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The Guide to Owning Tarantulas and Scorpions by Wayne Rankin & Jerry G. Walls

Discussion in 'Book and Magazine Reviews' started by Gail, Aug 30, 2004.

  1. Gail

    Gail Arachnopixie Old Timer

    OK, I have a thing about books - I could easily start a library. I like to have a wide representation of authors on topics so I added a copy of The Guide to Owning Tarantulas and Scorpions by Wayne Rankin & Jerry G. Walls to an Amazon order since I hadn't seen this before. GAKKK - these two seem to go out of their way to tell you the WRONG things to do - they say to put a piece of sponge in the water dish to prevent drowning; to use a light bulb inside the tank for heat (they even show a picture of a set up with one); another method of picking up a tarantula is "to gently but firmly take hold of the second and third legs near their bases on one side of it's body, then lift. A spider is not accustomed to suddenly being whisked from terra firma and seems to be at a loss what to do, so it does nothing." I would love to see someone try that LOL.
    They also give out bad information such as "Once the male has attained maturity he will molt only a few times before dying." and the latin name used for all the Brachy species is "Euathlus" so I am assuming this was written a long time ago - strangely there is no publication date in it anywhere that I can find.
    Now, there is a lot of accurate info and good advice too, but for someone who knows nothing about T's to get this as their first and only book - Zowee!
    I don't know enough about Scorpions to say just how accurate their info is there, but there is very little of it as compared to the tarantula information.


    PS Oh, pooh, I just realized I posted this in Tarantulas and not the book review section... help?
  2. cacoseraph

    cacoseraph ArachnoGod Old Timer

    Negative, overall

    what she said. she saves me the effort of referencing out some of the concrete problems with the book.

    the most i could conceivably give this book is 2/5 stars... it has some beautiful glossy photo plates in it. lots of good pictures, but i do have to point one thing out.

    on page 35, unless i am badly misunderstanding the picture, there is a terrarium with a tarantula AND a scorpion in it! A Pandinus or Heterometrus scorpion it looks like, no idea on the tarantula. i don't think there is a divider, is the thing i would like to make clear. they aren't fighting, but it really looks like the T is in a semi-threat position and the scorp is in medium alert and running away. the other funny thing is it is a desert-style terrarium... and unless it is a D. whitei or something it is a wrong setup for that type of scorpion :wall:

    this is an awful book for a beginner... you will have to unlearn SO many things that it is to be avoided.

    for a more moderately experienced and knowledgeable hobbyist it makes a fun addition, as you can play Spot-The-Misinformation with it. and like i said earlier, it *does* have pretty pictures

    my suspicion is this book was produced in either late 70's or early 80's and that is why the info is so... er, primative...

    after some googling i think i found the publisher's site:

    it was published in 1994... hmm, i am not at all familiar with the state of the hobby in '94 but i reckon Schultz & Schultz _The Tarantula Keeper's Guide_ first edition was only a few years after, if that... and *that* is what a book should be like.

    i think part of the problem is this is more of a british tarantula book. I don't really know anything except the ATS list of common names and this book clearly doesn't follow that. that added to the dodgy technical info makes it a book to avoid for USAmerican readers... someone from the far off and mythical land of Europe would have to give comments on it to do it justice, i am afraid.
    Last edited: Jul 31, 2005
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