Thursday, August 15, 2013

Not toys, but T's! My new tarantulas arrived a bit early :).

And now, for something completely different!

My new tarantulas arrived this morning, a day earlier than I was expecting.  I already own G. rosea and B. albopilosum, Etta and Poppy (Rose Hair and Curly Hair, respectively).  After keeping them for a few months and really getting the hang of things, I felt ready enough to give a couple more species a go.

I know that tarantulas aren't for everyone, so if you're squicked out by spiders, you might wanna give this blog a pass.  

As an aside, they're also not to be taken lightly.  They're living animals that get scared when being messed about by giant fleshy creatures.  I researched many different types before deciding on my first two and read as much as I could about each one, their enclosure conditions, feeding, and most importantly: Wtf do I do if I get bitten?  The answer to that is usually to deal with it, lol.  Sometimes it requires an ER visit for muscle relaxers and/or painkillers and in rare cases of bad allergic reactions, further medical treatment.  Remember, if you get bitten it's nobody's fault but your own.

My first two girls were chosen specifically for their docile demeanor and ease of care for a beginner.  These new guys, though... they're not as 'nice.'  Cobalts (Haplopelma lividum) in particular have a reputation for being angry little bitey things.  As I soon found out, they're also lightning fast and extremely easily agitated.  Before I managed to get these photos, it had already struck the lid of the deli cup it arrived in several times and was out of the cup before I could even blink.  It was loose on my studio table for about five minutes, enjoying the heat of the lamp, before I managed to coax it into a box so I could get it back in the cup.

 Juvenile Haplopelma lividum (Cobalt Blue Tarantula)

I really love the stripes on their abdomen.  Since this one isn't very old, the blue coloration hasn't yet started showing.  Males and females can initially have the blue coloration, but males tend to molt into a final brownish color once they reach maturity and die soon after.  Females live years longer than males in most all tarantula species.  Cobalts reach about 5" in leg span.  These are not meant for handling, despite what you'll find on Youtube, they should be display only.  They're old world spiders native to Myanmar and Thailand with particularly painful venom which causes burning, stinging, and cramping.

Next up is my Phormictopus cancerides (Haitian Brown Birdeater).  This is the one which scared the crap out of me in the video.  I was expecting to uncover a tub of dubia roaches and saw this -gigantic- thing staring back at me.

 Haitian Brown Birdeater Tarantula (Phormictopus cancerides)

Gosh, it's a whopper and will only get bigger, haha.  It was mad as hell, striking at me from inside the cup.  P. cancerides hails from the Dominican Republic.  Everything I've found on them contradicts itself in terms of bite severity, but I wouldn't want to get bitten by anything this big in the first place.  These tarantulas can reach legspans of 8" or more.  Eventually, they molt into a pretty purplish color.  They do love to kick hairs, though, which can be a problem if you get any of them on yourself.

Unfortunately, I don't have any pictures of my Brachypelma smithi (Mexican Red Knee).  It's a super tiny sling which I very much look forward to raising :).  B. smithi is by far my favorite species of tarantula.  They're fairly docile spiders, but as it goes with pretty much any critter, they can still get startled and scared.  The little guy leapt from the tissue in the dram container onto my shirt and damned near crawled up my sleeve.  Luckily, it popped back out and crawled onto my leg so I could recontain it. 

The lesson here is that I should obviously not be playing with spiders before I've had my coffee =_=.  In any case, I'm so happy with these guys.  They're absolutely gorgeous tarantulas.  I'll post more about them when they've had a chance to settle into their new enclosures :).

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