Close to making a first purchase and wanted to ask something

TheHound

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Hi all. Been thinking more and more about getting a first tarantula - watching videos, reading articles, the usual. I feel really close to pulling the trigger on this, having visited my local exotic pet shop today. I'd been thinking about a B/T Vagans. The shop didn't have these but did have some Sabulosums, so pretty close - Guatemalan rather than Mexican Red Rump. They had them as slings and a couple of juveniles, unsexed. They seem a good age to start if you're a beginner and want to nuture a young one a bit, but maybe not from sling stage.

But I was going over in my mind about whether I wanted to start with a male or female. At first I thought a male, similar to MrPole in the mature males thread, to dip my toes in and see to what degree the hobby is for me. But females obviously have their own self-evident attractions.

The other question is to what extent this is academic if I get spiders of the age I saw today. I've attached screengrabs of the videos I made today for reference (I can sort slightly higher-res ones if helpful). You can see the salesgirl's fingers in the first shot for size reference. The other pic is the same size enclosure, slightly bigger spider, looking like it may moult soon. I'm not great at estimating size, but mayber the smaller one was closer to 2 inches and the bigger closer to 3?

In any case, a couple of questions for you knowledgeable people:

1. Are either of those spiders at a size where they could be reliably sexed after a moult?
2. What's the etiquette with an exotic pet shop on requesting a sexing of a juvenile spider? Is it a reasonable thing to do?
3. I've read that Sabulosum and Vagans have been inter-bed over the years and diluted. Is that really a widespread problem and if so is there some kind of means of validating purity, some sort of provenance/document/seal like the dog pedigree system or suchlike? I'm in the UK.

Part of me is thinking maybe, regardless of the answers, just go for one of them, and see what happens. If it turns out a male I could send him out to do his thing somewhere (some sources seem to suggest this is kinder than leaving him in his home wandering around sexually frustrated) then if I'm really up for a female buy a maturer, sexed one. Or if it turns out a female then it's a female and I look after it, knowing there would ultimately be the option of selling it if truly required.

I guess it would be harder to pick up an adult Sabulosum, as they seem to be much rarer than Vagans, but that's fine. I'd be happy to look at a Red Knee or something else. I should probably say at this point that although could I envision myself potentially having a couple of tarantulas, maybe three, I don't think it's something that will explode to dozens in my case, and it's also possible I'd stick to one, especially if a female.

So, what do you guys think? Can/should I ask for them to be sexed? Should I just get one of the Sabulosums anyway and see what happens (especially given the relative rarity of the species)? If so, should I get the bigger or smaller one? I do quite like the darker black of the Vagans, but also read that Sabulosum grows bigger, which is kind of cool. Though as per my question 3 the could theoretically be a doubt if it's pure Sabulosum I not.

Anyway, can't wait to hear your feedback. This stuff is playing across my mind a fair bit and I'm itching to get involved in looking after a spider.
 

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spideyspinneret78

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Unless they've molted recently and the pet shop has confirmed their sex/ saved the molt, there's no way to know 100% if you have a male or female. You can try taking a photo of their underside and submitting it to the ventral sexing gallery on here....it's not exact, more of an educated guess actually, but might be worth it if it's important to you to have an idea if it's a male or female. Yes, they can be sexed at that size, most accurately via molt. FYI most pet shop employees do not know how to accurately sex tarantulas. I've heard many exotic pet shop employees tell me that you can sex them based on abdomen size (FALSE!). Both T. vagans or T. sabulosum make great starter species. You'll probably end up paying just a little more for the sabolusm though since they're a little less common. T. albopilosus (curly hairs) also make a good starter tarantula. Unfortunately, there has been some hybridization in the hobby between similar looking species in the same genus, so you probably won't know with certainty whether your spider is from a pure bloodline or not. It's very uncommon for people to keep studbooks/ pedigrees on these animals. I hope that answers your questions.
 

ErikElvis

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I can’t recommend a sexed sub adult or adult A. Chalcodes enough. Chill and cheap for a female. Just have to do a little searching. Then pick up some slings you like. I find waiting for slings to grow up is like watching paint dry. That’s just my opinion. But I do have quite a few slings because I wanted the experience of raising from that age.
 

Polenth

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The Spider Shop in the UK has some the Mexican species which were imported directly, so not hybrids. I don't know exactly which species, though it's listed on the page if they have any for sale. They tend to have more tiny spiderlings than anything though.

I doubt a pet shop will have a clue if you ask for a male or female. But you'll have a fair bit of time with the spider, even if they turn out to be male.
 

TheHound

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Thank you all, that is very helpful. To be honest, I don't think I'm enormously bothered about purity of breed, if it's a beautiful spider. I don't know what the prevalant views are in the hobby.

I guess the other real question is, aside from their aptitude to sexing, whether it's bad form in cases like these juveniles to try and ask to see say the molted spider's skin, or if they do have someone apt to sex them for them to, or if you're expected just buy and see what happens, like with slings.

Shall I give it a punt, is the more subjective question. Or is it generally frowned upon to buy from pet shops. Feel like I'd like to support a local business, especially in these times (and a juvenile seems a nice compromise in terms of raising one but not for eons) but I definitely wouldn't buy a dog or cat in one.
 
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Sterls

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I would say it's bad form. Slings are sold unsexed for a reason: it's kind of a pain to sex them at the scale dealers sale, and as mentioned LPS employees shouldn't be trusted with sexing a T.

Just gotta accept that sometimes you have to take a chance. I'd say get both of them, increase your odds! :cool:

The thing about buying from petstores is that many don't take care of their animals properly, don't give buyers correct information, and more likely to be wild caught. Buying from the big chains is definitely bad, but there are some small pet stores that know what they're doing.
 

TheHound

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You know, I'm veering that way. I might say you're wicked for suggesting I get both but I guess the upkeep is low enough that double is still low. Dunno what my wife would think, ha.

Definitely feeling the urge to at least go with one though. Have an eye test near the pet shop tomorrow and all. And it is a seemingly a great place - decent number of glowing Google reviews, mentions in local press. So that's good.

When hobbyists determine a spider is male, do they commonly find a mate to give it a chance to do its thing, or just keep it around for its short adulthood? Or an even split?
 

spideyspinneret78

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You know, I'm veering that way. I might say you're wicked for suggesting I get both but I guess the upkeep is low enough that double is still low. Dunno what my wife would think, ha.

Definitely feeling the urge to at least go with one though. Have an eye test near the pet shop tomorrow and all. And it is a seemingly a great place - decent number of glowing Google reviews, mentions in local press. So that's good.

When hobbyists determine a spider is male, do they commonly find a mate to give it a chance to do its thing, or just keep it around for its short adulthood? Or an even split?
It's entirely up to the person, and what they feel comfortable with. I think it's great if someone wants to send their male out for breeding, but not everyone is comfortable with sending their pet through the mail or accepting of the fact that their male might die if the female decides to eat him during mating. Some folks sell their males, and others do a 50/50 split of the slings. A lot of it depends on how much confidence/ trust the male's owner has with the other hobbyist.
 

TheHound

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Makes sense, thanks. What's with the bald spot on the bigger of the two? Thinking a sign of premolt, but I read that the abdomen darkens at this stage. A sign it's been letting loose with its hairs?
 

spideyspinneret78

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Makes sense, thanks. What's with the bald spot on the bigger of the two? Thinking a sign of premolt, but I read that the abdomen darkens at this stage. A sign it's been letting loose with its hairs?
Yeah. Sometimes when there's a lot of environmental stress, they'll kick hairs. They'll come back with the next molt.
 

TheHound

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Nice one, thanks again.

Had spiders on the brain this evening/these early hours even more than the last few days. Think there's not much point delaying the inevitable a great deal more!
 

viper69

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Thank you all, that is very helpful. To be honest, I don't think I'm enormously bothered about purity of breed, if it's a beautiful spider. I don't know what the prevalant views are in the hobby.

I guess the other real question is, aside from their aptitude to sexing, whether it's bad form in cases like these juveniles to try and ask to see say the molted spider's skin, or if they do have someone apt to sex them for them to, or if you're expected just buy and see what happens, like with slings.

Shall I give it a punt, is the more subjective question. Or is it generally frowned upon to buy from pet shops. Feel like I'd like to support a local business, especially in these times (and a juvenile seems a nice compromise in terms of raising one but not for eons) but I definitely wouldn't buy a dog or cat in one.
To be very clear, each is NOT a breed! They are a unique SPECIES ;) Huge damn difference!
 

TheHound

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To be very clear, each is NOT a breed! They are a unique SPECIES ;) Huge damn difference!
Oh yeah, I'm more than aware of the difference. Just a slip of the finger from an inveterate dog lover.

One last thing. I'm guessing not because no one has warned me off, but should I care about purity level? I said above that I don't but just wondering if that's naive. Is it worth asking the provenance/source of their spiders (I know there's no official system or anything) and if do get one (which I'm thinking of doing in a few hours) I'm uncertain wherever it would be frowned upon practice to let it breed?
 

viper69

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One last thing. I'm guessing not because no one has warned me off, but should I care about purity level? I said above that I don't but just wondering if that's naive. Is it worth asking the provenance/source of their spiders (I know there's no official system or anything) and if do get one (which I'm thinking of doing in a few hours) I'm uncertain wherever it would be frowned upon practice to let it breed?
Yes only buy from trusted breeders
 

Smotzer

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One last thing. I'm guessing not because no one has warned me off, but should I care about purity level? I said above that I don't but just wondering if that's naive. Is it worth asking the provenance/source of their spiders (I know there's no official system or anything) and if do get one (which I'm thinking of doing in a few hours) I'm uncertain wherever it would be frowned upon practice to let it breed?
If its a local pet shop/big box they are likely WC, so should be what they say they are in terms of bloodline, but very often places like that have species misidentified. But I would ask and be firm in asking where they are from. and like Viper said you can always but from reputable breeders/sellers
 

TheHound

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Thanks guys. What does WC mean? And what would constitute a satisfying answer if I ask about what breeders they use?

On my way to my eye test and itching to buy a spider afterwards!
 

Smotzer

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Thanks guys. What does WC mean? And what would constitute a satisfying answer if I ask about what breeders they use?

On my way to my eye test and itching to buy a spider afterwards!
Oh sorry, we use the abbreviations CB and WC when refereing to the source of tarantulas. WC- Wild Caught, CB- Captive Bred

I mean a satisfying answer would be if they can actually tell you if it is wild caught or captive bred, and even further if they know where it has come from. not all wild caught is through official channels.
 

TheHound

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Oh cool. I think they are CB. Should I ask anything specific about their breeders, or am I getting towards overthinking things?

Really want to pull the trigger but don't want that to lead me into a bad decision. It is ostensibly a good shop which cares about It's animals and follows good practice.
 

Smotzer

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Oh cool. I think they are CB. Should I ask anything specific about their breeders, or am so getting towards overthinking things?
I mean if they have more information like that I would ask, if they were CB you could always ask about who the breeder(s) was/were to see if members here have heard of them, if you wanted. May be over thinking it, but knowing that they are what they say they are is extremely important if they were ever to be sent out for breeding.
 
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