Somebody Tell the Dark Den to Stop!! (Unless I'm Wrong)

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antinous

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I don’t think he is a bad guy, just severely remiss in understanding his audience and what they will take away from watching him do stunts like the tweezer thing. I did feel really bad when his T. seladonia died. He does care about his animals even if he is misguided at times like this.
Tl, Dr: There are worse Youtubers than Petko.
The thing is, if people are making videos about tarantula care, or any animal care, they need to be sure that they’re doing everything as correctly as possible, or willing to address all of their previous problems within the next video or put some sort of update as they should know their viewers will try and copy them. Some of his animals lack water dishes, enough substrate, appropriate sized enclosures, and now the whole tongs thing is a even bigger problem. They should be doing research before stating any information as it should be implied that their fans will be following them/listening to them religiously. And yes there are worse youtubers out there, but he has a huge following and I’m just worried about some idiot smashing their tarantula with a pair of tongs after watching the video
 

cold blood

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The thing is, if people are making videos about tarantula care, or any animal care, they need to be sure that they’re doing everything as correctly as possible
The very most basic part of teaching.....or it used to be back in the day, anyway.
 

Vanessa

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There have been countless people who have tried to give him advice and it has been ignored. I have seen plenty of comments about the care he provides, some of them to the point but not antagonistic, but those people have been drowned out in a matter of minutes. He has chosen to do stupid videos dedicated to his 'haters', tastelessly making fun of suicide, instead of taking the time to step back and address their valid concerns. This has been done before with Brian Barczyk and Exotics Lair with the same results - people concerned about the animals are dismissed as haters and the animals continue to suffer.
I used to watch him until his collection got out of control and he was keeping sub-adults in take out food containers, that they could barely even turn around in, that they managed to escape from. He argued with me over that on Instagram and I commented that it would have taken him less time to completely rehouse that Brachypelma, than it took for him to type out this huge response on Instagram making excuses as to why he didn't. He didn't respond again.
The problem is that, valid or not, your concerns over the well being of his animals automatically make you jealous and a 'hater'. Not taking into account that, for many people, being a slave to YouTube and having your life exposed like that, is an absolute nightmare. I wouldn't be doing what he does for anything and I am the furthest from being jealous. There are plenty of people whose goals in life do not include having a ball and chain of a YouTube channel.
He has a lot of people that he has an obligation to 'entertain' in order to increase his subscribers and, most importantly, his Patreon following. People want fresh, new, material and there is no way to provide that without getting more and more animals. Different animals. Animals that he does controversial things in his videos with. Animals that he obviously hasn't researched properly. Animals who are antagonized to appeal to the lowest common denominator in this hobby - the wannabe tough guy. Animals are getting sick. Deaths happen at a higher rate than normal. Excuses are given that 'it happens' when it doesn't happen to responsible keepers. Care is substandard. This is not a new phenomenon... it's called hoarding and, just because this is considered a 'hobby', getting more animals than you can care for properly still makes you a hoarder.
The cult following thing is absolutely mind blowing. I have never blindly idolized some stranger like that in my entire life... not even as a child. It's creepy. But the validation from those people is what prevents him from looking at the situation rationally. 'Look at all the people who agree with me!' is always the answer. It's only going to get worse and the new people fashioning their care on his poor examples is going to be tragic for these animals in the long run.
 

Hisserdude

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Please, don't promote sterilization. It's better to just pick up a small spoon of earth from the outside to seed your enclosure to provide competition, or use springtails and isopods.
Better to sterilize than end up with an entomophagus fungus or even that pesky Leucocoprinus IMO, I always sterilize my substrate and then add springtails afterwards, never had a problem.

On the other hand, a friend of mine used unsterlized peat moss in several of his cockroach enclosures, and shortly afterwards most of those colonies succumbed to an entomophagus fungus and were wiped out. I myself have had this problem when using unsterlized leaf litter. Springtails don't protect against everything, but good sterilization will wipe out any entomophagus fungi, and you'll almost never run into it other than in unsterlized substrate. An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure as they say, (and it's really hard to cure inverts of entomophagus fungi, believe me...).
 

boina

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Better to sterilize than end up with an entomophagus fungus or even that pesky Leucocoprinus IMO, I always sterilize my substrate and then add springtails afterwards, never had a problem.

On the other hand, a friend of mine used unsterlized peat moss in several of his cockroach enclosures, and shortly afterwards most of those colonies succumbed to an entomophagus fungus and were wiped out. I myself have had this problem when using unsterlized leaf litter. Springtails don't protect against everything, but good sterilization will wipe out any entomophagus fungi, and you'll almost never run into it other than in unsterlized substrate. An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure as they say, (and it's really hard to cure inverts of entomophagus fungi, believe me...).
You can't possibly get an entomophagic fungus from substrate like coco fiber - it's impossible. With every infection you always need a source organism, meaning another infected animal. I've never ever heard of that happening and I won't believe it until I've seen irrefutable proof that the substrate really was the source. Just because something happens at the same time doesn't mean there is a causal connection. Germans as a rule don't sterilize anything and I've never heard of anyone ever having an entomophagic fungus.

As I said: sterilization won't prevent anything, that's the whole point. Having a diverse population af saprophytes and detritivores, however, prevents a lot.

Edit: Ok, I think I need to be clearer and more exact than that. So:

1. Entomomagus fungi spores can be in soil, but:
You need a certain number to achieve infection. One lone spore, or just a few, isn't enough. Insects and spiders have defense mechanisms after all. So, your substrate needs to have been in very close contact with insects that died from entomophagic fungus. How is that going to happen with coco fiber?

2. Fungus spores get eaten by detritivores. If you have a good population of detritivores any possible spores will never make it to your tarantula.

As I said: I use soil and leaf litter from the outside and so do quite a lot of people I know. No one I know has ever had an entomophagic fungus.
 
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Luka98

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I prefer the after dark version, "Does it fit?" :astonished:
Whoa that came out of nowhere :rofl:

Also i loved watching the guy because he has those nice contrasty cameras that really make the T's pop when filmed but holly molly he can be sensitive. Idk if you guys saw the recent video of him vilifying some random dude that critiqued him once on facebook it's literally 20 minutes long, needless drama and 0 education. Also he can't be compared to RobC becuse when rob did stupid stuff like handling a 14 inch T. blondi he was like "im an idiot for doing this, this is a bad idea, dont do this ever" but dark den gets all defensive when he gets called out for doing dumb things it's kinda weird.
 
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Irisiridescent

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I can kinda understand why he's so sensitive. I understand completely people are concerned about his keeping but then there's people who will criticize everything he does. I bought two horses that were popular on social media. People marched in and told me what I needed to do and how I needed to do it. I quit updating after that. They wanted me to provide utmost five-star care like Thoroughbreds get and I can't do that. I still make sure they have food, attention, water, shelter, and vet care.

My point is it's easy to dismiss the people with real concerns as just "another armchair expert who thinks you need to do it 100% perfectly." Especially when you get vilified for every single "wrong" thing you do over and over.
 

SonsofArachne

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The only thing I will sorta defend Petco on is having to many animals. I've watched some of his videos and several featured him unboxing freebies his followers sent him. Admit it, if people started sending you free inverts you'd be happy to get them, at least for awhile. In fact, if anybody wants to start buying inverts and send them to me, be my guest. I'll even start a thank you thread here if you do ;)
 

Irisiridescent

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The only thing I will sorta defend Petco on is having to many animals. I've watched some of his videos and several featured him unboxing freebies his followers sent him. Admit it, if people started sending you free inverts you'd be happy to get them, at least for awhile. In fact, if anybody wants to start buying inverts and send them to me, be my guest. I'll even start a thank you thread here if you do ;)
Sign me up for it too! Just no Old Worlds, but I guess I wouldn't complain even if I got them. I just am still terrified of spiders too much to deal with OW, especially the OBT.
 

boina

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Better to sterilize than end up with an entomophagus fungus or even that pesky Leucocoprinus IMO, I always sterilize my substrate and then add springtails afterwards, never had a problem.

On the other hand, a friend of mine used unsterlized peat moss in several of his cockroach enclosures, and shortly afterwards most of those colonies succumbed to an entomophagus fungus and were wiped out. I myself have had this problem when using unsterlized leaf litter. Springtails don't protect against everything, but good sterilization will wipe out any entomophagus fungi, and you'll almost never run into it other than in unsterlized substrate. An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure as they say, (and it's really hard to cure inverts of entomophagus fungi, believe me...).
There is another thing that just occurred to me:

Did you use sterilized substrate in that roach enclosures that got wiped out by an entomophagic fungus?

Because I can imagine the following scenario:

Some fungus spores may have adhered to the peat moss. When you put them in the enclosure they found a pristine environment. The soil fauna and bacteria were severly restricted in its diversity by sterilization, so there was no one around to eat the spores, as it is always the case in a natural environment. In a natural environment everything gets eaten by something, unless it's an apex predator. All there was in your enclosure, though, were the roaches. Heaven for the fungus.

If it doesn't go well you don't have a problem, you have a desaster.
You may just have provided the perfect example why sterilization isn't a good idea. I mean, you create an invironment where infection is possible and then take steps to prevent that infection... that doesn't make sense to me.
 

Paul1126

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I can kinda understand why he's so sensitive. I understand completely people are concerned about his keeping but then there's people who will criticize everything he does. I bought two horses that were popular on social media. People marched in and told me what I needed to do and how I needed to do it. I quit updating after that. They wanted me to provide utmost five-star care like Thoroughbreds get and I can't do that. I still make sure they have food, attention, water, shelter, and vet care.

My point is it's easy to dismiss the people with real concerns as just "another armchair expert who thinks you need to do it 100% perfectly." Especially when you get vilified for every single "wrong" thing you do over and over.
Cramming adult Ts into small, bare enclosures. potentially hybridising Ts and showing off his ridiculous rehousing methods.
This is why this thread was started, he should know better.

I am so glad I found this forum, I'm a pain sometimes but the help I received with my first T was amazing, we all need a little advice sometimes.
 

Irisiridescent

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Cramming adult Ts into small, bare enclosures. potentially hybridising Ts and showing off his ridiculous rehousing methods.
This is why this thread was started, he should know better.

I am so glad I found this forum, I'm a pain sometimes but the help I received with my first T was amazing, we all need a little advice sometimes.
"I understand completely why everyone is concerned." Yes, I totally agree. I do. I'm just giving a possibly explanation as to why it's often dismissed.
 

Paul1126

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"I understand completely why everyone is concerned." Yes, I totally agree. I do. I'm just giving a possibly explanation as to why it's often dismissed.
I understand what you are saying, but dismissing genuine advice because a small minority of people are not very nice is perplexing.
 

Irisiridescent

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I understand what you are saying, but dismissing genuine advice because a small minority of people are not very nice is perplexing.
Text is toneless and even when people post genuine advice it can easily be seen as scathing. Especially when you're already upset at the people who are telling you to do everything 100% right.
 

CheshireGleam

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The person who really got me into tarantulas at first was Jon3800. I'm happy it was him too, rather than Dark Den or Exotics Lair. I like them both just fine too, much less so after this thread because it's definitely true. Probably going to unsubscribe, don't want to be a contributor anymore. I watched the whole catalog of EulersK's channel, really great content. Nice to put a face to name. Shame more people like him don't become the face of the hobby, at least on Youtube, when they should over people with hardly any experience comparatively.

When I watched the video in question on this thread, I had no idea what variant of B. albopilosum he was showing, assuming he knew what he was talking about. I've been keeping T's for about nine months now and I feel bad for anyone else who gets potentially damaging information from him. Granted, I'm not in a position to be breeding already, but some newcomers are and could injure the hobby even more with false info like that. He should absolutely know the differences in the variants having been in the hobby for at least three years, let alone the fact he intended to breed B. albopilosum!

I'd be really surprised if he commented about this thread anywhere. His Halloween video, the one where he made light of suicide because people complained about his animal care :rolleyes:, contained pretty much nothing in the way of apologizing for his mistakes. Just made hollow excuses and attempted to blame the audience for having to even bring the claims to attention.

He advertises himself to newcomers in the hobby, not just T's since he keeps other pets, so Dark Den could go out of his way to correct his mistakes, then the newbies that watch him can avoid it. He's doing the opposite and it's sad that he can't take responsibility when he's putting himself out there for eyes to see.
 

TreebeardGoddess

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I'm a little late to this thread, but I gotta defend Petko here. He's one of the guys that got me into tarantulas, after tarantulaguy1976 of course! I'm still a new keeper, but having videos to watch from all levels of keepers really helps me. I try to take all advice with a grain of salt. It's similar to researching on here. There are so many people with different opinions and experiences, but it allows me to make a more informed decision.
I do think everyone should open to constructive criticism - especially people who are more the "face" of the hobby. Hopefully, Petko will keep this in mind and remember that most of us just want him to take good care of his pets. I enjoy watching his videos, but no one is the end all expert on this.
...and YouTube comments are a wasteland that should be actively ignored!
 

antinous

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I'm a little late to this thread, but I gotta defend Petko here. He's one of the guys that got me into tarantulas, after tarantulaguy1976 of course! I'm still a new keeper, but having videos to watch from all levels of keepers really helps me. I try to take all advice with a grain of salt. It's similar to researching on here. There are so many people with different opinions and experiences, but it allows me to make a more informed decision.
I do think everyone should open to constructive criticism - especially people who are more the "face" of the hobby. Hopefully, Petko will keep this in mind and remember that most of us just want him to take good care of his pets. I enjoy watching his videos, but no one is the end all expert on this.
...and YouTube comments are a wasteland that should be actively ignored!
It's great that he brought you into the hobby and that you were able to get many different viewpoints from different sources. However, that's not always the case. Just like any 'icon', he has..., let's call them over enthusiastic fans, that don't listen to anyone else but him. He's not a horrible keeper, he's leagues better than the ones that are misinformed and those who use the wrong substrate, etc. But there are many flaws with what he does. Like I mentioned before, his use of tongs on the spiders, small enclosures, lacking of water dish, not enough substrate, etc. is something that is very basic and he could easily change. It doesn't seem like he takes criticism well, when in fact all 'icons'/YouTubers who are acting as a 'teacher', should be open to criticism and should be willing to change. Similar to Tom Moran and @EulersK , they should be openly saying what they're doing is not absolute and they can even be wrong (and even more important, be willing to change). But the thing is that if he's not able to change those basic things (sub, water dish, etc.), he doesn't make a very good teacher.
 

Liquifin

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Hopefully, Petko will keep this in mind and remember that most of us just want him to take good care of his pets.
"Hopefully" is the thing we're hoping for. The biggest problem of being in a position like Petko is the fact that it's hard to tell a difference when someone is nit-picking-smack-talking. Or someone who is actually trying to help out by giving a heads up on what's wrong. Hopefully, Petko doesn't label them both as hate comments. And the biggest problem for the Dark Den is not Petko IMO, but his close-up worshiping Fans who label him as the face of tarantula keeping. I was one of the Dark Den original subscribers believe it or not. I remember when he actually read the comments back then a lot and commented back when you had a question or showed something wrong in his video. I remembered when he answered my questions back then. It was the most best feeling back then, when he had less than a few thousand subscribers/followers on youtube. I miss the old petko :(
 

TreebeardGoddess

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I too miss the old Petko; i love the enclosure build videos!
I really hate people who worship others like that, but I'm guilty of it all the time. Guess I'm a classic self-hater! But it's good to remind myself that everyone is just a regular person.
 
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