In depth explanation of a "pet hole"?

Matttoadman

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So I have always been a big fan of the obligate burrowers. But I would like pet hole explained. Are they reclusive, vanishing at the slightest sound or movement? Do they only peak out in pitch black dark? will they pop out and grab food when hungry or do you leave it for later? Pelinobious, haplopelma, chilobrachys are the genus I would like to know about.
 

EulersK

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Usually pet holes are spiders that you will simply never see... hence the moniker. They'll only come out in the middle of night, and often even then only stick their front feet out. The likes of M. robustum is often called a pet hole because of how skittish it is, but I starkly disagree. I see mine fully every single day, it just scurries away at the slightest movement. Now, my C. darlingi is certainly a pet hole. I haven't seen her in months, but the roaches keep disappearing overnight.

Pelinobious is what I would call a pet hole. Haplopelma aren't as reclusive, but you still won't see them very often. Chilobrachys aren't a pet hole at all, though. If they burrow, they're out all the time and are simply extremely skittish. However, if you provide plenty of webbing anchor points, they'll never burrow at all. They'll create their own burrows out of web tubes, and in those cases, they're out all the time and not nearly as skittish.
 

Chris LXXIX

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I'm able to spot my pet holes without issues at late night, sometimes. My M.robustum spend her day inside but often wanders out at night. My P.muticus is of course more reclusive but when she's near the burrow entrance, I have a good 50% view of her.
My E.murinus loves to 'sit' in front of her burrow, waiting... I can see her pretty well. I'm able to spot my C.marshalli 24/7.

By far the most hardcore pet holes I have are a female H.gigas and a female P.murinus :-s
 

Chris LXXIX

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I've had genus Haplopelma and Chilobrachys as well prior. More or less the same, my 'Haplo' (was a female H.lividum) acted similar like my Megaphobema robustum, I was able to spot her at night, while a C.fimbriatus female loved to jump out sometimes (she made a nice web curtain out of the burrow hole, often she was there).

I personally don't view those as "T's that you will never see". Granted, they aren't A.geniculata or a 'Chaco', but.
 

WeightedAbyss75

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How do you care for the Chilobrachys? They need a very humid enclosure, right? Seems it would be hard with all the webbing they do.
 

EulersK

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Thanks. Then Chilobrachys are at the top of my OW list.
They should be! This is definitely my favorite genus.

How do you care for the Chilobrachys? They need a very humid enclosure, right? Seems it would be hard with all the webbing they do.
Very easy to care for. Have the setup of a GBB, with the only difference being that you'll need to keep it humid. It's actually pretty easy to keep it humid, you just need to be smarter than the spider. Put web anchors (my favorite are bamboo skewers) absolutely everywhere except one part of the enclosure. I usually choose this spot as the water dish location. They will only lay a thin web mat in that area at most, allowing you to soak it down. The most humid Chilobrachys I've kept is C. fimbriatus. For them, I dig down a bit and create a crater with the water dish at the bottom. About once per week (your milage will vary), I absolutely fill that crater with water. Because of the volume of water, it will naturally spread to the rest of the substrate, keeping it humid.

These are technically burrowing species, so I provide enough substrate with all of them... but not one has dug anything more than a typical terrestrial would. With enough webbing anchors, they just don't need to burrow.
 

WeightedAbyss75

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How do you set up the skewers? Do you just stick them in the sub and against the enclosure? I know how you feel (Eulersk) about interrupting your T's, but pics would be awesome (even if it's only webbing :D)
 

EulersK

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How do you set up the skewers? Do you just stick them in the sub and against the enclosure? I know how you feel (Eulersk) about interrupting your T's, but pics would be awesome (even if it's only webbing :D)
Sure, here's a few for you. Sorry for the terrible quality, webbing doesn't do much to help with clarity!

This is a C. huahini sling, ~1" dls. This picture shows that the skewers will mold, but the mold dies off very quickly. It's been housed in this for a little under a week. In it's previous enclosure, it burrowed to the bottom pretty quickly because it did not have anchors. Since the rehouse, it hasn't even begun to burrow.
IMG_0957.JPG

This is a C. andersoni juvie, ~2" before the molt (notice the exuvia off to the right!). Same story as the C. huahini. Unfortunately, C. andersoni's slow way down with the webbing as they grow. Definitely the lightest webbers of the bunch, but they'll still forsake burrowing and opt to web. My old adult (who ended up maturing into a male) had a very shallow burrow perhaps two inches deep, but only used it as a retreat when scared. It ate out in the open.
IMG_0958.JPG

These two are of a C. fimbriatus adult female. Enough said on this one. I didn't use bamboo skewers on her, and I regretted it. I plan on rehousing her next weekend to allot for more webbing with skewers rather than sticks.
IMG_0959.JPG ----- IMG_0962.JPG

Finally, this is just to show a setup of the skewers. This is not a Chilobrachys - this is my Phlogius sp. "Black", but they are housed exactly the same way.
IMG_0963.JPG

A couple things to note. You'll see that I try and stay away from the sides with the skewers - this is to prevent them from webbing the lid down. You can't always avoid it, but having a skewer right up against the edge will guarantee that you'll tear up webbing every time you open the enclosure. You'll also see that I provided plenty of substrate in all cases. I'm still waiting for one to burrow.

@EulersK In your experience do slings behave the same way? (Obviously more skittish though)
The above post answers that question :D Like most tarantulas, the slings are much more willing to burrow than the adults and juvies. The C. andersoni above has made a very shallow burrow, but I've only seen it used as a molting chamber. Even when scared, it scurries to a web tube.

This genus is relatively hardy for an OW. All can survive droughts very well, and they can go quite a long time without food. They plump up like your typical NW terrestrials, is what I'm saying. In terms of humidity, C. fimbriatus likes it the most humid, whereas C. andersoni can be kept on 'bone dry' substrate (wouldn't recommend it though), with C. huahini somewhere in the middle. I never let the C. fimbriatus enclosures dry out. With the exception of C. fimbriatus, expect all of them to run and hide long before fighting. They are extremely fast, and a cornered one will very quickly turn and chase down an attacker. Keep that in mind when rehousing.
 

Matttoadman

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Ahh you have me very excited now. Are your sling enclosures vented on the top and sides or just the sides? My biology background has my head spinning in anticipation. It would seem that the heavy webbing species are just turning the whole enclosure into a "silk-lined" burrow, rather than making it underground.
 

EulersK

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Ahh you have me very excited now. Are your sling enclosures vented on the top and sides or just the sides? My biology background has my head spinning in anticipation. It would seem that the heavy webbing species are just turning the whole enclosure into a "silk-lined" burrow, rather than making it underground.
Ventilation along the sides rather than the top will help retain humidity. It wasn't an option in that glass enclosure, so that none only has top ventilation. Just be sure to add plenty of holes to the top. Your enclosure will dry out quicker, so be prepared for that.

Ideally, you want most holes alone the side with only a few on the top.
 
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bryverine

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I'm able to spot my pet holes without issues at late night, sometimes. My M.robustum spend her day inside but often wanders out at night. My P.muticus is of course more reclusive but when she's near the burrow entrance, I have a good 50% view of her.
My E.murinus loves to 'sit' in front of her burrow, waiting... I can see her pretty well. I'm able to spot my C.marshalli 24/7.

By far the most hardcore pet holes I have are a female H.gigas and a female P.murinus :-s
You just gotta have a window. ;) I use a piece of a heavy paper folder (as seen on the left) and put it on all sides with a tape hinge and small double back velcro 'lock'. I would never see my princess without this.
PSX_20160821_091919.jpg
(Phone picture)

This little trick didn't work for my lividum though. It webbed up so thick I can barely see its outline. I'm lucky to see its feet once a week. :sorry:

I have the same experience as @EulersK with my robustum. My boy is pretty consistently out of its burrow until I breathe too loudly.
 

Matttoadman

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Nice idea with the folders. I remember a book I had years ago that talked about putting a black in the middle of the substrate forcing the t to make their burrow against the glass.
 

bryverine

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Nice idea with the folders. I remember a book I had years ago that talked about putting a black in the middle of the substrate forcing the t to make their burrow against the glass.
I prestart burrows as well. It's worked 4 of 5 times for me.
 
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