Newbie With Questions - Help, Please

SueinTX

Arachnopeon
Joined
Dec 16, 2002
Messages
8
I purchased a Mexican Red Knee a few days ago. I have been doing a lot of reading and research and have come up with some incosistent information, so I thought I would ask people and see what ya'll have to say.

They told me he is young and that he finished his first molt about two weeks ago. I have him in a ten gallon tank (with lid) and vermiculite as the ground cover. He has half a log to hide under and a small succulent (no hard edges or pricklies) plant to make things more homey for him. I have the temperature humidity gauage in the tank also. He had a few live crickets in his cage at the store, but the guy said to come back in a couple of days and get him more crickets, so I did, but he did not eat them. Here are my questions:

1. Should I go ahead and take out those three crickets tonight? How often should I feed him from now on? They said twice a week, but I am reading once a week to once a month. Is just crickets enough or would other foods (like mealworms) be good for him?

2. What humidity level should I keep? I've read 50%-80% and that's a wide range.

3. Should I handle him very often? I know to be gentle, move slow, etc., but I have read a lot to not handle them because they don't like it. Then I see pictures and read that some people do handle them regularly. The pet store said handle him often (like 15 minutes a day) to keep him used to me and to not be afraid of being handled.

3a. If I do handle him, should I take the aquarium into the bathroom and put a towel under the door for just in case? I know to keep him low to the ground so that he won't hurt himself if he should fall. I don't plan on spooking him and I will move very slowly and be very careful, but I don't want him to get hurt.

4. Should I be worried about mites if I keep the cage clean and clean up eaten/uneaten crickets within a couple of days? Can they harm my spider?

5. Any other information you'd like to pass on to someone who wants to take good care of her spider? Thank you in advance for any help you can give me.
 

Brandon

Arachnobaron
Old Timer
Joined
Jul 19, 2002
Messages
415
Suein TX,

1) Take the crikets out and wait another 4-5 days, tarantulas may take a couple of weeks to finish drying there exoskelitons after a molt. When that is done they should gladly take food.

2) With desert species like B smithi(mexican red knee) all the humidity that will be needed is a water dish. On care sheets its understood they give certain requirments, these are usually fullfilled with just the water dish.

3) Handling tarantulas is a carful thing, a fall can kill so be carful, when handling keep close to the ground, over a desk, or bed..ect I would only recomend you to handle as little as possable. Handling can stress tarantulas out causing them to kick the leg hair off there abdomen. I would say 15 min a week maximum. Tarantulas arnt like dogs and cats, they really dont know one person from another.

4) Really is no need to bring him into the bath room, if you are worried about the fall just bring the cage down to the ground.

5) My advice to you is to keep up the intrest in inverts, before you know it you will find yourseld almost in a state of adiction. Also never let you tarantula run out of water, there bodies are like a hydrolic system, and those need water to run. GOOD LUCK.

Sincerely,

Brandon
 

Vayu Son

Avatar of Anansi
Old Timer
Joined
Jul 19, 2002
Messages
809
><

1.If you have him in a ten gallon then it was DEFINATELY not its first molt.

2.T's will go on fasts for long periods of time(months even). Offer it a cricket or two every week and if it doesnt take him by the next day then remove the crickets.

3.It wont need more than a water dish kept filled at all times(no bigger than the T).

3a. There is no need to handle your tarantula, ,but if you choose to do so until you get used to it i would use the bathroom method. Most likely it will just sit on your hand(dont bug em if he does). The correct way to coach it out would be using a paintbrush or a long paperclip and gently nudge him. Tarantulas of that species of urticating bristles on its abdomen that it will leave or kick on you, so DO NOT TOUCH YOUR EYES while handling him, and not after till washing your hands very thoroughly.

4.There are different kinds of mites at different severitys. If you clean out remains you should not have a problem.This species is not humidity dependant so it will not be the best breeding ground for them anyway IMHO.

5. how large is it? is it accurately identified? is it sexed? show us some pictures

and..

welcome to the forums.


-V
 

Lasiodora

Arachnoangel
Old Timer
Joined
Oct 11, 2002
Messages
852
Humidity and cage size are both dependent on how big your redknee is. Spiderlings generally require a higher humidity level. Adult redknees don't require high humidity. I keep mines dry with access to water. I only raise the humidity when it is getting ready to molt. If you choose to handle it sit down on the floor with it. There is less chance of an injury with a fall if it's close to the ground. There is no need to do this in the bathroom. Redknees are not speed demons like arboreal spiders. With time you will get to know its behaviors and generally what to expect from it. i wouldn't worry about mites. They can't survive the dry conditions of an adult redknees cage.Good luck with him and try to pick up a good tarantula guide. This comes in handy as a reference for this and any future species you buy.
Mike
 

SueinTX

Arachnopeon
Joined
Dec 16, 2002
Messages
8
He was not in a 10 gallon when I got him. He was in a little plastic box. He is definitely a Mexican Red Knee. They sold him to me as Chilean Rosehair. I kept telling the guy that he sure did not looklike my friend's Rosehair, but he insisted. I felt like since I did not know much about them that I was wrong. So when I got home and did a search on the Chilean Rosehairs, I kept coming up with NO pictures that looked like my spider! So I went to some other sites and sure enough, my spider is a Mexican Red Knee. I only paid $14 for him and I hear they go for as much as $99 at some pet stores.

I put him in a ten gallon tank because I thought his other home was so small. As far as how large is it? Well, it does not look like a baby to me, from the pictures I have seen of spiderlings. But he is also not the 5 inches across yet either. He's maybe 3-4 inches across. Also, his abdomen is nice and full, so that means he's healthy, right? I will take some pictures and post them for ya'all.

Thanks for the advice and if there is anything else you think of later, please let me know. I appreciate all the help I can get. I just want to take good care of the spider. I don't have a name yet. :D
 

TigerWoman

Arachnosquire
Old Timer
Joined
Sep 12, 2002
Messages
91
Hei!

Welcome to the forum!!
You'll like it here, i'm sure! It is some wery nice and kind people here that knows alot about tarantulas! I'm sure you'll get alot of good answeres later on!
I'm still new to this hobby myself, but i'll trie to give you some answeres...

Now about your Q's;

1. The T will eat when he is hungry, if he have'nt eaten the crikets a day after you gave them to him, take them out and try a week later!!
Give him one criket a time in the beginning, until u know the T better and his molting time. (You dont want crikets in during the molt, they can hurt him)
If he takes the criket, give him one more when he is done, until he dont want any more. (It may take a long time before he is finished with one criket)
It is good to wary the food a bit, if he likes it, give him a mealworm, superworm from time to time. (Only one of mine will take the superworms/mealworms)

2. Around 70% would be fine i guess....

3. You dont have to handle the T if you dont realy feel like it, i dont think T's have inteligens (?)/ brains to become tame, or eeven remember you from time to time.
Not to scare you, but you may be alergic to the wenom... (IF you get bit, did'nt say that you will, but with T's you'll newer know how or what they'll do) I think it will give you the same reacktions as for them who are alergic to wasps and bees.... (Correkt me someone if i'm wrong)
Then there are the urticrating (?) hairs.... The redknee is known to be more than willing to kick hairs at you, and man, that realy itches....
You can handle the T if you have respekt for the animal and know a bit what to do and not to do :p

3 a. That is a good idea! This T is terestrial, (living on the ground) and may die from a fall. It may rupture his abdomen if he falls, and then most likley he will die...:( Keep him close to the ground when handling him :p

4. If you clean up the leftovers after he's done eating, i dont think you'll have a problem... It is when the leftovers become wet, the mites come on knoking. :)
I had problems whit mites once, it came from the substrate, (yungle mix or something, they were cravling all over in the bag ). To be sure the substrate is clean, put it in the owen 1 our at 200 celsius. Not all agree with me on this point, but it works great for my T's, and no mites or anything else.... :rolleyes: I think there have to be many mites to harm your spider, but i'm realy not sure about that one.... If the T is molting, it sure is wery defenceless..

I'm sorry about the misspelling... i'm sure it is alot of it =D
Just ask if there is something you dont understand in my writing, and i will trie to write it diferent :p

BTW. Good luck with the T! It's a great spider ;)
 

MrT

Arachnoking
Old Timer
Joined
Aug 13, 2002
Messages
2,174
Hey SueinTX,
Man did you get a smokin deal on that T. :)
I paid $89.95 for my first B. smithi.
I can't really add much to what you've heard so far, so Welcome to the forum. Lots of good info, and people here...

Ernie
 

conipto

ArachnoPrincess
Old Timer
Joined
Sep 27, 2002
Messages
1,258
Sue, Pretty much everyone above said what I'd have said. Do you call him a him because someone who sold you told you that, or just an assumed sex of the spider (Not that I do that:8o )

Also, to any other B. smithi keepers out there, what size do males mature out? If it's at 4 inches or so, you might want to check for the telltale male signs. Mature males are often finicky eaters from what I've read. (so far I'm almost all female in the spider gender department)

Bill
 

Gillian

Arachnoblessed
Old Timer
Joined
Aug 13, 2002
Messages
1,123
First off, welcome! And, congrats!
Ok. I always went by (with food), if its still there the next day, remove it. Having prey animals running around when they aren't hungry is stressful for them.
I handle most of my t's, but not every day. The bathroom really shouldn't be necessary. Oh! How old or big is your t? You said first molt, so I was wondering if your smithi is a sling( slang for spiderling).
Smithis don't need misting normally, just a water dish. These are known for "kicking hair". Their hair is moderately irritating.
While your around it, don't breathe on it. This makes them crazy, as it ruffles the bristles on their body.

Peace,
Gillian
p.s., remember, no question is too stupid..:)
 

atavuss

Arachnoprince
Old Timer
Joined
Aug 16, 2002
Messages
1,034
Originally posted by conipto
Sue, Pretty much everyone above said what I'd have said. Do you call him a him because someone who sold you told you that, or just an assumed sex of the spider (Not that I do that:8o )

Also, to any other B. smithi keepers out there, what size do males mature out? If it's at 4 inches or so, you might want to check for the telltale male signs. Mature males are often finicky eaters from what I've read. (so far I'm almost all female in the spider gender department)

Bill
Bill, I have 11 smithis, 1 male matured this spring, I recall he was about 5.5" legspan. I have three more males around 5 or 5.5" that are probably one molt from being mature. (my luck they will all mature out at the same time, I have put them on the lowest shelf where it is the coolest in my herp/invert room to try and slow them down). all three of the beforementioned males will readily take a rat pup each weekly. I remember the male that matured this spring had about the same appetite as many other mature males, he was not a hearty eater.
Ed
 

atavuss

Arachnoprince
Old Timer
Joined
Aug 16, 2002
Messages
1,034
Originally posted by SueinTX
He was not in a 10 gallon when I got him. He was in a little plastic box. He is definitely a Mexican Red Knee. They sold him to me as Chilean Rosehair. I kept telling the guy that he sure did not looklike my friend's Rosehair, but he insisted. I felt like since I did not know much about them that I was wrong. So when I got home and did a search on the Chilean Rosehairs, I kept coming up with NO pictures that looked like my spider! So I went to some other sites and sure enough, my spider is a Mexican Red Knee. I only paid $14 for him and I hear they go for as much as $99 at some pet stores.

I put him in a ten gallon tank because I thought his other home was so small. As far as how large is it? Well, it does not look like a baby to me, from the pictures I have seen of spiderlings. But he is also not the 5 inches across yet either. He's maybe 3-4 inches across. Also, his abdomen is nice and full, so that means he's healthy, right? I will take some pictures and post them for ya'all.

Thanks for the advice and if there is anything else you think of later, please let me know. I appreciate all the help I can get. I just want to take good care of the spider. I don't have a name yet. :D
Hello Sue, welcome to the forum. I would like to mention that with my red knees I do not stress over the humidity once they reach 2.5" or so and up. I keep them on bone dry substrate and supply them with a water dish that is kept full with clean water at all times (no sponge, cotton ball, etc. needed).
I would like to recommend two books that are very helpful:
"the tarantula keeper's guide" by Schultz
"tarantulas and other arachnids" by Marshall (both books are printed by Barron's books and should be around 20.00 for both books at your favorite book retailer)
Ed
 
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