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Avicularia Husbandry?

Discussion in 'Tarantula Questions & Discussions' started by ao4649, Apr 23, 2016.

  1. ao4649

    ao4649 Arachnopeon

    Hi! I'm new to the forum and am unsure if this is the right place for this, but I was wondering if there's anything I should know in advance before purchasing an Avicularia genus? (specifically, I have my eye on some a. metallica slings) I've done some reading, but being that I've only ever had NW terrestrials (this would be my first arboreal) and I know avics can be a bit delicate I wanted some more direct information. Any advice?
  2. viper69

    viper69 ArachnoGod Old Timer

    Welcome to the forum and the world of Avics. It's nice to see someone has finally decided to do research in ADVANCE of their purchase, so their next post isn't "HELP MY DEAD AVIC".

    Many of us, myself included, are Avic enthusiasts.

    I STRONGLY suggest you pour through all the Avic posts on this forum, including the vivarium forum.

    They aren't too hard to keep BUT when they are 1" and smaller are a bit more delicate in the sense they have a narrow range of husbandry requirements that keep them alive.

    First off, DO NOT read any care sheets, they will impress upon you the need for high humidity- this is NOT true. Moist, stuffy containers with poor ventilation will kill your Avic.

    You are best off setting up a tall container for your arboreal Ts, such as a 16 oz deli cup if they are quite small. If they are a larger slings, say an inch or a bit more go with a 32 oz deli cup. Definitely put substrate in the bottom, not too much, perhaps about an inch is my preference (there's no scientific amount to add). Substrate varies, I use coco fiber, others use top soil and others use a mixture of other sub types such as sphagnum moss/peat/vermiculite etc. Some people use deli cups or inverted AMAC boxes (google those). I use both.

    Here's an example of inverted AMAC boxes http://arachnoboards.com/threads/amac-style-box-enclosures.282537/ scroll down to arboreal.

    There is no need to mist your T, it's not a plant. There is no scientific data supporting the idea that increased humidity helps in molting either.

    For ventilation (there's no science as to what is "enough holes" for proper ventilation) in deli cups I put a few holes up at the top in case the T makes a canopy and molts up top and needs water (I add water in with a blunt tip syringe if needed), and I put small holes around the top and vertically I make holes down the deli cup, usually 8 vertical lines of holes around the perimeter of the deli cup. I do similar routine for inverted AMAC boxes.

    I keep my sub dry, primarily because it's easier AND it reduced the attraction of mites. I always clean the boli (spherical cricket remains) out off the substrate to minimize mold formation as they will grow mold.

    I provide them a cork bark slab put at an angle from sub floor to top of the container, like a 45 degree, just lean it against the wall, no need to hot glue it. I would also strongly suggest you provide additional anchor points with moss hot glued to the slab OR even better some plastic plants. I use ones from ZooMed. I never use silk plants as they may have dyes.

    Also, the plants are important because this genus likes to have cover. They don't like to be out in the open. If you don't provide cover you will observe your T typically with its legs pulled in, and very rarely move.

    ALWAYS provide them a water bowl. They will not drown so don't worry about that. As slings they are pretty sensitive to hydration levels, ie not enough food or water to keep their abdomen plump and they will die.

    This is the style water bowl I make: http://www.tarantulasus.com/showthread.php/4353-A-tip-for-a-Tip-resistant-water-dish

    I keep the water bowl on the sub floor, they will come down to drink and they will come down to hunt as well. I just put in crickets on the sub floor and watch the hunting.

    Some people keep water dishes up top via hot glue. I noticed no benefit when I did that. It's personal preference.

    For temps I typically keep them at 68F night/70-75F day. No particular photoperiod, just sun up/sun down.

    Feeding: I feed slings as often as they will eat, because their only job in the wild is to evade predators, and eat to get large enough to defend themselves. Too many people put their slings on Nazi Feeding Programs, ie giving their T 1-2 crickets a week. I don't believe in that. I'd find it hard to believe they only eat 1-2x/week in the wild, but there's no data to support my thoughts on this to my knowledge.

    When they are hungry, you will often observe them pointing downward head first towards the sub floor, legs spread out a bit, not retracted to their 2 body segments.

    They are nocturnal, but if an Avic is really hungry they will eat at anytime, day/night.

    A. metallica is probably the best in my opinion, quite docile which makes for easier rehousing as they grow larger. However, don't be fooled by their typically docile temperament, they are faster than a human when they need to be.

    Lastly, do your T a HUGE favor and don't handle it. It derives no value from being handled. It's not capable of forming any bonds with you.

    Avics will take a flying leap off your hand at any moment they choose, even from heights that will kill/injure them because in the wild they expect there to be branches etc to land on. They don't expect a free fall drop onto your carpet or floor etc.
    Last edited: Apr 23, 2016
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  3. Chris LXXIX

    Chris LXXIX ArachnoGod Active Member

    Basically what Viper69 said, can't go wrong :)
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  4. EulersK

    EulersK Arachnonomicon Staff Member

    I literally came in here just to tag viper and cold blood. Welcome to the hobby, and enjoy your eight legged buddy!
  5. ao4649

    ao4649 Arachnopeon

    Thank you so much! Personally I've been feeding my t's from a b. lat colony I've got (b. dubias for my bigger b. smithi) since i have this extreme fear of my babies getting nibbled on by crickets.

    Avic's so gorgeous, though! I basically held off buying one until I was used to terrestrials because I think I'd cry if one died on me. From the sounds of things, I've got about all the supplies needed laying about (plenty of leftover moss and cocofibre, and about a dozen chunks of cork and a few fake plants i removed from my G. Pulchripes's home because, if you can believe it, she was scared of them).

    Do you reckon a nice, shallow bottle cap is too much for a water dish? I was admittedly a little frightened of drowning the poor things (1/2 inchers, specifically).
  6. mistertim

    mistertim Arachnobaron

    Yeah, Viper69 pretty much hit it out of the park with that one. I agree that its always good to see someone come in and ask questions about a specific species or genus before they go out and buy one, so hats off there. One thing I found helpful when I got my first arboreal (A. versicolor) was to get one that is a juvie or sub-adult. That will let you get used to arboreal behavior and hone your arboreal husbandry skills without having to worry all the time about it being delicate as a sling. Then you can give some Avic slings a try and get used to their somewhat fussy requirements.
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  7. viper69

    viper69 ArachnoGod Old Timer

    Some Ts take to roaches fine, some don't. I personally don't like roaches because they tend not to move IME compared to crix.

    A water cap is just fine. It doesn't need to be shallow, that means more work on your part to fill it up. A 16oz bottle cap is good, any thing less shallow while fine, just evaporates too quickly for my taste.

    They won't drown. H. gigas swims underwater, and Avics have been filmed in the wild swimming in rivers. I have deep water bowls for my Avic slings (see the link I posted earlier- that's the most shallow I would use), never a drowning. They do just fine, no matter how far they dip their bodies into the water.

    I currently use small paint containers from Michael's craft store which hold quite a bit more water, equals less work on my part.

    When they reach two inches I provide them a pill container that holds 15 mLs of water.
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  8. viper69

    viper69 ArachnoGod Old Timer

    Exactly! That's what I did. After 2, 0.5 inch versicolor sling dealths on my part, I waited a few years, focused on terrestrials more and bought a 2" A. bicegoi after I learned more about T biology and husbandry. It was must easier at that point.
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  9. viper69

    viper69 ArachnoGod Old Timer

    Here's an example of inverted AMAC boxes, these aren't mine, but I do use them http://arachnoboards.com/threads/amac-style-box-enclosures.282537/ scroll down to arboreal.

    If you go AMAC boxes, you would need a hole-saw to make a large hole. OR, you can make ventilation holes with a drill. If you have questions on that, search Viv forum a couple of years ago, I posted all sorts of questions when I first started out.

    The key to drilling acrylic is not to use a Dremel/drill at high RPMs as you are not technically removing the acrylic, you are melting it. One may purchase single fluted acrylic drill bits from TAP Plastics, but it's not necessary. They do drill better than normal drill bits however.
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  10. Abyss

    Abyss Arachnoknight

    Yea when punching acrylic i use my hole saw but go slow an take my time. Always get clean holes that way
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  11. ao4649

    ao4649 Arachnopeon

    How do yall feel about Jamie's enclosures? I use them for my terrestrials, but I'm not at all opposed to making my own enclosures if they're not suitable for arboreals (I could see the vents being an issue, or the lids being that they're a smidge cumbersome and I'm unsure how good that would be for a quicker species). I'd rather put in extra work than end up with a dead t, really.
  12. mistertim

    mistertim Arachnobaron

    For adult arboreals her large enclosures are great when you stand them up on the end; I use one of those for my A. versicolor. As far as slings or juvies IMO her smaller arboreal enclosures don't have enough cross ventilation.
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  13. Abyss

    Abyss Arachnoknight

    Sent you a message too
  14. Mauri

    Mauri Arachnoknight

    Jamie's look great. Made my own today...pretty much the same style. You need to find out who you can get to cut your Acrylic and also work out other costs and if you have tools of your own. (like perhaps sandpaper/wire wool/set square/mitre block etc.

    I currently own x2 avic sp amazonicas and I hope they are ok! Seem to be doing so...(webbing and eating but actual tong feeding has been pretty much a fail..I think dropping in crickets either live/dead and keep an eye on the size of them).

    Substrate I used 60/40 Vermi/coco with some moss and cork bark in a 32 oz deli cup (for 1st moult slings...i'd perhaps use smaller in the future..am undecided whether 32oz is 2 big for 3cm slings. So far ok).

    If you can leave a little moss at the top of the bark I think it gives them something to make their webs 2.
  15. viper69

    viper69 ArachnoGod Old Timer

    I buy AMAC boxes from the Container store and drill my own holes. Saves money, plus I have found the additional holes I add are particularly useful during molts. Hole saw vents don't allow enough flexibility for me to add water, esp when the Avic molts in a canopy. I'm talking about inverted AMAC boxes.

    Her large containers work fine.
  16. Hey there. Just got a little fuzzy juvie. I wouldn't know what I was doing without these guys. I've done what they said and I've had my girlie almost 2weeks now and she's still alive!!!:smuggrin: I know that any problem I run into and can't figure out they'll help. Welcome!!!
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  17. Mauri

    Mauri Arachnoknight

    Yeah def her enclosures are something for when your avic is large juve or adult and they are luxury so I'd say def a special enclosure for that special T unless money is no object. For me personally I did spend good £50 on making my own but I did it for the experience plus to learn/discover if making your own vs buying something like a Jamies enclosure is worth it.

    When I own more I def cant afford to make a luxury enclosure for all..unless I win the lottery :)

    p.s but it is fun making your own. And in the Uk we dont have Jamies t's...(I am going to be making a detailed vid on how to do it. Being a History major things like this are a bit tricky for me.)
    Last edited: Apr 23, 2016
  18. viper69

    viper69 ArachnoGod Old Timer

    There used to be a guy in the UK who did this. He had/has quite a few Avics too. Forget the title of his YouTube vids, he has 3 for this. The best/detailed vids I've seen on making acrylic.

    In the EU it's all glass out there, we were just talking about this not long ago.
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  19. Mauri

    Mauri Arachnoknight

    I know I copied his! I sent him a message...called the Spiderooms..he didnt answer so I figured it out by myself. Well my Dad is very clever and his Dad was an expert carpenter/mechanic...(he had a few tools).

    I think I know now how to design one without any errors...so am going to share it all pretty soon.

    p.s he didnt actually go into the design process much so I will hope to improve on his vids. Well make it a bit easy for the layman in all of us!!!

    Am actually figuring out how best to present it. I didnt actually make a vid the first time around as it was a bit hectic. 2nd time I might start with something easier and smaller which would perhaps be better for people to see how it's done.

    (i.e a terrestial case or something for an avic versi. One I made is 10x10x20..about right for a sp.amazonica..guess u could call it fate although I was thinking of the
    Avicularia braunshauseni
    Last edited: Apr 23, 2016
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  20. viper69

    viper69 ArachnoGod Old Timer

    I hope you will be saying 2 yrs from now, followed by "my AF Avic is..." :D
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