Theraphosa genus care in captivity

Fran

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The Theraphosa genus (Thorell, 1870 ) encompass 2 known specie and a 3rd one under revision:

Theraphosa blondi, Latreille, 1804
Theraphosa apophysis , Tinter, 1991
Theraphosa sp. "Burgundy" soon to be "spinipes" , under revision by Brazilian taxonomists.

The areas where the genus come from are mainly the Rain forest from Venezuela, Brazil, Guyana and parts of Surinam.

Temperature on average stays on the low-mid 80's F , up to 100% relative humidity all year round. Mid-high 70's F are not impossible to find, but uncommon.
Due to the climatology conditions, the sensation of sofocating warmth and moisture can be overwhelming.
The hours of light in the amazon jungle past quite fast; Night will drop quickly and suddenly,so no extra lightning needed for these sp.
(Info: Universidad Central de Venezuela, UCV, Departamento de Geografia )


As adults;

Theraphosa blondi present an all around dark to light brown color,with different color tones depending on the molt cicle and the individual. It has a more "fuzzy" overall look, with setae on the patella segment of their legs. They have the thickest, widest and stockiest proportions of any Theraphosid known out there.

Theraphosa apophysis Has a more slender and leggier overall look than Blondi. They are more redish and "rusty" in color, alzo "fuzzy" like the Blondi. The cephalotorax (carpace) is slighly less rounded and slighly less thick looking.

Theraphosa Sp. "Spinipes" has a thick body and bold presence as Blondi, but lacks setae on the patela segment of the legs.
Overall looking as stocky as blondi, althought depending on the individual , thickest proportions are probably found in Blondi.

These genus is well known opportunistic burrowers, this means, they will take up a small mammal burrow and make it their own.

Females of these genus tend to stay in their burrows only wondering at the entrance waiting for pray at night. Males tend to wonder around more often, even at immature stages.


In my 15 year experience and after researching quite a bit about the specie reading what other experienced hobbyists and breeders have encounter, in general this genus needs;

A very large enclosure
(Adults will be comfortable on a 40G tank or similar)
A very large, moist ,dark and deep burrow with several inches of substrate to allow building a chamber.
Warm temperatures on the low-mid 80's
High humidity (over 70%)
High ventilation
Regular invertebrate feedings
Access to a large water dish with fresh water
Regular cage maintenance
No disturbance


If those conditions are met, they will be quite "content" on captivity making easier the successfully breedings.

The main defense mechanisms of these Genus is the hair kicking, so the zero disturbance policy will not only make them more comfortable but will make your life a whole lot easier. Their urticant hair are extremely irritant.

As a consequence of this defense mechanism adding the regular hair loss due to an advanced molt stage and abdomen growth, it will be really rare to have a Theraphosa with an abdomen full of hair. So dont panic, theres nothing wrong with it, the bold spots only makes your Theraphosa a Theraphosa.

The molt stages; As a consequence of their enormous size, the pre molt stage can last up to 3 to 3 and a half months off feeding.
During the molt process, which can last over 24h, it is recommended to keep the humidity as its max.
After the molt, as adults, they can be up to 2 to 3 weeks off feeding,"relocating" his sucking stomach and internal organs.


As spiderlings,
Theraphosa blondi does not present any pink-salmon coloration on the meta tarsus and tarsus segments of the legs, while Apophysis will have all of them pink till they reach around 5" of leg span. "Spinipes" will present white and pink tarsus and meta tarsus in their 1st and 2nd pair of legs till around the same leg span is reached.

You need to provide an enclosure on the smaller side (2ls by 2 ls)a very damp environment, higher temps (mid-high 80's ) and even at 2nd instar you will want to put a water dish with them. (They wont drown, they have been without your care for thousands of years).

Regular feedings (almost daily) are a must to keep them well hydrated and strong enough to pull their very fragile firsts molts.
The no disturbance policy will be a must; they are very skittish when spiderlings.


They are a great genus to keep, they just require a little more attention than your average pet rock.

Fran
 
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Scoolman

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That was great Fran. Just in time, since I just brought Precious home yesterday.
 

Bjamin

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Thanks Fran good info I will need to look at getting a bigger tank for my girl as she grow right now it is 30x60cm but she is still only about 4-5 inches I did get a couple more pics can you give me a positive id with these? If not it would be great if you could let me know what you would need.http://www.arachnoboards.com/ab/showthread.php?t=193653
 

Bob

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In regards to feeding these beast.....My "burgundy" female just molted to about 3.5 to 4 inched and would not eat adult crickets seven days after her molt. 80 degrees plus and humid. A gave here a mouse pinkie and she ate it right away! This genes seams to like them better than others...................

Bob
 

pato_chacoana

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Great post Fran! This thread is a good opportunity to write and add the experiences to enhance and improve the care of these amazing creatures. Let every newbie or any spider keeper know that taking care of a Theraphosa is not like taking care of any other ''tropical''.

I will also add pics and info later :)

Oh, my Theraphosas are always with all their hairs in their butts! I hate it when they kick hairs, so I do everything I can to avoid getting them pissed! haha. But eventually they throw all the hairs when molting anyway! :D

Cheers,
Pato
 

Fran

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Great post Fran! This thread is a good opportunity to write and add the experiences to enhance and improve the care of these amazing creatures. Let every newbie or any spider keeper know that taking care of a Theraphosa is not like taking care of any other ''tropical''.

I will also add pics and info later :)

Oh, my Theraphosas are always with all their hairs in their butts! I hate it when they kick hairs, so I do everything I can to avoid getting them pissed! haha. But eventually they throw all the hairs when molting anyway! :D

Cheers,
Pato

Great Pato!
Someone like you is gonna be priceless for this thread. Thanks for all your contributions. :)
 

Chris_Skeleton

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Fran, would you care to let me use your post as a care sheet on my website? All credit would be to you and it would be an awesome addition to my site.
 

Snakes13

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Whew... Thats a Big relief, I was a little worried I was doing something wrong once I saw her spot grow, but looks like I'm square on the money. I did add more to her Den/ burrow so the top of the rock(ish) structure sits near the top of the cage allowing her to dig down as far as she needs/ wants.
I'm am already starting to notice a little humidity control problem (since my roommates downstairs are staring to use space heaters to keep warm at night this morning all the tanks had a 15-20% drop) that my daily misting and watering of plants isn't keeping it quite as high as it should. What do you guys use to help regulate your tanks? I have an old Zoo Med Reptile Fogger that we use to use for some lizards. Would this work better than misting (I make extra careful to never mist near Bertha) or is there something else easier like a digital regulating set it and forget it humidity control that I can buy? I do check temps and humidity every morning afternoon and night to make sure things are keeping regulated.

While I'm posting, I use the Fulkers cricket quencher to water all my many legged friends, what are your guys thoughts on it? should I just stick to a normal water dish?
 

Scoolman

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While I'm posting, I use the Fulkers cricket quencher to water all my many legged friends, what are your guys thoughts on it? should I just stick to a normal water dish?
I say, why use a chemical concoction to provide something as simple as water.
I keep humidity up by adding water directly to the substrate, I do not mist, ever.
 

BrettG

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Whew... Thats a Big relief, I was a little worried I was doing something wrong once I saw her spot grow, but looks like I'm square on the money. I did add more to her Den/ burrow so the top of the rock(ish) structure sits near the top of the cage allowing her to dig down as far as she needs/ wants.
I'm am already starting to notice a little humidity control problem (since my roommates downstairs are staring to use space heaters to keep warm at night this morning all the tanks had a 15-20% drop) that my daily misting and watering of plants isn't keeping it quite as high as it should. What do you guys use to help regulate your tanks? I have an old Zoo Med Reptile Fogger that we use to use for some lizards. Would this work better than misting (I make extra careful to never mist near Bertha) or is there something else easier like a digital regulating set it and forget it humidity control that I can buy? I do check temps and humidity every morning afternoon and night to make sure things are keeping regulated.

While I'm posting, I use the Fulkers cricket quencher to water all my many legged friends, what are your guys thoughts on it? should I just stick to a normal water dish?
Water dish ,NO gels...
They cannot properly hydrate with the gels.
 

Bob

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One othe rule I use with Theraphosa due to my extreme sensitivityto their hairs....I change substraight every molt.

Bob
 

jt39565

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Fran, your awesome! Now you should work on doing one of those for all T's !
Makes me wana get one of those T. blondi's.
 

Fran

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Fran, would you care to let me use your post as a care sheet on my website? All credit would be to you and it would be an awesome addition to my site.
Of course man, I can even provide specific details of the sources also :).

My pleasure :).
 

Terry D

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Fran, Great idea for a thread. If there's anyone on this board that knows genus Theraphosa well, it's you my friend! From what I've read since lurking on the boards before joining last Nov., Pato knows his stuff as well! Between you both, noob and long-time keepers alike will be able to access the info for help or for contribution! :)

Great post Fran! This thread is a good opportunity to write and add the experiences to enhance and improve the care of these amazing creatures. Let every newbie or any spider keeper know that taking care of a Theraphosa is not like taking care of any other ''tropical''.

I will also add pics and info later :)

Oh, my Theraphosas are always with all their hairs in their butts! I hate it when they kick hairs, so I do everything I can to avoid getting them pissed! haha. But eventually they throw all the hairs when molting anyway! :D

Cheers,
Pato
I though it was a bit unusual, but my large female rarely ever kicked hairs after the first 2 weeks or so of acclimation in the very beginning. She began to show some balding 2 months or so before molting but I'm guessing that was to be expected. She would occasionally give a half-hearted kick or two during cage maintenance, though. The behavior that made me a bit nervous as a keeper was her once a week to bi-monthly "wanderlust" habit. She would climb and climb noisily and restlessly against the walls of the cage as if attempting to get out. This would go on for hours then she'd calm down and retreat into her cave.

The little one is in heavy premolt now- has just about lost all of it's hairs! {D
 

Philth

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in general this genus needs;

A very large enclosure
(Adults will be comfortable on a 40G tank or similar)
Fran
Ive had a successful T. blondi sac, and have an eggsac now from T. sp. "burgundy" now in enclosures much smaller, 22”(L) x 17”(W) x 6.6”(H).

A very large, moist ,dark and deep burrow with several inches of substrate to allow building a chamber.
Fran
In the smaller enclosures I keep them in, there is only about a inch of dirt, with a cork bark hide. Neither female decided to construct there sac in this hide, but chose a open corner to lay eggs in.

My personal belief in successfully breeding Theraphosa is to have long term, or captive bred animals to work with. Stressed wild caught adults wont make good breeders. (or pets. ) It also helps to know what species your working with, Dont trust that pet store "T.blondi";)

In know your post was speaking in general terms Fran, and I think this is a great thread, but in my experience there is no rules in captive breeding of Theraphosidae spiders haha;)

In my opinion care sheets crack me up, as I've raised about 7 T. blondi from my 2007 sac now to about 6-7 inches. There were all raised in plastic deli cups, with a tiny bit of damp dirt, no hide, no water dish, and all at room temperature.

One othe rule I use with Theraphosa due to my extreme sensitivityto their hairs....I change substraight every molt.

Bob
Why? seems like that would stress the spider more, causing it to kick more hair. Most of my Theraphosa's have a full butt of hair, but I do have a few wacky ones, that kick for no freaking reason. :cool:

Later, Tom
 

Fran

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Ive had a successful T. blondi sac, and have an eggsac now from T. sp. "burgundy" now in enclosures much smaller, 22”(L) x 17”(W) x 6.6”(H).



In the smaller enclosures I keep them in, there is only about a inch of dirt, with a cork bark hide. Neither female decided to construct there sac in this hide, but chose a open corner to lay eggs in.

My personal belief in successfully breeding Theraphosa is to have long term, or captive bred animals to work with. Stressed wild caught adults wont make good breeders. (or pets. ) It also helps to know what species your working with, Dont trust that pet store "T.blondi";)

In know your post was speaking in general terms Fran, and I think this is a great thread, but in my experience there is no rules in captive breeding of Theraphosidae spiders haha;)

In my opinion care sheets crack me up, as I've raised about 7 T. blondi from my 2007 sac now to about 6-7 inches. There were all raised in plastic deli cups, with a tiny bit of damp dirt, no hide, no water dish, and all at room temperature.




Later, Tom

Oh, I have kept them on the smaller side too. But as you menctioned, those who get more "comfy" with "harder" conditions are mainly CB individuals.
anything WC will just drive you crazy on a 10G Tank with climbing and wondering non stop.

And again, thats not the general norm. I have had probably over 3 or 400 different adults, juvies and slings...And the norm is that if they are WC, smaller enclosures will not be their cup of tea :).


Unfortunately, althought I have had a succesfull egg sack from a Theraphosa blondi in 1996, the work wasnt done by me but by my brother (I was a kid). Not much of a great experience on breeding true blondi here.
 

pato_chacoana

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In my opinion about the tank size...I've found the ideal at 50x30x30 (cm). I do have a larger tank for my biggest, but I really don't think it's necessary... If the spider is well acclimated, there's no problem. Inside the 50x30x30 I already put some live plants and I'll add more in time; the spider's been for only 1 day in her new enclosure and she seems to love it and settled perfectly.

this is the enclosure (without the lid)

As for breeding, I'm eager to have my chance soon with TB, as I have an immature male and the females are waiting.


male

I agree that animals can breed in not ''ideal'' conditions too. I've had at least 3 different sp. that I bred in captivity perfectly far from ideals conditions (one of them even without a hide or chance to burrow). But I think that it's healthy for the animals (even as simple as arthropods are) to have the most ideal conditions we can provide for them...and this also although not guarantees anything, it increases breeding chances somehow. Now, maybe the spider has the perfect environment to our eyes, but for any damn reason we ignore, won't breed... this also has happened to me. So, there are no strict rules to me...but as everything in life, the more you try, the better results you get.

I also had the case where a spider will choose to lay the sac in a corner of the cage (case being A. chacoana and P. sp. ''nigricolor''), but I think it was because the hide wasn't big enough for them to build such large sacs. Either way, the sac of the chacoana was good and she used the hide after construction; the other sac was not good due to bad sac construction and possible infertile eggs. I think that one of the keys is to give the spider the conditions required for ovulation/egg production, being corrects temps, humidity, mating season, etc. I think the spider needs to feel ''secure'' inside the enclosure to be able to breed. Some species are clearly settle easily, while others such as Theraphosa are harder.

I also think that mating the correct species (male and female) is VERY important deal and it might sound silly, but sometimes we don't know where the spiders come from and we could mate slightly different variants that could be harder to produce viable offspring.

Very interesting to share inputs about this, thanks everyone!

Talk soon,

Pato
 
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Philth

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Great comments Pato !

I should make it clear that the ones I raised with out a hide/ water dish/ extra heat ect ect ... are CB animals that I hatched here. My breeders are offered everything and kept at optimal conditions.

Later, Tom
 

Mattyb

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Great info Fran. I keep my big females each in a 20gal and it seems to be plenty of room.
 
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