Questions from a newb tarantula owner

Corbet

Arachnopeon
Joined
Apr 16, 2003
Messages
17
I know some of these questions have been answered in countless Tarantula sites, but I thought you guys would be more informative.

Just got a tarantula. I used to be scared of Spiders but not anymore. Its a Chilean Rose that I got for 30.00 but it came with its tank and environment and stuff. It doesnt have a name yet but I got a couple questions:

1) What do you use as the bedding/ground? I THINK I read somewhere online NOT to use mulch but my tarantula came with mulch as the ground??? Should I get rid of the mulch ASAP?

2) Whats the easiest way to hold is without risk of being bit? My sister's friend wanted to hold is so what I did was put a piece of cardboard in his tank and kinda pushed him on it. I then put the cardboard next to the person's hand and touched the tarantulas back leg and it walked onto the hand. Is there a risk of being bitten by putting your hand flat in the tank and touching its leg so it walks on your hand?

3) How do you know if its gonna bite? I read about shooting hairs but mine hasn't done this and the guy at the pet store said he has it out a few times. One time the tarantula brought 2 of its front legs in the air in like a cautious position. I'm guessing not to mess with it while its doing it.

4) How can you tell if it is a male or female?

5) How often should I feed it?

6) Is it normal for a tarantula to not move much? I noticed if it's relaxed it will spread its legs out alot more but when I move the tank it kinda balls up (brings its legs really close to its body). Is this telling me anything?
 

Corbet

Arachnopeon
Joined
Apr 16, 2003
Messages
17
also, I noticed some white hard stuff on the bedding? Is that poop or something?
 

D-Man

Arachnochicano
Old Timer
Joined
Feb 27, 2003
Messages
356
Welcome!!!

Corbet-

Congrats on your new problem :D !

1. Step one: buy "The Tarantula Keeper's Guide" by Stan & Marguerite Schultz. This is the Tarantula bible.

2. Use a mixture of vermiculite and potting soil or peat moss. There's other stuff out there, just read and try things out.

3. There's ALWAYS a risk of a bite. Only hold a T when you know what the species is, understand the issues of bites & venom, and you're absolutely comfortable in doing so. I nudge my T's abdomen to get it on my palm. If it rears up in a defensive position, leave it alone - simple, huh?

4. Some T's have "urticating" hairs that they can kick off their abdomens when they feel threatened.

5. Read up on how to identify the sex. You need the exuvium (shed "skin") of the T to look for the sex. Or, if it's an adult you can tell a male by the club-like pedipalps versus an adult female's slender palps.

6. Feed it as much as it will take. Spiderlings & juvenille's can eat several times a week, adults maybe a couple of times per week.

7. T's like to just sit, eat & poop.

8. T poop looks like white paint.

Good luck!!

Peace
 

Arachnopuppy

Arachnodemon
Old Timer
Joined
Jul 22, 2002
Messages
715
1. I use potting soil that have no chemical or fertilizer additives. If you read more in this forum, you will find out quickly that most of us here have absolutely no respect for petshop people.

2. Your idea of putting your hand flat on the bottom and let the tarantula walk on it sounds good to me. There are many ways to do this, but I'm sure other people can describe them better than I can. For me, just do what you think is safe and best for the tarantula. One thing though. I'm willing to bet everything I have that there is nothing you can do to make your tarantula bite you, assuming it IS a G. rosea.

3. Again, you can't go wrong with a rosea. The front legs being put up that you described is probably just for investigation of what it couldn't see. However, I agree that you should be cautious and not take any risk.

4. Male or female? That is the question. Anyone wants to help with this? I have found that it's useless for me to describe in words how to sex a tarantula and the other person actually understood what I was saying. So, I'll leave this to other people.

5. I'd say once or twice a week is more than enough for an adult. Sometimes more if you have a juvie or sling. G. roseas have the tendency to fast (refuse all food offers) for up to months at a time just cuz'. If this happens, don't panic and post a thread or two on this forum about it for us. You should remove any prey item refused by the tarantula though.

6. What you described is normal. Tarantulas are mostly unactive during the day. They are nocturnal beings. And even then, can you think of a reason for it to move at all?
 

sunnymarcie

Celestial Spider
Old Timer
Joined
Feb 13, 2003
Messages
1,294
New T's are fun~:0)

I have a Rose hair to:)
She always puts up her front legs at me (big display!)
When I clean her house she does the same thing.
A display is not always like that though, you could get bit
at any time. T's are odd critters, you will learn to understand
yours:) Everyone has a different reaction to the hair and to
the bites. If you have ever been stung by a Bee or a Hornet,
you already have a good idea of how a spider bite feels.
At least that's what people tell me, I have Never been bit:)
But I am a beginner, I've only handled 2 of my 4 T's:eek:
There is a bite report link check it out.

I use fine ground peat and vermiculite for bedding.(50/50)
You should change your T's bedding, it could have things in it
that you don't want to subject your new friend to.

Make sure you use a water dish of some type.
They drink a lot of water.

Read everything you can about T's
Here's another book to check out
"Tarantulas and Other Arachnids" (Marshall)

These can be found on Amazon.com
thats how I got my copies:)

If you can post a picture of your T and it's home

Enjoy, all of us are here to help when you need us:D
 

SkyeSpider

Spider Queen
Old Timer
Joined
Jul 17, 2002
Messages
1,253
Welcome to this very addicting, and very rewarding hobby! :D

Let me see if I can help:

1- I use a mixture of 80% peat moss 20% vermiculite. ALWAYS make sure that what you're buying is pesticide free. The reason I use this mix is that it's really good for keeping moisture, and to let the spider dig if they want to. I really wouldn't recomend any other kinds of bedding for them, to be honest.

2- There's always a risk of getting bitten, but if you're cautious, you can minimize the risk. First off, you have a pretty decent method for picking it up. You can just as easily use your hand innitially, instead of the cardboard. Just put it in front of your tarantula, touch the back leg gentle, and it SHOULD just walk right on.

There are three warning signs to watch for when handling a spider. One is the classic threat posture (all four front legs up, fangs exposed). If you see this, stay calm. Either don't pick the spider up, or if it does this while you're holding it, stay still 'til it stops. Another one is the nervous walk. If a spider gets nervous, it will start lifting its front legs VERY high as it's walking. This is just to see what's around it, but it's a sign that it might be a good idea to stop handling the spider. Lastly, is the hair kick warning. Watch for them to stick their abdomen up in the air. If you know those signs, you can GENERALLY avoid any problems.

3- Oops. I think I just answered that one ;)

4- It all depends on the size. For most of them, about once a week is enough. If it's full grown, about 6-10 crickets a week are more than enough.

5- Chilean rose hairs are NOTORIOUS for being pet rocks. So, yes, that's completely normal :)

-Bryan
 

alidpayne

Arachnoknight
Old Timer
Joined
Apr 12, 2003
Messages
152
It seems most of your questions have been answered, so I wont repeat the substrate advice.

As far as handling goes, I usually wait till I have had the T for a while before I try to handle it. That way you can observe and get a feel for their personality. Most rosies are calm and good to handle, but if you read the archives on this board you will see that there are people here who have agressive rosies.

My rosie is definately of the pet rock catagory. She sits on top of her coconut hut most of the time. I can let her crawl all over me without any fear. I have NEVER seen her in threat posture. I just lay my hand down in front of her and she usually volunteers to crawl on, if not a gentle nudge gets her moving. She is a sweety. I am positive I could just reach in and pick her up, but of course I wont do that, it isnt fair to her to put her through the stress.

Just be careful, when in doubt, leave her alone.


I think someone else said it, but I will say it again, Make sure you get the cricket carcasses out as soon as you see them laying around. And don't leave live crickets in there with her either. If she hasn't shown any interest in them after a while, remove them. The only time my Rosie gets fidgity is if there is a live cricket in there with her. She will press herself against the glass and wave her arms around like "hey, help, get these idiots out of here" and when I take them out she returns to business as usual.

And one last thing, if the pet store had her on bark, chances are she also has a sponge in her water dish. Get rid of it immediately. She doesn't need a sponge, just a shallow dish of clean water. The sponge will harbor bacteria and could make your tarantula very sick.


Congrats on your new friend!

Ali
 

Action Jackson

Arachnosquire
Old Timer
Joined
Apr 3, 2003
Messages
76
As far as handling goes... It's generally tough to make a G. Rosea attack you, so don't necessarily worry about that. However, I wouldn't trust ANYONE else enough to handle her; if they drop her or rub her the wrong way (note: as mentioned in another thread, never pet your spider), it could get messy, and very sad.

G. Rosea is an excellent beginner spider, have fun.
 

Corbet

Arachnopeon
Joined
Apr 16, 2003
Messages
17
Actualy I think I did hear about wood chips being bad at petco. But the only sites I learn about arachnids mainly are here at petbugs.com. is petbugs.com a reliable resource? I'm guessing petco is wrong?
 

Arachnopuppy

Arachnodemon
Old Timer
Joined
Jul 22, 2002
Messages
715
Originally posted by Corbet
Actualy I think I did hear about wood chips being bad at petco. But the only sites I learn about arachnids mainly are here at petbugs.com. is petbugs.com a reliable resource? I'm guessing petco is wrong?
Like I said before, most of us here have very little respect for petshop people, including petco. Yes, petbugs.com is a reliable resource.
 

Lycanthrope

Arachnolord
Old Timer
Joined
Oct 10, 2002
Messages
624
i actually work at petco and im slowly but surely trying to get crap straight. new managers are constantly being trained at my store to be located at new opening stores, i school them on animals. including showing them proper care of inverts. they are usually afraid when we start and more interested and concerned when we finish. the last one actually wrote down everything i said word for word. she now has 2 pages of info on how to care for a few different t's commonly carried by petco.
 

SkyeSpider

Spider Queen
Old Timer
Joined
Jul 17, 2002
Messages
1,253
Originally posted by Lycanthrope
i actually work at petco and im slowly but surely trying to get crap straight. new managers are constantly being trained at my store to be located at new opening stores, i school them on animals. including showing them proper care of inverts. they are usually afraid when we start and more interested and concerned when we finish. the last one actually wrote down everything i said word for word. she now has 2 pages of info on how to care for a few different t's commonly carried by petco.
Great job! You're really making a difference. Thank you!

-Bryan
 

RugbyDave

Arachnoprince
Old Timer
Joined
Apr 5, 2003
Messages
1,428
Whoa,

first off: CONGRATS on the new T -- great way to ease into this hobby/obsession..

and LAM: i def don't disrespect pet shop people or petco or anything -- I do make it my business to teach them though. If you ask for a manager and are cool about it, they'll def. resepct your opinions. The Petco near me is one of the ONLY places i'll buy T's - - they have AMAZINg staff that are part of the ATS, and one kid (i think is on here, but just lurks -- PETE - if you're on here, WAY TO GO WITH THE PETCO IN PITTSBURGH!)... the pet stores don't really know, and ALTHOUGH they should, they're just humans -- there's so much conflicting info on T's that its hard sometimes -- just be patient and work with them


and as for Rosies:: man, all of mine are aggressive as hell. I've said it before and i'll say it again: i'll handle my T.blondi before i'll even go near any of my T's -- One word of advice that i give out often and i've heard often is this:

there are no generalisations about T's (or anything else for that matter) -- just like you can't generalise races or people, you can't for T's -- especially the quirky terrestrials (land-walkers :) ) --

my Rose-Hairs are mean as all get out, but i love em the same and take great care with them! One's with an eggsac now -- but just be careful, and don't listen to anyone who says "yeah, they're calm, pick it up, its ok" - just like any other "recently domesticated (sarcasm)" animal, you must watch for the signs --

read up, know the T and be calm -- if you can read the T , then you can go ahead cautiously (its easy to read for an aggressive T - They make it pretty easy -- watch for the way the walk, if they are showing fangs/front legs, or if they are kicking hairs).

Enjoy your new pet, and we're here for you if you need! just be smart :) This isnt a puppy (though im sure you know that by now)..

and PLEASE, don't be mad or think angrily on all T's if yours happens to be aggressive... all it means is that it might be time to buy a new one in a couple months if you want :)

enjoy good luck!
peace,
dave
 
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