Avic Avic set up and community

Gjtaylor

Arachnopeon
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Aug 24, 2016
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4
Hi, I have one juv Avic, but am looking at getting more,I have no problem setting them up in individual vivs, but have heard about them being communal and set ups with more than one Avic. Anyone got any experience or advice on this? Cheers
 

ratluvr76

Arachnodemon
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Jul 12, 2014
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741
this idea has been visited several times on the boards here over time. I'm not sure, but I don't think anyone has managed to make an Avic communal work. I think @Poec54 knows more then I do though.
 

Trenor

Arachnoprince
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Jan 28, 2016
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1,899
Avics are not suited for communal setups IMO. They may work as slings for a bit but I wouldn't keep them that way long.

Enclosures can take some time to setup but once you get used to setting them up they start going much faster. I did my 6 A.avic sling enclosures in less then an hour a few weeks back. If I'm doing multiples I'll prep them all then do each part on all the enclosures at the same time. I drill the ventilation, cut the cork, glue the leaves, and assemble them all together. It speeds things up a lot.
 

Ceymann

Arachnosquire
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Jul 3, 2016
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Back in the day I kept 3 Avics in a 37 gallon planted terrarium. No cannibalism occurred in the two years I had them. However, doesn't mean everyone will see success with it. Got the idea from a philippe devjos (sp?) Book. Probably outdated as heck.
 

Poec54

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this idea has been visited several times on the boards here over time. I'm not sure, but I don't think anyone has managed to make an Avic communal work. I think @Poec54 knows more then I do though.


Avics will cannibalize. The only way to keep slings together for more than a molt or two is to give them a big cage where they won't run into each other. As they grow, you need bigger and bigger cages. What's the point of that?


For some reason, group cages are very appealing to some beginners, but forcing spiders together in captivity in a confined space isn't natural. There's always going to be disputes over food and territory (just like humans!) and when things get tense, they can't get away to cool down and diffuse the situation like they would in the wild. They're far more likely to fight and kill each other in captivity.

The less experience a person has with tarantulas, the less prepared they are to manage a group cage. There's a lot of dynamics involved. I keep some of my Poec slings together in 32 oz deli cups until they get several inches in DLS. What no one anticipates is that they will be food hogs who intimidate the others; the food hogs will soon be 2 or 3 times the size of their siblings, and the smaller ones are often afraid to eat (no matter how much food you put in the cage), so their growth is very slow. In a group cage, some will eat far more than they normally would, sometimes ridiculously so; a 3" spider that would normally take one or two adult crickets at a time (when caged by itself) may grab 4 or 5 in a group cage, where it can hardly even hold all of them. And that can lead to fights, as some will get few if any crickets. If you put in a large amount of crickets to alleviate the issues of food hogs and fights, then you have a crazy situation where crickets can start eating the overwhelmed spiders. Never assume food is evenly distributed. When a couple 3" spiders are sharing a cage with a couple 1" siblings, there's going to be a problem at some point. I have to keep moving them from cage to cage, so that they're with others the same size.

In a group cage individuals are molting at different times, and that creates problems. You'll have some that are recently-molted, skinny and starving. Others may be premolt. Do you feed the bigger ones, to prevent them from possibly cannibalizing their helpless siblings, and if you do, will the prey chew holes in the ones that are molting? You may not be able to see all of them and not know where they're at in their molt cycles.
 
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Gjtaylor

Arachnopeon
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Aug 24, 2016
Messages
4
Thanks that's a very comprehensive answer. Ibe been out of the hobby for a few years and was shocked when I heard of communal set ups, but thought things may have changed. All your points are well made and valid, thanks for the info
 

cold blood

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Jan 19, 2014
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Thanks that's a very comprehensive answer. Ibe been out of the hobby for a few years and was shocked when I heard of communal set ups, but thought things may have changed. All your points are well made and valid, thanks for the info
Many of us are shocked at all the communals people seem to be in love with...I'll never get the draw of such set ups. If you are gonna do it, there's really only one or two I'd even consider it with...M. balfouri and N. incei.
 
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Poec54

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Mar 26, 2013
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Thanks that's a very comprehensive answer. Ibe been out of the hobby for a few years and was shocked when I heard of communal set ups, but thought things may have changed. All your points are well made and valid, thanks for the info

Thanks. Tarantulas aren't communal in the sense that some insects are, the word 'communal' doesn't really fit. Tarantulas are still looking out for themselves, and aren't going to make sacrifices for the benefit of the group. No species is immune; a member here had balfouri cannibalize. A few tarantula species have more tolerance for others of the same species, but that's usually short term and within certain parameters.

Something people don't consider is that in a group cage of Poecilotheria (which to work, need to be on the small side to keep them in contact with each other, and from declaring individual territories), if one gets startled or panics, all of them may run out of the cage at the same time. That could be your worst nightmare.

One of our members from South Africa kept some Poec group cages, and after several years of relative calm, they started killing each other without warning, and he had to separate the survivors. I have the definitive book on Poecilotheria, Ornament Vogelspinnen, and the authors are familiar with many Poec group cages. They recommend how long each species can be kept together with a minimum of risk. The worst are ornata and some metallica, which can start cannibalizing are 2nd instar (Kelly Swift, the first person to breed metallica in the US, had this happen to him in one of his early egg sacs). There are some species that are recommended up to 6 months, others up to a year, and only several beyond a year. The authors said that they're aware of exceptions going beyond those, but also aware of many that have been disasters.

As someone who's kept tarantulas for decades, I think that group cages are really for experienced people, and by the time most people have experience, the appeal of group cages has usually worn off. It's definitely not the panacea that some think it is.
 
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