Tom Patterson – Dealer/Breeder Review (100% Positive!)

Possibly the best tarantula ordering experience I have ever had.

My new N. tripepii female courtesy of Tom Patterson.

My new N. tripepii female courtesy of Tom Patterson.

When people order tarantulas online, they generally go to the major vendors. Folks like Jamie’s Tarantulas, Pet Center USA, and Swift’s Invertebrates have stellar and well-deserved reputations for carrying a variety of stock and for their dependability and professionalism. The fact is, when buying and shipping living animals, you want to make sure you order from the best. Due to the volume of animals these larger dealers move, there are always plenty of glowing reviews to read if one does just a bit of research, and their names quickly come up in any search for those selling tarantulas.

However, what often gets overlooked is that there are many awesome breeders out there who have been in the business for a long time and who offer great service with spectacular deals. Some of these same dealers are the ones who supply stock to the “big name” vendors as well. Unfortunately, these folks can be a little more difficult to find, especially for those new to the hobby who don’t know where to look.

Tom Patterson (aka “Philth” on Arachnoboards) has been in the business for a long time, and he has a sterling reputation. Although I’ve come close to ordering from him many times due to his propensity to carry some of the more unique species I’m looking for, I didn’t pull the trigger until recently when I saw that he was selling some Vitalius paranaensis juveniles for a great price. After going through his recent price list, I found that he had several species I was interested in, and that it was finally time to place an order from him.

Boy, am I glad that I did.

Tom carries a good variety of tarantula species, including many that he breeds and produces himself. Those into other inverts will also find some cool arachnids, like trap doors and true spiders, as well. As far as tarantulas go, he has a good mix of some hobby staples, like G. pulchripes, Hapalopus sp. “Colombia large”, and P. cambridgei as well as unique and hard to find spiders like V. paranaensis, P. crassipes, and Aphonopelma crinirufum . For folks looking for larger sexed specimens, he regularly posts young adult females for sale as well.

His prices were great, with the $25 P. crassipes slings, $50 4″ Sericopelma sp. “Santa Catalina” juveniles, and the $50 3″ P. muticus juveniles really jumping out at me. I also grabbed up a 5″ Nhandu tripepii sexed female, as I had been eyeing this species for a while. Tom doesn’t currently have a website, but instead periodically lists his stock on the For Sale section of Aracnoboards or in the Captive Bred Inverts – Classifieds on Facebook. Ordering was simple; I emailed him a list of the species I wanted to order, and Tom responded immediately with a Paypal invoice. Tom’s communication was excellent, and all of my emails were answered within an hour.

My new L. crotalus being rehoused. This unique species was one of FOUR freebies.

My new L. crotalus being rehoused. This unique species was one of FOUR freebies.

Because weather in my area was quite cold, we both decided it would be in the best interest of the animals to wait to ship until we got a few days of higher temps. During the wait time, I asked to add another spider to my order, and Tom was happy to accommodate me, quickly sending me a new invoice. When it looked like we’d get a stretch of warmer temps, Tom contacted me immediately to arrange shipping. He was happy to have my package held at my local FedEx facility (in fact he encouraged it), and my spiders were shipped overnight promptly.

What an amazing box of spiders.

All of my new animals arrived safely and in great shape. The box was foam lined and contained a heat pack, and each of the spiders was packed in its own vial, which was wrapped in multiple layers of newspaper, then cushioned with packing peanuts.

And, what could make this transaction even sweeter? How about FOUR freebies. FOUR. For those who watch the video above, my shock is genuine. I’m used to getting some of the “give-away” species like LPs and B. albos, but what he included was unreal. Added to my order was a 3″ P. muticus, an L. crotalus juvenile, a Lampropelma sp. “Borneo black” sling, and a Phlogius sp. “Eunice” juvenile.  What was already going to be one of the coolest boxes of spiders I’ve ever received was just made twice as cool by the awesome freebies.

Just WOW.

3" P. muticus juvenile rehousing.

3″ P. muticus juvenile rehousing.

Take the chance and order directly from breeders

My experience ordering from Tom Patterson was utterly perfect. Even if you took out the extra four (again FOUR) freebies, this would still be an excellent deal and transaction all around. Great selection, prices, communication, and packing made this purchase and amazing experience. There isn’t a doubt that I’ll be ordering from Tom again in the future, and I would encourage anyone looking for tarantulas to check out his listings.

NOTE: To view Tom’s Arachnoboards Classifieds posts, you have to be a member and signed in. If the link doesn’t open, I would encourage folks to create an account if only just to be able to view the For Sale/Trade/Want to Buy section. I will also be blogging his price lists whenever he posts one.

http://arachnoboards.com/threads/theraphosids-mygalomorphs-true-spiders.280239/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/tom.patterson.351?fref=pb_friends

Tom’s Current Price List:

Thereaphosidae spiderlings

Aphonopelma cf burica “blue chelicerae” (AKA Aphonopelma crinirufum )
1″ $40.00

Augacephalus ezendami
2″ $30.00

Chaetopelma olivaceum
1″ $25.00

Cyriocosmus bertae
1/8″ $20.00

Grammostola pulchripes
2″ $30.00

Heterothele gabonensis
1/4″ $25.00

Kochiana brunnipes
1/8″ $15.00

Lampropelma sp. “Borneo Black”/Phormingochilus sp. “Borneo black”/ Lampropelma nigerrimum arboricola
3/4″ $25.00 each

Pamphobetues fortis
3″ $50.00

Pelinobius muticus
3″ $50.00 each

Phlogius crassipes
1″ $25.00

Phlogius sp. “Eunice”
2″ $45.00

“Phrixotrichus” scrofa ( Paraphysa scrofa)
1″ $20.00

Poecilotheria smithi (suspected males)
4″ $60.00

Psalmopeous cambridgei
1″ $20.00

Pseudhapalopus spinulopalpus
1″ $40.00 each

Sericopelma sp.”Santa Catalina”
4″ $50.00

Vitalius paranaensis
2″ $50.00

Thereaphosidae females

Hapalopus sp. “Columbia large”
3″ $85.00

Heterothele villosella
3″ $75.00

Nhandu tripepii
5″ $179.00

Poecilotheria tigrinawesseli
5.5″ $200.00

Mygalomorphae

Cyclocosmia torreya
1.5″ $40.00 each

Macrothele calpeiana
1/4″ $30.00 each

Araneomorphae

Africactenus poecilus
Hatchling $10.00 each

Ctenidae sp. “Cameroon Red Fang”
1″ well started taking crickets $25.00 each

Cupiennius salei
Hatchlings $25.00

Heteropoda hosei
1″ well started taking crickets.$25.00

Heteropoda sp. “burgundy”
1″ well started taking crickets $25.00

Heteropoda sp “Sumatra violet”
Hatchlings $15.00

Kukulcania hibernalis WC females
2″-3″ $19.00

Viridasius sp.”Madagascar”
Hatchlings, taking crickets $25.00 each

Terms of Service
Live Arrival Guarantee
Purchase price must be over $25. Payments accepted , Paypal ( Tompatterson77@gmail.com ) or Postal money orders. Shipping is $40 overnight FedEx only. Live arrival guaranteed. You must accept package on first delivery attempt. Temperature must be below 90°F or above 40°F. Must be 18 or older to purchase. U.S. sales only.
Refund Policy
Issues with shipment must be reported to me via (email, phone, Facebook) by 8 PM the night off delivery. Photo’s of DOA’s must be provided, or the deceased animal must be shipped back to me within 24 hours of receiving the package, at the purchasers expense. Refunds are money back without shipping cost reimbursed, or replacement spiders of equal value shipped at the purchasers expense. Not responsible for carrier delays. Freebies do not fall under the LAG

New England Reptile Distributors (NERD) – A Review!

NERD

NERD is not just for reptiles.

There’s a belief among many serious tarantula enthusiasts that if you’re going to buy tarantulas online, you should only purchase through a reputable tarantula breeder or vendor. Although many reptile dealers also peddle spiders (after all, the two hobbies are quite similar), many times it’s almost as an afterthought. Unfortunately, an expert in snakes does not an expert in tarantulas make, and although these folks usually mean well, they can sell overpriced stock that has not been kept optimal conditions. I’ve heard many horror stories about poorly packed spiders perishing in the mail, or of customers receiving animals of the wrong size, sex, or even species.

This is absolutely NOT the case with New England Reptile Distributors; it’s obvious that owner Kevin McCurley knows his tarantulas.

I’m usually weary of purchasing from businesses whose main focus is reptiles. However, while recently studying up on various species of the Phormictopus genus, I stumbled upon some P. atrichomatus slings for sale at New England Reptile Distributors (NERD for short). I immediately recognized the name from my days collecting snakes, and I remembered them having a stellar reputation. With that info in mind, I decided to place my first order.

Stock

I was immediately impressed by the selection that NERD offered. I expected to find a smaller listing of some of the more common species. Instead, I found a very large and diverse selection that included some hobby regulars as well as some rarer species, like the coveted H. pulchripes. Their prices, overall, were also quite good, and they seem to add new stock fairly often. I do hope they eventually put together a newsletter that announces new stock, but I’ve been on the site enough times now to recognize the new additions.

Communication and Customer Service

I reached out via email first to find out if they could hold my order until the weather warmed up, and if I could add to the order when it came time to ship. Kevin responded immediately, and was very friendly and helpful. He had no problem with holding my spiders until it was safe to ship, and had no issue with me adding to my order while I waited. As it turned out, it was over a month before the weather permitted shipping. During this time, we stayed in communication, and he always responded to emails immediately. I did end up adding a couple Ts to my order, a T. ockerti and an A. chalcodes, and both orders were combined with no issue. When I was ready to ship, the package went out that week.

Shipping and Packing

My tarantulas were shipped FedEx overnight for a very reasonable $35. My order shipped quickly, and I was emailed a tracking number. Kevin was even good enough to have my order held at my local FedEx facility for pick up.

Nerd-Box

My spiders were expertly packed in a foam lined box with a heat pack included. I loved that the heat pack was securely taped to the top panel of foam, keeping it from shifting during transit and cooking the spiders. The five vials and one deli cup that contained my tarantulas were safely nestled in crushed newspaper; they would have been quite safe if the package had been jostled or dropped.
Nerd heat packI’ve mentioned it other reviews, but how the spiders are packed into the deli cups or vials can make the difference between and easy or nightmarish transfer. My new acquisitions were perfectly packed in their travel containers, and they were very easy to rehouse as a result.

Nerd-Vials-in-box

Nerd-Vials

When I opened my box, I was delighted to discover that Kevin had included a freebie with my order. I now have a new 1.5″ Lasiodora parahybana sling to add to my collection. I love free spiders, so this was definitely a plus.

Condition of the animals

All of my new acquisitions were in great shape and had obviously been well cared for. All six of them we plump and well-fed, and they took to their new homes quickly. Five of them have already taken their first meal; the sixth, the LP, is in premolt. It is apparent that these animals received excellent care by the guys at NERD.

A. chalcodes from NERD.

A. chalcodes from NERD.

P. atrichomatus sling from NERD

P. atrichomatus sling from NERD

T. ockerti juvenile from NERD.

T. ockerti juvenile from NERD.

The guys at NERD know their tarantulas!

My transaction with New England Reptile Distributors could not have gone any better. Kevin was  a true pleasure to do business with, and it’s obvious that the guys at NERD know their tarantula husbandry. Their shipping costs were very reasonable, and their packing was excellent. This was an all-around excellent experience; I would recommend NERD to other tarantula hobbyists without reservation!

Pet Center USA – A Review

Dealer Pet Center Us

In an earlier post about how to shop for tarantulas online, I provided a list of reputable dealers. Among the names I included was Pet Center USA, a vendor I had yet to make a purchase from, but whose stellar reputation demanded that it be included on the list.

Well, I can now wholeheartedly recommend Pet Center USA from my own experiences.

An amazing selection and a great reputation.

Pet Center USA is run by Paul Becker, a very well respected and knowledgeable tarantula dealer. At any given time, Paul offers a staggering number of tarantula species for sale, and his prices are often lower than many other dealers. He is also recognized as being very approachable and helpful to anyone new to the hobby or even more established collectors who have questions.

When I noticed that he was offering Poecilotheria hanumavilasumica slings at an extremely reasonable $55, I knew the time had come to make my first purchase from him. After finding C. dyscolus blue slings on sale for the holidays, I placed my first order for two of each species.

Paul’s communication was excellent throughout. He responded to correspondences quickly, and his  emails were always very affable and polite. I always enjoy when a vendor makes a little small talk, as it adds a personal touch to the transaction (and increases the likelihood that I will buy there again in the future). As an added courtesy, Paul also sends out an informative email after you order which details how he keeps the tarantulas and includes directions on how to properly rehouse them. I thought this was a very nice touch, and I expect this information would be especially appreciated by someone new to the hobby.

My order was shipped promptly via FedEx overnight, and it arrived at my local FedEx facility on a Tuesday. As expected, the packing was topnotch; the specimens were shipped in a foam-lined cardboard box with a heat pack included (temps were currently in the 30s in my state). The spiders were packed securely in plastic dram bottles, which were then wrapped up and taped in newspaper. The rest of the box was also padded out with damp newspaper.

My package of new Ts from Pet Center USA.

My package of new Ts from Pet Center USA.

Pet Center sent the Ts in a foam lined box with a heat pack and damp newspaper for padding.

Pet Center sent the Ts in a foam lined box with a heat pack and damp newspaper for padding.

When I opened up the package, I was delighted to discover that Paul also included a freebie (and who doesn’t love a freebie?). I now have an adorable little Aphonopelma anax sling. Very cool.

For extra protection, the bottles were wrapped and taped in newspaper.

For extra protection, the bottles were wrapped and taped in newspaper.

My new Ts still in their dram bottles.

My new Ts still in their dram bottles.

The animals themselves arrived in great shape, and all five have been rehoused and fed. For these specimens, I decided to follow Paul’s instruction and just pop the top, pull the paper towel plug, and let the animals come out on their own (this is a technique I’ve also used in the past with aggressive/defensive species). Four of the Ts were out and had secreted themselves away by the morning. The fifth, an adorable little P. hanumavilasumica sling, had adapted its shipping container as a hide. Oh, well!

A perfect experience all around!

For those looking for a tarantula vendor with a great selection, low prices, great packing, and fantastic service, Pet Center USA is definitely a shop to check out. And, if you’re new to the hobby or just have questions about tarantulas, don’t hesitate to drop Paul a line.

One of my C. dyscolus slings purchased from Pet Center USA

One of my C. dyscolus slings purchased from Pet Center USA

Great Basin Serpentarium – A Review

A fantastic spider shopping experience!

I recently discovered Great Basin Serpentarium while perusing the For Sale/Trade/Want to Buy section on Arachnoboards. I had been on the lookout for some T. stirmi slings, and GBS was offering 1.5 spiderlings for $90 each. Checking out the rest of the list of Ts for sale, I was excited to discover the they were also offering many other species I had been looking for. The prices were quite good, and I was floored to learn that they offered $20 FedEx next day shipping with any order of totaling $100 or more. 

I shot the owner, J Mugleston, an email query about a possible purchase, and he got back to me within the hour. In fact, his communication throughout the entire experience was exemplary with all of my emails being answered promptly and politely. Last Friday, I put my order in for seven slings: 2 T. stirmi, 2 P. muticus, 2 M. cabocla, and 1 B. auratum.

Mr. Mugleston worked with me to ship my items to the local FedEx on a day of my choice, and I picked up my package yesterday. The box was labeled “Harmless Invertebrates”, which I though was a nice touch (the clerk at the counter actually handled my package as if it were dynamite!).

My package for GBS. LOVE the labeling!

My package for GBS. LOVE the labeling!

My new acquisitions were very well packed in a box lined with foam insulation and crumpled newspaper as padding. A heat pack was included, which was great due to the unseasonably cold temps we’ve had in my state. Each spider was packed in a plastic dram vial in moistened paper towel, and the bottle lids were taped with electrical tape. These little guys were well-protected during shipping.

My package from Great Basin Serpentarium. My Ts were warm and very well packed.

My package from Great Basin Serpentarium. My Ts were warm and very well packed.

I should mention that the way the tarantulas were packed in the vials made it VERY easy to get them out for rehousing. The paper towels were packed in tightly enough to protect the T, but loose enough that towel could be carefully pulled out of the vial and unrolled to safely free the animal. This made rehousing these little guys a breeze.

The vials holding my new slings from GBS. All were well packed and labeled.

The vials holding my new slings from GBS. All were well packed and labeled.

The slings themselves were in fantastic shape, and it was obvious that they were healthy and well cared for. All were lively during rehousing, and all but one has already eaten (one of my P. muticus slings was a bit too busy burrowing to grab a snack).

Great prices, communication, and shipping costs!

I could not be more pleased with my experience with Great Basin Serpentarium. The prices, especially with the $20 next day shipping, were fantastic, Mr. Mugleston’s communication was outstanding, my order was perfectly packed, and the animals arrived healthy and lively. I would definitely recommend GBS to other tarantula enthusiasts, and I will definitely be shopping there again in the future.

And…a couple pics of my new acquisitions!

My new .75" P. muticus sling.

My new .75″ P. muticus sling.

 

My new 1/5" T. stirmi sling.

My new 1/5″ T. stirmi sling.

 

 

 

 

NE Herp – A Review

NE Herp

Although my T. stirmi enclosure has been holding at proper humidity with no pest or mold issues, I’ve been planning on adding isopods or springtails to help clean up any waste and to keep the tank mold free. While searching the net for dealers who carry these amazing insects, I stumbled upon NE Herp. Although I visited the site with the sole intention of procuring maintenance insects, I discovered that they carried so much more.

An amazing one-stop shop for all of your vivarium needs.

I first thought that NE Herp only carried invertebrates like D. Hydei fruit fly cultures, Springtails, and Dwarf Isopods, and it was quite by accident that I navigated to a page that presented the store’s ridiculously diverse selection of vivarium products. Water dishes, cork bark, bamboo, moss, hides, lights, enclosures, substrates…I could go on for pages. Keepers of frogs, lizards, snakes, tarantulas, or other invertebrates would be wise to check out the site.

I was elated to discover that they carry bamboo and cork bark at ridiculously low prices. Since entering the hobby, I’ve always been floored by the high cost of cork bark, and I’m constantly on the lookout for someone who sells this material for a reasonable price. NE Herp not only offers larger pieces for great prices, but they also sell a gallon-sized grab bag filled with medium to small pieces. At $7.99 (on sale for $5.99), this is an absolute STEAL.

Great packing and fast shipping!

My order was packed and shipped very quickly via Fed Ex, and it arrived on my doorstep a day later (NE Herp is just across the state from me, so the shipping time was extra fast). My order was very well packed, and NE Herp even included a cold pack to keep my springtails from baking in the hot temps. All of my items were heavily padded with packing paper and arrived in pristine condition.

The bag of cork bark proved an amazing value. I was elated to find that I contained curved and flat pieces ranging from 3 to 7″. As I like to include corkbark hides in most of my enclosures, the accumulated cost of buying this material can become costly. However, for about $6, I now have enough for at least a dozen cages.

My box from NE Herp.

My box from NE Herp.

The well-packed contents of my package.

The well-packed contents of my package.

My new cork bark, bamboo, plastic plants, and springtails from NE Herp.

My new cork bark, bamboo, plastic plants, and springtails from NE Herp.

I highly recommend NE Herp to any hobbyist.

I have already spent several hours on this site window shopping and putting together my wishlist for my next order. The amount of products they carry is staggering, and I’m still finding new things to add to my list. I will definitely be placing a second order soon. NE Herp carries an amazing selection of vivarium supplies, and their quick and reasonable shipping make ordering from them a very satisfying experience. I highly recommend them to any tarantula, snake, reptile, or frog keepers who are looking for reasonably-priced supplies for their enclosures.

 

Stamps Tarantula – A Review

The first of what will prove to be many purchases.

I had first discovered Steven Stamps several months ago on Arachnoboards  where he had posted several tarantulas for sale on the For Sale/Trade/Want to Buy board.  I was immediately impressed with his prices and the number of species he had available, and a quick look through his review thread revealed pages of glowing testimonials. It wasn’t until last month that I stumbled on his newly-launched web store with a $50 unsexed T. stirmi sub-adult for sale that I would finally make my first purchase from him.

The first, but definitely not the last.

A diverse offering of Ts at awesome prices.

The first thing that struck me about his site was the number of tarantulas he had available and the diversity of his stock. He had everything from rarer Aphonopelma, Avicularia, and Lasiodora species, to the more common Poecilotheria or Brachypelma species. There was definitely something for every type of collector. There were also several females for sale for anyone looking for breeders. His prices were fantastic overall, with many species selling for much less than I’ve seen elsewhere.

Communication was great, and all of my emails to him were answered in a matter of hours. Mr. Stamps was kind enough to hold the T. stirmi for me after paying so that I could add a few more tarantulas to the purchase in a couple weeks to get more out of my shipping costs. I though that was a fantastic gesture. He also worked with me to ship my package on a particular day so that I could be sure I would be home to receive it.

Top notch shipping and packing!

My animals were shipped next day, and the package arrived safe and sound. The Ts were expertly packed in a foam-lined box with plenty of padding and even a cold pack to protect the tarantulas from the high temperatures.  The individual Ts were safely nestled away in either large deli cups (for the T. stirmi) or plastic dram bottles (for the H. lividum, L. difficilis, and G. pulchripes slings) and padded with newspaper. Stamps also included an awesome flashlight as a free gift.

Very cool.

A package from Stamps Tarantulas.

A package from Stamps Tarantulas.

The package from Stamps, obviously well padded and insulated with foam.

The package from Stamps, obviously well padded and insulated with foam.

My package from Stamps. Notice how well-packed the specimens are.

My package from Stamps. Notice how well-packed the specimens are.

The contents of the box removed.

The contents of the box removed.

The animals themselves were in excellent shape, with all four emerging lively and sporting plump abdomens. Three of the Ts ate the first night; the fourth was in premolt, but has since molted and ate. It has been a few weeks, and all are doing fine. I was particularly impressed with the condition of the T. stirmi. I had seen many pictures of larger T. stirmi being sold that looked thin or haggard, and I worried a bit that my new acquistion might need some TLC. This beast, however, was was in AMAZING shape, and has acclimated to his new enclosure smoothly.

My new T. stirmi shortly after being housed.

My new T. stirmi shortly after being housed.

A great new online dealer.

I was 100% satisfied with my first purchase from Stamps Tarantulas, and I’m already planning my next order. Mr. Stamps carries a variety of species at great prices, and his communication, packing, and shipping are all top of the line. He has also proven willing to work with customers, which is always a plus. I highly recommend this vendor!

VISIT STAMPS TARANTULAS

As with most vendors, be sure to sign up for the newsletter to receive information on new stock and awesome promotions.

 

Autumn’s Eight-Legged Experience Review

NOTE: THIS VENDOR IS NO LONGER IN BUSINESS!

After being burned once on a transaction with a private party selling Ts, I’ve been a bit gun-shy to order from anyone but established and reputable dealers. However, while perusing the For Sale/Trade/Want To Buy section of arachnoboards, I stumbled on an ad for .5″ Hapalopus sp. Columbia Large (Pumpkin Patch) slings for an amazing price of $18 each.

Now, I had been pricing this species out for months, and the cheapest I had found them for was about $35 for 1/3″. I knew the vendor, Autumn, from the boards, but I wasn’t aware that she had started selling. I checked her review thread, and found glowing reviews going back several months.

Interested, I clicked on a link to a very clean website offering several types of slings and many cool sling packages. The prices were outstanding, and the shipping charges were the lowest I had seen. For $10, she was offering Priority shipping with LAG. Even better, if you spent $50, Priority shipping was FREE. Wow. For those who didn’t want to chance a two-day journey, Autumn also offered overnight shipping for a very reasonable $35.

I ordered three Hapalopus sp. Columbia large slings. Not only were the spiders VERY reasonably priced, but I got the free Priority shipping with LAG on my purchase as it was over $50. On top of that, I even got a free B. albopilosum sling. To call this transaction a bargain would be an understatement. 

Autumn’s communication throughout the entire transaction was amazing; she is very pleasant and affable. Corresponding via text (phone is also an option), she kept me updated on my order and even asked which freebie I wanted. The tracking information was texted directly to me, which was very convenient.

Shipping was prompt, and the packing was EXCELLENT. The slings were first nestled safely inside straws, then the straws were wrapped in moist paper towel and enclosed in a larger dram bottle. The bottle was packed and padded in a foam-lined Priority box. These little guys were very well protected.

Packing from Autumn's Eight-Legged Experience.

Packing from Autumn’s Eight-Legged Experience.

Packing from Autumn's Eight-Legged Experience.  The box is foam-lined and the slings are cushioned by bags.

Packing from Autumn’s Eight-Legged Experience. The box is foam-lined and the slings are cushioned by bags.

A peek inside the dram bottle shows the straws containing the Ts. These are cushioned by moistened paper towel.

A peek inside the dram bottle shows the straws containing the Ts. These are cushioned by moistened paper towel.

The straws containing my tiny slings. This was a wonderful packing job.

The straws containing my tiny slings. This was a wonderful packing job.

My new acquisitions arrived lively and in great shape; it’s obviously that they have been well cared for. Three of the slings have already taken a prey item.

I won’t hesitate to order from Autumn again, and I highly recommend her. Her prices, service, and packing are EXCELLENT. I’m glad to have discovered this new dealer. Visit Autumn’s Eight Legged Experience Now!

A 1/2" H. sp. Columbia sling purchased from Autumn's Eight-Legged Experience.

A 1/2″ H. sp. Columbia sling purchased from Autumn’s Eight-Legged Experience.

 

Tarantula Enclosures from Lorex Plastics … A Review

Gorgeous enclosures that wont break the bank

With several of my tarantulas reaching adult sizes, I found it was time to do some enclosure shopping. As I stated in an earlier blog, I use a variety of enclosures, including DIY and premium, professionally-made varieties. Premium enclosures can be costly, and when you have 50 or so Ts, you could end up spending more on the homes than you do on the animals. That said, I do have tarantulas that I consider worthy “showcase animals” that I like to show off to visitors. For these specimens, I don’t mind splurging for classier enclosures.

I had discovered Reptile-Enclosure.com last year while looking for large acrylic enclosures for my Ts. When I was first pricing cages on the site, I discovered the majority of the sizes were no longer in stock, and I wrongly assumed the company was no longer in business. In actuality, Reptile Enclosure.com is owned and run by Lorex Plastics Co, a plastics company that makes reptile and tarantula cages during the slow seasons. For those interested in these enclosures, this is something to keep in mind.

As luck would have it, I stumbled on Lorex’s eBay listing for two of their enclosures, and decided to check out the site again. I was ecstatic to discover that almost all of the sizes and types were in stock, and they were definitely still in business.

Lorex offers several types of enclosures, including arboreal and terrestrial varieties, as well as front-loading and hinged topped designs. For tarantulas, I specifically looked at the 3 mm Series, which includes convenient 2 gallon, 5 gallon, 7 gallon, and 12 gallon sizes.

I ordered three of the 5 gallon enclosures, which measure 17″ x 9″ h x 8″w and retail for $47.50 before shipping. Also, Lorex offers a 15% discount if you buy three or more cages of the same size, so I was afforded those savings as well. I phoned to ask a couple questions about my order, and spoke to Ed. Communication was excellent, and Ed was very friendly and helpful via phone and email.

My order was shipped promptly, and as Lorex is located just on the other side of my state, they arrived via UPS in a day. I always worry when I order acrylic cages, as I know how unforgiving the shipping process can be. However, my new enclosures were packed so well, nothing was going to harm them in transit. Each of the three cages was wrapped in five or six layers of bubble wrap, then individually boxed. These three boxes were then packed into another larger box for added protection. Wow.

One BIG box filled with three of Lorex's 5 gallon enclosures

One BIG box filled with three of Lorex’s 5 gallon enclosures

Each enclosure came wrapped in bubble wrap and in its own box.

Each enclosure came wrapped in bubble wrap and in its own box.

I was very pleased to discover that each enclosure was wrapped in 5-6 layers of bubble wrap.

I was very pleased to discover that each enclosure was wrapped in 5-6 layers of bubble wrap.

The cages themselves are well-constructed and just gorgeous. Each top-hinged door has a lip that overhangs the front and locks with a hasp. As these can be used for reptiles as well, they’ve been designed to have a 1/2″ of clearance beneath the bottom to allow for an under the tank heat mat (note: do not use heat mats for Ts). I love the look of the aluminum vents, although I’ll have to keep an eye on them as some terrestrial Ts have been known to chew through wire.

My only nit-picky issue is that the vents are not glued or otherwise permanently affixed to the cage, but this is a very small issue. I do love the position of the vents, as they allow for a deeper level of substrate than some of my other cages afford. The enclosures also feel very solid and sturdy, which is great.

5 gallon Lorex Acrylic Enclosure. Notice the lip and locking hasp.

5 gallon Lorex Acrylic Enclosure. Notice the lip and locking hasp.

I definitely recommend Lorex acrylic enclosures for anyone looking for a premium cage to display one or more of their prized tarantulas. They come in a number of convenient sizes, they are wonderfully constructed, and even with shipping, the prices are lower than other comparable acrylic enclosures sold elsewhere. Customer service was top notch, and Ed at Lorex was a pleasure to deal with. I’m already eyeing a couple of the 12-gallon versions for when my L. parahybana and P. antinous get a bit larger.

To check out these wonderful enclosures, click here!

My enclosure decorated and now the new home of my L. itabunae.

My enclosure decorated and now the new home of my L. itabunae.

 

Michael Jacobi’s Spider Shoppe – A Review

I had first heard of Micheal Jacobi when I purchased the Kindle edition of his TARANTULAS book from the Animal Planet Pet Care Library. I very much enjoyed this book, and found it to be a very accessible read and an excellent introduction to tarantula keeping. About that same time, I stumbled across an advertisement for his online store, Micheal Jacobi’s Spider Shoppe. I knew that it would only be a matter of time before I placed my first order with him, as he had a very diverse selection in stock, and his prices were quite fair.

Well, last week I was given a little extra incentive to do so when Michael announced a three-day blowout sale in preparation for a trip he was taking oversees. To receive the price list, folks needed only to be signed up for his newsletter (or sign up before the sale). I immediately jumped on the site and signed up.

Man, am I glad that I did.

The list was extensive, and the prices were amazing (and I honestly thought his prices were good already). Unfortunately, the sale started on a Wednesday, and I didn’t get paid until Friday, so I missed out on a couple fantastic deals (I almost bought them anyway, but I didn’t want my wife to kill me). I was able to grab three .5″ C. darlingi slings ($10 each), three 1.5″ H. incei gold juveniles ($20 each), and one 1.5″ P. regalis juvenile ($25).

Despite the fact that Mr. Jacobi was obviously fielding dozens of emails and pulling stock, his communication was excellent. When a T I wanted had sold out, he responded immediately with the info so that I had an opportunity to quickly adjust my order. Payment info and shipping info was sent promptly, and although I expected a delay in shipping due to the volume of business he was doing, my package was shipped as soon as I gave the go ahead. He even sent a little FAQ-style email with a lot of useful information and tips. Very cool.

Box was well packed and properly labeled to prevent damage.

Box was well packed and properly labeled to prevent damage.

Packing was excellent, with foam insulation, heating pack, and air bag padding inside the box. Individual tarantulas were well-packed in dram bottles and the drams were then taped up in another layer of thick paper towel for added shock protection.

The box opened and showing the receipt, a business card, and some very cool stickers.

The box opened and showing the receipt, a business card, and some very cool stickers.

The box opened with the top piece of foam and a couple pieces of padding removed. Spiders are well packed in dram bottles  surrounded by a layer of thick paper towel.

The box opened with the top piece of foam and a couple pieces of padding removed. Spiders are well packed in dram bottles surrounded by a layer of thick paper towel.

The tarantulas themselves were lively and in excellent health. Even cooler, every one I ordered was much larger than I was expecting. The C. darlingis all measured about an inch, and two of the H. inceis were about 1.75″ with the third a beefy 2+”.

And the P. regalis? Well, I haven’t gotten an accurate measurement yet, but this “1.5” inch juvenile is actually over 3″. What a fantastic surprise and a discovery that made this purchase even more of a phenomenal bargain.

One of the three H. incei juveniles purchased from Michael Jacobi. Unfortunately, my picture doesn't really capture the amazing color.

One of the three H. incei juveniles purchased from Michael Jacobi. Unfortunately, my picture doesn’t really capture the amazing color.

Speaking of lively, one of the C. darlingi slings launched itself from container after I removed the piece of paper towel blocking holding it in. To say that the little bugger was fast would be an understatement. Luckily, I always work over either a box or large plastic bin to prevent escapes. After leaping from the dram onto my hand, he actually ran off of my hand and right into his new enclosure. Thanks, buddy!

I could not be more pleased with my purchase from Micheal Jacobi’s Spider Shoppe. The prices were amazing, the communication was outstanding, the packing was perfect, and the animals were in great shape. This was an A+ experience, and I would definitely recommend Mr. Jacobi to any enthusiast looking for a professional and trustworthy vendor.

A quick note: as Michael will be travelling extensively over the next several months, his online store will not list tarantulas for sale for time being. Those interested in pricing or ordering will want to sign up for his newsletter.

 

 

Box of Roaches … A Review of Jeremy Stichler!

Having amassed a collection of 47 tarantulas and counting that now includes many larger spiders, I was finding it more difficult to keep adequate food supplies handy. Although I’ve used mainly crickets for prey, I also keep a small quantity of Blaptica dubia and Blatta lateralis roaches. Having found that the dubias were easier to maintain and relatively odorless, I started keeping a lookout for a fairly priced starter colony.

While perusing the for sale page on Arachnoboards, I stumbled on an ad for 125 count starter colony of large Blaptica dubia for only $27 shipped. The vendor was Jeremy Stichler (Jerm357) who had several pages of sparkling reviews on the boards. Having priced out starter colonies before, I was expecting to pay much more for this many roaches (and that was not counting the 10% overcount he offered on top of it). Even better, he guaranteed all larger roaches unless specified that you wanted smaller ones.  I jumped at this tremendous bargain and immediately emailed Jeremy.

Communication was excellent, as Jeremy emailed me back immediately with payment information. Correspondence was friendly and very professional, which is always a huge plus in my book.  He also shipped quickly, and my package was mailed USPS Priority on that Monday and arrived on Wednesday.

Box arrived in great shape.

Box arrived in great shape.

Packing was excellent, with the roaches double-boxed and insulated with newspaper. There wasn’t a single dead roach in the bunch, and all were quite lively when I opened the package. In fact, one of the larger males quickly shot out of the package and landed on my arm. Now, I know I have dozens of giant, hairy spiders, and most would find that frightening, but I don’t think I’d ever seen a roach that big. And, perhaps I panicked just a bit when I tried to quickly brush it off and the little beast barely budged. Wow, those suckers are strong…

After opening the first box, I discovered a second box safely nestled in a bed of newspaper. (Note: Notice my 3-year-old's creepy Mega Blok figure. Those little pagan-looking totems are all around my house. Creepy!)

After opening the first box, I discovered a second box safely nestled in a bed of newspaper. (Note: Notice my 3-year-old’s creepy Mega Blok figure. Those little pagan-looking totems are all around my house. Should I be worried?)

The second box is now open. A piece of cardboard serves as a spacer. You can now see some of the roaches...yum!

The second box is now open. A piece of cardboard serves as a spacer. You can now see some of the roaches…yum!

With the cardboard moved aside, you can now see more of the little buggers.

With the cardboard moved aside, you can now see more of the little buggers.

With the cardboard (and some of the roaches) out of the way, you can now see a bunch of very large and healthy roaches.

With the cardboard (and some of the roaches) out of the way, you can now see a bunch of very large and healthy roaches.

All of the roaches have been rehoused in their new home (I will post later about their new quarters), and all are eating well. I honestly couldn’t have been more happy with my purchase from Mr. Stichler. I wouldn’t hesitate to buy from him again.

This was an A+ experience, and I would highly recommend Jeremy Stichler to any hobbyist looking for a dubia feeder roach starter colony.