What's so bad about arboreals?


Malleus Aranearum
Staff member
Mar 7, 2012
what magical quality do they possess that makes them so gosh dang diddly difficult for a newbie that arboreals are so easily disregarded?
Arboreals are generally much faster than the New World terrestrials that are commonly recommended as beginner species, and many have potent venom. The only arboreals that come close to being a beginner species ("the ones with adorable little pink feetsies") are probably the most frequent subject of the "help my dying tarantula" threads.

The reasons we see so many "help my dying Avic" threads:
  • Brand new keepers often get their first tarantula from a pet store, most of which only carry Grammostola rosea/porteri or Avicularia avicularia. (In other words, new keepers are likely to end up with an Avic.)
  • These are often impulse purchases with no research done in advance.
  • When a brand new keeper comes home with an Avic, he's probably gotten care advice from the pet store or an Internet care sheet, both of which are usually bad. (I've yet to see an Avic properly set up in a pet store.)
  • Many care sheets emphasize trying to keep humidity within an arbitrary range. This misleads new keepers into restricting ventilation in order to raise humidity. Moist, stuffy enclosures are bad for Avics. (In contrast, the new keeper who chose one of the recommended NW terrestrials as his starter tarantula is unlikely to encounter care sheets that would mislead him into creating a moist, stuffy death trap, and these species are more tolerant of other kinds of newbie mistakes.)

That being said, I am not totally against Avicularia as a first tarantula for a newbie who is willing to research proper care and listen to feedback, with the following caveats:
  • Get a juvenile or adult (2" or larger), not a sling. Slings are fragile.
  • Choose one of the hardy, inexpensive species, such as Avicularia avicularia. (Avicularia purpurea has a reputation for being fragile.)
  • Disregard any care sheet that specifies a humidity range. Read this post instead.
  • When setting up your first enclosure, post pictures here for feedback before adding your tarantula. (Most of the "help my dying Avic" threads could have been avoided if the owners had done this before their tarantulas' health began to decline.)


Jan 15, 2017
Everyone pretty much summed it up. I think it truly depends on the keeper. Some keepers, though they may be new to Ts, are not necessarily new to exotic animals. Keeping a dog or cat is pretty standard. But keeping exotics requires a bit more brain power. So, for some people who are impulse buying with zero research, I would not recommend an arboreal. But to someone who is a seasoned exotic animal keeper (like me when I first started this hobby), we already expect that exotic animals are unique and require unique care. We are open to learning about the specifics of the animals, and are careful to ensure proper husbandry.

I don't really find any T as being particularly difficult to keep. As far as husbandry specifics go, tarantulas are the pet rocks of the exotic animal world! However, ANY animal will suffer from neglect/improper husbandry. Learn the quirks, be responsible, and you can keep anything:)

The average person doesn't understand what it means when we say how fast a T can move, until they see it in person. This reminds me of seeing people buying baby monitor lizards. You can tell them "it gets to 7 feet" all day long. But until you SHOW them an adult monitor in real life, they don't really GET IT.


Sep 26, 2013
What's so bad about arboreal species? They're tree huggers, man.

Have you ever seen one NOT hugging a tree? Case closed.



Feb 10, 2017
Thank you all for the answers, guys! I'm considering a tarantula in the distant future and mainly was just curious about why everyone hates arboreals for beginners... particularly avics. I'm still not entirely sure whether or not I want a T in the first place, especially considering how boring my scorpion is, but if I ever start collecting I'm sure to have a double avic at one point.


Mar 24, 2017
especially considering how boring my scorpion is
Ive owned scorpions. They are indeed boring. But if you watch some videos from some of the more respected keepers on YouTube (i like The Dark Den, he's a member here) you will definitely find that most tarantulas have little in common with scorpions in terms of behavior. If you really wanna see some excitement check out the rehousing videos. Definitely not boring.


Aug 21, 2015
Because I, as a human, am a terrestrial being who can't climb walls to catch arboreal tarantulas if they ever escaped.

I still want an Avic though.


Active Member
Dec 25, 2014
Oh dear. Before we know it, everyone will own fossorials.... Surely only phase one to The Goddess's future take over!
It's always a pleasure for me to deal with huge & taller enclosure to fill with lots of inches of 'dirt'. Nothing is better for me than a 'hole' where inside there's an high strung 'Baboon' or Asian: it's not only the essence of stealth but the primordial essence of 'earth' itself :-s

Another thing of relevant is that obligate burrowers are of contemplation: when you spot those at night 'sitting' on the entrance of their burrow it's a mystical moment, like drinking a tea in Bagdad when the Muezzin, in the distance, calls for the twilight prayer :-s

Praise the Goddess!

Garth Vader

Jun 25, 2016
Once I gave my A. avic a proper set-up in her enclosure, everything has been dandy. I gave her a few stems of silk leaves (about 8-9 broad leaves total,) and she is finally webbing and not hanging out on the sides of the enclosure all day. She is so darn cute hiding all about her little 'tree.'
Also, she is a master at catching prey.

Having said that, I was not fond of the avic for the first few weeks of owning her. She used to dart out of her enclosure but does not do so any longer. :) She just goes to her happy place in the leaves and waits while I fill her water. Sweet lil gal.
I love this! I just got an A avic and I'm fairly new to all of this- my others are all NW terrestrials. I hope once the enclosure is suitable enough we will be happy!