Monday, January 17, 2011

Chaco Golden Knee Caresheet (Grammostola Pulchripes)

 Standard terrestrial tarantula setup
Grammostola Pulchripes Care Sheet

Chaco Golden Knee Tarantula


Albert Abarquez
1/8/2010




This is a Care Sheet dedicated to the Chaco Golden Knee Tarantula, a medium-large sized specie from Argentina, Paraguay & Uraguay. This is also a Standard Care Sheet applicable to most Terrestrial Tarantula Species.


This Care Sheet is based on books, articles and information that I have gathered and my personal opinion, observations and experiences dealing with this specie. Some information may be incorrect or insufficient. This care sheet is, and will always be a work in progress. If the reader finds any misinformation and have any corrections or suggestions, please feel free to leave a comment so I may address your concerns.



Grammostola Pulchripes Care Sheet


(Chaco Golden Knee)

This species is one of the best species suitable for any beginner tarantula owner. The reason for this statement is because G. Pulchripes (formerly G. Aureostriata) has a very pleasing demeanour. They have a docile, calm and hardy nature which are essential characteristics for a starter tarantula.

Chaco Golden Knee Tarantulas can easily be identified by the striking golden stripes on each knee. They can grow leg spans up to 8 inches measured diagonally, which makes them more desirable for beginners. They also are the fastest growing of the Grammostola genus and have a lifespan of over 5 years for males and over 15 years for females. And unlike most beginner tarantula species which has very little activity, this specie will keep itself busy. These little critters are mini-bulldozers.

Choosing your tarantula:

It is advisable for 1st time tarantula keepers to talk to someone who owns tarantulas before getting one. Research about the tarantula you want and never hesitate to ask questions.

Keeping of this species is fairly easy. Spiderlings, or often referred to as "Slings" are more suitable for beginners, because slings will almost never bite, the mere size of your hand is enough to intimidate them. By the time your tarantula is juvenile-sized, you will already have an idea of its personality.

If you are getting adult specimen then a female is recommended since they live longer and grow larger than the males. Males, after reaching maturity will have the tendencies to turn aggressive and defensive, this is because mature males aim on securing a mate. Males will also have about a year or two left to live after reaching maturity.


It is also wise to check the health and temperament of a potential tarantula. Adult tarantulas should have abdomens bigger than its carapace or cephalothorax. How it stands or walks will also give you an idea of the tarantula’s health; healthy tarantulas should stand and walk on the tips of their toes like ballerinas, their abdomens shouldn’t be dragged on the substrate (ground) when they walk. Looking at the back of the abdomen will also tell you about their temperaments. Hair-flickers will have bald spots on their abdomens. This specie rarely flicks. A tarantula’s temperament can be checked by gently touching the back of its abdomen or hind legs with a paintbrush/stick, if it simply walks away, then it can be handled, if it runs away, then it might be a little nervous or skittish so exercise caution if you want to handle this tarantula, if it raises its fangs and its 1st and 2nd pairs of legs, then its aggressive. The latter reaction is known as the threat posture, any tarantula that is sporting this position will readily strike. They shouldn’t be handled. If a tarantula turns towards the point where you made contact, it might be hungry or irritated.

Differentiating Sexes:

Sexing Tarantulas is a very tricky business. Even experts have a hard time sexing a tarantula. A male tarantula could easily be taken for a female if it gets too big.

This molt belonged to my female G.Pulchripes, notice that  there is
a tiny tongue-like flap just between the upper booklungs.
The best and accurate way to sex your tarantula is to wait until they are fully mature. Females can be identified by looking into their molts for their ovaries. Female specimens will have a skin-like flap in their sexual opening also called the epigastric furrow, just between the upper booklungs, this is called spermathecae. Females will store a male’s sperm in the spermathecae. Female Tarantulas are bulkier and have larger abdomens compared to the males.


Tibial Hook of a Male Tarantula


Male tarantulas have smaller bodies and the tips of their pedipalps (short leg-like appendages located next to the fangs) will look like boxing gloves. Also males of this specie will develop tibial hooks or spurs on their 1st legs when they reach maturity (tibial hooks are not present in some of the species). These hooks are used mainly to hold the female’s fangs while mating.

Housing / Enclosure:

This is a terrestrial specie, floor space is more important than height.


1cm G. Pulchripes Sling
Slings can easily be kept in small deli containers. Be sure to have air wholes on the sides. The container should be big enough for your sling to walk around but not too big for it to get lost. Most tarantulas prefer smaller enclosures. Enclosures shouldn’t be too high as this specie lives on the ground. 1inch (or more) substrate should be provided. 1 sling per enclosure. 

Juvenile G. Pulchripes
Juveniles and adults should be kept in either low tanks or critter keepers or shoebox sized containers. Be sure that there are air holes on the sides and on the top. An ideal tank cover would be glass/plexi-glass with air holes on it. For larger tanks, a hide should be provided. Emptied coconut shells, hollowed tree barks and other hollowed ornaments will be suitable for the job. At least 3 inches of substrate should be provided for juveniles and 5 inches of substrate for adults; more is appreciated since this specie likes to dig. Do not put more than one tarantula in a single enclosure.
Terrestrial Enclosure with Brachypelma Smithi

To avoid ants, you can coat the legs of the table where you keep your enclosures or the bottom part of the sides of the enclosures with a generous amount of petroleum gel. Just wipe clean and reapply every month or as needed. A swarm of ants can easily kill your tarantula. There are also other methods to avoid ants but from my experience, petroleum gel works best.




Notes:
1. Feed your tarantula before rehousing or transferring it to a new enclosure. Tarantulas will not eat for days when transferred to a new enclosure. They need time to acclimate to the new environment.

2. Do not feed your tarantula for a few days to a week after rehousing or transferring it.

3. If your tarantula stops being inactive or starts pacing around the enclosure or keeps on sticking to the sides of the enclosure, it is a sign that the tarantula is uncomfortable with the enclosure. You may need to change the whole enclosure or provide it with dryer substrate.

Substrate:

Organic potting soil, coconut fibre mulch, peat moss or any combination of 2 or more of these will be ideal. Perlyte or vermiculite can optionally be added to help retain humidity.

Substrate Preparation:

Moist your substrate with water and squeeze out the water, if the substrate holds the shape after its squeezed then it is perfect. Never use wood shavings as they are highly abrasive and may contain oils that may be toxic to your tarantula, particularly oils from cedar.

Substrate should be replaced twice or thrice a year. To treat substrate, simply pour a generous amount of boiling water on it and let it sit for 10 minutes before draining. Another way is to put dampen the substrate and put it in an oven at 350 degrees for 10 minutes.


Most pet shops sell blocks of substrate. They are simple to use, affordable, and since they are heat treated to compress, they are sterile. All you need to do is soak the blocks in water and wait a few minutes, then break them off and squeeze the water out. If possible, use fresh substrate rather than recycled "treated" substrate.

Note: Be sure that your substrate can retain water and hold humidity, but be sure your enclosure will not be overly damp as tarantulas don’t like wet substrate.

Tip: Always have dry substrate handy. If your tarantula is rejecting your substrate, try adding a layer of dry substrate over the damp one.


Décor and Accessories:

Slings may need a hide depending on the size of the enclosure.

Adult and juveniles will need a hide if they are kept in a larger enclosure. A hollowed bark is perfect since it provides both shelter and climbing spots for your tarantula. For this specie, it is recommended to set the hollowed log horizontally. If flora should be added, use fake ones. Real plants will attract mites and other pests.  Leave the real plants to the hardcore experts. Also, do not put too much flora since this will only create hiding spots for the prey. Rocks are also optional to add beauty, just be sure that there are no sharp edges. Other accessories may be added as décor.

Caution: In setting up your enclosure, be sure that everything will stay into place. Things that might get knocked down or fall or roll out of place could potentially hurt and kill your tarantula. Remember that this specie likes to dig. Accessories should be rooted in place.

Feeding, Watering and Maintenance:

Slings can be fed a pinhead cricket or baby roach twice (or more often if desired) a week. As your tarantula grows, its prey should also grow with it. A good sized pray would be a prey roughly the same size as the tarantula’s abdomen. Enclosures shouldn’t be permitted to dry out. Your tarantula needs the humidity to keep its lungs clean and to help it breathe. Use a spray bottle and lightly mist one side of the enclosure. Be sure that the other half is dry, and be sure not to hit the tarantula when you are misting as this will only annoy them. Smaller slings will drink from the substrate or from dews forming as the water condenses. Larger slings will need a small and shallow water dish, be sure that the water dish will not be easily flipped over. An obligatory rock or stones should be in the middle of your dish, so in the likelihood that your tarantula falls, it will have something to climb on to to avoid drowning. A water dish should always have clean water. Uneaten prey (for more than 24 hours) should be taken out, as well as insect shells and leftovers (food boluses/balls) to avoid mold and attracting mites.

Juvenile and adult tarantulas can be fed bigger prey and any leftovers, shells and uneaten prey should be removed. A water dish should always be filled with clean water. For humidity, you can either spay one side of the enclosure with water or you can pour as small amount of water to one side of the substrate. If you notice mites or mold, it is best to replace your substrate.

Prey items may include crickets, meal worms, roaches, maggots and wingless fruit flies. Avoid feeding your tarantula items caught in the wild as they may be infected with disease or toxic substances from insecticides and pesticides. Larger species can be fed an occasional pinky mouse for variety. Do not feed your tarantula mice on a regular basis, the excess calcium will cause some molting problems for your tarantula.

The enclosure, water dish, spray bottle and accessories may be washed using water only. A gentle dishwashing liquid mixed with a lot of water may be used but be sure that the item being washed is rinsed thoroughly.

Since the Chaco Golden Knee is somewhat of a digger, you may need to level the substrate every once in a while if you desire.

Note: If your tarantula refuses to eat a prey, remove any uneaten prey after 24 hours and wait for 3 days up to 1 week before trying to feed it again. Aside from attracting mites and other parasites, the tarantula might be desensitized by the presence of the prey and would stop eating. Tarantulas rely on sudden movements to detect prey, if you leave prey in the enclosure for long periods of time, they might get used to a lot of movement and may entirely ignore the prey.

Lighting and heating:

Tarantulas are nocturnal creatures, thus they do not need lighting. Direct sunlight or any source of bright light is highly discouraged. A UV bulb can be used for display cases but must not be left on for a long period. Only switch it on when you’re viewing and switch it off when you’re done.

In tropical areas, heating is not needed. Room temperature will do quite well. However, in areas where winter season is applicable, a large room heater can be used during winter. Basking lights are highly discouraged because it can dry out the enclosure and the tarantula may not sense the heat and die. Heating pads that stick to the bottom or side of the tank are also discouraged. Tarantulas cannot sense hot spots and may die of dehydration.

Generally, whatever temperature you are comfortable with works fine for your tarantula. Tarantulas are more susceptible to heat than cold.

Handling:

Tarantulas (depending on the specie) can be handled on an occasional basis for them to get used to being handled. Regular handling is strongly discouraged as this can stress out your tarantula.

If you must handle your tarantula be gentle. Terrestrial or ground tarantulas should be handled close to the floor to avoid serious injuries in case your tarantula jumps or falls. When you are handling your tarantula, be sure you are handling it where it can’t run or hide in case it escapes. Be sure to always test your tarantula’s temperament before handling it. It is also important not to breath/blow air on your tarantula as this can spook them and cause them to jump/run.

The best way to handle your tarantula (after temperament testing) would be to place your hand flat on the substrate and gently prod your tarantula on its hind legs or abdomen and let it walk to your hand. You can also let your tarantula climb over the tank and let it walk on your hand.

Another way to handle your tarantula is by using a smaller deli cup and placing it on the substrate and let your tarantula walk into the cup by touching your tarantula’s hind legs or abdomen with either by paintbrush (or pen) or your hand. This method can also be used for aggressive species.

The last method is called the pinch-grab method. This is done by placing your thumb and your index finger between the tarantula’s 2nd and 3rd legs while applying a little pressure and picking the tarantula up. This method is highly discouraged. 


There is also another and safer way of doing picking up your tarantula. While using your thumb and middle finger to grip the tarantula between its 2nd and 3rd legs, you can also place your index finger on top of the chelicerae to secure the fangs. . This method should only be used if you are going to treat your tarantulas for injuries/dehydration.
Safer Pinch-Grab Method



Molting:

Tarantulas are arthropods thus they undergo a process called molting. As a tarantula grows they need to rid themselves of their old and tightening exoskeleton in order to grow. As the tarantula grows larger it will shed less often. This is a very critical state since after your tarantula molts it will be defenseless because their exoskeleton and their fangs are soft and needs time to harden. Handling a tarantula in pre-molt and post-molt is also highly discouraged. Wait for a week after your tarantula molts.

Pre-molt is recognizable when your tarantula’s color is getting dull and a black patch is visible on the back of its abdomen. During this state, your tarantula is most likely to refuse meals as they are growing new fangs (tarantulas will shed everything, including their fangs). They will refuse to eat for a week up to a few months depending on their size. This is normal.

During a pre-molt, your tarantula might be somewhat irritable, it is best to leave it alone. Just be sure that you provide it with plenty of water as this is their only source of sustenance. It is also important not to handle your tarantula while it is in a pre and post molt stage. This is because your tarantula needs all the energy it can to successfully molt and to recover from a molt. Handling your tarantula in a pre or post molt stage will only expend precious energy it needs to molt and recover.


G. Pulchripes on its back and almost done molting.
When your tarantula is finally molting, you may find it flipped on its back or on its side. Most people will assume that the tarantula is dead; in fact it is ready to molt. Do not disturb it; you don’t even want to be in that room. Increasing humidity (if you have a humidifier) is highly recommended.

G. Pulchripes Fresh out of the Molt.
After your tarantula molts, leave it alone for a week (for smaller specimens) up to 2 weeks (for adult specimens) for its exoskeleton and fangs to harden, do not even feed it. You will also notice that it will spend its days of recovery stretching. Do not disturb it. Just be sure that you supply it with plenty of water.

Molts should be taken out immediately to avoid mold.

Preventing Illness:

Preventing illness is best achieved by giving the tarantula the appropriate habitat and keeping the enclosure free from mold, mites, leftovers, molt and other parasites. Mold can form on their book lungs (which are located on the underside of their abdomens) and cause breathing problems. A sick tarantula should be moved to a Tarantula ICU for a week or until it has fully recovered.


If you find that your enclosure has mite infestation, immediately remove your tarantula and inspect it for any mites that are clinging on it. Here is where the pinch-grab method can prove to be useful. Using a damp paper towel or cotton swab, gently wipe away any mites sticking to your tarantula. Pay close attention to areas between the legs, joints, underside, around the mouth and be particularly careful when dealing with the booklungs. Clean out your enclosure and wash everything, throw out the substrate and replace with new substrate. To avoid contaminating other enclosures or tarantulas, always wash your hand after dealing with contaminated enclosures or tarantulas.

Treating your Tarantula’s Injuries:

If your tarantula falls or gets injured in any manner, you should watch it carefully. Look for a semi-clear milky white-ish substance oozing out of your tarantula. This is blood. Tarantula blood does not clot so wounds should be treated immediately to avoid excessive bleeding. Wounds can easily be treated by using a cue-tip and dabbing either water-based glue or liquid band aid directly into the wound. Be careful to only apply treatment of the wounded area as excessive glue or band aid can cause movement restrictions for your tarantula (especially if you are treating wounds in the leg and joint areas). Also take caution in treating wounds that are in the abdomen, be careful not to glue/band aid the anus, spinnerets, book lungs or the epigastric furrow. Lightly injured tarantulas can be kept in their enclosures while seriously injured tarantulas should spend at least a day to recover in an ICU.


Simple Tarantula Anatomy:




Treating Dehydration:

A dehydrated tarantula is easily recognizable if its abdomen is slightly wrinkled or deflated. Apply treatment immediately. Using a medicine dropper or small syringe (without the needle), simply but very gently use the pinch-grab method and flip your tarantula over and drop water directly to its fangs (do not drown your tarantula, just a few drops). Then place your tarantula in an ICU until it is regained health.

Building a Tarantula ICU:

Building a tarantula ICU is fairly easy. All you need is a deli container (with air holes on the top and sides) a little bigger than your tarantula patient, a water dish and plenty paper towels. Just line the bottom and the sides of the enclosure with slightly damp (with water) paper towels, be sure that the sides are cushioned with paper towels before placing your tarantula in it. Place the water bowl with clean water inside and you're done.

Treating Bites and Flicked Hairs:

Tarantulas will rarely bite. Their common order of defense is to: run away, then flick hairs, then go on a threat posture and will bite as a last resort. Generally, tarantula bites will not send you to the hospital unless you are allergic to their venom. A bite will cause some irritation, numbness and pain for a few hours up to a day or two. Tarantula venom may be insignificant but tarantula bites still hurt due to mechanical damage. Tarantula venom is only lethal in most "old world" tarantulas. Don’t give your tarantula any reason to bite you. Tarantula venoms are mainly neurotoxic enzymes mixed with digestive enzymes.


Tarantulas have two different types of bites. Dry and wet. Dry bites are bites that don't carry venom while wet bites are bites spiked with venom. Venom is an expensive biological weapon, it takes lots of energy and time to make and therefore only used in the most dire of circumstances. A threatened tarantula will bite and inject venom while a bite intended for eating will most likely lack venom, unless if the prey is struggling too hard.

Flicked urticating hair or bristles can cause minor itching and irritation on your skin. You can use an adhesive tape to remove most of the hair before washing your skin with soap and water. If flicked hair gets into your eyes, nose or mouth, it might get very irritating. Wash the affected area thoroughly with water. Call a doctor if irritation persists.


Breeding: (Soon to be Added)

84 comments:

  1. Replies
    1. thank you. i think i may need to make a few corrections. im still learning myself.

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  2. One of the best caresheets I have seen. Good job. The g. auriostriata I recently bought was named a "Chaco Giant Goldstripe". Is this still the same? Been doing this for a long time and became frustrated with all the different names for the same species...scientific and otherwise.

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  3. thanks. glad you liked it. they dont call it g. auriostriata anymore. now its g. pulchripes. and i believe its the same specie. you see, people who make a business out of selling these pets come up with "marketing" strategies such as making up a completely outrageous names and sell them as a completely "new" or "rare" specie. if youre new to the hobby i suggest learning the binomial names for each specie you encounter. dont be intimidated. make it a hobby to use binomial names. it helps a lot.

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  4. Your care sheet has been a great help to me and my Golden Knee and I have had a wonderful year together so far.

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  5. im glad it helped you denny. that was the whole point of the caresheet. my best to you and your sweet 8 legged friend.

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  6. Glad I stumbled across this caresheet, I'm gettin my gold knee tomorrow I believe its about 6cms, can't wait to meet him/her!

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    1. it would be a very pleasant experience. i wish you good luck with your new pet. i hope this caresheet has helped.

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  7. Hey thanks for the great care sheet. I have a question though. How long can slings go without food. I have many slings of different species but when they fast how long do I leave it before trying food again. It is not actually my Chacos, it is that one of my e murinus molted weeks ago but the other stopped eating and still hasn't molted. I don't want to put food in if he is going to molt but I am worried he isn't eating, or molting. Any advice please. I have 12 various slings but they are all new and tiny and I have only one adult g rosea other than these so sling care is very new to me. Thanks in advance.

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    1. im still trying to learn from it. i have a hell of a time with mine. lol. my chaco is about 6 inches now. she didnt eat anything for over a year, then recently just started to eat again. i thought she was in premolt. spiders are tricky pets. if your slings arent eating anything, just be sure they have water. try offering food every week or so. some slings can go into premolt for very long periods of time. i've had one that didnt eat anything for over 8 months. one thing you need to know is grammostolas often go on fast. dont know why. its just the way they are. dont worry too much about it. hope this helps.

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  8. I really want a tarantula, but I have a roommate who is not cool with it lol... Hopefully I'll be moving sometime this summer and then I can get one. I want to start with a golden knee or a greenbottle blue, so I figured it's best to go ahead and research until I can actually have one. Great page! I'm sure I'll be referencing it a lot in the future, so thanks in advance!

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    1. i would recommend chaco for a first. green bottle blues are a lot faster and they burrow a lot, you'll hardly ever see them. your on the right track jessica. your room mate is probably lacking in information, and thats perfectly understandable. i suggest you talk to him/her and assure him/her that your tarantula will never get out of the enclosure, and that if it is out, it will be on constant supervision by you. make him/her understand that tarantulas do not seek out people to attack. tell your room mate that spiders are more afraid of humans. your room mate just needs to be educated. if he/she has severe arachnophobia (cant even breath properly at the sight of one), then i suggest for you to wait until you get your own place.

      thanks a lot for your support. i wish you luck and success with your tarantula in the future.

      p.s.: i named my chaco jessica as well. she's near 7 inches now, just molted last month. sweetest tarantula i ever have.

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  9. Hey your care sheet is the best so far... I have my Chacko for 3 days now, any suggestion on how long this Chacko will eat again after eating 2 home spiders? Thanks...

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    1. thanks john. im just wondering, where did you get the spiders you fed your chaco with? i would strongly suggest not feeding wild caught food items to your tarantula as it may harbor illnesses or parasites. as for the information you gave me, i have no idea when since you havent disclosed your chaco's size. id say give it something to eat, if it refuses then take the food item out after 24 hours, and try again in 3-5 days. another question is, is your chaco in premolt? chacos sometimes go into a fast, dont know why but they just do. mine didnt eat for over 10 months, then ate greedily for 3-4 meals then stopped eatting and molted. i know, very alarming. good luck.

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  10. Hey AL my chacko is in post molt period. It doesnt eat its been 5 days now. Though you said it would take couple of weeks but it just a baby chacko. When i got it its color was brown and now after molting it turns black. Is it matured or still a baby chacko. Its size about 2 to 3 inches probably. What can you help me please.

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  11. 2 inches is still considered a sling, 3 inches is considered as a juvenile. it is measured in diagonal leg span. from leg no.1 on one side to leg no.4 on the other side. usually for a chaco of that size they eat 3-5 days after molting. what are you feeding it? whats the size of the prey items? as i have said, chaco and other tarantulas of the grammostola genus sometimes go on fasts which can last from a couple of weeks to over half a year. just keep on offering it food every 3 days. dont disturb it too much. tarantulas who are stressed out will often refuse food. i have noticed that if you handle your tarantula before feeding it, it will refuse the food. it is best not to bother it before feeding it.

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  12. Hi AL, my name is Jessica (as well) and I am about to receive my grammostola and a L.Klugi. I am very excited and will definitely be giving you a shout if I need any advice. But thank you kindly for sharing this awesome care sheet with us! YOur knowledge and research is greatly appreciated.

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    Replies
    1. thats the whole point of this caresheet. and thank you. this caresheet however needs some updating. been realy busy. i wish you luck with your new pets. watch out for the klugi hairs, they are tooooo itchy lol. the first tarantula i ever saw and handled was a klugi. very sweet considering it is a full grown adult male. very well behaved.

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  13. What would you say is the #1 mistake new owners make w/ their very first chaco sling?
    What behaviors can we look forward to observing?
    Aside from the premolt, post molt & prefeeding restrictions on handling, what would be the suggested amount of handling time in your opinion?
    I have been told that they don't care for "petting". Is this true?
    In a multi-pet household, do you have any advice to prevent a "Wild Kingdom" scenario from happening?
    (cats, dogs, birds, turtles)
    What is the Choco's natural prey in the Wild?

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    Replies
    1. wow kim! excellent questions, i'll try to answer them to the best of my ability.

      What would you say is the #1 mistake new owners make w/ their very first chaco sling?

      as i have said, chacos are one of the most docile tarantulas there is, any new tarantula owner should fight the impulse to always handle their slings. handling at a certain height is dangerous if your tarantula falls. it could be fatal. over feeding is another mistake, i have hear many new tarantula owners who unknowingly powerfeed their tarantulas. people must understand that 2 feedings a week is more than sufficient. tarantula metabolism doesnt work like that. new owners are also commonly use wrong sized enclosures, either too big or too small.

      What behaviors can we look forward to observing?

      adult chacos dont do much. they are pet rocks to be honest. very little movement. but the good thing is, it isnt a specie of tarantula who will hide constantly. they prefer to stand on something in plain sight. slings/juveniles like to dig and burrow. they really have very little activities.

      Aside from the premolt, post molt & prefeeding restrictions on handling, what would be the suggested amount of handling time in your opinion?

      there is still a debate weather or not to handle tarantulas. you can handle them occasionally. but dont be too excessive, remember their metabolism is very slow. all that handling will expend their energy. once every week is fine.

      I have been told that they don't care for "petting". Is this true?

      it is true, they dont show affection or pleasure from being petted. but i handle mine occasionally just so they can get used to being handled, which is useful if ever i need to treat them for injuries or illnesses

      In a multi-pet household, do you have any advice to prevent a "Wild Kingdom" scenario from happening?

      keep them away from other pets. cats and dogs most specially. your other pets can easily hurt them.

      What is the Choco's natural prey in the Wild?

      chacos eat almost any animal who are slightly smaller than they are. most tarantulas prey on other insects.

      well, i hope that all my answers are enough for you. im no expert, im just learning myself.

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  14. And in the event a new owner decides a tarantula is not the pet for them, for whatever reason, do mainstream rescues usually accept them or is there an arachnid rescue group you recommend?
    I am assuming it is NEVER advised to simply release them in a backyard.
    Also, do they sense when someone is fearful as they are being handled, in your opinion?
    I would not say that I am "afraid" of spiders, I find them beautiful in the wild, but I am concerened I may "panic" at some point in the first few months of ownership.
    Is there a method of luring an escaped Chaco if it happens to get loose in the home??
    I appreciate your help. Its a lot of questions.

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    Replies
    1. tarantulas require very minimal. feed them once a week, be sure they have water, and you can even go on vacation for a week without worrying. very very low maintenance pet. in case you cant handle a tarantula, you should find someone who is keeping them and give the tarantula to them. if not, you can freeze your tarantula. i know its execution and its the most humane way to do it. never release it into the wild. go into reptile/invertebrate forums and to look for someone to take over for you.

      i wouldnt say they can sense fear in someone. however fear causes certain body movements that may stress your tarantula. example, if someone is afraid they tend to breathe long deep breaths, tarantulas are programed to flee when they feel abrupt gusts in the air. this may cause your tarantula to jump or run. shaking is also stressful for the tarantula. fast movements is another one. handle a tarantula when you are calm and slow is the best way.

      if you have an escaped tarantula, its usually very hard to get them back. you got to search low and dark places to find them. think dark burrows. better be sure that your enclosures are escape proof.

      i take it that you're new to tarantulas. if so, then i welcome you to the fold. once you get a tarantula, its like an addiction. you will want more and more. fight that impulse please. research the specie you want. and ASK A LOT OF QUESTIONS.

      good luck.

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  15. this is the most helpful, detailed tips to handle a T. GREAT JOB i got my golden knee about a week ago... i am new to this, this page is very helpful, i just wanted to learn more about the molting. does the amount of food they take affect the time for them to actually molt? or do they have a timeline that we should expect for them to actually molt

    anyway thanks for this page :)

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  16. molting patterns vary depending on age of your tarantula, the frequency of the feedings and even the temperature. the older your tarantula, the longer its molting cycle is, the more you feed, the faster your tarantulas molt. heat/humidity will also make your tarantula be more active thus, making it eat more often. i however, discourage powerfeeding. and intentionally putting your tarantulas in extreme heat.

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  17. I learned a lot from this. Thank you so much author. I'm recommending this to my friends as we all are newbies in this hobby. =)

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    1. you're welcome. im glad i helped. best of luck to you.

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  18. Hey Al, I just got myself a golden knee, I believe it is a female, she is about 6cm now. Is it adviseble to feed her a pinky now or should I wait untill she is fully grown. Thanks also for the awesome care sheet. Manie, South Africa.

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    1. i strongly suggest on giving tarantulas pinky mice. you can ofcourse give her one. but dont feed her mice regularly. be sure that the pinky cant bite her back. make it a rare treat.

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  19. this is very helpful. kinda like i've learned so much just by reading this. just wanna ask some questions tho. i bought my chaco from a local dealer and he says that it is in pre-molt. the sling's abdomen is black with a "blacker" spot on it, and the upper part of his body is light yellow. is it really in pre-molt? is it okay to touch it during this stage? how long will it be like that? and yea, the spidey's about less than half an inch. :)

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    1. there should be a dark spot on the upper part of the abdomen (close to the cephalothorax). and in some very small slings, the tips of the legs will also be black, i highly advice not to handle them as they need to conserve energy for the next molt, you will notice a lot of webbing on the substrate if its close to molting. if its not eating already, i suggest you remove all prey items out and make sure you supply your tarantula with lots of water. if you are planning on transferring your sling to a different enclosure, i suggest you do it before the molt.

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  21. it molted btw.. i fed it with a prekilled superworm a week after he molted. i tried offering a live one but my T ran away from it so i crushed the worm's head first. is it normal for it to run away from food? might it be intimidated?

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  22. depends on the size of the prey item. yes, sometimes the size of the prey will spook them, specially if the prey item moves a lot. i also notice that if you bother/move your tarantula too much before giving it food, it will refuse to eat it, you can just leave the food item there for a few hours and see if they will eat it. if it is uneaten for more than 24 hours, you need to remove it, specially if it has died.

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  23. will do. thanks a lot bro. Chaco seems happy now in the new house. i'll keep your advises always in mind. :)

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  24. Hi there, thanks for the very informative fact sheet!! my 9 year old son received a Chaco golden knee tarantula for his birthday, we are pretty pet orientated (3 gecko, 2 hamster, 3 birds, a cat and a dog) but a tarantula is a first for me. He has had it for almost two weeks now and its not eating, thus my big wide web search...from what I'm reading I shouldn't worry and should continue to offer food every few days and remove if not eaten. We offering pin heads (sling is around 2.5cm) and I'm assuming its the new environment that has put him off eating, but if he has water - his ok? its not going to die on me right? its not extremely active, it has burrowed a couple of holes that it goes to in the day and I've seen it a couple of times in the early morning (5am) taking a walk around its small tank...so we ok? my other question is the breeder we bought it from said that because Johannesburg is going through a cold patch at the moment that we should put a heater pad a few cm away from the side of the tank to give warmth, but your care sheet, says NO! help?? his little burrows are where the heater pad is so I assumed he was looking for the heat but now I'm not so sure and don't want to cause the little critter any harm - as I said we tried to do our homework and spoke to the breeder in length before getting the sling so I'm going on information I've received but you seem to say otherwise and I really need all the help we can get.

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  25. i strongly advice against heatpads that stick to the tank, its because is dries out the enclosure, tarantulas need humidity to help them breathe. if its really that cold then you can place a heatpad, just carefully monitor the temperature. distancing it away from the side is also a good idea.

    as for your tarantula's eating habit, you need not worry. tarantulas do this all the time, mine wouldnt eat for months on some occasion. it is possible that it might be close to a molt, i also mentioned that tarantulas in new environment also might stop eating until its used to the new enclosure. just keep a water bowl and it should be fine. tarantulas have very slow metabolism, so they dont need to eat as often as we do. they also dont move a lot. temperature and humidity also affects their metabolism, colder means slower and warm means faster.

    i certainly hope this has been helpful. i wish you and your family luck with your new pet. just dont expect it to grow too fast. chacos are really slow growers. just enjoy watching it grow.

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  26. should i be concerned that my baby tarantula can not climb the sides of its enclosure??

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    1. not at all, in fact, i would consider it as a good sign. this means your tarantula is just too comfortable. just to be on the safe side, check if your tarantula drags its abdmen when it walks, or if it walks on the tips of its feet.

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  27. hi! i am about to get my tarantulas this weekend. im expecting a rosea, a chako and a L. Parahybana. all of them are slings tho, but im kinda excited when they are gonna turn to full sized adults. so to my question, is airholes really required in the tank? or they can still live without them, i have a lot of empty fishtanks from my brother so could i use them? or do i need to go to a glassware to put airholes in them?

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  28. if they are slings, start with deli containers. tarantulas get insecure when they have too much space. their enclosures should grow along with them. i take it that you're new to the hobby and would advice you to do a lot of research. be sure your covers are secure, yes airholes are very important for ventilation. if you dont have enough air holes, stale air and moisture could not escape and therefore encourage fungi and bacteria to grow. these fungi and bacteria could grow in your tarantula's mouth or booklungs and thus kill it. learn as much as you can. a warning though, lasiodora parahybana urticating hairs stick and are very very very itchy.

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  29. My g.pulchripes 4.5-5inches hasn't been eating for 2 weeks now, I'm really worried. I haven't experience this with my other T's. I even think she shrunk :( she's not in pre-molt, her abdomen is not even big yet. reply please, I don't know what to do.

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  30. its normal. they sometimes do that. im not sure about the mechanics that triggers this fast. there are lots of factors, it could be stress or a new environment. have you recently moved it to a new enclosure? is your substrate dry/wet enough? is your enclosure the right size? what i am sure of is that the warmer the temperature, the faster your tarantula will eat. dont stress about it too much, just keep a water dish inside its enclosure. try removing all food items, then offer food every 3-5 days, removing them if the food isnt consumed after 12 hours. eventually it will eat again.

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  31. We just got our first golden knee yesterday. She was clinging to the side of the tank w her upper body and didn't move all night. I took her out of my sons room which is kinda cool and put her in the living room so I could watch her better. We have a wood stove in the living room so it's kind of dry, however I lightly sprayed her cage. She was in a 5 gallon tank and he gave me a 10 gallon tank that we took her home in. Now that She's In the living room she has climbed to the top of her house and is just clinging to the side. Does she need more time to get acclimated? Should I keep her in the living room? I just want her to.be comfortable. What would you suggest? She's about 3 and She's big.

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  32. 3 inches? i think a 5 gallon tank might be even too big for her. if you want her to be comfortable, keep her in a small enclosure. mine is almost 7 inches and i still keep her in a shoebox sized enclosure, she seems to have no problems with it. if you want her to acclimate faster, dont bother her for a few days. just keep a water bowl in there, dont even feed her. if she has a hide, then i suppose a bigger enclosure should work. they dont do much really, they just stay there, you should be more worried if she's pacing and seems to be restless. i honestly have no experience with dealing with tarantulas during winter (me living in a tropical country and all), but i think its normal for them to go super slow when it gets cool. you should keep her in a room where the temperature is always constant. or get those tank heat pads, as long as you monitor the temperature inside the tank. just dont stick it directly under or on the side of the tank. have some space. too much heat can also kill them. i hope this helps. generally a temperature you are comfortable with (while wearing summer clothes) should be fine.

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    1. No She's about 8 inches She's 3 yrs old. OK Thanks. I think I just worry too much. Thanks again! We're getting her a hide tomorrow and she has plenty of water. This page is great helped me a lot. ツ

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    2. wow 3 years and already 8 inches. she's huge. mine is over 4 years and she's still barely 7. yeah dont worry too much about her. and im happy my caresheet was useful to you. thats the point in making it to begin with. good luck.

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  33. Hey Al, I just got a 2in Chaco for my 8yr old daughter who loves T's(I have 3.5in Mexican Red Knee who is super docile).
    It's been two weeks and the Chaco never ate anything. Past 10 days it went inside hollow tree bark, covered both ends with soil completely. We left it alone. I am guessing premolt? I wonder how much longer he/she will stay in that bark.

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    1. yeah, its going to molt soon. how soon, i cant tell. usually they web heavily when they are about to molt. i've also never had a tarantula who hides before molting so im not sure. give it a week or two. maybe a few days. it will be fine. dont worry about feeding.

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  34. Thanks for the reply. The Chaco molted last night! I thought about taking the molt out to sex it, but I decided to wait 1 week or it comes out by itself.

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    1. take the molt out before it destroys it. look for the tongue-like flap as shown in the picture above.

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  35. This hobby is getting addictive and my wife is not happy :) I also have 3in Mexican Red Knee-Most docile tarantula ever! I can gently pick her up at any time and hold her upside down forever. It just lies on my hand upside down, looks like sleeping.
    Last week picked up Brazilian Pink Salmon (L. Parahybana). 3in female. Now this one is VERY skittish! Took a lot of courage to take it out after settled in new tank for 3 days. It shakes all over my hand and ready to dart anywhere! And that hair, I developed rash all over my arm and hands, itchy for 4-5days. It ate 4 crickets last 5 days. Wow, what a trash compactor! :)

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    1. my advice to you is, dont get too many species. i know its like pokemon "gotta catch em all" but no. its a lot of responsibility. only have spiders you can care for. theres no shame in having only one. id rather have a nicely raised spider than many spiders in bad shape.

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  36. both urticating bristles from brachy and lasiodora species are highly itchy to humans. they have bristles specialized to work against mammals. humans included. my chaco can also do the up-side-down thingy and just stay there. its fun to see people's reaction when you have a huge spider laying on its back on your hand.

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  37. Hi there! i will be having my first chaco tom. and im super excited.! ^_^ i'll be applying all your tips here.. ^_^

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  38. Hey AL! =)) Thank you for this caresheet, really helped me alot. It's my first time having a pet tarantula and I chose Chaco as my beginner pokemon. Thank you once again, and I guess I'll be referring to this page for my future questions. :)

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    1. beginner pokemon huh lol you should have went with charmander. they got mega-charizard x and mega-charizard y nowadays lol

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    2. Once again thanks for this dude. the baby spider has just molted yesterday and is now 2.5-3 inches :))

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  39. Looking to get a chaco golden knee or an LP as they say LPs are better eaters.

    Is there any other words of advise for a newby at keeping Ts.

    Thanx in advance

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    1. if you have not much experience with tarantulas, i suggest go with the chaco first. lasiodora species have specialized urticating bristles specialized against mammals, so you wouldnt be able to hold them as much as a chaco without getting a really terrible itch on your skin. yes lps are bigger but some can be very tempermental.

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  40. Yes I own both. Chacos can get up to 7in leg span, gets pretty big. Chacos I think among THE best T's on the market for beginners. They are super docile and easy to handle. My little 3in guy in critter keeper tank. I finally changed the organic soil mix to coconut coir. I love this substrate. Very soft, easy for T's to walk on since it has no wood pieces, and holds moisture very well to increase humidity.
    Right now I own: Chaco Golden Knee, Mexican Red Knee, LP(Brazilian Salmon Pink) and Chilean Rose.
    Chaco & Red Knee are tied for most docile behaviors. Chaco is the best hunter out of these 4. LP's hair I had a problem when I first got it. The urticating hairs made me itch for days. My LP is very skittish, runs pretty quick when you try to pick it up. It never showed defensive pose or bite. Since LPs get upto 10in, it's one of the largest T's in the world.
    An easy book that I recommend to all: Animal Planet Tarantulas. For $10 it has wealth of info and easy to read!

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  41. By far, the most in depth care sheet I've seen. Excellent, thank you!

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    1. thank you. i've been meaning to add and change some info for quite some time now. but i've been too busy. still need more info on breeding.

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  42. My Chaco is very agro.. Used to handle her everyday and since she molted (2 months ago) she has been agro , please need help , miss handeling her.

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  43. grammostola species can be predictable sometimes. one day they can be all sweet and cuddly, and downright evil the next. i think being in post molt is also a factor. give it a few weeks. feed it some more. if her attitude doesnt change, than theres nothing we can do about it.

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  44. Thanks for making this care sheet. This could help how to care my chaco. I really have no idea what gender my chaco is, he's about 3-4 inches now and he is in pre molt stage by now.

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    1. you're welcome. the very reason why i wrote this is to help other people. it doesnt matter what gender your t will be. females are preferable ofcourse because of their longevity. you'll just have to face the fact that your tarantula will have a shorter lifespan if it turns out male.

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    2. Thanks for the advice AL. God Bless :)

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  45. Hey. I just got a chaco and red rump. Theit still slings. But I am little afraid of the red rump..I haven't handled either of them yet. I lovr spiders but also scared.

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    1. red rumps (brachypelma vagans) have a nasty temperment. i dont handle brachy species much just because their urticating bristles are far too itchy.

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  46. Just got a baby chaco en red rump.. I heard that the red rump is very aggressive. . I haven't handled either of them. Im so scared even do I love them

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    1. chaco is very docile. easily one of the most handle-able species out there. red rumps (b. vagans) are a tad more defensive and being a member of the brachy genus, they are well known to be hair flickers. you should atleast try and handle them, handling can be very useful in case you need to move or treat your tarantula that is injured or sick.

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  48. Best Caresheet I've seen so far, about 7 months ago, I acquired two Chaco slings and so far they are probably my favorites out of my collection of Brazilian White knee and my juvenile King Baboon along with my Stripe knee and Rosehair.....keep up the good work.

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    1. thank you. this needs some updating to be honest but i havent gotten to it since i have been busy with other things. still a lot to learn myself to be honest.

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  49. Thanks for posting this. We got a GBB and just transferred it to a bigger enclosure and our tarantula has been on the wall and ceiling since (just from yesterday). I was really worried about it! We'll try to get more moisture out of the bottom

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    1. im not sure bout how GBBs behave, i have no experience in them, and no idea what their environmental preferences are. but generally, if they stick to the glass, then they dont like the substrate. hope it works out for you. best of luck.

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  50. how do I put water to be drink by my 1" sling chaco?this is my very first time to have a tarrantula pet, also what type of bed soil do I put on my enclosure?thanks
    need really an assistrance.

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  51. also I feed it 3 small house spiders, 2 small honey bees in just 1week..

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    1. seriously jan halipa, you are making one mistake after another. had you read the whole caresheet, you would have found all the answers to your questions there. owning a tarantula is not easy if you are not ready to learn and research. if researching and studying is not your cup of tea then regretfully, a tarantula is not the right pet for you.

      1. use a small bottle cap as a water dish, just dont forget the rock in the middle
      2. never use soil as substrate, use cocopeat
      3. never feed your tarantula wild caught food items unless you want them to die. items you catch may contain parasites or toxins that may kill your tarantula. never feed your tarantula a bee, a bee's venom is far more potent than the average tarantula.

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  52. thank you so much for the information sir, I dont my chaco to die, I am now buying cultured crickets. Actually I dont know if i feed it daily is it also wrong? cause Im thinking It will grow faster when I feed it everyday, 1 cricket with a size of a finger nail. will it be ok if I just put a wet cotton for her/him to drink?

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    1. powerfeeding is wrong. yes it may get your tarantula to grow faster but it also can cause problems when it comes to molting. once a week is more than enough for a prey item thats the same size as your tarantula's abdomen. dont for it to drink, if it wants to drink, it will drink. no need for the silly cotton thing unless your tarantula is dehydrated which is discussed in the blog if you only would read it in its entirety.

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  53. Have you known one to close itself up in a burrow for months. We have not seen her for about 3 months now. Is this normal for an adult?

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