Getting my first T this week! Feeding, etc.

Suz

Arachnopeon
Joined
Jan 23, 2017
Messages
15
Hello everyone! I recently ordered a B. vagans sling online and a small enclosure. This will be my first tarantula and I'm excited/nervous. I am nervous because I really want to ensure he/she stays healthy and happy.

I have a question on feeding. The sling should be around 1/2". Would a small cricket be too large? Should I use pinheads? I know the Petco around me sells pinheads if needed. Also, how many times a week should I mist the enclosure? I read that misting too much can cause mites. I don't want to over mist and cause mites but I obviously don't want the poor thing to dehydrate either.

If you have anything else to add that would be great too. I'm so excited to get my first T!
 

Ungoliant

Malleus Aranearum
Staff member
Joined
Mar 7, 2012
Messages
3,826
Welcome!

I have a question on feeding. The sling should be around 1/2". Would a small cricket be too large? Should I use pinheads? I know the Petco around me sells pinheads if needed.
Ideally, prey should be no larger than the tarantula's abdomen. If you don't have any feeders that small, you can use parts, such as a mealworm chopped in half or cricket drumsticks (the legs).

Some tiny slings are reluctant to kill their own prey, so pre-killed works as well. (They may not eat it immediately, but if the container is small, they will find it.)

Remove any uneaten prey 24 hours later. Also remove any food boluses (leftovers) if you find them, as they can promote the growth of mold or mites, especially in a more humid enclosure.

Also, how many times a week should I mist the enclosure? I read that misting too much can cause mites. I don't want to over mist and cause mites but I obviously don't want the poor thing to dehydrate either.
You don't really need to mist enclosures at all. Little slings do need a more humid environment than juveniles or adults, however. (This is because their cuticles haven't fully developed the waxy layer needed to prevent water loss.) You can achieve this by moistening the substrate. (You don't want it sopping wet, just a little damp.)

For drinking, you can provide a small water dish (like a bottle cap if it fits) or drip some water along the sides. (I recommend including a water dish even for slings as soon as it grows into a sufficiently large container.) And don't worry about putting anything like sponges or rocks in the water dish. The tarantula won't drown, and these objects only serve as growth media for bacteria.

Once Brachypelma vagans gets to be a juvenile (diagonal legspan of 2" or so), it should be kept on dry substrate with a water dish.
 
Last edited:

Moakmeister

Arachnolord
Joined
Oct 6, 2016
Messages
632
Tiny spiderlings drink from the damp substrate, or if you drip a few drops on the enclosure walls, they'll drink that. I don't think there'd be a water dish small enough to fit in a .5" spiderling enclosure. As for feeding, cut a mealworm into tiny pieces and drop one piece in. Congrats on your first tarantula! I got mine just before New Year's, and she's a beautiful little G. pulchripes juvie!
 

ChrisTy

Arachnoaddict
Joined
Sep 1, 2016
Messages
47
Congrats on the new purchase. My first was a B vagans as well and it remains my favorite. They like to burrow so make sure they have enough substrate to dig down into. Pretty easy to care for and they are beautiful. good luck with everything. These guys on this forum are great for advice and guidance.
 

Suz

Arachnopeon
Joined
Jan 23, 2017
Messages
15
Tiny spiderlings drink from the damp substrate, or if you drip a few drops on the enclosure walls, they'll drink that. I don't think there'd be a water dish small enough to fit in a .5" spiderling enclosure. As for feeding, cut a mealworm into tiny pieces and drop one piece in. Congrats on your first tarantula! I got mine just before New Year's, and she's a beautiful little G. pulchripes juvie!
Yeah, the enclosure is pretty small. It is the spiderling enclosure from Jamie's Tarantulas. I think I'll drip water down the sides. I didn't know they would eat pre-killed food either like a snake...that's good to know!

I had to look up the g. pulchripes. It's beautiful!
 

Suz

Arachnopeon
Joined
Jan 23, 2017
Messages
15
Congrats on the new purchase. My first was a B vagans as well and it remains my favorite. They like to burrow so make sure they have enough substrate to dig down into. Pretty easy to care for and they are beautiful. good luck with everything. These guys on this forum are great for advice and guidance.
Thanks! I'm very excited! I was going to go with a curly hair but ultimately the bright red coloration with black won me over.
 

Suz

Arachnopeon
Joined
Jan 23, 2017
Messages
15
Welcome!
Some tiny slings are reluctant to kill their own prey, so pre-killed works as well. (They may not eat it immediately, but if the container is small, they will find it.)
I used to have snakes and fed them frozen/thawed prey. I honestly didn't know you could pre-kill tarantula prey as well. As long as it isn't a pinky I'll be okay.

You don't really need to mist enclosures at all. Little slings do need a more humid environment than juveniles or adults, however. (This is because their cuticles haven't fully developed the waxy layer needed to prevent water loss.) You can achieve this by moistening the substrate. (You don't want it sopping wet, just a little damp.)
Do I need to let it dry out occasionally? If so how often?

For drinking, you can provide a small water dish (like a bottle cap if it fits) or drip some water along the sides. (I recommend including a water dish even for slings as soon as it grows into a sufficiently large container.) And don't worry about putting anything like sponges or rocks in the water dish. The tarantula won't drown, and these objects only serve as growth media for bacteria.
Think I'll drip it down the sides as there's no room for a water bowl, even a tiny one!
 

Moakmeister

Arachnolord
Joined
Oct 6, 2016
Messages
632
Yeah, the enclosure is pretty small. It is the spiderling enclosure from Jamie's Tarantulas. I think I'll drip water down the sides. I didn't know they would eat pre-killed food either like a snake...that's good to know!

I had to look up the g. pulchripes. It's beautiful!
Tarantulas arent as picky as scorpions. And yeah the Chaco is pretty great. Mine doesnt quite have her adult colors yet.
 

Ungoliant

Malleus Aranearum
Staff member
Joined
Mar 7, 2012
Messages
3,826
I used to have snakes and fed them frozen/thawed prey. I honestly didn't know you could pre-kill tarantula prey as well.
If I have a live prey option that works, I prefer to use that, because it elicits a stronger prey response and is more entertaining for me to watch.

Pre-killing is primarily for when you don't have appropriately small feeder insects or when you have a tiny sling that isn't yet bold enough to hunt. Just be sure the prey is freshly killed. (I don't think they'll take the freeze dried insects sold for reptiles and birds, but I don't have any experience with that.)


As long as it isn't a pinky I'll be okay.
Although some people occasionally feed mice to very large tarantulas, you never need to feed your tarantula anything but feeder insects. IMO, there really is no good reason to feed mice to tarantulas; it's something people do to show off. (Live mice can potentially injure a tarantula, and since much of the digestive process occurs externally, it has to be pretty gruesome and smelly.)


Do I need to let it dry out occasionally? If so how often?
I have a sling that is less than 1" (in a condiment cup that is too small for a water dish), and I never completely dry her substrate. With proper ventilation (it shouldn't be excessive for slings but enough to avoid mold and stagnant air), it should be fine.

I try to leave one side damp and the other drier so that the tarantula can stand (or burrow) wherever she feels most comfortable.
 

Olan

Arachnodemon
Old Timer
Joined
Dec 23, 2002
Messages
764
I always try to get slings up to 1" as fast as possible. I put in a large prekilled cricket or mealworm (bigger than the sling) to get them into premolt with one or two meals. Here is my P. sazimai sling and the superworm piece I just put in. I'll leave it in overnight (although this spider already had a big meal. Probably won't eat again till it molts).
IMG_5102.JPG
 

Suz

Arachnopeon
Joined
Jan 23, 2017
Messages
15
I always try to get slings up to 1" as fast as possible. I put in a large prekilled cricket or mealworm (bigger than the sling) to get them into premolt with one or two meals. Here is my P. sazimai sling and the superworm piece I just put in. I'll leave it in overnight (although this spider already had a big meal. Probably won't eat again till it molts).
View attachment 229948
Interesting! Thanks.
 

cold blood

Moderator
Staff member
Joined
Jan 19, 2014
Messages
11,889
For future newbie reference...a free condiment or deli cup is actually a better place for the sling.. i wouldnt personally use those ones from jamies, although thier adult enclosures are nice (just expensive).
 

runCMD

Arachnopeon
Joined
Jan 21, 2017
Messages
36
IS that
For future newbie reference...a free condiment or deli cup is actually a better place for the sling.. i wouldnt personally use those ones from jamies, although thier adult enclosures are nice (just expensive).
Don't want to hijack the thread but I feel this is useful.

Is this because you think they are unnecessary or is there something less desirable about them? I ordered a 1" GBB so went with the juvie enclosure. I planned on moving to the adult enclosure or something like the Exo Terra Medium Low later down the road.
 

Toxoderidae

Arachnoprince
Joined
Nov 16, 2015
Messages
1,010
IS that


Don't want to hijack the thread but I feel this is useful.

Is this because you think they are unnecessary or is there something less desirable about them? I ordered a 1" GBB so went with the juvie enclosure. I planned on moving to the adult enclosure or something like the Exo Terra Medium Low later down the road.
The mesh can be issue, not good ventilation without modification, and the opening can be really finicky and jerky.
 

Moakmeister

Arachnolord
Joined
Oct 6, 2016
Messages
632
The mesh can be issue, not good ventilation without modification, and the opening can be really finicky and jerky.
The opening can be jerky with a deli cup too. I always have to be really slow to avoid jostling my T around when I pop open the lid. I've gotten good at it though, it just takes a few seconds.
 

Suz

Arachnopeon
Joined
Jan 23, 2017
Messages
15
For future newbie reference...a free condiment or deli cup is actually a better place for the sling.. i wouldnt personally use those ones from jamies, although thier adult enclosures are nice (just expensive).
Would a plastic food storage container work? I have a couple of those but what would be the best way to add holes? I don't have a drill.

I mainly wanted the substrate and stuff, which is why I went for it.
 

Moakmeister

Arachnolord
Joined
Oct 6, 2016
Messages
632
Would a plastic food storage container work? I have a couple of those but what would be the best way to add holes? I don't have a drill.

I mainly wanted the substrate and stuff, which is why I went for it.
They're the perfect thing. Just poke holes in the lid with an ice pick like I did.
 
Top