Fatal Error in Pet store T books?

Elithial

Arachnopeon
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Feb 24, 2011
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So before I bought my first T I went and did alot of internet research and bought Marshall's Tarantulas and Other Arachnids published by Barrons. In the substrate section (pg.24-25) it mentions bark mulch, while he does warn against Cedar at least he says most others are fine such as Pine bark and Cypress bark. So I went and bought a big bag of Cypress bark and soon enough Cinnamon (my T) was trying to stay off it as much as possible so I got concerned and looked it up here. Lo and behold people say NOT to use bark. So is this a big error on Marshall's part or are people freaking out over it when it's not that bad? Or does it depend on the shape and size of the mulch? The mulch I got was obviously terrible since it was jagged shards of wood. I got rid of that stuff a.s.a.p. and went hunting for coco fiber.
 

J Morningstar

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As I understand it anything from a pine-ish tree or anything that smells of resinous oils is bad for any insects, or arachnids for that matter. The eco earth or coco fiber seems the prefered substrate.
 

Hobo

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Also keep in mind that when you do use the proper substrate, it might also try to stay off of it as much as it can at first. Regardless of substrate, they will have a period of settling in where they may climb all over the place.
 

Embers To Ashes

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I got a book called Arachnomania, General Care and Maintenance of Tarantulas and Scorpions by Philippe de Vosjoli. I got it for free because we had alot of books nobody was buying (volenteer/work at the LPS) and started to read it. Turns out, its black and white and was published twenty years ago. It proceded to tell me to keep my Ts on gravel or wood chips. If you have a large number of tarantulas, aparently you can keep both terestrial and arborial tarantulas in jars that are 1 LS wide and 1.5 LS tall with a moist papper towel as substrate with no water dish or hide. It said you can also use heat rocks and submersible heaters inside the enclosure.
 

Spiderman24

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I use rain forest blend zilla litter for all my t's and have since day one absolutely no problems at all.
 

Elithial

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Keep in mind guys I'm not asking what substrate I should use. I use EcoEarth and I'm happy with it. I was just pointing out that apparently some books out there still have a need for revision....or the authors are some how amazingly lucky that their Ts haven't keeled over and died.
 

Spiderman24

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Oh I miss took your wording mate I apologize. But the is dodgy someone would write a book and give such strong misleading detail.
 

Beardo

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I think the biggest concern with using cypress mulch is not the oils, but rather the sharp, jagged points of many of the bits & pieces in the mulch, making it hazardous for spiders, especially during or after a molt.
 

Spiderman24

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Well you gotta think mate its not exactly a walk in the park or a padded room in any tarantulas natural habitat. Captive bred or not they do have instinct and know of dangerous things that can harm them so I would say its the jagged and Sharp pieces really the oils are honestly the biggest concern because that they can't avoid. But as I was saying some t's can hold there own they've been around longer then any of us. And they have the instinct to know what's gonna harm them without any first hand experience just as we do.
 

KnightinGale

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I had actually noticed that the last time I gave a read-through of that book as well. To answer your question, I think it is a little bit of both. If a person had several tarantulas on bark for twenty years, it is entirely possible that none of them would ever be hurt on it. But it is also possible that they could, especially when they're soft, besides other disadvantages like being poor for burrowers. And as soon as something is recognized as being inferior to something commonly available, then often people pretty much take it as a rule; either because they really and truly care for tarantulas and want to remove anything that could cause them harm in people's care, or because they saw someone else emphatically saying it and are parroting. :D I'm in the first group. If there's something better, I'll use it rather than find out the hard way.
I note that the edition I am seeing in Petstores is 2001. The one I had before is even older. Tarantula keeping itself is always evolving as we learn more, and there was a time that coco fibre wasn't widely available or tested so people had to make do with other things. Possible it is time for an upated edition.
 

Lolita

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i think a lot of it is those books are outdated we see the same thing in reptiles where you see a book from 20-40 years back and you go woah there are so many mistakes in this book it's up to the hobbiests to try and find the more recent and up to date books because it's not that easy to just constantly go back and revise as you go
 

Fran

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Well you gotta think mate its not exactly a walk in the park or a padded room in any tarantulas natural habitat. Captive bred or not they do have instinct and know of dangerous things that can harm them so I would say its the jagged and Sharp pieces really the oils are honestly the biggest concern because that they can't avoid. But as I was saying some t's can hold there own they've been around longer then any of us. And they have the instinct to know what's gonna harm them without any first hand experience just as we do.
Not really a valid argument. Put a white shark in captivity,and it will die.

A T in the wild sets up camp wherever it desires. A t in captivity is restricted to the 10G tank, so not much of a choice. So yes, in captivity,they need us to think for them a bit.
 

Shrike

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Are pine bark and cypress bark as detrimental to a T's health as cedar? There are a variety of factor's that can influence whether or not your T wants to be on the substrate. Is there too much moisture? Is it a new substrate and something the T isn't used to?

For the record, I don't use these substrates (I use Eco Earth). However, I don't think this is a big error on Marshall's part. I own the latest edition. In my opintion, it's a valuable source of information.
 
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Elithial

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Feb 24, 2011
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I'm not sure with the cypress oils however the cypress bark I had was a jagged mess. I wouldn't walk on bark like that if it was in a playground. It looked like it would give me nasty splinters and impale my poor spider so I took it out. It basically looked like a splinter and shard festival. I use Eco Earth if a I can OR sterile potting soil with no additives, my Ts seem to like the sterile soil about as much as Eco Earth and it's nice and cushy too. So far no molds or anything of the like, also I can add real plants to the soil :D
 
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