Why do you like tarantulas, anyway?!

Megan

Arachnopeon
Joined
Jan 18, 2010
Messages
30
I’m on my way to becoming a first time tarantula owner and am doing everything in my power to avoid being a “stupid pet owner.” I’ve gotten various reactions from friends and family at the news that I want to own a tarantula, but, to be honest, the reactions were mostly negative and stereotypical.

I’m posting this thread for various reasons: to clarify a few things I am confused about, to ask questions about things I’m curious about, and to get to know some people in this community so I have a go-to if I have questions down the line. :) Because all of this is mooshed into one thread, discussion will be quite broad, but I don’t want to go around posting a gazillion threads.

First, what drew you to tarantulas in the first place and why do you continue to love them? For me, I’ve always loved insects and have a special love for the very misunderstood spider. I took an entomology class last semester with a professor who owned two T. blondi—I always thought tarantulas would be high maintenance but, upon learning that they’re not, I have decided to get a tarantula of my own.

Second, one of the most interesting reactions I got was: “That is so cruel to the spider! How do you know they enjoy living in a cage? They’re probably miserable.” Most of you, I’m sure, own a tarantula (or fifty ;D). Some may be captive bred, but some also may be captured in the wild. I didn’t really know how to respond to this at the time and I’ve been thinking. Here is the barrage of questions: Do your spiders exhibit any signs of unhappiness? What would be signs of unhappiness? How do you know your tarantulas are “happy?”

I noticed that some countries ban exports because of the depletion in numbers of wild tarantulas; this is actually one of my main concerns about owning a tarantula. The pet trade industry can be devastating to wild populations of animals in general and I would never want to support seriously depleting the number of wild tarantulas. Do any of you know if there’s any prevention against this for tarantulas and, also, how you know you aren’t contributing to a problem when you buy a wild caught tarantula?

Also, for those of you who have bred tarantulas for awhile, do you breed for certain traits? For example, if you breed T. blondi, do you pick your biggest female and breed it with a big male in hopes of slowly producing bigger spiders over the generations? This could go for color, temperament, etc as well. I really haven’t found much information about selective breeding in tarantulas so this is mostly for curiosity’s sake. :)

Finally, a question I actually need the answer to before I get my tarantula. I am aware there is a handle/no-handle debate and I am NOT asking a question about whether I should or should not handle so please respect this thread enough not to start drama or answer a question that is not being asked. I personally want to take a more hands-off approach but I am worried that if my tarantula needs medical care/has a bad molt that I wouldn’t be able to help her because she was unused to being handled. Have those of you with a hands-off approach desensitized your tarantulas to handling at all in case the circumstance arises where you may need to handle? Can you pretty much do anything with a pair of forceps (for instance, I read a thread where something was stuck on the tarantula’s fangs and they had to pick him up and remove it)? I plan on getting a very docile species of tarantula but I have absolutely no hands-on experience with tarantula-human interactions.

I am very worried about posting a thread like this so please understand these are all very innocent questions of somebody just learning about tarantulas. There is no need to talk down at me—I am very willing to listen and learn from everyone! I am trying to learn as much as I can before I even think about ordering a tarantula of my own. All's I ask is that responses stay respectful to each other. You all seem like awesome people. :D
 

Wonnetz

Arachnopeon
Joined
Jan 16, 2010
Messages
41
Well i like tarantulas because most look nice act mean and are really cool. I am also an awesome person. Thank you for knowing :D Im also a new tarantula owner i got mine today:D
 

Ether Imp

Arachnoknight
Old Timer
Joined
Jul 11, 2009
Messages
241
I’m on my way to becoming a first time tarantula owner and am doing everything in my power to avoid being a “stupid pet owner.” I’ve gotten various reactions from friends and family at the news that I want to own a tarantula, but, to be honest, the reactions were mostly negative and stereotypical.

I’m posting this thread for various reasons: to clarify a few things I am confused about, to ask questions about things I’m curious about, and to get to know some people in this community so I have a go-to if I have questions down the line. :) Because all of this is mooshed into one thread, discussion will be quite broad, but I don’t want to go around posting a gazillion threads.

First, what drew you to tarantulas in the first place and why do you continue to love them? For me, I’ve always loved insects and have a special love for the very misunderstood spider. I took an entomology class last semester with a professor who owned two T. blondi—I always thought tarantulas would be high maintenance but, upon learning that they’re not, I have decided to get a tarantula of my own.

Second, one of the most interesting reactions I got was: “That is so cruel to the spider! How do you know they enjoy living in a cage? They’re probably miserable.” Most of you, I’m sure, own a tarantula (or fifty ;D). Some may be captive bred, but some also may be captured in the wild. I didn’t really know how to respond to this at the time and I’ve been thinking. Here is the barrage of questions: Do your spiders exhibit any signs of unhappiness? What would be signs of unhappiness? How do you know your tarantulas are “happy?”

I noticed that some countries ban exports because of the depletion in numbers of wild tarantulas; this is actually one of my main concerns about owning a tarantula. The pet trade industry can be devastating to wild populations of animals in general and I would never want to support seriously depleting the number of wild tarantulas. Do any of you know if there’s any prevention against this for tarantulas and, also, how you know you aren’t contributing to a problem when you buy a wild caught tarantula?

Also, for those of you who have bred tarantulas for awhile, do you breed for certain traits? For example, if you breed T. blondi, do you pick your biggest female and breed it with a big male in hopes of slowly producing bigger spiders over the generations? This could go for color, temperament, etc as well. I really haven’t found much information about selective breeding in tarantulas so this is mostly for curiosity’s sake. :)

Finally, a question I actually need the answer to before I get my tarantula. I am aware there is a handle/no-handle debate and I am NOT asking a question about whether I should or should not handle so please respect this thread enough not to start drama or answer a question that is not being asked. I personally want to take a more hands-off approach but I am worried that if my tarantula needs medical care/has a bad molt that I wouldn’t be able to help her because she was unused to being handled. Have those of you with a hands-off approach desensitized your tarantulas to handling at all in case the circumstance arises where you may need to handle? Can you pretty much do anything with a pair of forceps (for instance, I read a thread where something was stuck on the tarantula’s fangs and they had to pick him up and remove it)? I plan on getting a very docile species of tarantula but I have absolutely no hands-on experience with tarantula-human interactions.

I am very worried about posting a thread like this so please understand these are all very innocent questions of somebody just learning about tarantulas. There is no need to talk down at me—I am very willing to listen and learn from everyone! I am trying to learn as much as I can before I even think about ordering a tarantula of my own. All's I ask is that responses stay respectful to each other. You all seem like awesome people. :D
1. You won't be a stupid tarantula owner because clearly you aren't a stupid person. You're doing your due diligence by asking very well thought out questions like the ones in this thread and it's clear you've done at least the most basic research required before asking questions would make sense.

2. I've always thought spiders were neat, and my first tarantula was a mature male that I rescued from a busy road. I did research on the internet and on this website before deciding to keep him.. After learning that he was looking for a mate and that he would be dead within the year anyway, I simply decided to find a female for him myself and attempt a mating... which didn't work, but.. that's how I got into them. I also like them because they're low maintenance, they're neat, interesting, and a good conversation piece.

3. How is it cruel? Spiders do not have an intellect. They are cold blooded predators and have no sense of suffering or cruelity. If anything, keeping them in captivity is probably doing them a favor by saving them from predators and other dangers in the wild. This is assuming of course you keep them in good conditions and allow them to reproduce. Spiders do not exibit signs of unhappiness because they do not have emotions. They can respond to stress though. Basically, if you keep them healthy, well fed, and leave them the hell alone, they are fine. There's nothing cruel about it.

4. Not going to touch that one.

5. I'll let others address this. I've never successfully bred.

6. I do not have a "hands-off" or "hands-on" approach. I will handle my T's if I need to, or maybe once in a great while just to experience it. I think in the 6+ months I've had my T's, I've only handled the mature female 2 times.. The rest of them are slings. My mature male I handled once. I'm not sure it's possible to desensitize a T to being handled.
 

Edd Eskimo

Arachnosquire
Old Timer
Joined
Dec 19, 2009
Messages
133
The reason why started was for their NATURAL beauty that most people don't see in them! For example...My beloved P.Metallica! I'm pretty sure you wont find a Dog or Cat with such a beautiful hue of Blue and Yellow!( Birds and Fish don't really count!!!)(Or Frogs)...The Poecilotheria Sp. are considered some what endangered depending on the sub sp. For example a P.Smithi, P.Metallica, P.Subfusca Highland/lowland, P Tigrina Wesseli (NEXT on my hit list!) are considered prized Pokies! It all depends I think! I believe that their may be more CB sp. of Pokies breed by people here than there in the wild in my opinion!
 

Megan

Arachnopeon
Joined
Jan 18, 2010
Messages
30
1. You won't be a stupid tarantula owner because clearly you aren't a stupid person. You're doing your due diligence by asking very well thought out questions like the ones in this thread and it's clear you've done at least the most basic research required before asking questions would make sense.

2. I've always thought spiders were neat, and my first tarantula was a mature male that I rescued from a busy road. I did research on the internet and on this website before deciding to keep him.. After learning that he was looking for a mate and that he would be dead within the year anyway, I simply decided to find a female for him myself and attempt a mating... which didn't work, but.. that's how I got into them. I also like them because they're low maintenance, they're neat, interesting, and a good conversation piece.

3. How is it cruel? Spiders do not have an intellect. They are cold blooded predators and have no sense of suffering or cruelity. If anything, keeping them in captivity is probably doing them a favor by saving them from predators and other dangers in the wild. This is assuming of course you keep them in good conditions and allow them to reproduce. Spiders do not exibit signs of unhappiness because they do not have emotions. They can respond to stress though. Basically, if you keep them healthy, well fed, and leave them the hell alone, they are fine. There's nothing cruel about it.

4. Not going to touch that one.

5. I'll let others address this. I've never successfully bred.

6. I do not have a "hands-off" or "hands-on" approach. I will handle my T's if I need to, or maybe once in a great while just to experience it. I think in the 6+ months I've had my T's, I've only handled the mature female 2 times.. The rest of them are slings. My mature male I handled once. I'm not sure it's possible to desensitize a T to being handled.
That is an awesome way to jump right into tarantula owning! I don't think many others would be brave enough to try such a thing.

Your response to tarantula "happiness" eases my mind a lot. If they're acting pretty much exactly how they would act in the wild, then they are definitely not stressed out and living a good life.

I really like the way you put the whole hands on/off thing. I have to admit that, never having touched a tarantula or really SEEN a lot of tarantula behavior, I do still have a little bit of that fear that comes with a lifetime of spider ignorance. Mostly, I wish I knew a tarantula owner in real life that could take me under their wing so I could actually have some experience with manipulating a tarantula for cage cleanings, etc. I read all of this information, but reading only gets you so far!

Thank you for the thoughtful response. :D

The reason why started was for their NATURAL beauty that most people don't see in them! For example...My beloved P.Metallica! I'm pretty sure you wont find a Dog or Cat with such a beautiful hue of Blue and Yellow!( Birds and Fish don't really count!!!)(Or Frogs)...The Poecilotheria Sp. are considered some what endangered depending on the sub sp. For example a P.Smithi, P.Metallica, P.Subfusca Highland/lowland, P Tigrina Wesseli (NEXT on my hit list!) are considered prized Pokies! It all depends I think! I believe that their may be more CB sp. of Pokies breed by people here than there in the wild in my opinion!
Oh, I totally agree. If you had asked me what came to mind about tarantulas a few years ago, I would have said "a big, brown hairy thing." I still didn't realize the diversity and the INSANE colors in some tarantulas until just a couple months ago. P. Metallica just made my jaw drop when I first saw a picture! H. lividum and C. cyaneopubescens also make me go "WHOA!" There's so many beautiful tarantulas out there.
 
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hassman789

Arachnobaron
Old Timer
Joined
Dec 2, 2009
Messages
577
The reason I started was cuz it just was an odd and unusual thing that not everyone else I know has. I have always been very interested in bugs but have been slightly arachnophobib but not anymore. I remember as a little kid I let a house slider live in my room and I loved him so much Id always see him walking on the ceiling. But yes being an arachnid lover is very misunderstood especialy in web you r a kid. Just makes me a bit of an odd kid LOL. One of the funniest questions I get is is it devenomiEd. I say no and the next question is "oooooooo so u defanged of instead"
 

Megan

Arachnopeon
Joined
Jan 18, 2010
Messages
30
The reason I started was cuz it just was an odd and unusual thing that not everyone else I know has. I have always been very interested in bugs but have been slightly arachnophobib but not anymore. I remember as a little kid I let a house slider live in my room and I loved him so much Id always see him walking on the ceiling. But yes being an arachnid lover is very misunderstood especialy in web you r a kid. Just makes me a bit of an odd kid LOL. One of the funniest questions I get is is it devenomiEd. I say no and the next question is "oooooooo so u defanged of instead"
Almost EVERYONE I've talked to assumes you get tarantulas defanged or devenomated. Either that or they assume the tarantula venom kills you if they were to bite.

One really awesome thing about being a tarantula owner/enthusiast is that we can help put some of that crazy talk to rest!
 

Teal

Arachnoemperor
Old Timer
Joined
Jan 11, 2009
Messages
4,112
I love keeping spiders because I love the diversity available.. so many colours, species, etc. that are easy to keep and beautiful. They are an amazing predator, and make fascinating pets.

Yes, I believe spiders exhibit signs of being pleased with their enclosure or not... this is evidenced by Ts that rearrange and redecorate their enclosure until they are happy with it. I've heard from several people who had a restless T, then switched something around in the enclosure and the T was fine. So, while it might not be "happiness" since that is a higher intellect feeling, they show contentment with their surroundings. Or maybe it's security?

I prefer to stay away from WC (wild caught) specimens after I unknowlingly purchased some WC Ts and then did research on the mass collection of them. This is the main reason I want to start breeding a few species that are commonly collected... to try and bring more CB slings into the hobby.

There was a discussion about breeding for certain traits, by someone with a VERY defensive spider... I don't know of any actually documented results from such breeding at this point. In this area, I know about dogs.. not spiders lol

I don't believe you can "desensitize" tarantulas to handling. There ARE a lot of debates on the effects of handling, but I don't personally believe that Ts have the capacity to become desensitized. What I do believe, is that the biggest issue with defensive spiders are in their own territory, and that if you can succesfully remove the spider from it's enclosure, put it into a catch cup and let it rest for half an hour... you will be dealing with a MUCH calmer, more workable spider.
 

Ether Imp

Arachnoknight
Old Timer
Joined
Jul 11, 2009
Messages
241
That is an awesome way to jump right into tarantula owning! I don't think many others would be brave enough to try such a thing.

Your response to tarantula "happiness" eases my mind a lot. If they're acting pretty much exactly how they would act in the wild, then they are definitely not stressed out and living a good life.
Which basically means they sit still for 23 hours a day, eat once a week or so, and occassionally dig a hole or web up their enclosure. ;)

Keep in mind, just because I don't think keeping them is cruel or that they do not have emotions or intelligence does not mean I think it's okay to harm them. Not suggesting you would think that... just clarifying for other readers. They can still feel pain and they can still be overstimulated, stressed, starved, dehydrated, or otherwise mistreated.

I really like the way you put the whole hands on/off thing. I have to admit that, never having touched a tarantula or really SEEN a lot of tarantula behavior, I do still have a little bit of that fear that comes with a lifetime of spider ignorance. Mostly, I wish I knew a tarantula owner in real life that could take me under their wing so I could actually have some experience with manipulating a tarantula for cage cleanings, etc. I read all of this information, but reading only gets you so far!

Thank you for the thoughtful response. :D
I am sure you can find at least one or two people on these boards who live in your area. Also, Robc puts out a lot of videos documenting his various experiences with tarantulas. Everything from feeding to rehousing to mating to removing a sac to raising the slings. As you said, reading it is one thing but when you can watch someone actually do something you're a little nervous about doing, it tends to raise your overall level of confidence.
 

Ether Imp

Arachnoknight
Old Timer
Joined
Jul 11, 2009
Messages
241

Yes, I believe spiders exhibit signs of being pleased with their enclosure or not... this is evidenced by Ts that rearrange and redecorate their enclosure until they are happy with it. I've heard from several people who had a restless T, then switched something around in the enclosure and the T was fine. So, while it might not be "happiness" since that is a higher intellect feeling, they show contentment with their surroundings. Or maybe it's security?
Very true.

If a T wants to burrow or web or hide and it can't, it may show signs of restlessness.
 

jbm150

Arachnoprince
Old Timer
Joined
Mar 18, 2009
Messages
1,651
I’m on my way to becoming a first time tarantula owner and am doing everything in my power to avoid being a “stupid pet owner.” I’ve gotten various reactions from friends and family at the news that I want to own a tarantula, but, to be honest, the reactions were mostly negative and stereotypical.

I’m posting this thread for various reasons: to clarify a few things I am confused about, to ask questions about things I’m curious about, and to get to know some people in this community so I have a go-to if I have questions down the line. :) Because all of this is mooshed into one thread, discussion will be quite broad, but I don’t want to go around posting a gazillion threads.

First, what drew you to tarantulas in the first place and why do you continue to love them? For me, I’ve always loved insects and have a special love for the very misunderstood spider. I took an entomology class last semester with a professor who owned two T. blondi—I always thought tarantulas would be high maintenance but, upon learning that they’re not, I have decided to get a tarantula of my own.

Second, one of the most interesting reactions I got was: “That is so cruel to the spider! How do you know they enjoy living in a cage? They’re probably miserable.” Most of you, I’m sure, own a tarantula (or fifty ;D). Some may be captive bred, but some also may be captured in the wild. I didn’t really know how to respond to this at the time and I’ve been thinking. Here is the barrage of questions: Do your spiders exhibit any signs of unhappiness? What would be signs of unhappiness? How do you know your tarantulas are “happy?”

I noticed that some countries ban exports because of the depletion in numbers of wild tarantulas; this is actually one of my main concerns about owning a tarantula. The pet trade industry can be devastating to wild populations of animals in general and I would never want to support seriously depleting the number of wild tarantulas. Do any of you know if there’s any prevention against this for tarantulas and, also, how you know you aren’t contributing to a problem when you buy a wild caught tarantula?

Also, for those of you who have bred tarantulas for awhile, do you breed for certain traits? For example, if you breed T. blondi, do you pick your biggest female and breed it with a big male in hopes of slowly producing bigger spiders over the generations? This could go for color, temperament, etc as well. I really haven’t found much information about selective breeding in tarantulas so this is mostly for curiosity’s sake. :)

Finally, a question I actually need the answer to before I get my tarantula. I am aware there is a handle/no-handle debate and I am NOT asking a question about whether I should or should not handle so please respect this thread enough not to start drama or answer a question that is not being asked. I personally want to take a more hands-off approach but I am worried that if my tarantula needs medical care/has a bad molt that I wouldn’t be able to help her because she was unused to being handled. Have those of you with a hands-off approach desensitized your tarantulas to handling at all in case the circumstance arises where you may need to handle? Can you pretty much do anything with a pair of forceps (for instance, I read a thread where something was stuck on the tarantula’s fangs and they had to pick him up and remove it)? I plan on getting a very docile species of tarantula but I have absolutely no hands-on experience with tarantula-human interactions.

I am very worried about posting a thread like this so please understand these are all very innocent questions of somebody just learning about tarantulas. There is no need to talk down at me—I am very willing to listen and learn from everyone! I am trying to learn as much as I can before I even think about ordering a tarantula of my own. All's I ask is that responses stay respectful to each other. You all seem like awesome people. :D
Ether's sentiments are like mine, you seem very conscientious and intelligent. Thats a great start here.

I have always loved creepy crawlies and Ts are just infinitely fascinating to me. The way they move, their fuzziness, their predatory capabilities, their beauty. But in all honesty, its all very understated because they aren't, for the most part, very active. It takes something of a special attitude to appreciate them fully.

Tarantulas do not have happy or sad or emotions. But they do have comfort levels. As a good owner, you should try your best to make their environment as stress free as possible. Try to match their most comfortable temperature and humidity levels; proper non-irritating substrate; structural necessities (opportunities to burrow, vertical structures, etc); so on and so forth. For most, its not very difficult. Oftentimes, you can tell if a T is "unhappy."

Another member, I think it was Ice Cold Milk, had a phrase that kind of describes why a person would own a tarantula: its kinda like owning and taking care of a plant...or an orchid...or something along those lines. Of course, their much more active and interesting, its just not for everyone. Nurturing an animal, especially an exotic, somewhat scary looking one, is very fulfilling.

As for handling, I don't handle mine. I don't trust that I wouldn't hurt the T if it were to bite me. I always assume that it might. Or that it'll get away. When my pulchras and aphonopelmas grow up, I might handle them because its a rewarding feeling. My regalis, as much as I'd love to, I don't want to test her speed and venom.

I hope you do get a tarantula. And if you do, you'll probably get a dozen. They're incredibly addictive! Welcome to the boards :)
 

Megan

Arachnopeon
Joined
Jan 18, 2010
Messages
30
I love keeping spiders because I love the diversity available.. so many colours, species, etc. that are easy to keep and beautiful. They are an amazing predator, and make fascinating pets.

Yes, I believe spiders exhibit signs of being pleased with their enclosure or not... this is evidenced by Ts that rearrange and redecorate their enclosure until they are happy with it. I've heard from several people who had a restless T, then switched something around in the enclosure and the T was fine. So, while it might not be "happiness" since that is a higher intellect feeling, they show contentment with their surroundings. Or maybe it's security?

I prefer to stay away from WC (wild caught) specimens after I unknowlingly purchased some WC Ts and then did research on the mass collection of them. This is the main reason I want to start breeding a few species that are commonly collected... to try and bring more CB slings into the hobby.

There was a discussion about breeding for certain traits, by someone with a VERY defensive spider... I don't know of any actually documented results from such breeding at this point. In this area, I know about dogs.. not spiders lol

I don't believe you can "desensitize" tarantulas to handling. There ARE a lot of debates on the effects of handling, but I don't personally believe that Ts have the capacity to become desensitized. What I do believe, is that the biggest issue with defensive spiders are in their own territory, and that if you can succesfully remove the spider from it's enclosure, put it into a catch cup and let it rest for half an hour... you will be dealing with a MUCH calmer, more workable spider.
I hadn't heard about the redecoration thing! That's kind of cute. :) The author's of my book (The Tarantula Keeper's Guide) put a big emphasis on getting the right size of cage--they said if an enclosure is too big some tarantulas will wander about aimlessly as if they don't know where to go. It was surprising to me because I think my natural instinct would be to get a big cage so they could frolic around (and then, alas, I found they just would rather sit for hours on end, hehehe).

The catch cup will be my savior. I was really worried about how I would clean the cage and such but I found a nice tutorial with pictures on how to use the catch cup to move the tarantula around. I'm all about not stressing out my future tarantula!

I think wild caught tarantulas would be fine if they were caught in amounts that weren't harmful to the population so it would be more of a renewable resource type of thing. Sadly, I have a feeling a lot of the countries the spiders come from could really use the money and the spider capturing could (and probably does) quickly get out of hand. It's really admirable that you want to start breeding in order to lessen this problem! :)

Which basically means they sit still for 23 hours a day, eat once a week or so, and occassionally dig a hole or web up their enclosure. ;)

Keep in mind, just because I don't think keeping them is cruel or that they do not have emotions or intelligence does not mean I think it's okay to harm them. Not suggesting you would think that... just clarifying for other readers. They can still feel pain and they can still be overstimulated, stressed, starved, dehydrated, or otherwise mistreated.



I am sure you can find at least one or two people on these boards who live in your area. Also, Robc puts out a lot of videos documenting his various experiences with tarantulas. Everything from feeding to rehousing to mating to removing a sac to raising the slings. As you said, reading it is one thing but when you can watch someone actually do something you're a little nervous about doing, it tends to raise your overall level of confidence.
I get what you're saying about the emotions/intelligence. Humans tend to put themselves into other creature (and even inanimate objects) to make them easier to relate to. Spiders don't wave and smile back at you and they don't feel sad if you're going to be gone for a week. I'm a big fan of the Dog Whisperer and he is always stressing the fact that you can't put human emotions in your dog. :D

Speaking of Robc, I was almost late to class today because I was watching the video of his tarantula laying eggs. Ooooooh boy! I'll have to find some of his other videos!

Another member, I think it was Ice Cold Milk, had a phrase that kind of describes why a person would own a tarantula: its kinda like owning and taking care of a plant...or an orchid...or something along those lines. Of course, their much more active and interesting, its just not for everyone. Nurturing an animal, especially an exotic, somewhat scary looking one, is very fulfilling.

I hope you do get a tarantula. And if you do, you'll probably get a dozen. They're incredibly addictive! Welcome to the boards :)
Oh, I love that! I have a serious love of plants as well so I can completely relate to that. People think it's strange to own a tarantula because you can't "do" anything with them like you can with a cat or a dog.

In fact, I introduced the idea of getting a tarantula to my mom by telling her I was going to get a cute and fuzzy pet and she was like, "oh, a chinchilla?! A hamster!?" And when I told her, she about peed herself and then wondered why I would get something I couldn't handle.

I do have a bad feeling that I'm going to want more than one, but I'm trying to take this nice and slow.. it's hard when I'm seeing so many awesome species. How can I choose just one!? ;D
 
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ZergFront

Arachnoprince
Old Timer
Joined
May 2, 2009
Messages
1,959
what drew you to tarantulas in the first place and why do you continue to love them?
Pretty much the same as you, but I never had the nice oppurtunity of an entomology-based class. :D

I've loved insects, arachnids and other creatures that walked on many legs even as a little girl. When I was about maybe 8 or 9, I had a black widow female as a pet in a jar (was already aware of their danger and was pretty careful. Even hid it from my parents, but when I got bored of it like any child so young I released her). Also made a Leggo chapel wedding of pillbugs when I was little. Even pasted on a little flower on the "bride." {D:rolleyes:

Later on, I kept other true spiders and insects. I only even heard of this forum from Rob as well as Arachnophiles forum when I posted videos of my spiders on YouTube. Months later, I got my first 5 tarantulas in one order and have one other remaining from a second purchase.

Oops, I'm blabbering again! I just love living things that are so different from us is the best I can describe it.

Second, one of the most interesting reactions I got was: “That is so cruel to the spider! How do you know they enjoy living in a cage? They’re probably miserable.” Most of you, I’m sure, own a tarantula (or fifty ;D). Some may be captive bred, but some also may be captured in the wild. I didn’t really know how to respond to this at the time and I’ve been thinking. Here is the barrage of questions: Do your spiders exhibit any signs of unhappiness? What would be signs of unhappiness? How do you know your tarantulas are “happy?”
I really don't know how a spider exhibits our term of happiness or even if they feel anything akin to it. Best I can tell, if the spider isn't doing any access ammount of movement; crawling around without purpose, not to go dump something in the water dish or make a nest in another part of the cage--I think they're most "content" when they aren't moving a lot or being stressed by the owner. Mature males will sometimes go into what I've read is best described as a "wander lust." When they are trying to find a female.

I noticed that some countries ban exports because of the depletion in numbers of wild tarantulas; this is actually one of my main concerns about owning a tarantula. The pet trade industry can be devastating to wild populations of animals in general and I would never want to support seriously depleting the number of wild tarantulas. Do any of you know if there’s any prevention against this for tarantulas and, also, how you know you aren’t contributing to a problem when you buy a wild caught tarantula?
I think the only real way to make sure you aren't buying an illegal export or one of many WCs in a mass depletion source is to buy CB. Plenty of people on this forum are already doing just that and quite a lot of those are breeders, too. :)

Also, for those of you who have bred tarantulas for awhile, do you breed for certain traits?
I'll let a breeder take the floor on this one.

Finally, a question I actually need the answer to before I get my tarantula. I am aware there is a handle/no-handle debate and I am NOT asking a question about whether I should or should not handle so please respect this thread enough not to start drama or answer a question that is not being asked.
Well I'm not one to start drama. I think this topic is more opinionated. I myself don't handle mine much. I've probably only did it about 2-3 times over the period I've had them and mostly during maintenance. They like to go up high and when I do cage maintenance on the bed, I am the highest point. :D
I have arboreals, no terrestrials. Others here will have much, MUCH more experience with the terrestrials and burrowers.

Take care and have fun on the boards!
 

curiousme

Arachnoprince
Old Timer
Joined
Dec 11, 2008
Messages
1,660
I’m on my way to becoming a first time tarantula owner and am doing everything in my power to avoid being a “stupid pet owner.” I’ve gotten various reactions from friends and family at the news that I want to own a tarantula, but, to be honest, the reactions were mostly negative and stereotypical.
Welcome to the hobby/ addiction!(that part usually comes shortly after the first couple) I just want to say that your post was a pleasant/ easy to read one for your first, thank you.:D :clap:

I’m posting this thread for various reasons: to clarify a few things I am confused about, to ask questions about things I’m curious about, and to get to know some people in this community so I have a go-to if I have questions down the line. :)
See, we are off to a good start already, you used my favorite word!

Because all of this is mooshed into one thread, discussion will be quite broad, but I don’t want to go around posting a gazillion threads.
It was presented in an easy to answer format, plus i can see the usefulness in it being in one thread; especially if you have links you want to refer back to.

First, what drew you to tarantulas in the first place and why do you continue to love them?
My hubby was the one interested in them first. I was very afraid of tarantulas due to an incident in my childhood. We started learning about them together. I learned they weren't the deadly things I thought they were and started to see the beauty in them. I still wasn't sold on them though............but, we went to a L(ocal)P(et)S(tore) and discovered a G. rosea in the typical wood chips/ sponge in the dish/ heat light setup. Feeling like we would be doing a good thing, we went ahead and bought it.(only to have it replaced by another)

Our daughter named her Rose and was proud to have her in her room. I looked at her alot, but wouldn't stand anywhere near when the lid was open..............fast forward a couple of months and we find ourselves at a reptile show in Indianapolis, hoping to find an A. avicularia/ metallica(we were unsure of the specific differences at that point) We found a beautiful, what we were told was a M(ature)F(emale) A. metallica for sale at a reasonable price. Once that guy got her out of the deli cup and into the light, I was sold. The colors were so brilliant, I was simply stunned.(I am a gal who likes her colors!) When we got her home, we set her up in a larger enclosure than the cup; until we made a permanent home for her. Once we had that set-up and ready, I was ready to handle her. I had no problems handling her, it felt completely natural to me and somehow calming at the same time. Once I felt those feather like toes tapdance across my skin, I knew this was the hobby for me. The sad part of this story is that when she finally molted in our care, she was not a she. :(

Second, one of the most interesting reactions I got was: “That is so cruel to the spider! How do you know they enjoy living in a cage? They’re probably miserable.”
M(ature)M(ales) are really the only ones that roam much, the ladies are homebodies for the most part. So, whether that burrow/ tube web is in the wild, or in your kitchen(which we do); the tarantula will not notice or care. They have a much better chance at long life in captivity, then they do in the wild. Plus, they get free room service!;)

Also, the mental capacity/ sight/ hearing in a tarantula is fairly poor. If they are miserable, they show you(pouting/ knees pulled over the cepholathorax) and you can diagnose/ get help to diagnose and fix the situation. Sounds like a cake life to me!:D

Do your spiders exhibit any signs of unhappiness? What would be signs of unhappiness? How do you know your tarantulas are “happy?”
Signs that it is 'unhappy'/ 'uncomfortable' are pouting/ knees over head, climbing the walls(if it is not an arboreal), sometimes not building a tube web, sometimes rearranging/ bulldozing is a sign................basically if your T isn't just sitting in one spot for large portions of the day, there 'might' be something you can do to make it more 'comfortable.' I don't believe that Ts have the capacity to feel 'happy.'

Do any of you know if there’s any prevention against this for tarantulas and, also, how you know you aren’t contributing to a problem when you buy a wild caught tarantula?
Separate countries have their own policies and laws, some ban exports. CITES would be something to look up.

Here is one thread i found on a quick advanced search.

Also, for those of you who have bred tarantulas for awhile, do you breed for certain traits? For example, if you breed T. blondi, do you pick your biggest female and breed it with a big male in hopes of slowly producing bigger spiders over the generations? This could go for color, temperament, etc as well. I really haven’t found much information about selective breeding in tarantulas so this is mostly for curiosity’s sake. :)
We have not made that leap yet, so i have no input on this one.:)
I am NOT asking a question about whether I should or should not handle
Just thought I would repeat that for you......

Have those of you with a hands-off approach desensitized your tarantulas to handling at all in case the circumstance arises where you may need to handle?
This is not possible IMO. Tarantulas are not dogs/ cats/ ferrets/ vertebrates and do not get used to/ desensitized to handling. The T will see you as squishy ground, that is unstable/ wobbly/ shaking; no matter how many times it is handled IMO/E.


Can you pretty much do anything with a pair of forceps (for instance, I read a thread where something was stuck on the tarantula’s fangs and they had to pick him up and remove it)?
Luckily, we have never had to use our forceps for anything other than feeding, maintaining plants and picking up their mess...............well, there was this one instance with an egg sac.:)

I plan on getting a very docile species of tarantula but I have absolutely no hands-on experience with tarantula-human interactions.
Are you an overly jumpy/ paranoid person? I ask because I am, but I have no problems. Do your research, once you feel prepared to handle it; mayhap you will.

My advice, start with a sling(baby) and watch it grow; maybe an Avicualria species............IMO there is nothing else like it.

I am trying to learn as much as I can before I even think about ordering a tarantula of my own.
:clap::clap: This is an admirable thing and I hope you receive informative answers to refer back to. Start wining and dining the advanced search, it will be a great asset if you let it.(use quotes for separate words, search in Questions&Discussions and sometimes searching only titles helps) There are also some incredibly informative stickies to peruse at the top of the forum.

I tried to include some links to interesting things you might not have come across, as well as some slang/ abbreviations in the hobby.(e.g. MM, MF, LPS, pouting, sling) The numbers you see sometimes (1.0.0) mean MM.MF.unsexed ........................ but I hope I haven't gone on at the fingers too much, but I do love tarantulas.:D

Once again, welcome to the hobby/ addiction!:p
 
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Kamikaze

@baboonmanila
Old Timer
Joined
Jun 11, 2008
Messages
310
1. what drew you to tarantulas in the first place and why do you continue to love them?

I love tarantulas because I think they're pretty much misunderstood. At first, I was attracted to the hobby because I wanted to know what it's like to keep tarantulas as pets. Then now, I'm sort of addicted to keeping as much as I can.


2.Do your spiders exhibit any signs of unhappiness? What would be signs of unhappiness? How do you know your tarantulas are “happy?”

I do try to accomodate my pets needs as much as I can, Like giving deep substrate for obligate burrowers, providing hides for terrestrial T's and so on. I wouldn't know how they feel. I do however try to accomodate their needs the best way I know how. :)
 

Teal

Arachnoemperor
Old Timer
Joined
Jan 11, 2009
Messages
4,112
I hadn't heard about the redecoration thing! That's kind of cute. :) The author's of my book (The Tarantula Keeper's Guide) put a big emphasis on getting the right size of cage--they said if an enclosure is too big some tarantulas will wander about aimlessly as if they don't know where to go. It was surprising to me because I think my natural instinct would be to get a big cage so they could frolic around (and then, alas, I found they just would rather sit for hours on end, hehehe).

The catch cup will be my savior. I was really worried about how I would clean the cage and such but I found a nice tutorial with pictures on how to use the catch cup to move the tarantula around. I'm all about not stressing out my future tarantula!

I think wild caught tarantulas would be fine if they were caught in amounts that weren't harmful to the population so it would be more of a renewable resource type of thing. Sadly, I have a feeling a lot of the countries the spiders come from could really use the money and the spider capturing could (and probably does) quickly get out of hand. It's really admirable that you want to start breeding in order to lessen this problem! :)


lol yes, "frolicking" isn't really what tarantulas do, unfortunately.
The biggest problem I've heard with having an oversized enclosure is the tarantula finding its prey... but I really don't see that as too much of an issue, personally.

Catch cups are very handy! So long as you get the spider in the cup.. and not on the cup.. or around the cup.. or on the cup then up your arm {D

Yes, in moderation and with concern for the animals' safety.. collecting WC Ts wouldn't be such a problem. But, not only are they collected in mass amounts that deplete wild populations, said collected animals are usually warehoused without proper care :(
Aww shucks.. I don't know if I'd call it admirable, but thank you :)
 

ReMoVeR

Arachnodemon
Old Timer
Joined
Oct 9, 2008
Messages
698
In fact, I introduced the idea of getting a tarantula to my mom by telling her I was going to get a cute and fuzzy pet and she was like, "oh, a chinchilla?! A hamster!?" And when I told her, she about peed herself and then wondered why I would get something I couldn't handle.

I do have a bad feeling that I'm going to want more than one, but I'm trying to take this nice and slow.. it's hard when I'm seeing so many awesome species. How can I choose just one!? ;D
The problem is that you can't keep just one... How old are you ? I am almost 19 and last year when i was 17 and in (high school ? well the year before university...) I crossed a spider website wich i found some interesting tarantula pictures and information. I showed my mom various articles about information of tarantulas wich i packed on a word file xD I was like " mom... i discovered something really cool that i didn't know.. read this! Did you actually know that tarantulas are harmless !?" and so she read... some days /weeks l8r I showed her some pictures and about a month/2months i said i would like to have one.. she was/is always having fear about them but once in a while she sees them and i got my mom to enjoy the molting process of a tarantula wich I was very proud xD :p I got my first and about half year later i got another one. The beginning of january i bought 3 new slings as i'm moving my Ts to my "university's house". She always afraid that they escaped or something and yesterday we were having dinner and me and my little brother were all happy because of the Ts and she started whining about them escaping and I got up the table and started walking as there was no door and said "howcome am I able to get out of the kitchen if the door isn't open and i cant open it" ( Laughter all around and pretty much exemplified the thing) hehe My mum is a cutie!

Best advice: take it.. s

l

o

w
=) she will eventually see that you actually love Ts and feel happy about having them and as a mums nature... she will not blame you hehe =)

Ps... get ready to have to asnwer all the silly and provocative/stereotical questions and jokes about spiders... and try to get your best answers ready at home ;)

welcome to you new adiction!


//Tiago
 

jebbewocky

Arachnoangel
Old Timer
Joined
Oct 1, 2009
Messages
910
I’m on my way to becoming a first time tarantula owner and am doing everything in my power to avoid being a “stupid pet owner.” I’ve gotten various reactions from friends and family at the news that I want to own a tarantula, but, to be honest, the reactions were mostly negative and stereotypical.

I’m posting this thread for various reasons: to clarify a few things I am confused about, to ask questions about things I’m curious about, and to get to know some people in this community so I have a go-to if I have questions down the line. :) Because all of this is mooshed into one thread, discussion will be quite broad, but I don’t want to go around posting a gazillion threads.

First, what drew you to tarantulas in the first place and why do you continue to love them? For me, I’ve always loved insects and have a special love for the very misunderstood spider. I took an entomology class last semester with a professor who owned two T. blondi—I always thought tarantulas would be high maintenance but, upon learning that they’re not, I have decided to get a tarantula of my own.

Second, one of the most interesting reactions I got was: “That is so cruel to the spider! How do you know they enjoy living in a cage? They’re probably miserable.” Most of you, I’m sure, own a tarantula (or fifty ;D). Some may be captive bred, but some also may be captured in the wild. I didn’t really know how to respond to this at the time and I’ve been thinking. Here is the barrage of questions: Do your spiders exhibit any signs of unhappiness? What would be signs of unhappiness? How do you know your tarantulas are “happy?”

I noticed that some countries ban exports because of the depletion in numbers of wild tarantulas; this is actually one of my main concerns about owning a tarantula. The pet trade industry can be devastating to wild populations of animals in general and I would never want to support seriously depleting the number of wild tarantulas. Do any of you know if there’s any prevention against this for tarantulas and, also, how you know you aren’t contributing to a problem when you buy a wild caught tarantula?

Also, for those of you who have bred tarantulas for awhile, do you breed for certain traits? For example, if you breed T. blondi, do you pick your biggest female and breed it with a big male in hopes of slowly producing bigger spiders over the generations? This could go for color, temperament, etc as well. I really haven’t found much information about selective breeding in tarantulas so this is mostly for curiosity’s sake. :)

Finally, a question I actually need the answer to before I get my tarantula. I am aware there is a handle/no-handle debate and I am NOT asking a question about whether I should or should not handle so please respect this thread enough not to start drama or answer a question that is not being asked. I personally want to take a more hands-off approach but I am worried that if my tarantula needs medical care/has a bad molt that I wouldn’t be able to help her because she was unused to being handled. Have those of you with a hands-off approach desensitized your tarantulas to handling at all in case the circumstance arises where you may need to handle? Can you pretty much do anything with a pair of forceps (for instance, I read a thread where something was stuck on the tarantula’s fangs and they had to pick him up and remove it)? I plan on getting a very docile species of tarantula but I have absolutely no hands-on experience with tarantula-human interactions.

I am very worried about posting a thread like this so please understand these are all very innocent questions of somebody just learning about tarantulas. There is no need to talk down at me—I am very willing to listen and learn from everyone! I am trying to learn as much as I can before I even think about ordering a tarantula of my own. All's I ask is that responses stay respectful to each other. You all seem like awesome people. :D

1.) I loved comics as a kid. My favorite was Spider-Man, because Peter Parker is a huge dork but still an awesome guy as Spider-Man. Progressed from there.
2.) Unknown. However, in the wild they would live in a burrow--either on the ground or in a tree--and basically wait around until prey shows up. Oh, and have to avoid predators. In captivity...same deal, minus predators. And the temps/humidity are different from their native lands, but they endure and don't show any obvious signs of stress.
3.) Buy T's only from reputable dealers.
4.) I don't have many years of T handling, but I will say this: I am honestly doubtful that a T can learn, or grow accustomed to, handling. That is--I don't know if it is possible to desensitize them to handling.
 

curiousme

Arachnoprince
Old Timer
Joined
Dec 11, 2008
Messages
1,660
I hadn't heard about the redecoration thing! That's kind of cute. :) The author's of my book (The Tarantula Keeper's Guide) put a big emphasis on getting the right size of cage--they said if an enclosure is too big some tarantulas will wander about aimlessly as if they don't know where to go.
The TKG is a great book, but it is targeting those new to the hobby. This means they give you advice for the most basic enclosures and husbandry. Since you are new that is a good thing! However, there are ways to keep Ts that are not utilitarian..............

We always put our Ts in enclosures that are bigger than they need. We tong feed, so never have problems with the T finding its food. Because we use larger enclosure, we have more room to make naturalistic, planted enclosures. We prefer this way of caring for Ts. :)

It was surprising to me because I think my natural instinct would be to get a big cage so they could frolic around (and then, alas, I found they just would rather sit for hours on end, hehehe).
:D

Oh, I love that! I have a serious love of plants as well so I can completely relate to that. People think it's strange to own a tarantula because you can't "do" anything with them like you can with a cat or a dog.
If you are already a plant person, planted enclosures may be just the thing for you.

I do have a bad feeling that I'm going to want more than one, but I'm trying to take this nice and slow.. it's hard when I'm seeing so many awesome species. How can I choose just one!? ;D
That feeling will come to fruition if you let it. We went from 1 T to 25 in less than a year. We have decided that there are only 2 more species we 'want,' but we will see what happens!:D
 

Exo

Arachnoprince
Old Timer
Joined
Jun 19, 2009
Messages
1,225
1. What drew me to Ts was how alien they seem, I'm a sucker for bizzare animals, the weirder the better. Not to mention that compared to other odd animals, they are easy to keep.

2. I know that my spiders are happy because I keep them in conditions that are as close as I can come to their natural habitat. (I allow all of my terrestrials to burrow and I try to provide similar humidity levels)
So far my Ts burrow, web, eat well, and grow at a decent rate so I think it is safe to assume that they are as close to "happy" as a bug can be.

3. As far as wild caught Ts go, I try to buy only captive bred slings. This works well for me because I get to watch a tiny sling grow into a huge adult and I will have it longer before it dies of old age. Plus, I won't be contributing to the demise of it's wild counterparts, which is a great bonus.

4. I think that most breeders like to breed for size and color, as those are the traits most people desire and those most likely to be genetic in nature.

5. I don't handle my Ts, and I'm not sure if you can "condition" a T to accept handling. Some don't seem to mind, others detest it.

Welcome to the hobby. :)
 
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