and many others all in my room (quite dry) and they all do fine. with the humidity loving T's, just keep the substrate moist and leave a water dish. this little world that we subject them to can be controlled how we want- dry for a rosea, or humid/damp for lividums. just keep the substrate and the container for a specific type species. fourth of all, i've never had an australian T ;) {D


Hello all - this is my first post and I am looking forward to joining the exciting world of tarantula keeping sometime in the near future.

After reading the ‘Beginner Info’ section in the forum, I note that it’s best to start off with a New World Tarantula as they generally seem to be less aggressive and venomous. However, as I live in Australia, I really have no choice but to start off with an Old World Tarantula. I notice in the US there is a large assortment of tarantulas with varying temperaments and habitat requirements but none of these are available here. In Australia, we are limited to Selenocosmia (the whistling and barking spiders.) I live in South Australia and although it is rare for pet shops here to stock tarantulas, I get the impression that the very few who do would likely obtain the Selenocosmia spiders that mainly live in Queensland. I would actually prefer not to keep this particular tarantula because I am not very fond of creating humid conditions in my room (where I would keep the tarantula) as I also keep my photographic gear in here and humidity is no good for camera gear. Additionally, this spider would need a warm environment and South Australia can get quite cold in winter.

Just recently, I learned of a type of Selenocosmia (I can’t recall the exact full name but it may be 'stirlingi') that occurs naturally in South Australia, Victoria and Queensland. These must be extremely rare because I have never seen a tarantula in my state in the wild (and I observe spiders and other wildlife as much as possible when I am out in the wilderness.) I would prefer to keep this particular spider because it shares the same climate that I live in - ie no need to artificially create a particular kind of environment for it. I would also prefer to obtain one from a captive breeding program as opposed to buying one from a place that would likely sell ones that have been caught from the wild. I am wondering if anyone on this forum would know of any dealers, breeders or shops that would likely sell these South Australian Selenocosmia spiders?

Additionally, I hear that Selenocosmia generally live in a burrow. For those of you who keep Selenocosmia spiders, are they hidden away most of the time or do they show themselves a reasonable amount now and then? I assume they would at least reveal themselves at feeding time. With keeping any pet, I think part of the pleasure is in seeing the animal so visibility is a key factor for me.
 

Bob Bohnet

Arachnosquire
Old Timer
Joined
Oct 29, 2006
Messages
62
Do a search for Steve Nunn, he is a very knowledgeable breeder/dealer in Australia. I am sure he can help you out.
And welcome to the addicting world of arachnids.
 

thevez2

Arachnosquire
Old Timer
Joined
Jul 29, 2002
Messages
82
Have you looked up the Australian Tarantula Association yet? Everyone there should be able to help you.
 

dragonblade71

Arachnobaron
Old Timer
Joined
Jul 1, 2007
Messages
422
What a coincidence....I have a dog that barks! I guess a barking spider will complete the picture.

I did a search for Steve Nunn's posts as recommended and I can certainly see that he has a wealth of knowledge of Australian tarantulas. The Australian Tarantula Association seems like a good resource also. Looks like I am getting closer in acquiring the knowledge needed for my future 'pet.'
 

Brettus

Arachnoknight
Old Timer
Joined
Apr 1, 2007
Messages
167
Hello my fellow Australian. I got my first T a couple of months ago so I'm fairly new to the hobby as well-its immenseley rewarding watching your T grow and go about its life. I really think the whole "old world" tarantula reputation is exaggerated a lot, at least in my experience. My Selenotypus plumipes, which was captive bred, has never shown any signs of aggression AT ALL. Sure, if you poke an old world it may be more likely to react defensively. But leave them alone and I think they are shy and reclusive. I handfeed mine often with tweezers, which I believe makes them less shy. Whenever I used to open the lid, she would run away, but now that I handfeed her sometimes, she actually comes to the top of her burrow as if waiting to be fed.

I wouldn't worry about the climate in SA. As long as you keep a water dish and spray the tank occassionally to keep the substrate moist, the humidity will be fine. Aussie T's goes best if the temperature is kept between 20-30 degrees celsius. If it falls below this in your house, you can position a small wattage red globe about 20 centimeters away from the tank. This has the added bonus of allowing you to observe your T up close, as they can't detect red light, and are largely nocturnal.

You are right about the burrowing-Aussie T's are obligate burrowers. Mine has shifted substrate everywhere, and has a whole maze of tunnels. She will build one burrow entrance, just to fill it in later and open a new one. If the room is not too light, they will probably build it against the edge of the glass, so you can see her anyway.

Welcome to the hobby, hope you have a blast.
 

dragonblade71

Arachnobaron
Old Timer
Joined
Jul 1, 2007
Messages
422
That sounds like a very active tarantula you have there, Brettus. That is good to hear that you do see her on occasions - at feeding time. Yea, it does sound like she is waiting to be fed! Actually, I used have a crab that I used to hand feed - and by that I really mean 'hand feed' - it would take the food right out from between my fingers with it's nipper.

As a possible alternative to the globe, how would a heat pad under the substrate fare in a tarantula tank? Would there be any chance of the tarantula burrowing into the heat pad? Ive never actually seen a heat pad so I have no idea how sturdy or delicate they are.
 

Brettus

Arachnoknight
Old Timer
Joined
Apr 1, 2007
Messages
167
As a possible alternative to the globe, how would a heat pad under the substrate fare in a tarantula tank? Would there be any chance of the tarantula burrowing into the heat pad? Ive never actually seen a heat pad so I have no idea how sturdy or delicate they are.
A heat pad is just that basically-a pad with heating filaments running throughout it. You place it underneath the bottom of the tank, so unless the spider can burrow through glass, there is no chance of it burrowing into the pad!

You should be careful about using a heat pad. You must ensure that it does not get too hot-it will literally fry the T. You must have a good thermometer to ensure that the temperature in the tank does not get above 30 degrees, and a thermostat may be useful. Also, if you do use a heat pad, make sure that it does not cover the whole of the bottom of the tank. Place it under one half of the tank to allow the T to burrow where the temperature is right for it.

It rarely falls below 20 degrees in my room, so I don't really need a heat source, but when I do I use a heat pad of sorts. I place one half of the tank on the wooden roof on my bearded dragon enclosure above the heat light.
 

T-chick

Arachnosquire
Old Timer
Joined
Feb 11, 2007
Messages
70
Brettus, Dragon blade,
It is reccommended that you DO NOT PUT THE HEAT PAD UNDER the tank..
You want it to Radiate the heat so you put it ON THE SIDE of the tank
In the wild no tarantula burrows to find a heat source...
It comes from heat being radiated from rocks, roads, all slowly released from when the sun was baking the earth during the hottest part of the day.
That is why most T's in a desert environment are nocturnal, that is when is is cooler, but still warm enough for them to be active.
You need to put the under tank heating pad on the side, not under the tank.
You can use a red heat bulb, but you need to keep it well away from the tank the T is in.. it can literally cook the T in its own shell.
Trust me, I made these mistakes, ( I didn't cook my t.. but was warned it could and has happened)
To add moisture to your enclosure you can use organic spagmum moss found at most garden centers.

Also if you don't want a burrowing species...once you find and get into contact with the Australian tarantula society, you can find other captive bred species that are terrestrial, or arboreal types... Burrowing species can be fun.. but I have often heard people say they have "pet holes" and " I haven't seen him/her in months/years..."

Just some info for you.
I have a good friend who lives in Melbourne..
So welcom to the boards
T-chick
 

dragonblade71

Arachnobaron
Old Timer
Joined
Jul 1, 2007
Messages
422
Thanks for the advice and the welcome, T Chick. Yes, that makes perfect sense....no animal burrows down to a warmer temperature of course. With regards to the red light bulb, what would be the minimum distance that one could place the light source from the tarantula enclosure?
 

Merfolk

Arachnoprince
Old Timer
Joined
Dec 13, 2005
Messages
1,330
Well said dude(tte)s

If you are careful and mature enough, you can start with any specie if you have it as a spiderling, however some really get nasty, so you just manage to block any possible access to your hand.

The climate in your house is not exactly the same as outside. You could house a "wet" specie, just mist a lot!
 

Brettus

Arachnoknight
Old Timer
Joined
Apr 1, 2007
Messages
167
Also if you don't want a burrowing species...once you find and get into contact with the Australian tarantula society, you can find other captive bred species that are terrestrial, or arboreal types...
Hey T-chick,

We have an Australian Tarantula Association, but they only deal with Australian species. As far as I was aware, Australia's import/export laws are that strict that exotic T species are only allowed to be in zoos or for research. Steve Nunn had hell exporting Aussie T's. There are no captive bred foreign species that we are allowed to own. If you knew a source though, gives us the heads up:}

If you are careful and mature enough, you can start with any specie if you have it as a spiderling,
I'll drink to that Merfolk! DragonBlade, why don't you consider purchasing your T from the Australian Venom Zoo. They are in Nth Queensland and are the only registered breeders of Aussie T's. All the spiders there are captive bred and so are used to life in a tank. You can select the species and the size. That is where I got my Selenotypus. They have their own web-site, just google "Australian Venom Zoo."
 

dragonblade71

Arachnobaron
Old Timer
Joined
Jul 1, 2007
Messages
422
The Australian Venom Zoo? Thankyou Brettus. I am certainly attracted to the idea of buying a tarantula that's been captive bred. Though I wonder what their prices are like compared with a pet shop...not that I was planning to buy one from a pet shop.
 

Brettus

Arachnoknight
Old Timer
Joined
Apr 1, 2007
Messages
167
Though I wonder what their prices are like compared with a pet shop
Dragonblade, their price range, at least when I bought one, was $100 for a 5 centimeter Selenotypus/Selenocosmia/Phlogiellus, $200 for a 10 cm specimen, and $300 for a 15 cm spider. All deliveries have a $55 freight charge, as they are sent by air. I got a 5 cm one-that way you get to see it grow. I wouldn't get one from a petshop unless you know it has been captive bred. Too many petshops just take the biggest spiders they can find out of the wild and stick them in a tank. They are un-used to people and simply son't adapt to conditions living in a tank, and often die.
 

dragonblade71

Arachnobaron
Old Timer
Joined
Jul 1, 2007
Messages
422
Not to mention the negative impact that collecting is having on the native population.
 

Brettus

Arachnoknight
Old Timer
Joined
Apr 1, 2007
Messages
167
Not to mention the negative impact that collecting is having on the native population.
Yeah, true that. They take the biggest specimens out of the wild, which are the ones that are sexually mature. As they have a slow reproduction rate, this impacts upon their numbers in the wild. Captive-bred is the way to go-I think the spiders are calmer (I wouldn't go handling Aussie T's though).
 
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