The Chronicles of my First Tarantula

Ely

Arachnopeon
Joined
May 4, 2017
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0
Hello, my name is Elyse, My fascination for spiders started quite a few years ago, and I almost want to say the spiders started it!
They will show up in places only I will notice (saving others from the horror), they will be waiting for me it seems... Knowing I will go to great lengths to protect and hopefully rescue them (place them outside or in an equivalent safe spot).
After I decided I was on a mission to save the spiders from the humans, I started learning everything I could about them, mostly wild common north American species. For two years I took Macro (up close) pictures of very many species, I have hundreds of photos so far. Truly amazing creatures!

On March 18 2017, I adopted my first tarantula, I finally justified to myself how I could keep the little guy safe and happy :)
He is a Chilean rose or Grammostola rosea, I have yet to properly name him, so for now he is my Baby Boy, The pet store claims he was about 5 months old at that point (some how I think it is untrue).
We have only "held hands" at this point, I'm shy and so is he I want to start slow.
I have heard controversial information about feeding schedules so I have created my own,
as follows;
-adoption
- waited a week
- fed him about 5 crickets throughout a 7 day period
- waited just under a month
-fed him 5 crickets over about a 3 day period
-been waiting about a week so far now.

I imagine I will somewhat keep a structured yet staggering schedule like that, I want to create a more natural flow of prey, more unpredictable.

For housing I have a 5g tank with a walnut sandy like substrate, a bark hide, a fake fern for him to climb and hide under and a water dish. I try to give him a daylight period and to have the tank become warmer very gradually ( a few degrees different) to help to orient what season he's in, also I do monitor the temp and humidity in the tank. I know they are hardy and extremely adaptable but he doesn't have the option to borrow and create his own climate like he would be able to in the wild. If anyone here knows or has achieved their Chilean borrowing in captivity please share with me!

Hmm what else have I missed, oh, reasons why I think he is a male: his abdomen is the same or smaller than his cephalothorax, and his legs seem to be long, as I understand there won't be much difference between a male and female until I know it is mature? Which is not clear how to tell...

This evening I was able to inspect is book lungs and look for signs of sex organs but I only saw the lungs.

He seems to be very active at night and I got to witness him drinking from the water dish the first night I adopted him, very strange sight to see lol I love seeing the mammalian characteristics in him, he tucks himself in and he slowly stretches out more and more as he falls asleep lol

So I will conclude this now with a huge invitation to constructively criticize anything I am doing for I am only a beginner! Please help me with any advice or just share your experiences! I want my baby boy to live long and prosper!

Good night fellow Arachnologists
 

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Chris LXXIX

ArachnoGod
Active Member
Joined
Dec 25, 2014
Messages
5,689
Hello there Elyse and welcome :)

Before giving you one of my humble advices, can I ask you a question? In the second picture, those two white/red little things at the right of the enclosure... are candies, by chance? If yes, which taste? :pompous:

Forgive me but I have a passion for details :-s
 

Ely

Arachnopeon
Joined
May 4, 2017
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0
Thank you and sure, I have a passion for details too, they are mint, they are my tips from work, I like the chocolate I get more lol so advice?
 

Ungoliant

Malleus Aranearum
Staff member
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Mar 7, 2012
Messages
3,825
- waited a week
- fed him about 5 crickets throughout a 7 day period
- waited just under a month
-fed him 5 crickets over about a 3 day period
-been waiting about a week so far now.
How big is your tarantula, and is this a Grammostola rosea/porteri (commonly called a Chilean rose tarantula or rose-hair tarantula)? If it's bigger than 2-3", I would consider feeding it less. Grammostola rosea/porteri has a glacial metabolism and doesn't need much food. Maybe 1-2 crickets a month for an adult.

Note: we prefer scientific names to common names, as it avoids ambiguity.


I do monitor the temp and humidity in the tank.
If you'd like a critique of your setup, please post a picture of the entire enclosure.

There is no need to monitor humidity, and this species tolerates a wide range of temperatures. In general, if you are comfortable at normal indoor temperatures without stripping naked or wearing layers, the tarantula is fine.

The most important thing to get right in an enclosure for a terrestrial species is vertical space. Large, bulky tarantulas can rupture their abdomens from even a short fall, which is usually fatal. To fall-proof the cage, limit vertical space (the distance between the top of the substrate and the lid) to no more than 1.5 times the tarantula's diagonal leg span, and remove hard, jagged, or sharp objects in the cage. (The bark hide is fine.)


I know they are hardy and extremely adaptable but he doesn't have the option to borrow and create his own climate like he would be able to in the wild. If anyone here knows or has achieved their Chilean borrowing in captivity please share with me!
If you provide enough substrate that is suitable for burrowing, it may burrow, or it may just use the hide you provided. If you bury most of the hide, it will excavate what it wants.

Burrowing substrate needs to be of a material and density that will support burrows.


I think he is a male: his abdomen is the same or smaller than his cephalothorax, and his legs seem to be long, as I understand there won't be much difference between a male and female until I know it is mature? Which is not clear how to tell...
Until the male reaches sexual maturity, the differences between the sexes are very subtle. (The difference in overall body proportions generally applies to adults.) For sexing, the area you are looking for is actually between the first pair of book lungs. The only thing I can tell from your photos is that it's not a mature male.

Still, ventral sexing is usually an educated guess at best. The most reliable way to sex a tarantula is to wait until it molts and examine the exuviae (shed exoskeleton) under magnification. You want to open the abdomen and look at the inside between the first pair of book lungs.
 
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Ely

Arachnopeon
Joined
May 4, 2017
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0
First off thank you for the tips :)
I will have to re read all of it and converse with you further another night I will post more pics and more info tomorrow
 

sasker

Arachnoangel
Joined
Oct 9, 2016
Messages
794
The pet store claims he was about 5 months old at that point (some how I think it is untrue).
I agree. There is no way this spider is 5 months old. 5 years would be more likely :)
 

nicodimus22

Arachnomancer
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Sep 26, 2013
Messages
709
You can get a red flashlight for about $10 on Amazon. This will allow you to watch him at night without him being aware that you're there, as they can't see red light. It's not necessary, but it's fun.
 

boina

Lady of the mites
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Mar 25, 2015
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How big is your tarantula, and is this a Grammostola rosea/porteri (commonly called a Chilean rose tarantula or rose-hair tarantula)? If it's bigger than 2-3", I would consider feeding it less. Grammostola rosea/porteri has a glacial metabolism and doesn't need much food. Maybe 1-2 crickets a month for an adult.
Actually, for this specific spider I'd disagree. As the OP stated and as is visible in the first pic the T is kind of thin. I would feed this T more heavily until it's abdomen (butt) is clearly bigger than its cephalothorax. Then I'd slow down the feeding, since @Ungoliant is right, of course. In the long run they don't need much.
 
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boina

Lady of the mites
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For housing I have a 5g tank with a walnut sandy like substrate
This is actually not the best substrate for any tarantula since it doesn't support any structures or building projects of the T and definitely not any kind of burrows. The most they can do is walk on it. I think the link to better substrate choices is in Ungoliants post. But I like that you are trying to give him a daily/seasonal cycle :)
 

darkness975

dream reaper
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Aug 31, 2012
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First off thank you for the tips :)
I will have to re read all of it and converse with you further another night I will post more pics and more info tomorrow
You should set up your Enclosure like mine. The simpler it is the better it is. But if you do nothing else definitely ditch the Walnut substrate for eco earth or plain top soil.

This species hates moisture , use the hydrometer for your reptiles. Most Tarantulas require no humidity monitoring, least of all this one.

Room temperature is fine. Ditch the temp reader too. As long as the temps in the room are not freezing cold or Mercury hot you need not worry.

They really are easy to care for. Easier than many plants, even.

Here is my girl and her set up. Eco earth, souffle cup water dish (easy to swap out when it gets nasty), and a hide.
 

Ely

Arachnopeon
Joined
May 4, 2017
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0
I have a Grammostola rosea, not bigger than 3", I will cut back his intake of food.

I will get a proper substrate and will try burying his hide under a bit.

I am patiently waiting for his exoskeleton that's for sure, thanks for the advice on sexing him,
so how can I tell how mature he is? not necessarily age

How big is your tarantula, and is this a Grammostola rosea/porteri (commonly called a Chilean rose tarantula or rose-hair tarantula)? If it's bigger than 2-3", I would consider feeding it less. Grammostola rosea/porteri has a glacial metabolism and doesn't need much food. Maybe 1-2 crickets a month for an adult.

Note: we prefer scientific names to common names, as it avoids ambiguity.




If you'd like a critique of your setup, please post a picture of the entire enclosure.

There is no need to monitor humidity, and this species tolerates a wide range of temperatures. In general, if you are comfortable at normal indoor temperatures without stripping naked or wearing layers, the tarantula is fine.

The most important thing to get right in an enclosure for a terrestrial species is vertical space. Large, bulky tarantulas can rupture their abdomens from even a short fall, which is usually fatal. To fall-proof the cage, limit vertical space (the distance between the top of the substrate and the lid) to no more than 1.5 times the tarantula's diagonal leg span, and remove hard, jagged, or sharp objects in the cage. (The bark hide is fine.)




If you provide enough substrate that is suitable for burrowing, it may burrow, or it may just use the hide you provided. If you bury most of the hide, it will excavate what it wants.

Burrowing substrate needs to be of a material and density that will support burrows.




Until the male reaches sexual maturity, the differences between the sexes are very subtle. (The difference in overall body proportions generally applies to adults.) For sexing, the area you are looking for is actually between the first pair of book lungs. The only thing I can tell from your photos is that it's not a mature male.

Still, ventral sexing is usually an educated guess at best. The most reliable way to sex a tarantula is to wait until it molts and examine the exuviae (shed exoskeleton) under magnification. You want to open the abdomen and look at the inside between the first pair of book lungs.
 

JoshDM020

Arachnobaron
Joined
Mar 24, 2017
Messages
358
could he really be five years without maturing??
Yep. Rosies are pretty slow growers. You may be able to get more than 5 years without maturing. They also are known to go a year or more without eating. And to suddenly become psychotic. Rosies are about as unpredictable as an angry baboon, but in a very different way.
 

Ely

Arachnopeon
Joined
May 4, 2017
Messages
0
Yep. Rosies are pretty slow growers. You may be able to get more than 5 years without maturing. They also are known to go a year or more without eating. And to suddenly become psychotic. Rosies are about as unpredictable as an angry baboon, but in a very different way.
haha I have heard extremely controversial information about the G. rosea, breeders and scientists that claim they are the most docile and others saying they are very unpredictable.
I am gong to take it slow and use common sense, my Baby Boy is very shy and generally curious, he lets me stroke his back legs for handling exercises (I have only done a handful of these exercises) we have also just sat and felt each others "fingers" for awhile :) I try to talk to him everyday to get him used to me and associate my voice/vibrations with food, water, or general maintenance
 

viper69

ArachnoGod
Old Timer
Joined
Dec 8, 2006
Messages
11,508
We have only "held hands" at this point, I'm shy and so is he I want to start slow.
Are you referring to handling? That's really not the wisest move for your T. It's a wild animal that lives a solitary life, and doesn't derive any benefit from being held. On top of that, Ts are prone to reacting out of nowhere and taking a leap off your hand, and end up injuried or dead by bleeding to death as they have an open circulatory system, unlike mammals for examples. There was someone on the forum not long ago who was holding their T that had "always" been fine, and it took a mad dash off owner's hand, and I think it died.

a fake fern for him to climb
This is a terrestrial species, and climbing is actually a hazard to them. Their abdomens often grow large in captivity and will go splat if they fall from a decent height.

monitor the temp and humidity in the tank
Not needed, esp the humidity. If you are comfortable, generally they are too.

but he doesn't have the option to borrow and create his own climate like he would be able to in the wild
In captivity your T won't need to create its own climate, that's your job.

He seems to be very active at night
Ts are nocturnal by nature.

Please help me with any advice
Read the form A LOT, and ask Q's.

How do I delete posts? Lol
You can't.
 

Ely

Arachnopeon
Joined
May 4, 2017
Messages
0
Are you referring to handling? That's really not the wisest move for your T. It's a wild animal that lives a solitary life, and doesn't derive any benefit from being held. On top of that, Ts are prone to reacting out of nowhere and taking a leap off your hand, and end up injuried or dead by bleeding to death as they have an open circulatory system, unlike mammals for examples. There was someone on the forum not long ago who was holding their T that had "always" been fine, and it took a mad dash off owner's hand, and I think it died.



This is a terrestrial species, and climbing is actually a hazard to them. Their abdomens often grow large in captivity and will go splat if they fall from a decent height.



Not needed, esp the humidity. If you are comfortable, generally they are too.



In captivity your T won't need to create its own climate, that's your job.



Ts are nocturnal by nature.



Read the form A LOT, and ask Q's.



You can't.
I don't take him out of the tank, and understand he is a delicate species. Also I am aware that I am observing the temp and humidity for my own records. I am not worried or trying to control the levels.

With all your expertise, how old/mature do you think he is and do u think it's a female or male?
 

viper69

ArachnoGod
Old Timer
Joined
Dec 8, 2006
Messages
11,508
I don't take him out of the tank, and understand he is a delicate species. Also I am aware that I am observing the temp and humidity for my own records. I am not worried or trying to control the levels.

With all your expertise, how old/mature do you think he is and do u think it's a female or male?
Good clarification, because 99% of the people who post as you did, are concerned about hitting some value, which generally is not the case for most Ts.

Also, I'd remove that sponge, tend to be great places for bacteria to latch on and grow. There is a member on here however that has always used sponges and never had an issue. There's an exception to almost everything.

What's not an exception is the distance from substrate surface to top of container. It's too tall in your case. The recommended distance for terrestrials is 1.5X their DLS to prevent fall death/injury. Yours is too high.

Also, a screen top will end up being a material that your Ts tarsal claws will hook onto and end up getting it stuck at some point more than likely. While more of an issue for arboreals, still a threat to terrestrials. Once hooked they either hang there, or at times end up falling with injury.

I'd use acrylic with a few drilled holes and slide that in instead.
 

viper69

ArachnoGod
Old Timer
Joined
Dec 8, 2006
Messages
11,508
With all your expertise, how old/mature do you think he is and do u think it's a female or male?
It's really impossible to say because you sex Ts one of 2 ways.

Either looking ventrally with a very closeup clear picture (which isn't always a guarantee) or the gold standard which is a guarantee by examining a a fresh molt, looking for their sex organs. That's how I do it.

As for size/age/gender, it's really impossible to tell for sure because Ts grow at different rates, including the 2 genders. I've owned Ts that I knew were female, and after a bit looked like a male (dorsally that is), but ultimately filled out more as they grew.

And Ts will grow at different rates based on temperature and what the owners feed them as well as how frequently they are fed.
 
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