Tarantula Sling Care Guide – The Video Version

A picture is worth a thousand words…

When I first became hooked by the hobby, I literally had to be convinced by a vendor to pick up my first spiderlings. True story.

At the time, I was looking for sexed juveniles and adults, and the thought of caring for a tiny, fragile ‘sling was terrifying to me. What would I feed it? How should I give it water? What if the temperature in my house was too low? A thousand daunting scenarios played through my mind, and almost all of them ended with a dead spider.

When I finally took the plunge and ordered my first two 3/4″ slings, I remember the feeling of dread I had waiting for them to be delivered. I was convinced that I had bit off more than I could chew, and now there was no turning back. When they arrived, I fussed over their enclosures, fixated on their burrowing and webbing habits, just about developed an ulcer when one buried itself, and panicked when they inevitably refused meals. I also spent hours on Google researching each seemingly odd or worrisome behavior for some type of reassurance that I wasn’t screwing up. Continue reading

Phormictopus Species Husbandry

Awesome intermediate species tarantulas with plenty of character.

Anyone that follows me on Tom’s Big Spiders, Tumblr, or YouTube has probably picked up on my Phormictopus obsession. I currently keep seven different Phormictopus species, and I am attempting to acquire all the species and color variations available. These spiders have quickly risen to the top of my list of favorite terrestrials. and I’m looking very forward to some future breeding projects with them.

But why the fascination?

I first encountered this genus while perusing the Jamie’s Tarantulas website for something new and interesting. She had just listed some Phormictopus cancerides or “Hatian Brown” slings for sale, and something about them caught my eye. At this point, I had a much smaller collection, and the majority of the specimens I was keeping were the more docile beginner terrestrials. I decided to do some research, and I discoved that most described the P. cancerides as a large brown, ornery tarantula with a bad attitude.

Phormictopus sp. purple

Phormictopus sp. purple

Large and brown? Having just acquired an A. versicolor and two C. cyaneopubescens, I was on the market for more colorful tarantulas. The idea of a “blah” brown spider didn’t quite appeal to me. Of course, after some investigating, I learned that males from this species were a gorgeous purple, and females were more a metallic bronze. This was far from just a big “brown” spider.

P. cancerides female

P. cancerides female

Ornery with a bad attitude? THAT, on the other hand, caught my attention. Most of the Ts I kept were quite calm and well-behaved, and I felt that it was time for me to graduate to something a bit more spirited and “advanced”. The idea of a larger, more feisty spider appealed to me.  It wasn’t that I necessarily wanted to add a giant eight-legged terror to the collection, but I felt I was ready for the challenge if this species turned out to be less than friendly.

In my research, I also learned that this species apparently “required” moist substrate, which was a husbandry requirement that I hadn’t yet contended with. As I had my eye on some Asian terrestrials down the road, this would be a good stepping stone to keeping spiders with more complicated husbandry.

Beautiful blue slings with vicious appetites

After a week or so of research, I decided to pull the trigger and order two P. cancerides slings. When I unpacked them, I was immediately amazed by the color. These two little 1.25″ slings sported a gorgeous a metallic blue sheen that looked nothing like the supposed “brown” tones sported by their adult counterparts. I rehoused each and, as is usually my habit, I offered each its first meal.

And I instantly fell in love.

I watched in awe as one of these gorgeous blue slings bolted across the enclosure and LEAPED on a cricket with so much force that it actually rolled over onto its back for a few seconds while it wrestled with the bug on top of it. I had never seen anything like it. I quickly fed the other and was delighted to discover a similar response.

P. atrichomatus sling

P. atrichomatus sling

Since then, I’ve discovered that all of my Phormictopus species attack their prey with the same fervor, and it honestly never gets old to see one of these guys launch itself at a roach or cricket.

As slings, Phormictopus species do appreciate deep, moist substrate, and the majority will burrow if given the opportunity. For substrate, I use a mix of topsoil, peat, and some vermiculite, and I keep it moist enough that it will hold its shape when squeezed but no water will drip out. As the spiders become established I let the top layers of the sub dry out a bit. This allows the T to burrow to the more moist depths to find the correct humidity level. If I need to add water, I’ll use the end of a paintbrush to carefully put some holes down the side of the enclosure and allow the water to filter down to the lower levels.

Phormictopus sp. purple sling

Phormictopus sp. purple sling

As slings, these guys are voracious eaters. During this period I will feed them 2-3 times a week, depending on the size of the prey. Unlike other species, I’ve found that Phormictopus have no trouble taking down larger prey, so I will often give my little ones crickets that aren’t much smaller than they are. They have only ever refused a meal when in heavy premolt, and even then I had one eat just a couple days before molting.

Get ready for an amazing growth rate

As I’ve stated in my other husbandry articles, my spiders are kept between 70-76° in the winter and about 75-80° in the summer. Although higher temps would obviously lead to faster metabolisms and growth, my Phormictopus species do very well in these ranges. Not only is this a species that will molt very regularly (at one point, mine were molting about every 5-6 weeks as slings), but the amount of size they gain between molts is amazing. After keeping slow-growing Brachypelmas and Grammostolas for a while, I was floored when my P. cancerides slings first molted, putting on about .5″ of size as well as impressive girth.


Although I started off with small slings, it didn’t take too many months or molts before I had large, hairy bronze spiders. In their first year, my 1.25″ P. cancerides slings reached about 3.5″ in size. Imagine the growth rate if they were kept at higher temps. On the other hand, my 1″ Phormictopus sp. purple slings grew from about 1″ to a leggy 3.75″ (I’m sure the fact that I bought them closer to the summer had something to do with the slightly faster growth rate). So far, my atrichomatus specimens, which I purchased in April as 1.25″ slings, are about 2.75″ or so.

Once mine hit about 2.5″ or so, I slow down the feeding schedule. I currently feed my juveniles a large cricket every five days. For my sub-adult specimens, they get a couple large (1-1.5″) dubia roaches once a week or so. If I have extra large crickets, I’ll sometimes toss a couple in as well for variety.

Housing for Phormictopus species

Due to the fast growth rate, I tend to house my Phormictopus species in larger enclosures than I would for other species. As slings, I usually use 2-quart clear plastic jars or the small Sterilite stackables containers (I believe it’s about 1.75 quarts or so). After filling them up with moist substrate, I supply them with a bottle cap water dish, a cork bark hide with a plant, and a starter burrow.


2-quart plastic canister (purchased at WalMart for about $2)

Although enclosures this size might seem a little large at first for a 1″ sling, they grow fast and need a bit of extra space to eliminate the need for frequent rehousings. Trust me, they will quickly grow into their new homes.

Small Sterilite stackable container.

Small Sterilite stackable container.

Once my guys reach about 2.5-3″ or so, I will move them to their juvenile enclosures. For these, I use Sterilite clear plastic shoeboxes and set them up more like a terrestrial. They’ll get about 3″ of moist substrate, a cork bark hide, and a water dish. I find that at this size, my Phormictopus have become more bold and will mostly hang out in the open. They no longer burrow, but will retreat to a hide if disturbed.

My Phormictopus sp. blue female's enclosure (a clear Sterilite shoe box)

My Phormictopus sp. blue female’s enclosure (a clear Sterilite shoe box)

My largest specimens (5″ or over) are currently housed in Sterilite 15-quart “ClearView” containers (purchased at the local Target). Once again, they are set up terrestrially with cork bark hide, water dish, and 3-4″ of damp substrate.

Although a lot of the early care information I read about Phormictopus indicated that they needed to be kept moist, I’ve discovered that they do fine if the sub dries out a bit in between as long as they are provided water dishes. Although I start all of mine on moist sub, I let it dry out a bit and periodically moisten down part of the dirt when they are near a molt. I’ve noticed that they don’t seem to gravitate to this moist area, and are quite content to sit on the dry end.

I will note that other keepers still make sure to keep their Phormictopus species moist at all times, and those interested in breeding are often much more careful in keeping the moisture levels up.  However, unlike my Pamphobeteus and Theraphosa, I don’t obsess about it with these guys. If you buy one of these species and the enclosure dries up a bit, they will be fine as long as they have water.

A note about temperament

Phormictopus species have developed a bit of a reputation for being a bit ornery and defensive. I’ve found slings of this genus to be quite fast and skittish, often bolting around their enclosures or to their burrows if disturbed. As they gain some size, they become a bit more bold, often sitting out in the open when their enclosures are opened. Still, they can move quite quickly when motivated, and I’ve heard of instances where they are not reluctant to use their fangs.

Phormictopus sp. Purple

Phormictopus sp. Purple

Out of the seven species I currently keep, I’ve only ever received a threat posture from my sp. purples; they seem to be a bit more high strung than my other species. Personally, I’ve found that if I’m careful not to disturb them when I perform maintenance or feed them, they are relatively calm when they get older. They also seem quite reluctant to kick hairs, which is a huge plus in my book. To date, only one has ever kicked hairs that I’ve witnessed.

Still, these guys get pretty large, with some reaching 8″, and their amazing feeding responses often have them charging anything that enters their enclosure (including a keeper’s tongs or paint brush). Caution should be exercised whenever feeding or performing routine maintenance.

A wonderful stepping stone to faster and feistier species.

For those who have successfully kept some of the beginner species and are looking to graduate to faster, more defensive intermediate species would do well to check out some of the  spiders the Phormictopus genus has to offer.  These are large, hardy,  fast-growing tarantulas with relatively simple husbandry that are very similar to the super-popular Pamphobeteus species in terms of build and temperament.

It’s also worth mentioning that males of these species are often quite colorful, with some sporting beautiful purples and blues after their ultimate molts. This makes discovering that your spider is a male quite a rewarding experience…after all, who doesn’t like purple spiders?

Phormictopus species I currently keep:
  • Phormictopus cancerides
  • Phormictopus sp. purple
  • Phormictopus sp. green
  • Phormictopus sp. blue
  • Phormictopus atrichomatus
  • Phormictopus cautus violet
  • Phormictopus sp. south hispaniola

Phormictopus atrichomatus – Husbandry and Rehousing Video

When I noticed some chunky yellow mold forming in my P. atrichomatus‘ den, I figured it was time for this specimen to get a new home. I’m guessing that the little guy left a bolus or two down in the moist lower levels of the enclosure, which led to the break out. Now, normally I don’t freak out if I find a bit of mold in an enclosure; if kept in check, it poses no threat to the animals. I will just used a spoon to spot clean and let the affected area dry out. However, as this mold was inaccessible, and the spider would outgrown the enclosure with its next molt, a rehousing was in order.

Because my daughter, Sid, has been encouraging me to do more YouTube videos, we broke out the camera and headed out to the garage to make a rehousing/husbandry video. I’m hoping that folks that aren’t enamored with my often long-winded care blogs might find the videos a bit more accessible (and my daughter not-so-secretly hopes these vids will launch her YouTube career…).

A typical fast-growing, hardy Phormictopus species

Although I cover most of this species husbandry in the video, I’ll share a bit more in-depth info for those who don’t watch it.

I picked a trio of these guys up as 1.25″ slings  from NERD back in April and, like my other Phormictopus species, they’ve proven to be voracious eaters and fast growers. The largest of the three is now pushing 3″ or so, and the other two are around 2.5″. As slings, I keep all of my Phormictopus on deep, moist substrate. All have exhibited a propensity to burrow, so I encourage the behavior. Slings are a beautiful shade of blue, and despite having burrows, most will remain visible at the entrances as they wait for prey.

As they hit the juvenile stage (about 1.75-2.5″ or so), I don’t worry much about keeping the substrate moist. At this point, they will have a larger water dish for drinking and humidity, and I’ll pour some water over the substrate every month or so, letting it dry out in between. I still give them deep substrate to burrow in, which allows the deeper portions to remain moist and maintain more humidity. However, I’ve observed that by the time they hit the 3″ mark, most will stay right on the surface and will only race to their dens when spooked.

These guys like to eat

Like Theraphosa and Pamphobeteus species, Phormictopus are great eaters and fast growers. Even though mine are kept on the cooler end at times (70-26 in the winter and 75-80 in the summer) they still grow like weeds. The size gained between molts is truly impressive, with larger specimens picking up an inch (and quite a bit of thickness) during a shed.

With that quick growth comes a healthy appetite, and my Phormictopus species gobble up crickets and roaches like they’re tic tacs. I generally feed my juvenile 3-4 crickets at time, and watching these spiders scramble to snatch them all up is incredibly entertaining. They will literally zigzag across the enclosure at startling speed as they chase down crickets.

A large, “spirited” terrestrial

Although this is a very hardy tarantula with relatively simple husbandry requirements, it might not make the best beginner T. Phormictopus species grow into rather large, quick tarantulas with plenty of attitude, which could make them quite intimidating to those used to calmer terrestrials. As slings, species in this genus tend to be more skittish than defensive.

However, with size comes attitude.

I have observed that their infamous attitudes seem to start to manifest more as they get larger. My sub-adult specimens are quite bold and wont hesitate to stand their ground or come at you when you disturb their enclosure. Although I have yet to have one flick hair, I have seen some fangs. An amazing feeding response coupled with a defensive nature can make for some heart-stopping moments with these guys. Although I’ve been fortunate in that most of my Phormictopus species tarantulas have been relatively calm, I have seen what can happen when a large specimen is spooked (or mistakes the tongs for a cricket). Personally, I love their spirited behavior, but other keepers might find it a bit off-putting.

However, for those with some experience under their belts who are interested in large, fast-growing terrestrial tarantulas, P. atrichomatus or any other Phormictopus species should not be overlooked.


Pamphobeteus sp. duran – Husbandry Notes Video

A gorgeous and hardy Pampho!

With some encouragement from my 10-year-old daughter (who’s a bit YouTube obsessed), I’ve decided to post some more videos and work on my channel a bit. I’ve already filmed a couple transfer videos, and I’ll be doing some fun feeding features as well. However, as someone just asked me about how I care for my Pamphobeteus species, I figured it would be cool to start with  a husbandry video about my Pamphobeteus species duran.

Instead of doing a normal husbandry blog, I broke out my Nokia 1520 and filmed the little guy/gal as I spoke. I won’t lie … this was a bit more fun than just sitting in front of the computer and writing about them. Hopefully, this is entertaining and not too irritating…


Pamphobeteus sp. duran

Pamphobeteus sp. duran

Help … My Tarantula Buried Itself!


It’s probably one of the most common, yet stressful, scenarios for a new tarantula keeper. After months of research and homework, you purchase your first tarantula sling. Your anxiety level is high as you are new to the hobby, and despite all the preparation, you are still worried that you will make a husbandry mistake. You set up what you think is the perfect enclosure, rehouse your new little guy without incident, and take a moment to admire your new pet. Satisfied that you’ve done everything right, you head off to bed.

However, when you awake the next morning and check on your T, you find the enclosure empty … or at least it first appears to be empty. Closer examination reveals that your little guy has been busy, and he has now burrowed deep beneath the substrate. Not finding any hole or passageway, no way for your spider to resurface again, you begin to freak out. You did your research, and you read that this species is terrestrial, not fossorial …  why has it buried itself? Fearing for your new acquisition’s safety, questions swirl through your brain.

Is he in danger?

Is he trapped?

Is he dead?

Should I dig him out?

In most instances, the answer to all of these questions is a resounding NO.

But what should I do?

And the short answer to this oft-asked question is: Do NOTHING.

Burrowing is normal behavior with many species of slings, including some arboreals.

Although this is a topic I’ve touched upon in a few different blogs, the question is asked often enough that I felt it deserved its own topic. After all, if you begin keeping tarantulas as a hobby, you are likely to experience this behavior at some point or another.

One of my P. sazimai slings sealed in its burrow. I'm expecting a molt from this one soon.

One of my P. sazimai slings sealed in its burrow. I’m expecting a molt from this one soon.

When I first got heavy into the hobby, I experienced this scenario with my L. parahybana sling. After a couple weeks of it sitting out in the open, greedily snatching prey and using a piece of cork bark for a hide, I awoke one morning to find that it had buried itself. Now, at first I didn’t panic because I could see the little webbed-over hole that marked the mouth of its den. However, when I discovered that this hole had been filled in a couple days later, panic set in. As weeks passed, I became thoroughly convinced that my little guy had buried himself alive. He wasn’t visible, he wasn’t eating, and the tunnel looked as if it might have collapsed. I was ready to dig him up to “save” him when I decided to first do a bit of research first.

It was a good thing I did, too.

I discovered that it is perfectly natural behavior for slings to bury themselves. Because we are keeping these animals as “pets”,  behaviors that are perfectly normal and essential for a wild spider’s survival can seem perplexing in captivity. Although a T burying itself seems like a dire sign to us, it is in fact very normal.

My little LP opened its burrow again after a few weeks, and although I never saw it out, the prey I dropped in soon disappeared. It lived like this, hidden in its hole, for another year before finally growing large enough to feel confident living outside of its burrow. It’s been out in the open ever since.

Let’s consider some very important facts:

1. Tarantulas bury themselves for security. Tarantula slings are especially vulnerable in the wild. As a result, it behooves them to stay out of sight where larger predators like birds can easily gobble them up, or where they could easily dehydrate beneath the sun’s heat. In the wild, a sling’s burrow protects it from predators and the elements and provides it a safe home-base from which to hunt when night comes.

Sure, we keep the temperatures optimal in their enclosures, and there are not threats from predators in the safety of our homes, but they don’t know that. Their evolutionary programming is telling them that they need to burrow for security.

This behavior isn’t limited to only terrestrial Ts, either. I keep several arboreals, including eight species of Poecilotheria and L. violoceopes, and all have burrowed as slings. I could see this causing a bit of stress for a keeper expecting these spiders to be up on a branch or piece of cork bark.

2. Many tarantulas will bury themselves during the molt process. Even larger specimens may disappear into burrows when it comes time for a shed. Again, it comes down to the tarantula feeling safe and secure. The molting process is incredibly taxing and leaves the spider exhausted and very vulnerable. Not only is the spider physically taxed, but its new fangs and exoskeleton are soft and need time to harden. Therefore, many Ts will secret themselves away in their burrows when premolt approaches to wait out the process.

In these instances, the tarantula might cover over the entrance to its burrow with dirt or webbing.  If your spider suddenly buries itself after previously being out in the open and eating well, chances are it’s just in premolt. It will emerge again eventually, a bit larger and sporting a brand new exoskeleton.

3. Tarantulas normally don’t die in burrow collapses. Many new keepers fear that if their tarantula buries itself, it could perish from a cave in. I have heard of exactly ONE instance where this happened, and it was because the spider managed to burrow under a heavy rock the keeper was using as a decoration. This instance was a freak accident and nothing more.

The fact is, tarantulas will line their burrows with webbing, and that helps hold the walls together. If you’ve ever had to dig a tarantula out for rehousing, you’ll understand how tough and put-together these web-lined tunnels can be. Also, tarantulas are quite strong and very good diggers. Even if a tunnel was to collapse, as long as there was nothing heavy above it, the T would just dig its way out.

4. Your tarantula will not suffocate beneath the ground. Another misconception is that if a T closes off its den, it can suffocate to death. Again, not true. Tarantulas need much less oxygen than other animals, and most would naturally spend their lives in tight burrows dug far into the earth. As long as there is proper ventilation in the enclosure, they won’t suffocate.

When in doubt, always remember the golden rule of tarantula keeping: the tarantula always knows best.

In our quests to be the best tarantula keepers possible, we often forget a very important detail: tarantulas have evolved over millions of years and know how to survive. Unlike their human keepers, they are not prone to “irrational” decision-making. In most situations, they know what they are doing and what’s good for them. If your T suddenly buries itself, it’s not arachnid suicide. It’s only doing what it’s been programmed to do. Although you may have to wait a while to see your favorite pet again, understand that it’s not in any danger.

On of my P. atrichomatus slings buried at the bottom of its enclosure. This one spent almost a month sealed in.

On of my P. atrichomatus slings buried at the bottom of its enclosure. This one spent almost a month sealed in.

So, to review, if your tarantula suddenly buries itself, there is only one thing to do…


Resist the urge to dig it up to “check on it.” If you succumb to the urge, you risk needlessly stressing it or, if it’s in the process of molting, KILLING it.

Also, do NOT try to open up the mouth of the burrow to “give it some air” or to allow for its escape. Again, just leave the animal be. It may be a week, it may be a couple months, but your spider will emerge eventually.

And finally, NEVER shove live prey down the hole if it’s not eating. Not only will this stress the animal out, but the prey item could kill the spider if it’s in the middle of a molt. Also, if the spider dispatches but doesn’t eat the intruder, you may now have a rotting bug corpse stuck in the burrow with your T.

At what point should I worry and dig up my specimen to check on it?

In 99% of the instances, it will be entirely unnecessary to dig up a tarantula. However, I’ve had folks ask how long they should wait before worrying. I would say if you have a small sling that has been buried for six to eight months without taking any food or making an appearance, it might be time to worry. The fact is, some slings will die; it’s an unfortunate part of nature that all specimens aren’t healthy enough to live.

If it’s a small specimen and more than a half-year has gone by, it might be time to do some investigating. After all, you don’t want to be keeping a dead T as a pet. Still, be sure to be very careful when digging the animal up, and keep in mind that you could harm it if it’s molting. Also, larger spiders can spend more time safely in their burrows as they are not fragile and prone to dehydration or starvation. For larger specimens, I would wait even longer.

That being said, I offer this anecdote for anyone considering digging up one of their tarantulas. I had a 3/8″ Maraca cabocla that burrowed deep in its enclosure last year and completely covered the entrance to its burrow. From late October until almost April, it did not eat and I saw no sign of it. At first, I thought it was just staying in its den for the winter. I’ve had many Ts do this, and it had never caused me any alarm. However, as more time passed, and I saw no movement within the vial, I assumed the worst.

Finally, I convinced myself that the small T had probably died over the winter, so I set to digging it out. I spent almost a half hour carefully removing the substrate and spreading it out on a white dinner plate so that I could hopefully find the tiny body. At one point my heart sank as I pulled out a masticated form I mistook as the spider’s corpse.

Nope … only a molt.

Finally, as I was removing the last bit of dirt, my little guy scurried out and stood upon the heaped contents of its enclosure as if to say, “dude…what the heck?” Needless to say, I felt silly (as well as a bit bad for the spider). Yup, I had jumped the gun; my tarantula was quite healthy and in no danger. By digging out its substrate, I had jeopardized its health and caused it needless stress.

I won’t make that mistake again.  

Your tarantula has buried itself? Just relax!

Like many aspects of this hobby, patience and experience are key. As you experience this situation more and more, it becomes much easier to recognize it as the normal behavior it is. The next time your precious little one decides to play hide-and-seek on you, don’t let it be cause of worry.

And if you find yourself getting impatient, do what many of us do … just buy more tarantulas!

For more on MOLTING and signs of a molt, check out the article below!


Quick and Easy DIY Tarantula Enclosure – Arboreal

A simple, attractive, and stackable arboreal enclosure.

Having spent the last year burying and repurposing just about every conceivable container for use as tarantula cages, I’ve finally settled on a few sizes and styles that I plan to use from this point on.


I’ve found the large Sterilite Show Off containers, which are designed to hold hanging files, are very versatile and perfect for both fossorial (burrowing) and arboreal enclosures. Measuring 15.25″L x 9.75″ W x 11.5H, they leave plenty of depth for deep substrate or height needed when housing an arboreal.

If I’d planned ahead, I might have ordered some 3″ plastic vents from roundvents.com, However, this would have been a more aesthetic choice; holes work just as well.

To put together one of these enclosures, all you’ll need is:

  • Sterilite container
  • Soldering iron (for burning holes)
  • Glue gun
  • Substrate (I’m using a mixture of top soil, coco fiber, peat, and a bit of vermiculite).
  • Sphagnum moss
  • Cork bark flat
  • Water dish
  • Fake plants (optional)

1. Ventilating the enclosure

First off, if you find yourself making a lot of DIY tarantula cages, then immediately head over to Amazon and invest in a soldering iron. The one I use is manufactured by J&L, and it costs just over $10 (money VERY well spent).


Using the soldering iron, I make a series of holes horizontally starting about an inch below the lip of the container. As you’ll be housing large juveniles to adults in this setup, you can use a bit more pressure on the iron to make larger holes. I will do about five to six rows of these on each side, spacing the holes about 1/4″ apart or so. For the arboreal enclosure, you are going to have more vertical space, so it’s okay to put holes lower on the side of the enclosure. However, for a fossorial species, you’ll want to keep the holes toward the top to allow for adequate substrate depth.

You can add holes to the other sides as well if you prefer, but keep in mind that if you’re trying to create a micro-climate, too much ventilation will make it very difficult for you to maintain optimum conditions. I do not add holes on the lid, as this just allows moisture to evaporate faster.

2. Add the substrate.

This one is pretty self-explanatory. For an arboreal enclosure, you want to add 2-3″ of packed-down substrate. Appropriate substrate can be coco fiber (Eco-earth), peat, organic (no animal products added) top soil, or any mixture of the those. For more on substrates, feel free to check out this link.

3. Arrange the water bowl and cork bark

Because we’re setting up an arboreal enclosure, we’re going to be using a cork bark flat set at an angle. Now, cork bark can be quite pricey when purchased at a pet store, so I’ve been buying mine from New England Herpetoculture (NE Herp). Not only do they carry an amazing supply of everything you would need to decorate an enclosure (fake plants, bamboo, cork bark, etc.), but their prices are fantastic. A 13-16″ long slab costs about $10 and yields you enough bark for about three enclosures if you section it.

You want to lay your piece of cork bark at an angle, wedging the bottom of it into the substrate so that it doesn’t slip down. When positioning it, try to ensure that it doesn’t cover up your air holes as well.


I will usually put the water dish at the base of the cork bark, just off to the side. You don’t have to get fancy with what you use for your dish, either. Some folks use souffle cups or other “found” items. I like to use these small, white ceramic water dishes that I found at Petco. I know Petco has a rep for being over-priced, and the items sold in their brick and mortar stores usually are. However, if you sign up for their online newsletter, you’ll discover that they are constantly having 25-40% sales, often with free shipping after a certain amount. I usually end up paying only about $1 per water bowl, which I think is pretty darned good. I’ve also managed to score some gorgeous fake plants there for 50% off.

4. Add some sphagnum moss.

I generally buy long fiber sphagnum moss from my local Home Depot. It’s about $5 a bag, and it is enough to set up several enclosures. I add the moss behind the cork bark (my poecilotheria species like to use it to build “curtains”) and around the water bowl. For species that require a little more humidity, you can moisten down the moss to help keep the moisture levels up.

5. Decorate!

Now, if I’m being honest, the majority of my enclosure setups are rather spartan. However, for some of my big arboreals, I like to go the extra mile. Not only does it make for a beautiful display enclosure, but by adding some faux foliage, I give my spider more places to hide.

For this enclosure, I used my glue gun to glue some plastic leaves to my piece of cork bark. I also added an artificial plant next to the cork bark to give the animal more security (and, it looks darn pretty). I purchased both of these on sale at Petco during a 40% off sale. For the leaves, I buy the plastic vines then just pop the leaves off to use as needed.

6. Finally … add your spider!

It takes me about an hour to set up three or four of these enclosures, and most of that time is spent melting the ventilation holes in the plastic. As for cost, the Sterilite container retails for $5.99, the water dish was $0.99, the cork bark was about $3, and the plant (which is optional) was $5.99. So, this enclosure cost me about $16. Considering that it will housing my gorgeous, and pricey, female P. metallica, I think it’s well worth it.


Rehousing a Burrowing Tarantula – Video

My Hysterocrates gigas gets a new home

Back in late August, I purchased two 1″ H. gigas slings  from Jamie’s Tarantulas . I placed these adorable little guys in tall Ziploc Twist “n Lock containers, and they quickly burrowed all the way to the bottom where they spent most of the next seven months. Every once in a while, I’d catch a glimpse of a leg, or a flash of movement as one of my pets bolted up a tunnel and snatch a prey item. However, for the most part, I rarely saw them out.

Just the other day, I opened the enclosure to find one of the H. gigas juveniles sitting boldly on top of the substrate. Not only was I surprised to see one out and about, but I was also shocked by the size of it. My little slings were now pushing 3″ in length. They were long overdue for a rehousing.

It was time to do some digging!

I currently keep several fossorial (burrowing) species of tarantulas, and many of these spiders are feisty old worlds. Therefore, I’ve had to get accustomed to digging out fast, sometimes aggressive Ts. I’ve had pretty good luck so far, as I’ve found that the majority of them will try to hide as long as possible before making a mad dash from their old enclosure.

Armed with my rehousing tools (spoon, paintbrush, catch cup, etc.), I set to getting these guys into their new homes. With my daughter, Sid, wielding the camera, we decided to catch one of the transfers on video. It’s a bit of a long one, and I’m afraid it’s not the most action-packed video I’ve posted, but I think that it illustrates well that, when digging out an aggressive T, patience and care are both a must.



Chilobrachys guangxiensis – “The Chinese Faun”

Not just another big brown tarantula


I generally put a lot of thought into the each species of tarantula I buy. Like many hobbyists, I have a long wish list of animals that I have thoroughly researched with the anticipation that I will one day acquire them. There are never impulse buys, and when I pull the trigger, it’s usually on something I’ve been eyeing for months. Every so often, however, I take a chance on a species that I’m not as familiar with and that might not have been in Tom’s Top Ten to Be Acquired list.

My C. guangxiensis was one of these species.

My first exposure to this tarantula came when I found a small juvenile female listed for sale at Jamie’s Tarantulas. Although I was familiar with this tarantula’s cousins, Chilobrachys fimbriatus and dyscolus, I had never heard of this Asian terrestrial with the seemingly unpronounceable scientific name.

I quickly Googled this spider and found that, although it didn’t sport the beautiful blues of a C. dyscolus blue, or the amazing tones and patterning of the fimbriatus, there was still something undeniably beautiful about this T.  When I discovered that the care of this species was the same as others from the genus, I decided to grab her up.

A gorgeous, sleek, velvety-brown species from southern China.

Like other species from this genus, the C. guangxiensis is a fast, slightly defensive obligate burrower that requires a bit of extra humidity and deep moist substrate to thrive. As this faster growing species, I afforded her a bit of extra room to grow and gave her a larger enclosure than I normally would for a spider that size. This also allow me more room for maintenance.

Her first home was repurposed 7.2 quart Sterilite plastic storage container that measured about 11″L x 7.5″W x 8″H. Both ends of the container are vented to allow for good cross-ventilation and adequate air flow. Although this species appreciates a bit of extra humidity, I’m always careful to avoid creating the stuffy, stagnant conditions that could harm or kill a T. I provide a water dish at all times for drinking and for added humidity.

When I received my female, she was about 2″, so I gave her an enclosure with about 5″ of substrate depth in which to construct a burrow. For substrate, I use a mixture of 40% coco fiber, 40% peat, and 20% vermiculite. I find that this blend not only holds moisture well, but it also absorbs water more readily when it comes time to moisten it back up. The sub is damp, but not wet; if you squeeze it in your hand, it will hold its form, but no water will drip out. Once a month or so, I will use a bottle modified to be a watering can to make it “rain” and moisten down half of the substrate.

A hide really isn’t necessary for this species, as if it is given enough substrate, it will quickly dig its own burrow. Before I added it to it’s enclosure, I just created a small hole/starter burrow in the corner. It quickly adapted this hole and used it to create its home. It now has two entrance holes and a large open den at the bottom of the enclosure.

I’ve observed no specific temperature requirements for this species. Mine is kept at 70-77° F during the winter and 75-84° F during the warmer summer months. She has eaten well in both ranges, although higher temps usually lead to higher metabolisms and faster growth.

Just add crickets and watch it grow!

The C. guangxiensis is a medium /fast growing species that can reach 7″ in size. My female has molted three times in the eight months that I’ve kept her, and she has gone from 2″ to about 3.5″. She is a voracious eater, taking down prey with lightning speed before quickly dragging it down into her den for consumption. As a juvenile, she was eating 3 medium crickets a week. Now that she is a bit larger, I’ve been feeding her two large crickets a week.

If there will be any knock on this species, it might be that it can be a bit of a pet hole. Of all of my obligate burrowers, this one might be my most secretive. I sometimes catch it out after the lights go out for the night, or early in the morning, but she will bolt back into her den at the slightest disturbance. This has made it very tricky to photograph. Still, when I see her out an about, it is a true thrill.

This one can throw down the silk.

It should be noted that some keepers have been successful keeping their Chilobrachys species on more shallow substrate with a hide. These species can be prolific webbers, festooning their enclosures with copious amounts of thick webbing. Specimens denied the opportunity to dig will build elaborate homes out of their webbing.

Personally, I like to let them burrow as the deeper depths of the substrate can provide them with a secure and more humid place to retreat to when frightened or when they need more moisture.

My C. guangxiensis has webbed up her entire enclosure with thick web. Even though she has a den, she will come out at night to lay down more silk, and she will often web the top of her enclosure shut. As a result, I open her cage several times a week to remove the webbing on the lid.

My C. guangxiensis' enclosure. I have to open this one quite often, even when not performing maintenance, as she will often web the top shut.

My C. guangxiensis’ enclosure. I have to open this one quite often, even when not performing maintenance, as she will often web the top shut.

A beautiful addition to an intermediate collection.

Unfortunately, with so many more colorful and easier to keep tarantulas available, including other members of the Chilobrachys genus, I worry that the C. guangxiensis sometimes gets overlooked. Pictures just don’t do this specimen justice, as its slick, shimmering coat and lithe, athletic build make it a stunning specimen in its own right.

And although I’ve seen many photographs that make it appear to be a simple, plain shade of brown, its true tones are difficult to describe and must be seen to be appreciated. For those used to Asian terrestrials, including their attitudes, speed, and care requirements, the C. guangxiensis would make a great addition to the collection.





Tarantula Rehousing Tips … With Videos!

Nothing gets the old heart pumping quite like a rehousing!

With many of my tarantulas outgrowing their current enclosures, I’ve been doing a lot of rehousing as of late. In the last two weeks, I’ve moved about a dozen of my spiders into new homes, and I still have several more to go. When I first got heavily into the hobby, rehousing were something that I used to stress about. After all, the thought of one of these large, fast, sometimes defensive spiders possibly escaping during a botched transfer is enough to the get your adrenaline flowing.

Now that I’ve rehoused dozens of Ts, I actually look forward to this activity. Don’t get me wrong, I still remain cautious and very focused whenever moving spiders, but with experience has come some degree of comfort. I used to fear the tarantula getting out of its enclosure; now I recognize that if the spider doesn’t make it directly into its new home, it’s not the end of the world. I’ve also found that I’m able to stay much more calm, which leads to slower, more deliberate movements (and more relaxed animals).

When rehousing Ts, there are a few different methods to consider. I have tried all the techniques listed below, and I find that they are all quite good depending on the situation. Experience and experimentation will help you to determine which ones work for you and in which circumstances.

The cup method entails simply placing a clear plastic cup over the tarantula, sliding a piece of cardboard beneath the opening, then moving the animal to its new home. You can also tip the cup on its side and use a long instrument like a paintbrush to guide the T into it. Some folks will use deli cups for this procedure, then put the cap on for a safe, secure transfer. This method is particularly useful for larger Ts.

The plastic bottle method is also a fantastic and easy way to transfer slings and juvies. Creating your transfer tool is simple; just take a small plastic bottle (I use a 1 liter seltzer bottle) and cut the bottom off. Like the cup method, place the open end of the bottle over your T. Once the spider is inside, either cover the bottom with cardboard or coax it up the side with a paintbrush. With the spider contained, put the bottle in the new enclosure, unscrew the cap, tilt the neck toward where you want the spider to go, and use a paint brush to guide it out the hole. In most cases, the spider will freely move toward the tapered end of the bottle. This is great for directing a spider directly into a pre-dug den or hide.

The bag method is a wonderful way to transfer fast or defensive slings and juveniles. It entails placing a clear plastic back over the mouth of your original enclosure and affixing it with a rubber band. After poking a small hole in the bag, you use a paintbrush to coax the critter out of the enclosure and into the bag. Once it’s safely inside, you remove the rubber band and carefully pinch closed the bag, being careful to keep your hand away from the spider (they can bite through the plastic). Finally, just put the end of the bag in the new enclosure and carefully maneuver the spider out of the back and into its new home.

Tips for safe transfers

Like most aspects of this hobby, reading about transfers and rehousings only gets you so far. To get comfortable with them, it really takes experience. Keeping that in mind, here are some tips to think about before rehousing.

  • When rehousing, make sure that you have a clear, clutter-free area in which to work. I use my dinner table and try to clean as much off of it as possible.
  • Make sure that pets or small children are safely out of the way. I have three dogs and a younger child, and I always make sure that they are all out of the room when I work.
  • Many keepers also recommend attempting transfers on colder mornings, as the spiders will be a bit less lively and likely to bolt.
  • If you try a transfer, and the T demonstrates its agitation by running around or displaying aggressive behavior, STOP and try again later. There is no need to make the experience more difficult for yourself (and more stressful for the T).
  • You should assume the spider will get out, and prepare accordingly. Negotiating your hands and tools into small enclosures can put you more at risk for a bite. Sometimes it’s simpler to gently coax the spider out onto a table so that you can easily and safely cup it. I’ve found that assuming the spider will get out makes the transfer much less stressful.
  • When possible, you can always leave an older enclosure in the new one if it will fit inside. This way, the tarantula can come out when it is ready. Be warned, though, that some never want to leave!
  • And, above all, stay calm and move slowly. Yes, I know that it’s difficult to stay cool when a large T is attacking your paintbrush, but you don’t want to lose your composure. If something doesn’t go as plan, take a deep breath, try to relax, and keep your eye on the tarantula at all times.

Tools of the trade

It’s very important to be totally prepared when performing a transfer. I like to keep the following tools and materials on hand.

  • Several clear plastic cups, various sizes – I always have multiple “catch cups” on hand, ready to go if a T should try to bolt.
  • A plastic bottle with the bottom cut off – These are GREAT for smaller Ts.
  • Long tongs and paintbrushes – I always have a pair of 8″ and 12″ tongs on hand to help in the process. They can be used to move hides, dishes, and substrates. Paintbrushes are also excellent tools to use to coax Ts out.
  • Small dish towels – These work wonderfully as hiding spots for a bolting T. I like to spread them around my work area so that if a spider bolts, it will likely take refuge under one of these “spider traps”.
  • Pieces of cardboard – Cut some cardboard to size so that you can use the pieces to cover up the bottom of the cup or bottle to hold the T inside.
  • Spoons – These can be handy when you have to dig a species out. Just be careful not to injure the T, and be prepared for an agitated tarantula to burst from its den.
  • Large, shallow Sterilite container – This one is optional, but I like to put the enclosures I’ll be using inside a large plastic storage bin. The bin I use is shallow, allowing for me to easily work. This gives me an added barrier if a T should happen to get out. You can see the one I used in the videos below.

Four transfers, four very different experiences.

Today, I planned to move four different tarantulas: my juvenile A. brocklehursti and my three juvenile Phormictopus sp. purple juveniles. My brock has traditionally been a bit skittish, but has never been defensive. My purples, on the other hand, can be little terrors. I’ve seen more threat postures from this trio than any of my other species. They are quite feisty, and it doesn’t take too much to rile them up.

With the potential for some exciting and unpredictable action, I decided that it would be a good time to break out the camera. My 1o-year-old daughter, Sidney was kind enough to man the camera for me so that we could catch all of the action. Although I’ve done many “easy” transfers, where the spider is quickly moved without incident, I wanted to possibly capture a rehousing that didn’t quite go so smoothly. After all, switching enclosures can be quite tricky, and spiders can act unpredictably. You need to be prepared for anything. 

My A. brocklehursti transfer went about as smoothly as a transfer can go. I mean, this little guy didn’t even need to be prodded out of the bottle; he just plopped down on his own!

As my Phormictopus sp. purple juveniles are quite feisty, I expected that rehousing these guys could be a bit of an adventure. Well, the first transfer went quite smoothly, and the little guy cooperated for the most part.

How do you set off a defensive species? Well, just drop a little dirt on it. This rehousing doesn’t quite go as planned as a bit of stray dirt riles up my second purple juvenile. Despite the inauspicious beginning (and some spider on paintbrush violence), he makes it into his new home.

This stubborn little guy does NOT want to cooperate at first, and it takes a bit of patience and finagling to finally get him into his new home. Of course, he first has to get a piece of that paintbrush. If you watch closely when he attacks, you’ll see why I NEVER hold my tarantulas. Had that been my hand, I would have flicked him into the air.

For those looking to rehouse a fast and feisty arboreal, here is a video featuring my P. hanumavilasumica.

Transferring Fossorial (Burrowing) Species

As I’ve received several questions about how I go about rehousing fast-and-feisty fossorial species, I’m adding a couple movies to this tutorial. What follows are rehousing videos for my H. Gigas and O. philippinus, both species that built dens deep in the substrate.


Theraphosa stirmi (The Burgundy Goliath Bird Eater)

My young adult T. stirmi.

My young adult T. stirmi.

One of the true “bird eaters”.

Although there are hundreds of species of tarantulas currently available in the hobby, nothing seems to get folks more interested (or horrified) than talk about 12″ spiders. We’ve all seen the garish news reports and sensationalized nature shows that seek to disgust and shock rather than educate with reports of ferocious arachnids with leg spans the size of “dinner plates.” For the majority of “normal” people out there, a giant spider of this size is a thing of nightmares…

For the tarantula keeper, however, it is something to be coveted; an enormous spider that could easily become the jewel of a collection.

Years ago, the Theraphosa blondi, or the true “Goliath Bird Eating Spider” was the holy grail for many collectors. Pursued for its supposed legendary size (some folks bragged of specimens reaching 14″!), this giant spider became the Humvee of tarantula collecting. Sure, they were large, beefy, and came with certain bragging rights, but their difficult husbandry requirements made them a bit impractical. Specimens had to be kept in warm, moist conditions that made proper husbandry a nightmare. Kept too moist, the animals would die from the fetid conditions. Kept too dry, and they would perish during bad molts. For many enthusiasts, keeping this exotic T became more bother than it was worth.

With the introduction of Theraphosa stimi into the hobby, keepers were given a more practical and forgiving alternative to the T. blondi.  Easier to breed than its cousin, the T. stirmi not only became more widely available, but captive-bred offspring have proven to be quite hardy in captive conditions. With a max size and appearance almost identical to a blondi, this species has eclipsed its more difficult relative in the hobby.

Several months ago, I was able to purchase a sub-adult, likely wild-caught specimen, and I was immediately in awe of its size and appetite. Since then, I’ve procured two T. stirmi slings, which have each molted once in my care. Although requiring a bit more attention to husbandry than some of my other Ts, this species is quickly becoming one of my favorites.

Moist substrate + good ventilation = Happy Stirmi

Ziploc 60-qt storage bin modified to house a T. stirmi sub-adult.

Ziploc 60-qt storage bin modified to house a T. stirmi sub-adult.

Before purchasing my T. stirmi sub-adult, I spent months reading all the notes I could find by those who have been successfully keeping this tarantula. Although most report that this species is much more hardy and less moisture and heat dependent than the T. blondi, there are still some requirements that make this giant a bit more difficult to keep.  The key to keeping this spider thriving is to supply moist substrate and adequate cross-ventilation.

Check out my T. stirmi husbandry video below!

Although many use 15-20 gallon long aquariums to house their stirmis, I didn’t feel that the glass sides would provide the cross ventilation that I would need. Also, the screen tops that one might normally use on a glass aquarium would allow too much vital moisture to quickly evaporate, meaning that I would either have to cover some of the screen, or replace it with vented Plexiglas. Instead, I kept a lookout for a plastic container that I could repurpose.

A tarantula this large needs a BIG home.

For housing, I chose a 60-quart Ziploc plastic storage box. Although more shallow than a 20-gallon long aquarium, it offered about the same amount of floor space. With six locking clips, it was also wonderfully secure, even for a T this large. I modified the container using 3″ plastic vents and strategically drilled holes (to see how I made this custom enclosure, click away!)

To make sure that my substrate would retain moisture (and allow for moisture to soak in when I needed to wet it down), I used a combination of top soil, peat moss, and vermiculite in about a 60/30/10 mixture. Before adding the main substrate, I also put about 1″ layer of vermiculite on the bottom of the enclosure and soaked it down. I then packed down about 6″ of moist substrate on top of that.  This helps keep the lower levels of the substrate moist as the top layers dry out. The spider than can then retreat to its den if it needs more humidity.

For a hide, I used a 3″ pvc elbow that I angled deep down into the substrate as a starter burrow (which my specimen adopted after entering pre-molt). Although I originally started with one medium water bowl, I soon added another to keep the humidity up a bit within the enclosure.  Finally, I added some plastic vines for cover and some long fiber sphagnum moss to help with moisture retention.

For my slings, I used a 2-quart clear plastic canister with ventilation holes burned on all sides. Both were provided with about 4″ of substrate, as well as cork bark hides and small water dishes . When I first acquired my little ones, they were about 1.5″ long, and these containers were the perfect size for them. However, after only one molt, they’ve put on so much size that I will have to rehouse them after they next shed. Right now, my two are about 2.25″, and both are getting ready to molt again. This is a fast-growing species, so it may make sense to provide enclosures for slings and juveniles that allow room for growth. 

A note about temperature and humidity.

Because it was mid-summer and temps were high when I set this cage up, and the conditions inside were a bit more moist than I usually have, I decided to monitor it for a week or so before getting my spider. Twice, I added more ventilation after I noticed tiny mold spots. I wanted the humidity to be high enough to support the animal, but not so high as to foster mold, mildew, and other undesirable conditions. The combination of heat and humidity can easily create an overly stuffy and ultimately dangerous living environment for even moisture-loving Ts.

To keep conditions favorable, I usually wet down one side of the substrate once a week or so using a bottle I modified into a watering can. This allows me to simulate a downpour and adds more water than simply spraying. Because of the vermiculite, the water percolates down into the lower levels, keeping them damp while the top eventually dries out.

I don’t really monitor the humidity inside the enclosure (I soon pulled the useless Petco hydrometer in the photo above out), but I would estimate that it stays about 65% to 75% most of the year, with the humidity being even higher in the burrow.

As for temperatures, my specimens are kept at about 72-77º during the winter, and about 75-84º during the summer. They have eaten well in both seasons, and I’ve observed no differences in behavior. However, it’s important to note that warmer temps mean faster metabolisms and faster growth.

I have read accounts of some folks raising captive-bread stirmis from sling in temps that hit as low as 68º and with mostly dry substrate with a water dish. Although I don’t know if these are ideal conditions, it’s worth noting that this species can adapt to different micro climates.

It should also be mentioned that keepers have observed that wild-caught specimens are not quite as forgiving as their captive-bred counterparts when it comes to adaptability to low temperature and humidity levels. If you suspect that you have a wild-caught spider, exercise a bit more caution when controlling the environment.

A gigantic T with a gigantic appetite!

This is a species with an amazing appetite, and it must be kept well fed. My adult is around 7-8″, and in its first month with me, it was constantly hungry. During this time, I would feed it twice a week, usually offering 5 or so large crickets one day and a 1.5″ dubia roach the next. To say its feeding response was enthusiastic would be an understatement. Once, when dropping in a roach, I could only watch in awe as this spider leaped from about 7″ away to snatch up its prey. It was an impressive display and a good reminder of just how quickly this big tarantula could move.

My slings are also voracious eaters, consuming two or three medium crickets a week. Once a prey item is dropped into their enclosures, they don’t take long to quickly snatch it up and pull it into their burrows. They definitely possess impressive speed at this size.

It’s important to remember that the stirmi has an amazing appetite, so you are going to want to make sure that you are easily and consistently able to procure larger prey items for it once it reaches its adult size. I’m already looking to procure some Madagascar hissing cockroaches to fatten it up after its upcoming molt.

As always, caution is a must!

As mentioned earlier, both sling and adult stirmis can REALLY move. Despite being a large and heavy-bodied tarantula, this species is deceptively fast. And although mine would rather retreat to their burrows when disturbed, there are many examples of feisty and defensive specimens out there that will stand their ground when they feel threatened.


Now, I’ve heard some folks ask about venom potency as if this species mild venom somehow makes a bite from this spider less threatening. That notion, of course, is just foolish. These Ts are known to sport fangs 1″ long or more. Just the mechanical damage from a stirmi bite could cause huge amounts of physical trauma. Couple that with the fact that they would be delivering deep puncture wounds with large fangs covered in bacteria and other contaminants, and the venom level becomes irrelevant. Make no mistake, a bite from this animal would be a nightmare.

Also, what it lacks in strong venom, it surely makes up for with some of the most potent and irritating urticating hairs of any species. Folks have described excruciating levels of burning and itching from T. stirmi hairs, and I’ve seen photos of the many raw, oozing blisters these hairs can cause. Several folks have found these hairs to be so bothersome, that they no longer keep this species. Getting haired by a stirmi is NO joke, and this threat should be taken very seriously.

Whenever working with your stirmi, wearing long sleeves, gloves, and eye-protection is definitely encouraged. Even if your specimen seems calm, all it takes is one good hairing to ruin your week. Some folks even wear face shields to protect their eyes and nasal passages from hairs. It’s also important to remember that tarantulas will often kick hairs around their enclosures, even if you don’t see them do it. That means you should always wear gloves when dealing with old substrate or cleaning dishes.

A gorgeous display tarantula for the conscientious keeper.

There is no denying the awe-inspiring size of this amazing T; it just has to be seen to be appreciated. However, although this is a species on many keepers’ wish lists, this is not an animal to be trifled with. Along with this Ts amazing size comes quite a bit of attitude and the potential for nasty bites and an incredibly painful hairing. Couple that with larger space requirements and trickier husbandry, and you have a spider that is definitely not a good match for an inexperienced keeper.

As always, don’t just take my word for it. If you are considering purchasing a T. stirmi, do your homework, search the forums, and read what other keepers have to say!