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Zoo husbandry concern

Discussion in 'Tarantula Chat' started by Radcla4832, Jan 11, 2019.

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    I visited Longleat Safari Park somewhat recently and saw that they had a GBB in an enclosure that didn't look very ideal to say the least
    It had sand as substrate with foam underneath at some parts and what seemed to be a heat lamp above with lots of room for it to climb and fall, I wasn't sure if it was doing a stress position but it was hiding under some dry bush stuff which seemed ok, I want to ask if they can change it but I'm not sure how as they seem convinced that it's ideal, there's also a rose hair which is kept in a tub which seems to be too small and has very little substrate in, should I ask that they change it or not? Or should I leave them to do their own stuff.
    By the way, I don't want people going after the zoo as it's a good place and fun to visit, just don't go into the parakeet enclosure with a hoodie, especially a smiler one with yellow adjustment bits that flop around
    Last edited: Jan 11, 2019
  2. KingAvi

    KingAvi Arachnopeon

    They should have a place where you could express your concerns. I would start there. Try their web page for an email address.
  3. I'll see if I can, I just don't want to look like Sir Spider Snob while writing it.
  4. Venom1080

    Venom1080 Arachnoemperor

    Zoos are hit or miss. I know the Cincinnati invert section is pretty good. They have the hides against the front of the cages, but they have hides, good temps, great looking cages, and actual water in the dishes.
  5. chanda

    chanda Arachnoprince Active Member

    It's good that you want to help the animals, though it may not be an easy task.

    Nobody likes to be told that they are not doing their job correctly, so you need to be very tactful in your suggestions, lest the keepers take it as criticism of them and get defensive.

    Also, in zoos, they frequently have to keep their inverts in less-than-optimal settings, both due to constraints in the available housing (such as those built-in concrete "dens" or "burrows" that are built right into the walls) - and because they want their specimens to be visible for their patrons. All of us who have pet holes know that many inverts - when appropriately housed, in their most "comfortable" environment - will burrow into their substrate and disappear for weeks or months at a time. Not such a big deal for the enthusiast who is willing to take care of them for that occasional glimpse - but very disappointing to a group of visiting tourists or schoolchildren who do, after all, go to the zoo to see the animals, not just a cage full of dirt. Same thing with the lights. I've seen lots of critters in zoo collections that have more light on them than they would like - but, like limiting their options for hiding, adding the lights makes them more visible for the zoo patrons.

    It's better in non-profit zoos (like the San Diego zoological society) where they make a concerted effort to emulate natural surroundings and diets for their animals as much as possible (though even they must make some compromises to practical concerns and visibility) and put a lot of effort into research, breeding, and conservation efforts, but when you start looking at for-profit private zoos, you can really find some messed-up care! I took my kids to Bear World (a drive-through wildlife park near Yellowstone National Park) because the wild bears at Yellowstone can be elusive. While the bears at Bear World are definitely highly visible, I was appalled at some of the care they received - particularly their diet! They took truckloads of tourists out through the park all day long and allowed them to feed the bears trays full of junk - day-old bread, donuts, muffins, cinnamon rolls, etc. from the local grocery stores. Granted, it was cool to see the bears up close, and the kids were delighted when they came up to the trucks and sat up and begged for people to toss stale pastries to them. And that's the problem - it delights the tourists and makes a lot of money for the park. (Those truck rides aren't free - or cheap!) Because it is "working" for them, I'm sure they would not consider changing it, no matter how many people pointed out that it was not good for the bears' health.
  6. Well it could be a good thing considering it hides under a bush and never comes out, so it may help the zoo while helping the spider, or it may do nothing, so who knows what will happen?
  7. Rigor Mortis

    Rigor Mortis Arachnoknight Active Member

    I recently had a not so common positive interaction with my local botanical gardens about the husbandry of their G. rosea. While it's entirely possible that they won't appreciate being told that their husbandry is less than perfect, if you present your concerns from a place of passion rather than a place of "I'm better than you," (not that I'm saying you think that, but they might get that impression) they might respond better. At least that's what worked for me!
  8. Another note: no water dish in sight in a super dry encloshre

    I actually read that and it actually made me think about that Longleat one, so I have to say thanks for that. If I respond I'll try and use the common names rather than scientific names although I'll leave them at the bottom just in case they want to read them
    Last edited by a moderator: Jan 12, 2019
    • Like Like x 1
  9. viper69

    viper69 ArachnoGod Old Timer

    Writing a letter or an email is useless, esp an email. You need to ask to speak to the person/s that supervise the animal keepers directly.
  10. Rigor Mortis

    Rigor Mortis Arachnoknight Active Member

    I think it depends on the size of the facility in question. I got a pretty good response from the gardens, but it's a relatively small operation with no more than 50 employees. A bigger operation would probably be less inclined to take a concern seriously.
    • Agree Agree x 1
  11. I think i'll try and do something similar but it may have 100 or more employees and I hope that the concerns are taken seriously
    Guess its type time
    Last edited: Jan 12, 2019
  12. Rigor Mortis

    Rigor Mortis Arachnoknight Active Member

    If not you could definitely do what viper69 said and go visit in person and ask if you can speak with someone in charge of invertebrates or whichever exhibit the T is housed in. Chances are the main person will be busy but there should always be someone there you can divert your concerns to.
  13. I dont think I can do that as its a while away
  14. Rigor Mortis

    Rigor Mortis Arachnoknight Active Member

    Ah, distance can be a cruel mistress can't she! Well then I'd say you definitely have nothing to lose sending them an email.
  15. About time to write it so here it goes

    A short while ago I had the chance to visit your Safari park which was a good experience and had a lovely light and fireworks show which I enjoyed, however I have a few concerns about the husbandry of your Green Bottle blue tarantula as some mistakes are there, I am currently a member of the world's largest arachnid forum and using the combined knowledge of the community, I would like to suggest some simple improvements, I do not mean this as an attack of any form and I have respect for your care of your many creatures on your property.
    I would like to first of all mention that sand, despite being in the place that the Green Bottle Blue originates from, is most likely avoided by that species as it lives in bushes and also may cause irritation to the spider as it is very fine and tends to stick, along with the fact that the ground that they live in is not pure sand as well, I would recommend coconut coir bricks instead, as they just need some moisture to expand at first and then can be heated up again
    Second of all, if you plan to use a lamp I would recommend against any form of heat lamp as they can cause dehydration, which could lead to the Green Bottle Blues death, while also on the subject of that, a water dish is important for them as they can go for possibly a year or over without feeding and need to drink after a molt, at the same time, keep the water bowl clear of any sponges or stones as a tarantula is fully capable of drinking a pure source and will not drown
    Third of all, I would suggest that you put in some plants, fake or real, to give it a spot to web up and hide in.
    I would also recommend your Chilean Rose Hair be housed in a larger enclosure and provided with some more substrate in case it wants to burrow.
    I respect that you would like to provide the ideal and natural environment for your creatures, however, some improvements could be made which would make life for your tarantulas more comfortable, if this is possible then I would appreciate it, I would like to head back to your premises again as they are well made, and I hope that you will take time to take these viewpoints into consideration.
    Thank you for your time.

    If you have any criticisms or are highlighting any mistakes then post away
  16. Get the zoo told haha
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