Tarantulas in captivity : the mythbusters !

Vorax29

Arachnopeon
Joined
Jan 27, 2017
Messages
23
Hi everyone!
I've searched around the forum, but did not find a thread about all the myths concerning tarantulas in captivity....

So i'd like to begin an intersting thread about this.

It would be cool to have nice discuss and no aggression, because it seems some myths are hard to be against...

So if you've experienced some particular things with success that "everyone" say it's not good, please, share it with us! :)

The first I want to give my opinion about is the classical "A spiderling can not find its food in a too big enclosure".
With my first tarantulas, I used to respect this fact! Small spider = small enclosure.
But I've tried to put spiderlings in bigger containers than a ridiculous sized box, and nothing bad happened!
I first tried after I've seen EACH TIME my spiderlings walked all around their little enclosures all night long!

For example, here is the enclosure of my Ceratogyrus marshalli (spider is about 4cm legspan, it means it is smaller than the rock on the picture):

DSCN5471.JPG

And here is the enclosure of my little Euathlus sp. red (spider is the same legspan as the waterdish) : DSCN5472.JPG
(Note the Hypoestes near the rock did not survive :p )

Another myth some people here have already destroyed is the add of stuff in the waterdish to avoid the drowning of the tarantula...
I've never seen a tarantula drowned in their waterdish...

Here are the 2 first "myths" I had to disagree with.
Of course, I an NOT a scientist, this is with my personal experience, and I DON'T pretend to own the ultimate truth! :)
I'm opened to discuss, and I'de really like to read your experience with myths too !
 

Grimmdreadly

Arachnopeon
Joined
Mar 13, 2017
Messages
29
Hi everyone!
I've searched around the forum, but did not find a thread about all the myths concerning tarantulas in captivity....

So i'd like to begin an intersting thread about this.

It would be cool to have nice discuss and no aggression, because it seems some myths are hard to be against...

So if you've experienced some particular things with success that "everyone" say it's not good, please, share it with us! :)

The first I want to give my opinion about is the classical "A spiderling can not find its food in a too big enclosure".
With my first tarantulas, I used to respect this fact! Small spider = small enclosure.
But I've tried to put spiderlings in bigger containers than a ridiculous sized box, and nothing bad happened!
I first tried after I've seen EACH TIME my spiderlings walked all around their little enclosures all night long!

For example, here is the enclosure of my Ceratogyrus marshalli (spider is about 4cm legspan, it means it is smaller than the rock on the picture):

View attachment 239159

And here is the enclosure of my little Euathlus sp. red (spider is the same legspan as the waterdish) : View attachment 239160
(Note the Hypoestes near the rock did not survive :p )

Another myth some people here have already destroyed is the add of stuff in the waterdish to avoid the drowning of the tarantula...
I've never seen a tarantula drowned in their waterdish...

Here are the 2 first "myths" I had to disagree with.
Of course, I an NOT a scientist, this is with my personal experience, and I DON'T pretend to own the ultimate truth! :)
I'm opened to discuss, and I'de really like to read your experience with myths too !
Those two myths are ones I've disproven, myself. I find that, while some terrestrials may feel a bit uncomfortable in large enclosures, my burrowing new world species, baboons, pokies, Taps, and Psalmies don't care. They make their homes and pretty much go from there
 

Rittdk01

Arachnoknight
Joined
Oct 4, 2016
Messages
264
^^^You put pebbles in to keep the feeders from drowning. I mist my Avics enclosures and have done so for over three years. I also mist 1/4 of my spiderling substrate instead of a water dish. I raised about a dozen this way with zero deaths, so it works. I feed all 24 or so of my tarantulas worms 90% of the time, and they all eat them. Supers for the big guys, large for the smaller ones, and small mealies for the spiderlings.
 

Trenor

Arachnoprince
Joined
Jan 28, 2016
Messages
1,899
The first I want to give my opinion about is the classical "A spiderling can not find its food in a too big enclosure".
With my first tarantulas, I used to respect this fact! Small spider = small enclosure.
But I've tried to put spiderlings in bigger containers than a ridiculous sized box, and nothing bad happened!
It's not that they can't do ok in a larger enclosure. They readily find food and most keepers are going to drop the food close to the T anyway. I still think small enclosures for Ts works best for me.

The reason I prefer smaller cup enclosures for slings if it easier for me to track them. Finding my sling easily when I need to helps me spot potential problems. I don't want to end up with "I haven't seen my sling in a while and when I found it.. it was dead. You will have no idea where your 1/4- 1 inch sling is when it's housed in a much larger enclosure.

It's more difficult for me to maintain a larger enclosure to fit my preference for keeping slings. I like to keep all slings regardless of their type on moist substrate as well as giving them other things that they require depending on the species. A larger enclosure means I have to work a lot more to maintain that same conditions

They gain no benefit from being in a larger enclosure as the T will only use as much as they need.

Taking that into account, it works better for me to house in a suitable sized enclosure and just move them up as is required.

Once they get over 1-1.5 inches DLS I've had no issues with moving them to something that is bigger. They are out of the fragile sling stage at that point and I don't have to watch them as close. You can then house them as you want within reason.
 
Last edited:

Vorax29

Arachnopeon
Joined
Jan 27, 2017
Messages
23
@Trenor : I understand!
Something I didn't mention is the fact I don't have MANY spiders, so of course, it's easier for me to check everything each day! If I had 250 spiders, i'm not sure I'll have "large" enclosures... But I was talking simply about the fact even a baby tarantula is able to fin its food :)

@ Rittdk01 : Yop! I was waiting for someone talk about the waterdish. I think this is not necessary too! There is one in one of my 2 pictures because the monster is about to molt, so since some weeks for the humidity, I've put it!
But yes, in the wild, tarantulas don't have waterdish with clean new water every day :p
 

Grimmdreadly

Arachnopeon
Joined
Mar 13, 2017
Messages
29
When I first got into tarantulas, I was 14 so that was 18 years ago, there was a myth going around that tarantulas couldn't drink from a water dish, but that you had to leave a sponge in the water for them to get moisture from.

I'm glad someone saw through that idiocy.
 

user 666

Arachnobaron
Joined
Jan 27, 2017
Messages
351
@ Rittdk01 : Yop! I was waiting for someone talk about the waterdish. I think this is not necessary too! There is one in one of my 2 pictures because the monster is about to molt, so since some weeks for the humidity, I've put it!
But yes, in the wild, tarantulas don't have waterdish with clean new water every day :p
Water dishes are absolutely necessary.

I have seen Ts that were without water for weeks stand in the dish and drink. I wouldn't dream of going without, which is why I refill water dishes once a week.
 

Grimmdreadly

Arachnopeon
Joined
Mar 13, 2017
Messages
29
Water dishes are absolutely necessary.

I have seen Ts that were without water for weeks stand in the dish and drink. I wouldn't dream of going without, which is why I refill water dishes once a week.
I'd say it depends on species. I've seen baboons drink for ten minutes at a new water dish. But I've had P. Cambridgi and Irminias who I kept humid, not even go on the same side of the enclosure as the dish. I did however mist the sides of their enclosures weekly and watched them drink that way.
 
Last edited:

Vorax29

Arachnopeon
Joined
Jan 27, 2017
Messages
23
@user 666 : My Nhandu chromatus (mature male) drank a lot after his last molt, but that's all.
In your opinion (and maybe you've seen this in the wild), how tarantulas do in the wild in some areas where there is no water?
Unfortunately, until now, I didn't have any chance to witness tarantulas life in the wild, so i'm curious about all these "details"!
 

Rittdk01

Arachnoknight
Joined
Oct 4, 2016
Messages
264
Water dishes are absolutely necessary.

I have seen Ts that were without water for weeks stand in the dish and drink. I wouldn't dream of going without, which is why I refill water dishes once a week.
Obviously Its not, since i have yet to have one die. Once they are larger I put a water dish in, but never with the smaller ones. I check my tarantulas daily, and remist as needed.
 

Nightstalker47

Arachnoking
Joined
Jul 2, 2016
Messages
2,611
"Feeding mice to tarantulas causes bad molts, there's too much calcium" I don't feed mice but I've heard this myth floating around too many times.
 

Vorax29

Arachnopeon
Joined
Jan 27, 2017
Messages
23
My M. balfouri & C. marshalli don't have waterdish, I mist a little bit once a week, but as it seems in their natural habitat there's not "a lot" of water, I assume they find water in their preys...
Interesting to have various points of view anyway !
 

Venom1080

Arachnoemperor
Joined
Sep 24, 2015
Messages
4,583
'water dishes are necessary" "Avics need high humidity" "screen lids kill tarantulas" blah blah
 

Chris LXXIX

ArachnoGod
Active Member
Joined
Dec 25, 2014
Messages
5,689
Trenor is right... it's always the best to work in little with slings, especially with certain tropical/Asian species that require as adults (so go figure slings, more delicate) moist substrate. In a large enclosure could be more difficult to mantain the right balance.
 

Chris LXXIX

ArachnoGod
Active Member
Joined
Dec 25, 2014
Messages
5,689
Water dishes are absolutely necessary.

I have seen Ts that were without water for weeks stand in the dish and drink. I wouldn't dream of going without, which is why I refill water dishes once a week.
Although I don't disagree at all (IMO it's always best to provide one, if not only for remain in the 'safe' side) what is absolutely necessary is water.
 

Trenor

Arachnoprince
Joined
Jan 28, 2016
Messages
1,899
Something I didn't mention is the fact I don't have MANY spiders, so of course, it's easier for me to check everything each day! If I had 250 spiders, i'm not sure I'll have "large" enclosures... But I was talking simply about the fact even a baby tarantula is able to fin its food :)
Right, I check on all my Ts pretty much daily as well. It's harder to find that sling in the big enclosure to make sure it's doing good. We had a post the other day about a keeper who's slings were likely dead for weeks with their knowing. The bigger the enclosure the easier this is. It's still hard to keep the enclosure conditions the way I want them the bigger they get. There is still nothing to be gained from a larger enclosure.

See to me there are two types of ideals your calling "myths". One is harmful if followed and the other is not.

Harmful Ideal: ICUs - If you use one for anything other than a severely dehydrated T then you cause more issues and so it is harmful.

Not Harmful Ideal: Misting - As long as you don't over mist and make the enclosure to wet (swampy) misting causes no harm.

Where this discussion is tilting IMO is thinking that if you have a example of a T living without doing X there is no need for it. To me that is false reasoning. One should always weight the pros and cons to any keeping ideal.

Take for instance the great water dish debate of 2017 (here after referred to the GWDD2017).
The pros to having a water dish are: Maintenance is easier due to a readily available water source. Keeper doesn't need to watch the T as close to detect if T needs extra water. If my T room gets really hot today due to a spike in summer temps (it's cut off from the rest of my house's central air) and the T needs a drink it can get one. If something comes up and I can't work with the Ts today because... <insert emergency here> then the T still has what he needs. A water dish is a steady source of humidity.
The cons to having a water dish are: It take up a little room in the enclosure. If the T is a heavy webber/digger you have to free the dish from dirt or web when watering. Not much else.

So weighing the pros vs the cons why wouldn't you have a water dish? Do we unlock an achievement for raising Ts without them?

Do you absolutely have to have them? No, I have raised Ts without them. I currently have them in all my enclosures (even my 1/4 inch slings) now and are likely to continue to do so in the future. There really isn't a good reason why not to IMO. That's my take on the GWDD2017.

Keep in mind a lot of these so called "Myths" are ideas that make it easier for new keepers to get into keeping Ts with the least amount of problems.

What we should be trying to bust are the ones that cause more issues or are even harmful if people follow them.
 
Last edited:
Top