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Serious questions from an arachnophobe- about species, enclosures etc.

Jess S

Well-Known Member
1,000+ Post Club
Thank you Jess, that’s so sweet, I had to giggle a little when I see you now have 14!!?? Wow! That’s amazing.
i just know how strong the fear was but i know my life has been so enriched but the creatures I feared the most! I’m so glad you are doing so well and keeping so many and we have this amazing forum too!
So proud and what a transformation for so many of us here!
Life is so much better WITH tarantulas!!!:)
I know...not sure how that even happened! Will have another soon, I have what I consider to be a real treasure reserved and look forward to posting up a picture when I get it in a couple weeks.

I was driving the other day and realised there was a spider wandering around by my sun visor. That would have been the stuff of nightmares a few years ago, and I would have been scared to get back in the car haha :)

Glad you're still enjoying the hobby as much as ever, and you really have some amazing specimens in your collection. :)
 
E

ExMember

Guest
I have shared this at another site but not here. So I think this is a good thread to do so. Here goes:

I used to be severely arachnophobic. When I was young I would have panic attacks if I saw a spider. Even in pictures. Not sure why.

When I was in grade 4 a teacher's assistant found this out. Turns out that he had a Brachypelma hamorii (or maybe smithi?) that lived in the teachers lounge. He talked me into looking at the tarantula.

I went in there and could barely look in the cage. That was the biggest spider I had ever seen! I was terrified. Then the next day I was asked back in the lounge. I went in there and just watched the t. It didn't move much and seemed less intimidating than the day before.

I did this every lunch hour for about a week. I loved to go and eat my lunch and "study" the spider.

Eventually I got the nerve to ask if the spider could come out of the cage to "play". That's when everything changed for me. I was told "absolutely not" and informed that tarantulas are very fragile. I learned that they could die from small falls etc. So... you mean to tell me that these giant spiders are not savage, tough as nails killing machines that will attack me? I realized then that humans are way more of a risk to tarantulas than the other way around :) I kept wanting to go into the lounge everyday for a month until the teachers kicked me out lol. So I would just sneak in there at any given opportunity! They eventually banned me!

Fast forward several decades and I wouldn't say I liked spiders. But I would keep a few alive in my house to deal with bugs. I wasn't creeped out anymore.

Two years ago I started researching tarantulas with the idea of getting one as a pet. I used to have a room mate (about 10 years ago) that had a little hamorii so I got used to being around them again. Did some research for about a year and ended up going to an expo and came out with a T albopilosum sling. Got used to husbandry and all that. Now I'm totally obsessed and have 15 plus species and around 20 spiders in my care :) All thanks to that hamorii from the 80's! When I got my juvie hamorii it came full circle.

Well that's my story. I would actually suggest getting a jumping spider like Phidippus regius before getting a t. They are fast but easy to take care of and not very intimidating. I don't find the jumping to be an issue. I had one of mine escape one day while doing maintanence and it literally just bolted and got about 2 inches before it was catch cupped and returned. I have had wild zebra spiders jump on my arm and hang out for hours.

Cheers @SwedishArachnophobe84 !
 
Last edited by a moderator:

Jess S

Well-Known Member
1,000+ Post Club
I have shared this at another site but not here. So I think this is a good thread to do so. Here goes:

I used to be severely arachnophobic. When I was young I would have panic attacks if I saw a spider. Even in pictures. Not sure why.

When I was in grade 4 a teacher's assistant found this out. Turns out that he had a Brachypelma hamorii (or maybe smithi?) that lived in the teachers lounge. He talked me into looking at the tarantula.

I went in there and could barely look in the cage. That was the biggest spider I had ever seen! I was terrified. Then the next day I was asked back in the lounge. I went in there and just watched the t. It didn't move much and seemed less intimidating than the day before.

I did this every lunch hour for about a week. I loved to go and eat my lunch and "study" the spider.

Eventually I got the nerve to ask if the spider could come out of the cage to "play". That's when everything changed for me. I was told "absolutely not" and informed that tarantulas are very fragile. I learned that they could die from small falls etc. So... you mean to tell me that these giant spiders are not savage, tough as nails killing machines that will attack me? I realized then that humans are way more of a risk to tarantulas than the other way around :) I kept wanting to go into the lounge everyday for a month until the teachers kicked me out lol. So I would just sneak in there at any given opportunity! They eventually banned me!

Fast forward several decades and I wouldn't say I liked spiders. But I would keep a few alive in my house to deal with bugs. I wasn't creeped out anymore.

Two years ago I started researching tarantulas with the idea of getting one as a pet. I used to have a room mate (about 10 years ago) that had a little hamorii so I got used to being around them again. Did some research for about a year and ended up going to an expo and came out with a T albopilosum sling. Got used to husbandry and all that. Now I'm totally obsessed and have 15 plus species and around 20 spiders in my care :) All thanks to that hamorii from the 80's! When I got my juvie hamorii it came full circle.

Well that's my story. I would actually suggest getting a jumping spider like Phidippus regius before getting a t. They are fast but easy to take care of and not very intimidating. I don't find the jumping to be an issue. I had one of mine escape one day while doing maintanence and it literally just bolted and got about 2 inches before it was catch cupped and returned. I have had wild zebra spiders jump on my arm and hang out for hours.

Cheers @SwedishArachnophobe84 !
Nice story. Really enjoyed hearing about it all :)
 

Tabitha

Well-Known Member
I know...not sure how that even happened! Will have another soon, I have what I consider to be a real treasure reserved and look forward to posting up a picture when I get it in a couple weeks.

I was driving the other day and realised there was a spider wandering around by my sun visor. That would have been the stuff of nightmares a few years ago, and I would have been scared to get back in the car haha :)

Glad you're still enjoying the hobby as much as ever, and you really have some amazing specimens in your collection. :)
Incredible progress to be in a car with a spider, I’m the same, I nearly crashed once seeing one but like you I’m better now!
And LOL, yes, all of a suddenly you look at your huge collection of Ts and think how did that happen??
@Brachyfan brilliant story!
 
Hello again!

Earlier, I wrote that I would let it take time and that I would not rush into anything and I do not believe I have rushed my decision. However, I at first believed I would have to wait a bit longer before making my final decision.

I have continued to do research; through YouTube, podcasts and through reading about tarantulas (on this forum and in other places). Anything I have found have been looked into with great interest.

Not too long ago I started really wanting to get one myself, despite the fear still being there.

I felt that I would likely not get any further without actually interacting (as in taking care of, not as in handling) with a tarantula in “person”. With the current situation in the world, going to stores or expos is obviously not a possibility; and I personally believe that I need to live with and care for one to make more progress regarding my phobia.

Also, as with every animal I have ever been interested in getting; I came to the point of longing to getting my very own tarantula. Naturally my phobia complicates things and I am still very nervous about having my first ever pet spider in my home; yet I am extremely excited at the same time.

Recently I happen to “stumble over” the perfect specimen for me (a young B. hamorii) and I finally decided to order one of my favorite species despite my fear.

She (it is a female according to the seller) is about 2.2-2.4 inches (5,5-6 cm) and very beautiful (for being a scary tarantula, he he). She was supposed to arrive this week, but the seller recently told me that she seems to be in premolt, so for her safety I will have to wait a little longer for her to arrive.

I thought I had everything that I need for her at home…and I was just about to set up her new home when I (naturally) found some horror stories mentioning tarantulas easily chewing their way through the lids (I was going to use a critter keeper)…so now I need to find something else that will keep my little lady contained. I have seen plenty of people using critter keepers…so I thought it would be a good option (until she´s all grown up) …but now I am a lot less confident in my choice being a good one…unless the horror stories are not true? If they would be a good (and escape proof) option; which size would you recommend? I am not sure which specific brand I have, but they seem to be equivalent to these two in size: Medium https://www.leesaqpet.com/index.php...pers/kritter-keeper-,-medium-rectangle-detail and Large https://www.leesaqpet.com/index.php...epers/kritter-keeper-,-large-rectangle-detail

I have finally decided to get my first tarantula but I am in no way, shape or form free from my phobia so she has to stay put. I would not be able to handle a “free roaming” spider in my apartment.

Would a plastic box of this type be suitable? Smartstore, https://images.clasohlson.com/medias/sys_master/9494679322654.jpg https://images.clasohlson.com/medias/sys_master/ha6/h7b/9674744102942.jpg I have the following sizes readily available at home: nr 12, 28x28x17 cm (around 11.2x11.2x6.8 inches), nr 3, 21x17x15 cm (around 8.4x6.8x6 inches), nr 15, 40x30x19 cm (around 16x12x7.6 inches). Some already have ventilation made with a soldering iron (in the top and on the sides for ample cross ventilation). I have used a few of them for some of my feeder insects and some to transport my pets in (when I was moving in to my apartment). When it comes to the larger ones (nr 15) I have both boxes with ventilation and boxes without. The size of the ventilation holes varies, but they are all quite small and easily holds for example smaller crickets inside (with no escapes). Naturally I could order some new ones If a size would work, but for example it would be too much ventilation or something. It would however, be nice to be able to use what I already have available; so that I can finally start decorating her new home.

I have thought about using one of these (10.6 liters) food containers from IKEA https://www.ikea.com/gb/en/p/ikea-365-food-container-with-lid-rectangular-plastic-s79276760/ …but as previously stated, I would (if possible) prefer to use something I already have at home; because I am eager to start decorating for my little lady.

When she is all grown up, I will use some type of glass terrarium for her (I would like to have something that looks nice) but now I do not really care all that much about the esthetics. I just want to find something to keep her nice and safe (and prevent having to deal with an escaped tarantula).

I really have to find something as soon as possible, because I would prefer to know that I have everything ready for her when she will finally arrive.

When it comes to substrate, I have a few options as well, I am thinking of mixing it or some of it together but I am not sure if that would be the best option. I have (at the moment) the following substrates at home: peat moss, Exo terra plantation soil, Komodo Invertebed and some sphagnum moss. Is it a good idea to purchase some vermiculite to mix in, despite the fact that she is not a moisture depending species or should I skip that altogether?

Apart from the substrates mentioned above, I also have some oak leaves and dried wood (oak as well I am guessing) that I found in a small park. I have rinsed them and “dried them in the oven” to get any “nasties” of. I am planning on using that mixture with some sun beetles I am going to get in the future…but thought they may be used for my spider as well (unless of course it could be harmful to her in any way)?

What do you think is the best substrate for a tarantula that likes a dry environment?

As previously stated, I am crazy exited and super nervous…but if all goes well; I am pretty sure this will not be my last tarantula (I know myself a little too well, he he). I will not become a collector with about a million tarantulas (I have some space issues and about a billion other animals to care for…so that will not be possible) but I would like to have a few. I keep finding more and more species to add to my list over potential species to get (now, soon or in the more distant future).

Recently these have made it on to my list:

Green Bottle Blue "GBB" (Chromatopelma cyaneopubescens) - I find this one very beautiful and I like the fact that they are heavy webbers. This makes them a bit different from my other favorite species, and I like to have some variety since I am not going to get that many tarantulas. It will probably not be one of the first because of the speed and possibly defensive behavior.

Martinique Pinkto (Caribena versicolor) – The only one on my list that is not terrestrial, I understand that the arboreal species are rather fast. This will because of the speed not be one of the first tarantulas that I will get, but I might possibly get one in the future. The fact that they tend to jump does however scare the living daylights out of me, he he.

Mexican Golden Red Rump (Brachypelma albiceps) – The newest addition to my list of interesting species; a very nice-looking spider and seem (as far as I have found so far) to be a docile and beginner friendly species.

/SwedishArachnophobe84

Ps. I actually (strangely enough?) feel some love (regardless of the phobia) for my new pet. She is beautiful and kind of…cute (almost) and despite asking myself once in a while “what have you done?” and “have you lost your mind?” he he; I am very excited for her to arrive. I am not going to lie…I am actually quite worried about her and hope she will get trough her molt ok and not get too stressed out, when being shipped here eventually. I want only the best for my animals and she is no exception…despite being a terrifying creature with eight legs;)… Ds.
 

octanejunkie

Well-Known Member
1,000+ Post Club
3 Year Member
Tarantula Club Member
Contrats on your soon, new-to-you pet

I honestly stopped reading your post at the enclosure links. Nothing wrong with Kritter Keepers except for very small spiders being able to slip through the slits in the lid. Follow the general guidelines for size of enclosure and depth of substrate and you will be fine. Don't overthink it.

Make sure you provide the right height of substrate, a water dish and a hide.
 
Contrats on your soon, new-to-you pet

I honestly stopped reading your post at the enclosure links. Nothing wrong with Kritter Keepers except for very small spiders being able to slip through the slits in the lid. Follow the general guidelines for size of enclosure and depth of substrate and you will be fine. Don't overthink it.

Make sure you provide the right height of substrate, a water dish and a hide.
Thank you! :)
Ok, it is definitely possible that I am overthinking things…I am an arachnophobe who just invited a gigantic (she is small for being a tarantula of her species… but still huge in my eyes) spider into my home. This obviously makes me a “little” terrified, he he…so really making sure she will stay where I put her, is extremely important to me. Your answer and experience with critter keepers make me feel a little bit less panicked, thank you very much for that and for your help.

/SwedishArachnophobe84
 
SOME EXCITING NEWS!!!

My little lady has molted now and she will be shipped to me in the beginning of next week.

She looks quite different (when comparing the two pictures I got from the seller). She has suddenly more “hair” on her legs (it looks like she put on some new “fluffy-socks”, he he) and also more “orange” coloration on her carapace.

A very beautiful lady, indeed and I cannot wait to get her home…even if I at the same time as I feel super excited and happy…also…feel crazy nervous and “terrified”. Some mixed feelings over here, he he…but I am sure (kind of…) that it will all be all right in the end.

/SwedishArachnophobe84
 
My little lady apparently molted on Wednesday last week (so not on the same day as I received the picture) and after speaking to the seller about concerns raised on a different forum (stating it was too soon to be shipping her) they decided to wait a little extra, just in case. This means that I will not be getting her this week, but next week instead.

I have decided (hoping this is not the biggest mistake I will ever make, he he) to use the critter keeper I was going to use in the first place. It seemed like the most logical route to take after everyone (here and in other forums) kept telling me it will be fine, so I hope you all are right.

I figured that she would benefit from not having “open sides” so I covered three sides with an old aquarium background. It does not look fantastic to say the least, but her wellbeing is obviously the most important and I believe that she will feel nice and secure in there now.

As far as substrate goes, I have mixed some of my options together and I like it so far…and I hope she will like it too. The only thing I do not really like is that it does not seem to be as perfect for burrowing, as I would like it to be (due to it being kept dry); but I am hoping she will make do anyway.

I have multiple options for hides and decorations and I have tried to find the perfect combination for her. I wanted to make the space as comfortable and suitable for her as possible. I want her to be able to feel happy (for a spider) and safe in there. I hope I have made it suitable for her, but I will post some pictures later (once my camera decides to cooperate with me); so that you can provide me with some feedback on her enclosure.

/SwedishArachnophobe84
 
On a different note:

Until recently, I have basically only thought about getting sexed females and slightly bigger specimens…but after listening to a podcast; where Tom Moran said something about how slings resemble “normal spiders” (more than the larger tarantulas do). I started thinking and I have come to a conclusion that I believe is inevitable.

It feels like the only natural “second step” and that is that I will have to get at least one or two slings in the future. Forcing myself to interact and care for a sling or two will probably help a lot in going forward. I believe I would be better “prepared” to deal with the common spiders that might enter my house, that I might see I my garden etc. if I will get some slings.

Normally, I have less of a problem with smaller spiders…but when it comes to tarantulas specifically, it is slightly different. I still have a massive problem with bigger spiders (and I would never want something extremely enormous such as a T. blondi) but I do feel that slings freak me out in a different way…because they are similar in appearance, speed etc. to a “normal spider”. To me the most terrifying spiders are the true spiders (? I think they are called that).

Specifically, I absolutely hate the look of the common house spider (one of the biggest spiders found in Sweden) and spiders resembling black widows (and this is despite the fact that there are no dangerous spiders here).

They are just so gross…I am getting more and more used to tarantulas now, but the house spider…we are by no means anywhere near feeling better about those yet. I believe a sling or two will be able to help with this.

I have come to the conclusion that some of my favorite species is less suitable to buy as slings and I will try to find these as somewhat bigger specimens. Specifically, I am thinking of the particularly slow growing species (such as B. albiceps, A. chalcodes and so on).

When I come to the point that I feel ready to take on a sling or two:

Which species are good species to start with as slings and what species would you recommend? Feel free to suggest species that I do not currently have on my list as well.

I am obviously still looking for docile, nice and beginner friendly species but since getting slings will be further into the future; I do believe that it would be ok with slightly faster species (still looking for fairly slow-moving species though).

I do realize that I will not be able to get a sling that have been sexed (right?), but despite this I feel like this is the right move to make for me. Partly because it will help with my arachnophobia as stated above, but also because the more I read and learn, the more I realize that it would be a very valuable lesson to raise a tarantula from sling to adulthood.

So far, I am considering getting a GBB as a sling (not at the moment of course) would this be a wise or a foolish choice? I have also thought about getting a C. elegans as a sling (yes, I realize that it would be insanely small…but maybe a slightly larger sling?), good or bad idea? Any other species that might be worth looking into, specifically to get as slings?

/SwedishArachnophobe84
 
I agree waiting a week after molting to ship is prudent
Post some pics and tell us what you are using for substrate (mix)
I will post pictures…as soon as my camera (or rather the program used to transfer the pictures from the camera to the computer) decides to work.

I have mixed a little bit of Exo Terra plantation soil (it is made from coconut fiber) and some peat moss and quite a lot of a substrate made specifically for invertebrates called Komodo Invertedbed (made from fen soil and vermiculite…does not seem to be a lot of vermiculite in it though, so I feel it will be ok even for a drier climate). To make it look a little nicer (not so much for the texture of the substrate) I also put a little bit of dry moss in it (Exo Terra forest moss, I just took some directly from the dry “brick”).

It feels good (to me) and looks quite natural as well, so all I can do is hope that my little lady approves :T:

/SwedishArachnophobe84
 

octanejunkie

Well-Known Member
1,000+ Post Club
3 Year Member
Tarantula Club Member
You can add clean sand and or dirt to help hold burrows but spiders will often reinforce burrows with webbing.

Vermiculite will help funnel moisture down to keep it damp beneath the surface. That's all you really need.
 

Ajbeardow

Active Member
So far, I am considering getting a GBB as a sling (not at the moment of course) would this be a wise or a foolish choice? I have also thought about getting a C. elegans as a sling (yes, I realize that it would be insanely small…but maybe a slightly larger sling?), good or bad idea? Any other species that might be worth looking into, specifically to get as slings?
/SwedishArachnophobe84
GBBs are very heavy webbers, and semi arboreal, so if webbing is something that triggers your phobia, they might be one to avoid. They can also be quite skittish, and have a fast prey response, so could make you jump.

That being said, they're often docile, and are absolutely beautiful as slings and adults. I would recommend a GBB personally. I've just got a GBB sling myself.

Also, to share my experience, I had severe arachnophobia for most of my life; but after holding a tarantula in my teens, had no fear of them. I still continued to be reluctant to go near "true" spiders up until last year, and while I didn't mind tarantulas, I never intended on owning them.

After watching some Youtube videos late one night (Exotics Lair, Dark Den, TSC), I became fascinated by tarantulas. I watched more and more videos, and then one day thought "screw it", and bought a pair of acanthoscurria geniculatas. Since getting them, I'm less and less phased by true spiders every day. My personal phobia trigger was cellar spiders, which I now keep two of (until they mature, then I'll let them go) on my desk next to my Ts.

I've always said the same thing to my friends who struggle with arachnophobia:
- Give them a name
- Speak to them. Ask them how the kids and wife are doing
- Acknowledge that they're trying to keep irritating pests away from you
- Ask them daily when they're going to start paying rent, because you're sick of them eating all the food in the house and still haven't got a job. F*ck you Jeremy, you freeloading son-of-a-*****.
 

Ajbeardow

Active Member
Also, don't be too worried. You clearly want the best for your new pet, and you've put in the research. You'll do just fine!

For enclosures, you're safe with anything with a lid that you can't just push off with a light touch. Anything with the slightest resistance will stop your T escaping. As long as their abdomen can't fit through the ventilation holes, they'll stay in their enclosure. Most Ts are happy just to stay put, where they're familiar, anyway. They're only going to bolt if they feel threatened. Try not to startle them, and if you're going to open their enclosure, give them a few gentle taps on the glass, plastic so that they know you're coming.

Don't be tempted to buy something huge so that you don't have to worry about them escaping. They'll get stressed out if their enclosure is too big, and they won't be able to find food as easily.
 

ilovebrachys

Well-Known Member
1,000+ Post Club
Good luck with your new arrival when she arrives :D sounds like you are all ready and prepared - like @Ajbeardow has said get Ts that are a size you are comfortable with.. My personal recommendation is G. Pulchripes they are a very underrated T, very nice looking don't get huge and are great feeders.. Grammostolas have a LOT of characters.. You may struggle with a C. Elegans as being a Dwarf they can be fast so maybe something for the future :)
I do struggle to understand how some are terrified of 'true' spiders but not of tarantulas? If I see a true spider my first thought is to pick it up lol... I love all our 8 legged friends :)
 

Ajbeardow

Active Member
I do struggle to understand how some are terrified of 'true' spiders but not of tarantulas? If I see a true spider my first thought is to pick it up lol... I love all our 8 legged friends :)
Short answer, at least for past me, is that true spiders are often spindly. Ts are thicc. There's a weird innate fear of things with limbs that seem too long. Ts seem proportionally less scary.

Also another theory is simply that you see true spiders frequently in nature, and people in most countries, finding a wild T in your room isn't something you're worried about happening :p
 

ilovebrachys

Well-Known Member
1,000+ Post Club
Short answer, at least for past me, is that true spiders are often spindly. Ts are thicc. There's a weird innate fear of things with limbs that seem too long. Ts seem proportionally less scary.

Also another theory is simply that you see true spiders frequently in nature, and people in most countries, finding a wild T in your room isn't something you're worried about happening :p
I couldn't think of anything better than finding a'wild' T in my room :D if I see a true spider I leave the lil dude where it is :) you hear of people finding Ts in bananas or grapes from the supermarket market and my first thought is.. 'Awww why can't I find one' lol :)
I get where you are coming from with the limbs on true spiders though.. :)
 

Ajbeardow

Active Member
I couldn't think of anything better than finding a'wild' T in my room :D if I see a true spider I leave the lil dude where it is :) you hear of people finding Ts in bananas or grapes from the supermarket market and my first thought is.. 'Awww why can't I find one' lol :)
I get where you are coming from with the limbs on true spiders though.. :)
I mean now I'm constantly looking for spiders that I can help. I found a jumping spider in my hall at the weekend and was genuinely excited to get the little dude fed and looked after. Not sure I'd want a pissed off wandering spider coming out of my bananas though haha.

I think a lot of arachnophobia is taught to be honest. My mum is terrified of spiders and I picked it up from her. My dad has never been bothered, and used to let camel spiders chill in his shadow when he was in the army lol.
 

Rs50matt

Well-Known Member
Ilovebrachys is having a sly dig , I’m more than happy to pick up or touch a tarantula if needed but the other day there was a house spider wondering around and I went and got a catch cup which she found amusing... I agree it’s taught thou , my mums scared of spiders and petrified of snakes so when we got a royal python I was uncomfortable for a while for no reason .
 

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