New T, (and new T owner) questions!

taylorfrancis

Arachnopeon
Joined
Apr 10, 2017
Messages
8
Hi all! My name is Taylor, I recently got my first invert, a redknee who Ive named Nacho.

IMG_6061.JPG (Nacho says hi as well)

So being new to the game I am trying to learn everything I can as quickly as possible and have a TON of questions and am also just seeking advice from seasoned keepers. Whatever you guys can tell me about your experiences would be greatly appreciated! I want to be the best tarantula mama I can be :happy:

1- I have no idea how old Nacho is, my boss is the one who got him and just kinda handed him to me. heres a pic of my hand for size ref:

IMG_6053.JPG

2- I am only assuming hes a male because his abdomen isnt too wide, Ive heard males have narrower bums. He hasnt molted yet so I figure ill have to wait till then to know for sure.

3- I have had Nacho for just about a month and a half now, no sign of molting. He eats 3-6 crickets a week and has a pretty healthy appetite. Should I be feeding him more? Is that why he hasnt molted? How often should they molt at that size?

4- I use eco earth as a substrate and have been moistening it but i read more and more about how they prefer it dry, which makes me think thats why he isnt burrowing at all. Should I sub adding water to his substrate to keeping it dry and adding a water dish instead?

5- I know there is controversy over handling but so far he has been a very well behaved spider, he walks on my hands and up my arm (one time onto my head) and my goal is to have him be an advocate for spiders and other inverts by engaging our visitors at the rescue with him. A lot of people have already fallen in love with him and say things like "wow I didn't realize how cute/cool spiders are!" Once people are reeled in by how chill he is I hit them with all the educational spider facts and such. (I am very careful about handling because i know if they fall it can be fatal) He almost never throws hairs unless I accidentally surprise him or someone makes a sudden movement. But any advice on handling would also be greatly appreciated.

another pic of my beb:
IMG_6407.JPG
Excited to be a part of the community!
Cheers ~
 

darkness975

Latrodectus
Arachnosupporter +
Joined
Aug 31, 2012
Messages
4,378
Hi all! My name is Taylor, I recently got my first invert, a redknee who Ive named Nacho.

View attachment 236511 (Nacho says hi as well)

So being new to the game I am trying to learn everything I can as quickly as possible and have a TON of questions and am also just seeking advice from seasoned keepers. Whatever you guys can tell me about your experiences would be greatly appreciated! I want to be the best tarantula mama I can be :happy:

1- I have no idea how old Nacho is, my boss is the one who got him and just kinda handed him to me. heres a pic of my hand for size ref:

View attachment 236512

2- I am only assuming hes a male because his abdomen isnt too wide, Ive heard males have narrower bums. He hasnt molted yet so I figure ill have to wait till then to know for sure.

3- I have had Nacho for just about a month and a half now, no sign of molting. He eats 3-6 crickets a week and has a pretty healthy appetite. Should I be feeding him more? Is that why he hasnt molted? How often should they molt at that size?

4- I use eco earth as a substrate and have been moistening it but i read more and more about how they prefer it dry, which makes me think thats why he isnt burrowing at all. Should I sub adding water to his substrate to keeping it dry and adding a water dish instead?

5- I know there is controversy over handling but so far he has been a very well behaved spider, he walks on my hands and up my arm (one time onto my head) and my goal is to have him be an advocate for spiders and other inverts by engaging our visitors at the rescue with him. A lot of people have already fallen in love with him and say things like "wow I didn't realize how cute/cool spiders are!" Once people are reeled in by how chill he is I hit them with all the educational spider facts and such. (I am very careful about handling because i know if they fall it can be fatal) He almost never throws hairs unless I accidentally surprise him or someone makes a sudden movement. But any advice on handling would also be greatly appreciated.

another pic of my beb:
View attachment 236513
Excited to be a part of the community!
Cheers ~
I am at work and cannot fully reply to your thread until later. Others will chime in. But a couple things.

If you are going to handle, at least do it very close to a soft surface on the ground. B. smithi (all tarantulas honestly) can get suddenly spooked and bolt, no matter how "calm" they appear to be on average. It's a risk I personally find too high.

I feed mine less than that. Some keepers feed a cricket or two a week or a roach every couple of weeks. I feed mine once or twice a month and that's about it and their abdomens are plenty plump. You have to monitor the size of the abdomen to carapace ratio.

Yours could very well be female. You can't just go on abdomen size there are too many other factors for sexing them.

How is the enclosure set up? It should look like mine for optimum safety as well as functionality. No screen or mesh lid (use pexi glass with air holes drilled), dry eco earth substrate, water dish, and hide.
For a water dish I recommend 2oz souffle cups that can be easily swapped out with a new one so you aren't stuck scrubbing gunk off of a porcelain dish.

I use kritter keepers for a lot of my spiders for ease of housing and to avoid the need to drill pexi glass lids all the time.

Here is my girl, Irene, and her setup:

 

TownesVanZandt

Arachnoprince
Joined
May 12, 2015
Messages
1,044
1. The age of a tarantula is not so relevant. Judging by the size, this a subadult specimen.

2. No, the size of the abdomen is not the way to sex a tarantula. You will have to look on the underside of the spider or wait for a moult.

3. 3-6 crickets per week is plenty. How often they moult varies.

4. All tarantulas need water dishes. Moist substrate is used for creating a more humid microclimate, but is not a substitute for offering a water dish. For an arid species like this, dry substrate and a water dish should be enough. Do you have a picture of the enclosure?

5. If I were you, I would not handle it. Judging from the pictures you also do it in an unsafe way. It does not take a fall from a great height to injure or even kill the spider. Handling is stupid, but it´s your spider, so do as you please with it.
 

Nightstalker47

Arachnoking
Joined
Jul 2, 2016
Messages
2,618
You will soon learn how easy a B.smithi is to care for. Keep the substrate dry as this is an arid species. Instead of dampening the substrate, keep fresh water available at all times. Feed regularly until it refuses food, and shows signs of pre molt.

Now I can't tell you to handle or not to handle. But if your going to do it, there are things you should be aware of. In your picture, you have your T pretty high off the ground. Next time you want to handle, keep it lower as a fall from that height would mean almost certain death. He may be calm today, but the animal could quickly switch dispositions and turn on you if spooked. I would hate for you to get bit and end up flinging your spider in the process, if you care about your new pet, keep him safe and try to avoid handling at all costs.
 

Venom1080

Arachnoemperor
Joined
Sep 24, 2015
Messages
4,603
^^ good advice above.

best advice on handling; don't. handling is stressful for tarantulas, they dont have the brain capacity to get to know their owners and every time they are handled, every instinct is telling them to run as something is trying to eat it. it is a selfish practice that should be abolished in the tarantula hobby. intentional handling should never be done.
 

Lokee85

Arachnoknight
Joined
Feb 8, 2017
Messages
195
Hi all! My name is Taylor, I recently got my first invert, a redknee who Ive named Nacho.

View attachment 236511 (Nacho says hi as well)

So being new to the game I am trying to learn everything I can as quickly as possible and have a TON of questions and am also just seeking advice from seasoned keepers. Whatever you guys can tell me about your experiences would be greatly appreciated! I want to be the best tarantula mama I can be :happy:

1- I have no idea how old Nacho is, my boss is the one who got him and just kinda handed him to me. heres a pic of my hand for size ref:

View attachment 236512

2- I am only assuming hes a male because his abdomen isnt too wide, Ive heard males have narrower bums. He hasnt molted yet so I figure ill have to wait till then to know for sure.

3- I have had Nacho for just about a month and a half now, no sign of molting. He eats 3-6 crickets a week and has a pretty healthy appetite. Should I be feeding him more? Is that why he hasnt molted? How often should they molt at that size?

4- I use eco earth as a substrate and have been moistening it but i read more and more about how they prefer it dry, which makes me think thats why he isnt burrowing at all. Should I sub adding water to his substrate to keeping it dry and adding a water dish instead?

5- I know there is controversy over handling but so far he has been a very well behaved spider, he walks on my hands and up my arm (one time onto my head) and my goal is to have him be an advocate for spiders and other inverts by engaging our visitors at the rescue with him. A lot of people have already fallen in love with him and say things like "wow I didn't realize how cute/cool spiders are!" Once people are reeled in by how chill he is I hit them with all the educational spider facts and such. (I am very careful about handling because i know if they fall it can be fatal) He almost never throws hairs unless I accidentally surprise him or someone makes a sudden movement. But any advice on handling would also be greatly appreciated.

another pic of my beb:
View attachment 236513
Excited to be a part of the community!
Cheers ~
Hi Taylor! Congrats on your baby! They're addicting, for real, I started with a B. albo sling, got an avic juvie two weeks later, and just purchased 5 more slings (for myself, there's actually more than that). I think I have a problem lol.

In answer to you post, I'd like to first reiterate what @darkness975 and the others have said and advise that if you are going to handle your baby, please do so on something soft like a bed or couch, or no more than a few inches off the ground to avoid any possible injuries. Please don't take offense, but my stomach seriously dropped when I saw how high off the hard ground he was. All it takes is one time getting spooked, even just at a finger twitch, for them to bolt and possibly fall and potentially die. In my opinion (and several others) it's just not worth it, especially since they don't like it and just tolerate it at best (they run on pure instinct and are incapable of forming a bond with anyone). But if you do handle, please be careful and do what you can to lessen the possibility of accidents.

Second, you don't need to feed so much, but I don't see it being an issue right now. Just if you notice Nacho getting too plump, slow down the feedings for a while. When they get too plump, they're at a higher risk of fall injuries. I feed my juvie and subadult 1-2 crickets every 3-4 days.

Next, at that size, you probably won't see molts very often, maybe 1-3x per year depending on feeding, temps, and other conditions. Just pay attention to Nacho's behavior. If he stops eating and seems to get lethargic or "lazy" (there are other indicators also), chances are good he's in premolt. But if he's eating well, it'll most likely be a while before he molts.

Next, at that size, moistening the sub is unnecessary. All they need is dry sub and a water dish large enough to climb in if they want to (a couple of mine have climbed whole body into their water dish after molting). Sub that's a little damp won't hurt anything, but if its too moist, it can cause mold, mites, and other problems for your T.

I think it's great that you and Nacho are helping people realize how awesome spiders are, and it's good you are asking questions like these, especially here on AB because there are SO MANY experienced keepers here with such a vast knowledge of this hobby. I'm sure others with more experience than I will chime in with advice and to correct anything I might have gotten wrong (please do so if I am wrong!). Again, congrats on your beautiful little guy!
 

Chris LXXIX

ArachnoGod
Active Member
Joined
Dec 25, 2014
Messages
5,828
A Mexican Taranchula called 'Nacho' ? How that's possible, Teufel ? (or By Jove if you are into Brits) :pompous:
 

taylorfrancis

Arachnopeon
Joined
Apr 10, 2017
Messages
8
Hey guys, thanks for all the responses, I figured id get in some heat for that. Those pics were from the literal first day that I got him and learned right after about the falling thing. He doesn't dart around quickly but he does move a lot so Ill opt out of the high-rise handling.

And I will def go back to a water dish and dry sub instead of moist substrate (thats what i get for taking advice from the wrong person) When I get into work I will take a pic of the terrarium to show you all.

Thanks again everyone for the input!
 

darkness975

Latrodectus
Arachnosupporter +
Joined
Aug 31, 2012
Messages
4,378
He doesn't dart around quickly but he does move a lot so Ill opt out of the high-rise handling
You would be surprised how fast they can teleport when spooked. My B. smithi almost gave me a heart attack once, it bolted from one side of the enclosure to the other and almost out in the literal blink of an eye.
 
Last edited:

The Grym Reaper

Arachnoreaper
Active Member
Joined
Jul 19, 2016
Messages
4,530
1- I have no idea how old Nacho is, my boss is the one who got him and just kinda handed him to me. here's a pic of my hand for size ref
The age doesn't really matter and there's no way to tell unless you can find out the date it hatched, females of this species can live upwards of 20-30 years.

2- I am only assuming he's a male because his abdomen isn't too wide, I've heard males have narrower bums. He hasn't molted yet so I figure ill have to wait till then to know for sure.
While males tend to be smaller bodied and leggier, it's not a good way to sex a specimen as some species can be deceptive (G. iheringi for example), you need to look at the underside of the Tarantula for a gonoslit or gonopore (fairly reliable) or wait for a moult (almost foolproof provided you get an intact exuvia).

If you scroll to post #11 in the thread I've linked below then it will show you what the ventral regions of a male and female look like side-by-side, the 2nd picture of post #13 shows the exuvia of a female (you can easily see the spermathecae between the first set of book lungs, it's the sort of semi-circular flap)

http://arachnoboards.com/threads/b-smithi-sex-and-gravid-or-premolt.177196/

3- I have had Nacho for just about a month and a half now, no sign of molting. He eats 3-6 crickets a week and has a pretty healthy appetite. Should I be feeding him more? Is that why he hasn't molted? How often should they molt at that size?
I'd personally feed less, my 4" female gets 1-2 crickets or red runners once a fortnight and she still has a healthy sized abdomen (total combined prey size should not exceed the size of the T's abdomen), you'll probably get 1-2 moults per year at that size, my girl's last moult cycle was just over 4 months so she'll probably moult once more before the year is out.

4- I use eco earth as a substrate and have been moistening it but I read more and more about how they prefer it dry, which makes me think that's why he isn't burrowing at all. Should I sub adding water to his substrate to keeping it dry and adding a water dish instead?
They won't really burrow much (if at all) at that size, they will tend to stay out in the open. Keep it on mostly dry sub with a water dish, I overflow the water dish to moisten the sub around it about once a week or so, sometimes my girl will sit in the moistened area by the water dish, the rest of the time she's in the dry area by her hide, I like to give her the option.

5- I know there is controversy over handling but so far he has been a very well behaved spider, he walks on my hands and up my arm (one time onto my head) and my goal is to have him be an advocate for spiders and other inverts by engaging our visitors at the rescue with him. A lot of people have already fallen in love with him and say things like "wow I didn't realize how cute/cool spiders are!" Once people are reeled in by how chill he is I hit them with all the educational spider facts and such. (I am very careful about handling because I know if they fall it can be fatal) He almost never throws hairs unless I accidentally surprise him or someone makes a sudden movement. But any advice on handling would also be greatly appreciated.
I think handling has been covered, I got the urge to handle them out of my system a while ago so I don't do it unless I can't avoid it (I.e. a T runs out onto my arm), as long as you are aware of the risks and take the necessary precautions then you and Nacho should be okay, I will stress about testing Nacho's temperament before handling (stroke the back legs/abdomen with a soft paintbrush etc.), my girl used to be docile to the point that she was almost catatonic, she was one of the few that I used to handle but after her latest moult she's pure evil (she doesn't even kick hairs, she goes straight to threat postures/slapping).

View media item 38839
 

Andrea82

Arachnoemperor
Joined
Jan 12, 2016
Messages
3,675
When I saw the pictures I was literally cringing...one mistake and that spider goes splat on the floor..
I've said it last week, i'll repeat it here;
Handling is nothing more than putting your spider at risk because you want to let it walk across your hands. Please consider to not handle at all...
 

Kendricks

Arachnoknight
Joined
Jan 18, 2017
Messages
152
my girl used to be docile to the point that she was almost catatonic, she was one of the few that I used to handle but after her latest moult she's pure evil (she doesn't even kick hairs, she goes straight to threat postures/slapping).

View media item 38839
Th.. they can do that!? :eek:
I've never seen a B. smithi in a threat pose... adorable!
Who knows, maybe yours thinks it turned into an OBT after the last molt? :D
 

Nightstalker47

Arachnoking
Joined
Jul 2, 2016
Messages
2,618
Th.. they can do that!? :eek:
I've never seen a B. smithi in a threat pose... adorable!
Who knows, maybe yours thinks it turned into an OBT after the last molt? :D
Not that uncommon, any T no matter the species could be an a**hole! ;)
Sometimes I find myself communicating with my Ts, saying stuff like "I'm giving you water relax! Or do you want to be fed?" Some of them are so uncooperative lol. That's the fun in it!

Always treat them as such, the generalizations about certain sp. is why people expect a docile spider and then get tagged. Take precautions with any Theraphosidea. Always expect the worst... and you won't be surprised with whatever outcome.
 

The Grym Reaper

Arachnoreaper
Active Member
Joined
Jul 19, 2016
Messages
4,530
Th.. they can do that!? :eek:
I've never seen a B. smithi in a threat pose... adorable!
Who knows, maybe yours thinks it turned into an OBT after the last molt? :D
She's peeved about the impending name change... On the plus side, she's still not a hair-kicker :rofl::rofl::rofl::astonished::astonished:
 

Andrea82

Arachnoemperor
Joined
Jan 12, 2016
Messages
3,675
Th.. they can do that!? :eek:
I've never seen a B. smithi in a threat pose... adorable!
Who knows, maybe yours thinks it turned into an OBT after the last molt? :D
I was like this when my E.campestratus kicked hairs...:eek: 'you KNOW how to do that??'
(Turned out she was in heavy premolt). She only kicked that one time.
 

The Grym Reaper

Arachnoreaper
Active Member
Joined
Jul 19, 2016
Messages
4,530
Wanna trade? Mine kicks when the neighbours close their frontdoor :shifty:
I'll take demonspawn over OCD-kicker anytime :D
Nope, I find her attitude quite amusing, hoping my Lp decides to drop hair-kicking in favour of threat postures and slapping, I'm already sick of Lasiodora hairs :stop:
 

bryverine

Arachnoangel
Joined
Apr 18, 2012
Messages
894
You would be surprised how fast they can teleport when spooked. My B. smithi almost gave me a heart attack once, it bolted from one side of the enclosure to the other and almost out in the literal blink of an eye.
This is what I learned first hand with my smithi after a handling early on.

She spooked (no idea why) and took off almost falling off my desk. What a scare... and a great lesson.

Nope, I find her attitude quite amusing, hoping my Lp decides to drop hair-kicking in favour of threat postures and slapping, I'm already sick of Lasiodora hairs :stop:
Mine has gotten into the habit of posturing right after kicking a cloud.. double threat...
 

The Grym Reaper

Arachnoreaper
Active Member
Joined
Jul 19, 2016
Messages
4,530
Mine has gotten into the habit of posturing right after kicking a cloud.. double threat...
My L. parahybana either kicks hairs with both back legs at once or bolts (she can bloody shift as well lol). I'd rather she was more like my L. difficilis, she just gives me a threat posture and then walks away.
 
Top