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Thinking of getting a Tarantula...

Spiderwebz

Arachnopeon
Joined
Jun 15, 2003
Messages
2
:?Okay, well I've always had a fascination with spiders. They're just such amazing creatures! Anyways, I've got my heart set on getting a T of my own, and I came here for some info. I want to be as informed as possible before purchase so I know exactly how to take care of my new baby. I just have a few questions:

1) Can tarantula's be defanged? My mom's pretty uneasy about spiders, and she said she'd prefer a defanged tarantula for safety, yadda yadda. I personally don't care, but I'll ask just in case.

2) What are costs like? Just an approximate. Including the pet itself, feeding, maintenance, etc.

3) Where would you recommend purchase from? I don't exactly want one from a pet shop, we all know how poorly a lot of animals are kept in them.

4) Are they fairly easy to maintain? I'm looking for a low maintenance pet, I'm sorta busy, but one that I can spend time with when I get the chance.

Well I think that's about it. Thank you so much to anyone who gives me tips, I really appreciate it. I hope to be a dedicated tarantula owner someday, and can't wait to have my own!
 

SpiderFood

Arachnoknight
Old Timer
Joined
Mar 26, 2003
Messages
274
Well first off, I may not be much help but NO, tarantulas cannot be de-fanged, that is thier primary way of eating, they inject digestive liquid into thier prey and go from thier. As for price, depends on what genus/species you get. You can check the online dealers/sellers section of this forum to check prices and most give discounts to arachnopets members. I think as a person getting thier first T, I would go for a B. albopilosum. Mine is way more docile than my rosie. It handles better too, although I dont recommend handling of any T, mainly for its safety. Maintenance-wise, they arent hard to keep up. Just make sure you clean up food remains, change the substrate once in a while. I use a 50/50 mix of peat and vermiculite, it seems to work well. As for housing, it kinda depends on what spider you are getting and how big they are when you get it. Terrestrials need more space and not as much depth of substrate whereas burrowing species need on average about 4.5 - 7 inches of substrate. As for arboreal species they dont need really deep substrate but they do need height and something to climb on, and alot of them are active webbers. And dont forget that some species are gonna web more so if you wanna see your t, you may want to steer clear of burrowers and webbers, just MHO. Anyone help me out if I have it wrong or left somethin out.
dale
 
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invadermike

Arachnoknight
Old Timer
Joined
Mar 1, 2003
Messages
275
Here goes.
1) No tarantulas can not be defanged, they need their fangs to inject venom into their prey, if they were defanged, they would simply die.
2) A good starter tarantula would cost anywhere from a few dollars to $20 depending on it's size and what species, for a beginner i would recommend a Brachyplema albopilosum or it's common name which is Honduras Curly hair tarantula, they are very docile and get fairly large, 6". The maintenace of the animal is really nothing besides cleaning up left over food iteams, and changing water. They are very inexspensive to keep. I'd say to start you would need atlest $30 for the tarantula, kritter keeper(cage), substrate(potting soil or peatmoss) and crickets, plus a water bowl.
3) Well you could buy the tarantula from an online deal which might cost more, because of shipping and such, but if you don't want to do that, i would look in the yellow pages of your phone book and call some petshops to see what they have, petco usually has some tarantulas too.
4)They are very easy to maintain.
Good luck with everything. Maybe do a little more research too to get a little more backround information about tarantulas.
-Mike
 

skadiwolf

Arachnolord
Old Timer
Joined
May 6, 2003
Messages
645
hi there. since most stuff has been addressed, i'll add new things. :)

tarantulas do have venom, but it's like a bee sting. without this venom, they'd bite the prey and it would run off. it debilitates them and then digests them. they are soup-aholics. (grin)

i would suggest getting at least a 1" size T, and i also highly recommend the curly hair or B. albo. they are very docile, i have two, a male and female and they are super sweet. if i am very gentle, i can stroke their little grape-like abdomens and they are covered in very soft, fine hair...almost like a cat but a LOT less. :)

when holding a T, your main concern is actually not usually being bitten, but dropping them. they are extremely fragile and will probably die if you ever drop them. handling them over a table with a blanket or towel on it or over your bed is ideal. the curly hair are also NOT fast-moving like some Ts and though they can move quickly, they rarely do unless you completely startle them.

Ts do not like to be blown on...it makes them scared and they will definitely try to flee, so don't do that to them. otherwise, you'll probably have a very calm, docile T if you get a curly that you can hold regularly with little trouble. :)

there is no danger to you whatsoever with this type of T, there are a few whose venom is much more potent but those are not 'really' commonly kept and harder and more expensive to get anyway - i.e. - you won't just find those in a normal pet store.

i own 8 Ts and have never been bitten nor have even had any of them do anything defensive. some things to watch for is if they huddle up and cover themselves with their legs they are frightened, so be very gentle and slow-moving to assure them they are not in danger. IF they totally want to be left alone, they may raise their legs up very high sort of saying, 'hey, i can be bigger, leave me alone.' if they do this, just simply leave them be and try again later, they have moods too.

a good online retailer is www.swiftinverts.com. i have used them before and have been extra pleased. there is a section where you can read online dealer reviews here as well so you should take advantage of that too.

unfortunately, you don't find many curly hairs in petcos even though they make IDEAL pet Ts. however, call around to maybe some private stores, even some chains. depending on where you live they may carry a LOT more. :)

curly hairs btw are very docile, brownish-black and named for their long, silky hairs which kind of look frizzed like they emerged from the dryer. (grin)

if you have any more questions, please feel free to ask or send me a PM. good luck! :)

oh, check out the link in my signature for pics of my curly hairs as well as my other Ts.
 

sunnymarcie

Celestial Spider
Old Timer
Joined
Feb 13, 2003
Messages
1,294
Well, everyone that posted ahead of me pretty much covered it.
Although I would like to add one thing......
You can always find a Herp show near you and there is
almost always a T vender or 2. I like to pick out my animals in
person. This way they do not have to go through the shock of
travel in a dark package.
 

conipto

ArachnoPrincess
Old Timer
Joined
Sep 27, 2002
Messages
1,258
A couple of things on this topic.. One, a tarantula doesn't digest food with venom. The venom does have some small digestive properties, but it is generally assumed that the process is insignificant. Still, a tarantula without fangs could not only not kill prey, but would also be unable to masticate it, as they do a good bit of chomping about with the chelicerae (the part the fangs are attatched to) I have heard stories of people mashing crickets into a paste to feed to fangless tarantulas, but doing this intentionally would be both cruel, and likely doom the tarantula to death. Not to mention the fact that if it WAS able to survive on cricket mash, the chelicerae would eventually regenerate after a couple molts.

As far as price goes, you might find a pet store with a 9.99 rose hair, or you can spend upwards of 500 dollars on adults of some species. Housing and feeding costs are very low, the palace of tarantula homes might run you 40 bucks. A more likely figure is about 7 dollars for a plastic pet-pal, Sphagnum Peat moss, and a hide. Crickets (the general accepted food for T's) run me about 2.00 a week, to feed 25 tarantulas. The most expensive item you'll need to buy is "The tarantula Keepers guide" by Stan and Marguerite Schultz. I think it runs about 12 dollars. If you don't buy it, I'll track you down and tape your eyelids open while you read my copy :)

As poorly as animals are often kept at pet stores, unless you want to mail-order, you may not have much choice. The advantages to purchasing at a petshop is that you can get adult tarantulas for pretty cheap, usually. The disadvantages are, well.. everything else. There are quite a few great dealers in this forum's Classified section, and most of them have positive buyer feedback in the 'dealer review' section. For a starter species, Look into the Curly hair (Brachypelma albopilosum), the Pink Zebra Beauty (E. campestrus), or a Pinktoe (Avicularia avicularia). The Chilean Rose (Grammostola rosea) is usually a good choice, but some people (myself included) get mean and testy ones sometimes. You'll find almost everyone refers to them by scientific name around here, and in the tarantula world in general, as common names lead to far too much confusion.

And, ease of care. Almost all of them are easy to care for, but some of the more defensive Asian and african species can be a handful to the inexperienced. For the most part, given room temperature, a water dish, a place to hide, and fed weekly, a tarantula will thrive. Again, purchase the above mentioned book, you won't be dissapointed.

Bill
 

SpiderFood

Arachnoknight
Old Timer
Joined
Mar 26, 2003
Messages
274
I do agree with Conipto on the Scientific vs. Common names. If you are gonna start keeping T's, I would learn the scientific name of every species you intend to get. This would make it so wonderfully easy to get help on the boards since you can find about 3 common names for 50% of the species popular to the hobby. Hope you get one soon and there is always help here on the boards.
dale
 
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