... Can anyone tell me more about Haplopelma albostriata (Thai Zebra)? I haven't found much about their temperament ...
Very nearly little screaming banshees from hell! They won't attack the front of the cage to get at you, but they object vehemently to any sort of direct, physical contact. Use the glass and cardboard method to move them around. Working barehanded in their cage is usually safe, but if your individual tarantula seems excessively over-defensive merely keep the cage lid between you and the tarantula. As I remember, the bite is not terribly serious. On one occasion my teenage grandson tried to pick one of ours up using the normally recommended "cupped hand method." The tarantula struggled so much that it lost a leg. He felt terrible enough about that, but when he returned to check on the tarantula a half hour later, it was eating the autotomized leg! Rob got physically ill over that one!
... or what sort of housing is best for them ...
Standard tarantula cage. Normal dimensions. Normal substrate. Normal feeding. Normal water dish. Normal... Normal... Normal... Note that contrary to what all the care sheets would have you believing, these do not necessarily require excessive humidity, a damp cage, deep substrate, carefully controlled temperatures, etc., etc., etc. Once acclimatized (see below) they do just fine in a dry cage with a water dish.
Note that the overwhelming majority of captive tarantulas will do quite nicely if cared for in one of only about five (5) different care regimens (see below), all the care sheets on the planet notwithstanding! You don't need a separate care sheet for each species. That's absolutely ridiculous hyper-redundancy! (OMG! You're not reading those care sheets
again, are you?)
2. Arid species.
3. Swamp dwellers.
4. Obligate burrowers.
With the single exception of H. lividum
, all Haplopelma
can be kept in an arid cage with a water dish. Would you like to see what sort of conditions wild Haplopelma
live in? Visit Spinnen in der Natur
. (Dismiss the introductory sales pitches, then scroll down the page. Read the captions as well as look at the photos.) Note: Burrows in dry forest and open grasslands, NOT DRIPPING TROPICAL RAIN FOREST!
... and humidity, etc. ...
As a global game plan for keeping tarantulas, I wrote the following overview. It will soon appear as a separate webpage on our website
, and some variation of this will undoubtedly appear in TKG4
, so you're getting the beta edition here. Consider it advance information.CAVEATS: Note that the following rules of thumb apply to nearly all tarantulas except a few obligate swamp dwellers, and to the arboreal species. These last two groups are addressed towards the bottom.
BABY TARANTULAS: Those younger tarantulas with a diagonal leg span (DLS) of about 1.5" (3.8 cm) or less should be kept in a relatively closed container that heavily restricts ventilation. The substrate should be kept slightly damp. All this maintains a constant, elevated (but not excessive) humidity. Do not mist; instead, reread the last few sentences carefully. Do not spend a lot of time, energy, effort, or money on fancy containers. Like humanoid babies, these will outgrow their containers soon, thereby wasting all your finest efforts over and over again.
SPIDERLINGS TO ADULTS: Those younger tarantulas with a DLS of about 2" (5 cm) and larger should be kept in cages with dry substrate and supplied a water dish with clean water. Keep almost all of these as arid species. (See the exceptions below.)
TWEENS: Those tarantulas between the aforementioned two sizes should be gradually acclimatized to a dry cage over a period of 2 or 3 molts. Move them to an adult style cage (but not necessarily an adult SIZED cage yet) and gradually increase ventilation to allow the container/cage to dry out, but be very sure to supply a water dish with clean water. You're gradually removing the higher humidity and substituting a water dish as the primary water source. In response, the tarantula develops a thicker, more impervious waxy layer to prevent excessive water loss from its body. All it needs is a little time to adjust.
Note that many tarantulas from semi-arid and arid places (e.g., American Great Plains, Kalahari desert) can make this transition much earlier in life than these recommended times. But, it does them no harm to wait a little longer either.
SWAMP DWELLERS: These are tarantulas like the species of Theraphosa, Ephebopus, Hysterocrates, to some extent Megaphobema, and a few others. These do not have the impervious, water retentive exoskeletons of the other tarantulas and require a constant, high humidity. Keep these in "baby" style cages for their entire lives, adjusting for increased size of course.
Enthusiasts are discovering that wild caught "swampers" will gradually develop a somewhat greater resistance to slightly drier conditions if the transition is done slowly and over an extended period of time. And, those swampers that are bred in captivity fare much better and can tolerate drier cages much better than their wild caught brethren.
ARBOREALS: Wild caught arboreals, particularly members of the genus Avicularia fare poorly when first brought into captivity (partly because of "shipping shock" and partly because of the sudden change in environmental conditions) unless they are initially set up and cared for as babies for the first few weeks (initial recovery period), then quickly switched to a "Tweens" care regimen (secondary acclimatization period) for the first one or two molts. Thereafter keep them as adult, arid tarantulas but maintain a slightly elevated humidity by slightly restricting ventilation. Always supply them a water dish. (In the middle of the night as they hunt for food they'll pussyfoot down to the water dish and take a sip. And being sound asleep, you'll never, EVER know it happened!) When first acquired, cage bred arboreals may be treated as described under "Shipping Recovery," below.
SHIPPING RECOVERY: Enthusiasts often have trouble with high mortality rates shortly after acquiring tarantulas. In a very large percentage of these cases the problem is that they were weakened or injured by rough treatment during transportation (e.g., allowed to get too hot or too cold, shipping cartons being thrown or dropped, perhaps even the tarantula equivalent of extreme mental stress). This is called "shipping shock" in the pet industry.
The first rule is DO NOT FEED YOUR TARANTULA FOR AT LEAST A WEEK AFTER RECEIVING IT! They do not need the food. It takes months for them to starve. What they DO need is to be left alone to recover from their ordeal.
Babies in their baby bottles should be checked for adequate moisture, then placed somewhere relatively warm, and left alone for a few days.
If you suspect that your tarantula of "Tween" size or larger may be suffering shipping shock as you receive it, put it into an ICU for two or three days (note that babies as defined above are already in a sort of ICU), then follow the same course of action as outlined under "Tweens" above, except that the recovery process shouldn't take more than one or two weeks, as opposed to several molts. Thereafter, move them into whatever adult style cage is appropriate.
ACCLIMATIZATION: Wild caught tarantulas sometimes have trouble getting used to life in a cage. This is usually evidenced by their climbing or marching incessantly (note however that mature males will do this anyway), hanging persistently from the cage walls or cover, hiding in a corner, or failing to eat. And, some (e.g., the "swampers," discussed above) need special care from the very beginning.
If your tarantula shows signs of what might be called "Acclimatization Stress" (the symptoms above), make sure that the cage you've supplied meets all its basic requirements, then read Substrate to make sure that's acceptable.
Note that there is a truly amazing tendency by newbies to make the caging arrangement as elaborate and complicated as possible, often in the belief that this in some way benefits the tarantula. The exact opposite is true, and the practice often, if not usually, causes more problems than it solves. Until you've had enough experience to know what you're doing (And, even then some never learn!) SIMPLE IS BETTER! The basic caging system should include the following. Avoid introducing anything else unless there's a distinct need, and the majority of people on this forum agree!
1. Appropriate cage - dimensions/size, orientation (vertical/horizontal), materials/composition.
2. Escape proof cover
4. Water dish with the obligatory rock
5. Small retreat as a place to hide
Then, make sure it has a water dish and clean water. Move the cage to a relatively dimly lit place in your home, away from other disturbances. DON'T FEED IT! GO AWAY! LEAVE IT ALONE! Check on it only for about 10 seconds only once every afternoon to make sure it has water. If after a week or ten days it still is showing signs of distress, come back to this forum and ask for advice.
DO NOT START A NEW THREAD! Look this thread up and add additional postings to it. This practice allows us to read the history of your problem without having to waste time and effort trying to search through 7,000 other threads and postings.
... Ok, I guess there's more species I want to know about than expected so here's a list (what I want to know are temperament, housing, humidity, and whatever else that a keeper needs to know to keep them happy and healthy):
That is NOT
just a few species, and we cannot go through your list one by one. This forum will not allow postings of that length, and it would be terribly, boringly redundant anyway. Instead, go back and re-read my comments about five care regimens.
It's difficult to tell from your post, but it sounds a lot like you're a newbie. If I'm mistaken, I apologize. In any case, to make sure that you're starting out on the right foot and have been introduced to all the basic issues, I'm going to begin with my soon-to-be-world-famous NEWBIE INTRODUCTION
. Even if you aren’t a newbie I suggest that you read through it for review. (I just LUVS
doing this!) Please stand by while I load the canned message.
HEY PEOPLE! WE'VE GOT ANOTHER NEWBIE HERE!
Cue the mariachis, the confetti, and the clowns. Let's start the party!
"Fallen.Grandeur," please don't be offended! I've been messing with tarantulas longer than most people on this forum have been alive, and I still consider myself a newbie. I'm just having a little fun with you.
Okay, let's get down to business. First, the pleasantries:"Welcome to the hobby!"
"Welcome to these forums!"
Now, to get you started on the right foot I urge you to read the following webpages.Stan's Rant
- A little initial boost in the right direction. READ AND HEED THE WARNINGS! READ THE BOOKS!Myths, Misconceptions, and Mistakes Perpetuated by Tarantula Enthusiasts
- A growing list of bad information in the hobby. Be sure to explore all the links.
If you think you might be getting a Chilean rose tarantula (Grammostola rosea
) you definitely should also read Care and Husbandry of the Chilean Rose Tarantula
- How NOT
to let your Chilean rose tarantula drive you to the funny farm!
Lastly, you should read Substrate
to get to the bottom of the situation.
Additional Thoughts:The Search Function:
Don't take this as a criticism, but if you don't already know about it, please learn to use the Search
function at the top of the page. It'll save us all a lot of time and effort. Most novices and even many seasoned enthusiasts fail to appreciate that 95+% of all tarantula issues have already been addressed, sometimes ad nauseam
, on these forums. All you need do is look for the discussions.A Basic Operating Principle:
If you can't find an answer to your concern using the Search
function (after all, search engines are far from perfect), by all means ask us. Remember,"The only dumb questions are the ones you don't ask."
"And, dumb questions are always easier to deal with than dumb mistakes!"
"We aims to please."Lastly, has no one told you?
THE TARANTULA KEEPER'S LAMENT
Like those potato chips,
you can't have just one!
You've been warned!(And, we offer a tip of the ol' hat and our profound thanks to the Frito-Lay Company for institutionalizing the progenitor of this little joke.)
Visit the webpages. Read the warnings. Read the books. Monitor these forums. Do the searches. IGNORE THE CARE SHEETS!
Then get back to us with any concerns you may have. We're here to help.End Canned Message
There! I've done enough damage. I'll leave you now to do your homework.