Tarantula Sling Enclosures

Now that I’ve got my new sling, what do I house it in?

When I made the decision to purchase my first tarantula slings, I next needed to choose which enclosures I would use to house my new acquisitions. I had researched many alternatives, from deli cups to dram bottles, and I wanted to be sure to choose something that would allow me to maintain the appropriate environments my spider’s would need. Too much ventilation and I would risk the enclosure, and my T, drying out. Not enough ventilation, and the stuffy, overly-moist conditions could prove a death trap. I also had concerns about security; namely, would my T be able to escape from ventilation holes (or would the design of the home make it easy fro the spider to scoot out when it was opened for feeding or cleaning?).

As luck would have it, my first sling purchase was made at Jamie’s Tarantulas, and I took advantage of a couple deals she was running that included both a sling and one of her wonderful sling enclosures. I still use these enclosures, as they offer many perks that I will get to later. However, since then, I’ve done a lot of experimenting with other types of homes for my slings, and I’ve discovered some “found enclosures” that are also quite useful and versatile. So, if you’re on the lookout for a good sling enclosure, you may consider the following.

Deli Cups

A couple simple deli cups. Note: if using these to house a sling, I would not use the screened top as it would allow for too much airflow.

A couple simple deli cups. Note: if using these to house a sling, I would not use the screened top as it would allow for too much airflow.

Deli cups are an enclosure staple in the hobby, and for good reason. They are inexpensive, versatile, come in many sizes, and are easily-acquired. They are also stack-able, which can allow those with large collections to easily conserve space. Full disclosure: I personally don’t use deli cups to house my Ts; I have always used other alternatives. But to ignore deli cups on a list of suitable alternatives would be ridiculous.

PROS:

  • Inexpensive
  • Come in many sizes
  • Readily available
  • Versatile
  • Easily adapted
  • Stack-able

CONS

  • Not the most attractive (for those looking to display)

Jamie’s Tarantulas Spiderling Enclosures

Three sling enclosures from Jamies tarantulas. I have a dozen of these, and I love them.

Three sling enclosures from Jamies tarantulas. I have a dozen of these, and I love them.

To date, I’ve purchased about a dozen of these, and I still love and use them. For those buying slings from Jamie’s site, picking up one of these little beauties is almost an academic decision. Not only do they look great, but for a very reasonable $7.95, you get all the fixings, too (cork bark, silk plant, coco substrate, and moss), which is SO convenient. They look great on a shelf, and I’ve safely housed over 20 slings in them without incident.

Before using one of these enclosures for the first time, you will want to open and close it several times, as the cover fit can be quite stiff initially. Personally, I like how you can basically “hinge” the top on the bottom when feeding Ts, which keeps the opening small and prevents escapes. She sells these enclosures in both terrestrial and arboreal versions.

PROS:

  • Very convenient when purchasing slings from Jamie’s site
  • Good value with all of the fixings
  • Gorgeous display enclosure
  • Very secure
  • Good visibility
  • No modifications needed
  • Rectangular shape and top vents means you can fit many on a small shelf

CONS:

  • Can be pricey when compared to “found enclosure” alternatives
  • Can’t be stacked on each other.

Plastic Dram Vials

Plastic vials used to house small slings.

Plastic vials used to house small slings.

Like the deli cups, plastic dram vials are used by many keepers to house their slings. They are inexpensive, easily adapted, and fantastic for keeping in precious humidity. Plastic dram vials come in many sizes, including very small sizes perfect for tiny slings. Pictured above are two that are currently housing 1/2″ Hapalopus sp. Columbia slings, and a smaller dram which is home to a 2/5″ B. albopilosum sling. All of these slings started off much too small for my other enclosures, and the smaller sizes of the plastic drams proved the perfect alternative.

PROS:

  • Inexpensive
  • Readily available
  • Come in many sizes (Great for tiny slings)
  • Secure
  • Easily adapted
  • Wonderful for holding in moisture
  • Great visibility

CONS:

  • Not safely stack-able

Ziploc Twist n Lock Storage Containers

Modified Ziploc storage containers. These are very versatile and can be used to house burrowing, terrestrial, and arboreal Ts.

Modified Ziploc storage containers. These are very versatile and can be used to house burrowing, terrestrial, and arboreal Ts.

I started using these several months ago after buying a boatload of plastic containers at Walmart to experiment with as enclosures. Since then, they have quickly become my go to enclosure for slings 1″ or larger. Although they come in two sizes, I have switched almost exclusively to the taller size shown above. As you can see, you can fill it with more substrate, meaning burrowing species can dig elaborate burrows (H. gigas), or use less substrate and a piece of cork bark for arboreal species (the P. metallica on the right).

These enclosures are easily modified with a hot nail or soldering iron, and they are wonderful at holding in moisture. They feature secure, twisting lids that offer wonderful security, and they are stack-able, which is great for space-saving. At about $2.50 for two, they are also very inexpensive. I love using these for faster-growing species, like my Phomictopus, as they are roomier than other enclosures and allow more room for growth.

PROS:

  • Inexpensive
  • Very versatile (can work for burrowing or arboreal)
  • Secure
  • Easily adapted
  • Stack-able
  • Attractive

CONS

  • Blue lid makes it tough to see in from the top

Just the tip of the iceberg…

These are, by no means, all of the possiblities out there. Tarantula message boards are rife with other examples of “found enclosures” that keepers have used. It’s fun to experiment with different types of cages, so creativity should definitely be explored. Just keep in mind that a good cage should:

  • Be secure
  • Be appropriately sized
  • Able to maintain the optimal environment inside
  • Appropriately ventilated

I will continue to try to find new and interesting enclosures, and if anything should prove particularly effective, I will definitely add it to this list.

7 thoughts on “Tarantula Sling Enclosures

  1. Hi. I am planning to buy my first T. I am trying to decide on a chilean rose hair or a mexican red knee. I know I want a juvenile female. Which do you think is best? Btw I am an arachnophobe who would like to conguer her fear. So far I have been researching Ts for 3 weeks. Learning everything I can. I also wonder what your opinion is on enclosures. I have seen enclosure from three sites. House of Spiders http://shop.houseofspiders.co.uk/epages/es134535.sf/en_GB/?ObjectPath=/Shops/es134535/Categories

    Jamie’s tarantulas which I am sure you know well. And finally tarantulascages.com.

    They all seem to be the same but I wonder which is more trustworthy. I don’t want the cage to break… I don’t want the cage to be dangerous for the T… It has to have a lock… and I would want one with ease of feeding and spot cleaning without having to bother the T. Jamie’s enclosures for juveniles confuse me because they seem to open from the bottom which worries me about an escape attempt. They also seem to be more for arboreal Ts than terrestrial juveniles. I also wonder your opinion on each of their adult T enclosures. I hope you shed some light on some of my confusion and take a look at the other sites and give your opinion? Finally as far as purchasing my T… I have been trying to decide between Jamie and swiftsinverts.com. I hear nothing but positive reviews about both. The packing of the T… judging from youtube videos… seem to be better from swifts. Only because you seem to have to hunt for the T in all that wrapping from Jamie. That worries me. Swifts seems like that packed in some sort of container and you lift the wrapping up like a top and there it is. I know this is alot of questions… but I am needing some direction because I want the T to have a great and reliable enclosure… and I want the T to be easy to unpack. I have been scouring the internet for comparisons and kind find any. Thank you and I hope to get a great informative answer soon.

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    • Hello! Are you in the US or in the UK? House of Spider is in the UK, so I’m not sure. I wasn’t sure if you were in the US and just looking to order enclosures from House of Spiders, or if you’re in the UK (which would mean you wouldn’t be able to order from Jamie’s and Swift’s.

      I have both a G. porteri (Chilean Rose) and a B. smithi (Mexican Red Knee), and I love both. You really can’t go wrong either way. If you’re looking for juveniles, a B. smithi will run you a bit more, but they also have long life expectancy and a beautiful coloration. Both have similar care requirements and are quite hardy in captivity.

      I was actually arachnophobic for most of my life, and I bought my first T (a G. porteri) about 18 years ago to help me get over it. 58 tarantulas later, I have no fear of Ts or spiders. It does take time, though… 🙂

      I have ordered the majority of my animals from Jamie, and she is by far my favorite dealer. That is not to say that other dealers aren’t equally fantastic. Kelley Swift has a stellar reputation, and I’m sure I’ll order from him eventually. I’ve just found Jamie’s communication, packing, and animal and shipping prices to be top notch.

      I also like that you can pick up your T, enclosure, and feeders all in the same place. It’s just SO convenient. I, personally, have never had trouble unpacking any of the Ts I’ve received from her. The $17 shipping with LAG is also a huge plus.

      I have six of Jamie’s juvenile enclosures, and I like them a lot. The lids are secure and can be easily maneuvered during cleaning to prevent escapes. They do not, however, lock. Are you worried about people getting in, or the animal getting out?

      I find them better for arid species (such as Rosies and Red Knees) as the large vent on the top allows for a lot of evaporation, which can make it more difficult to maintain humidity for species requiring moisture.

      What size juvenile were you looking for? That would also influence the size of the enclosure you would need to procure.If you were getting something 3″ or more, one of Jamie’s adult cages would also be a consideration. They are VERY well made, and have a hasp for locking. I have my adult G. porteri in one of these.

      I have only had one experience where I had difficulty getting the animal out of the packing vial, but that was not with Jamie. Usually, you just open the top of the vial or deli container, pull the paper towel “plug” that is covering the hole, then use a paintbrush to scoot the T out. For ones who don’t want to leave, I will pull the plug, lay the vial in the new enclosure, and wait for the animal to come out on its own (I’ve only had to do this a few times, and I had always worked so far).

      As for the packing of the spiders in the box, again, it’s never been an issue. I remove the packing materials and had no trouble locating the vials or deli cups with the Ts inside.

      You really can’t go wrong ordering from either Swift’s or Jamie’s, so that will come down to personal choice. Both are known for great service (and packing). If you want to pick up a T and enclosure at the same time, I would go with Jamie’s. If you have questions, she or Jon are always quick to answer them.

      Let me know about what size T you’re looking for, and I can better help you to narrow down enclosure options. Also, if you need help setting up the enclosure, just ask!

      I hope this helps!

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  2. Pingback: Tarantula Enclosures – Premium and DIY | Tom's Big Spiders

  3. What are the major negatives to housing slings in enclosures that are much larger than the typical ones people use? I have two, month old P. metallica slings for reference.

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    • The biggest negative is that it makes it more difficult for them to find prey. Out of all of the pokies I’ve raised, the metallica was the most skittish and the more tentative hunter. I’d be worried about it tucking itself in a corner and not finding the food. Larger enclosures also make it a bit more difficult for them to settle in.

      That said, what size is the sling and what size is the enclosure you’re planning to use? I usually only rehouse my pokies twice after they are slings, and give them slightly larger enclosures to give them some room to grow.

      Tom

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  4. Hello, I was wondering if you can teach me how to hold a trancula? I have a pet spider, and I’m afraid to hold her, she has thrown threats at me, so I need advice.

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    • I don’t make it a habit of holding mine, but here is a video that illustrates how to go about it.

      Personally, if she’s giving your threat poses, I would say that she’s telling you that she doesn’t want to be handled. Although a lot of people enjoy handling their Ts, they do not NEED to be handled, and many hobbyists have a hands-off policy with their pets. Although some will tolerate it, others can be unpredictable.

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