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Saturday, June 21, 2008

Nom Nom

Our tarantula, a Curly Hair (Brachypelma albopilosum), is generally slow and shy, reticent and reclusive, except when there's a cricket around. Then he/she moves too fast for us too see. He/she prefers the Petsmart large variety generally, but here deigned to nosh on a Reptilian Haven breed. We have gone out to the back yard and caught crickets and grasshoppers, but from the lackluster reaction I think they must taste fairly 'gamey'.

We tried to measure her/him recently, but she/he slowly crept away. It was like a dog that is doing the army crawl out of his 'time-out' spot. I think we can safely say two and a quarter inches for the body alone and about three, legs included.


genexs said...

Very beautiful photos here. I've kept dozens of different species of tarantula, but this species is my fav. I know some people rate them as 'pet rocks', yet I find them very pretty and docile spiders. Mine lived almost 10 years. I like the "aphonopelma" look in my spiders, and gravitate towards the ones in the Americas.


Hypatia said...

Thank you, Gene! I really appreciate the comment and knowing that people are checking out my pictures.

I'm hoping we have a female so we can have her for a good long while. Given the shape of her pedipalps and uniform coloring, I'm hopeful. :) I think we've had her a couple years now.

She's our second tarantula. Our first spiderling (a rosehair) never ate and we didn't have it long. Curly, here, is a voracious eater. She was the size of my pinky fingernail when we got her.

I felt pretty silly that I had to look up aphonopelma, but sometimes the Greek and Latin get the better of me. :)

With three kids, our pet care time is limited, but we do a lot of "local" pets by catching various species of spiders, insects and snakes for temporary visits.

I don't mind the pet rock aspect at all. She's slow and mild enough that I don't worry about the kids. She's also active enough that the kids get to see her hunt crickets. :) I think she's a good relationship-builder spider.

I'm fascinated by spiders in general. I don't have enough knowledge or discrimination to pick one group yet. ;)

genexs said...

This species is a great family pet, as they tend to be pretty docile. In the mid-1990's, I use to raise tarantulas. I fondly recall attending all the 'Cyber-Psycho' conventions in Denver, bringing my spiders in tow.

It's not that hard to sex a juvenile T these days. The 'shed skin' from the abdomen, when examined under a low power microscope, can reveal a morphology indicating which sex the spider is. Also, for someone who is trained to spot the differences, you can tell fairly accurately by studying your spider in profile. Underneath the spider's abdomen, just before it joins the thorax, if you see a little shelf-like area protruding, then your spider is likely a female. This is the area where a male will insert his palpi into the female. In male T's, this area is smooth and rounded.

A. hentzi is a nice 'living rock' species from America. The females have brown-black legs, and the body is brown. A. chalcodes (sp?) the "blondie" tarantula is another nice one, from Arizona, the one's from northern Mexico (if you can find one) are huge, much larger than the 'merican ones. As I'm sure you are aware, all of our native t's (and the Brachypelmas) have urticating hairs, so make sure everyone washes their hands well after touching the spider, or cleaning out the cage. Usually, if you get the hairs on you it's just a poison ivy type itch that goes away in a few days to a week. But getting the hairs in your eyes can be a major medical nightmare!

Enjoy your blog. Thanx for commenting on mine.


Hypatia said...

I love checking out blogs and yours is a fun one, Gene. :) I wish I had more time. I spend much of my time photographing, and lately learning Mandarin (well, and then there are the kids, they take up about 30 mostly wonderful hours a day). I seem to have about two hours a week on the internet.

I do want to get another tarantula or two. I'm going to ask my office mates if they'd be okay with a pet here. Maybe I should wait until I have a private cubie in a couple weeks. My husband is probably petted-out (a new term) with a cat, one tarantula and two frogs. :)

Our invertebrate zoo sells their extra spiderlings, so we can get them when they are the size of my fingernail. I might try to trade them for a burrowing wolf spider. :)