Paper Towel as substrate

Fuggrur

Arachnopeon
Joined
Aug 5, 2002
Messages
40
This is what the "experts" say to use for sick tarantulas in a IC cage.. I was wondering, Has anyone tried using it as a -SEMI-Permanent substrate? Changing it every few days?

I know its not the best.. but Im considering doing it for my Blondi-Sling..At least for a few months.. I had one die on me a few weeks ago for no apparent reason.. and this one was starting to act like the other one.. Short jittery movements.. lack of energy... ( Could be Molt time ) Well, now he is in a IC unit.. and seems to be more active when I provoke him to be.. Any input, especially from those with experience in this type of setup would be greatly appreciated..

Thanks :)
 

Joy

Priestess of Pulchra-tude
Old Timer
Joined
Oct 12, 2002
Messages
903
I have raised many spiderlings on paper towel substrate. When I was first starting out, I used Vosjoli's Arachnomania as my main reference, and that's one of the substrates he mentions. Later, once I got online and bought the Schultz and Marshall books, I found most people didn't seem to approve of it, but there are many advantages IME. The main disadvantage is that regular maintenance is a must. It must be changed a minumum of every 10 days, or it molds, and it must be kept moist but not wet, meaning it has to be dampened at least every day or two.

Obviously it isn't well adapted to people with large collections, or for burrowing species, but for keeping and closely monitoring a small number of terrestrials it offers advantages no other substrate can match IMO. There is never a mite or fungus concern; it's immediately apparent if the spider has eaten or not; and retrieving uneaten prey or prey remains is greatly simplified over conventional substrates. I suspect, too, that it might be more hygienic. I have never had one of my spiderlings on paper towel die of one of those mysterious deaths often attributed to bacterial or fungal infections. It seems reasonable to suppose that a completely clean environment every 10 days might have something to do with this.

Oh, and among the disadvantages cited regarding paper towel, you may hear that paper and paper products contain substances that may inhibit tarantula growth. But my spiders raised on it were as big as any I've seen (bigger than most according to some sources!). FYI, I use only pure white Bounty. There are doubtless plenty of people in the hobby who would frown on this system, but it's worked great for me.

Joy
 

Fuggrur

Arachnopeon
Joined
Aug 5, 2002
Messages
40
Thanks alot Joy... I think I will stick with the paper towel... It does seem alot better.. at least for this particular spider. :)
 

JacenBeers

Arachnoprince
Old Timer
Joined
Sep 1, 2002
Messages
1,265
I think for spiderlings it would be fine but once they become juveniles you would have to be changing it often and that would just upset the spider.
 

LaRiz

Arachnodemon
Old Timer
Joined
Aug 7, 2002
Messages
672
I miss Philippe and Vivarium magazine...

Originally posted by Joy
I have raised many spiderlings on paper towel substrate. When I was first starting out, I used Vosjoli's Arachnomania as my main reference, and that's one of the substrates he mentions.
Joy
Joy,
That's a book that I haven't picked up in a while and to do so would bring back some newbie memories. The pic of the Cith. crawshayi was unbelievable, even in blk&wht. It was this book, coupled with the Gurley books, that opened my eyes to keeping and breeding tarantulas. I was a big fan of all Philippe de Vosjoli books and papers. Then, I was hardcore into reptiles, and his Vivarium magazine is sorely missed. Reptiles (Mag.)is alright (now incorporating Vivarium>oh yeah?, where?), but it just doesn't have the technical aspect and moralities of keeping herps and inverts.
Paper towels. I actually used the info in Arachnomania as a newbie and kept spiderlings on moist paper towels, as well as vermiculite.
I've heard some European hobbyists still use paper towels, and even no substrate at all for arboreals.
john
 
U

Unregistered

Guest
Re: I miss Philippe and Vivarium magazine...

[Paper towels. I actually used the info in Arachnomania as a newbie and kept spiderlings on moist paper towels, as well as vermiculite.
I've heard some European hobbyists still use paper towels, and even no substrate at all for arboreals.
john [/B][/QUOTE]

It's nice to hear I'm not the only one! I have kept my own paper towel usage a deep dark secret for years, and have only dared confess it in the past year or so!

I think it's time I re-read Arachnomania, too. Somebody was asking about it the other day on one of the other forums, and I'd be interested to compare it now I have a little more experience on the subject.

Joy
 

atavuss

Arachnoprince
Old Timer
Joined
Aug 16, 2002
Messages
1,034
hmmmm......I have never thought of using paper toweling with inverts, I do use paper towels for red eye tree frogs and white's tree frogs.
Ed
 

Wade

Arachnoking
Old Timer
Joined
Aug 16, 2002
Messages
2,933
I think the anti paper towel movement, like the anti sponge movement, is a bit over stated. Yes, if not changed, they can become very unsanitary. But they can be useful in some situations.

I think Vosjoli is a very interesting personality, but he was getting a little loopy towards the end of the Vivarium's run...anybody remember that articale about "The Island of Imaga-Nia?" What was going on with that :?

I had heard that an updated edition of "Arachnomania" was supposed to come out. Anybody know about that? It was to be an expanded version that covers many other arachnids. I always look for it at the book dealers at reptile shows, but haven't found it yet. The original was a good book for it's time.

Wade
 

LaRiz

Arachnodemon
Old Timer
Joined
Aug 7, 2002
Messages
672
That was pretty funny...

"The Island of Imaga-Nia", man I picked right up on that. I believe that was the April fools issue. Other mags do that to. One April issue of Discover magazine profiled a new species of mole rat only found in the Antarctic, the species was named "Hot Headed Mole Rats". They used the body heat of the specially designed head to bore thru the ice and up under unsuspecting penquins, their main food source. I can imagine there are still people who read that article, who goes around telling the story of "hot headed ice rodents".
He did get alittle distracted though (loopy). His articles on the geckos of New Caledonia, included some accounts of his hard divorce. You could sense he was hurtin'.
An updated version of Arachnomania would be kick-@ss. Never heard any rumors about that.
john
 

Wade

Arachnoking
Old Timer
Joined
Aug 16, 2002
Messages
2,933
The Hot Headed Mole Rats!!!

I remember that...I was gullible enough that when I first saw it I couldn't figure out why it wasn't the cover story! Once I recognized it, I thought it was a brilliant prank.

I'm not sure that the Imag-Nia thing was a simple prank, however. I think somehow it tied in with the whole "Ethnoherpetology" thing or whatever it was he was promoting. He was seriously trying to bring some mystical aspects into the hobby. I enjoyed reading some of his essays about it, but it was over my head.

Maybe it was a prank, but wasn't it the same issue that featured a photoshoped picture of himself on the cover conversing with a giant cameleon? =D

You gotta love the guy...a genuine eccentric!

Wade
 

Chris

Arachnoknight
Old Timer
Joined
Aug 9, 2002
Messages
284
Like the others said... paper towel shouldn't be a problem because so long as you keep you eye on things.

Many keepers and breeders keep reptiles on paper towel because it is a good cheap disposable substrate... the only trouble I have had with it is that it gets musty and moldy if you dont have suffiecient ventilation.

I have a blondi sling that I have been keeping on straight peat moss. It has dug itself a ditch that it sits in and seems to be doing quite well on it.

What I do to help with moisture is I have a straw running down the side of the substrate to the bottom of the enclusure. I pour water down this straw so it really soaks well into the substrate without having to wet the top and piss off my spider. Its quite comical because what often happens is it turns into a floating island until the peat moss soaks up the water... my marooned blondi just looks at me daring me to get a finger close enough to grab lol
 
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