Tuesday, 25 September 2012

Tarantula Towers

Tarantula Towers in the name we give to the set of shelves that are the home to our eight lovely spiders--Lily Rose, Blanche Dubois, Rossetti, Pirouette, Pippi Longstocking, Tibia, Polychrome and Frida Kahlo. Spiders make fantastic pets as you only need to feed them about once a week and you only need to clean out their tanks about once a year unless you suspect they are ill or you get fungus on the substrate or something weird. We try to get everyone a clean out in the summer when we have more time. You have to get the tarantula into the travel box--which for scared-y cats like Tibia can take hours--and then give it a good old scrub and dry and then get the tarantula back out of the travel box--again Tibia took hours.

 Here is a view of the newly renovated Tarantula Towers--thanks to Spiderman for doing all the work. All I did was watch.
you can clearly see Lily Rose climbing the wall

We decided on a few changes this year. First we decided that Pippi and Pirouette deserved proper tanks not just sweet jars with holes punched in them. We bought a new tank for Pirouette (one that opened on the front not the top to make getting in easier) and one small one for Frida then shifted some about. Rossetti got a bigger tank and Pippi moved into her old one which was slightly smaller. Polychrome is still so small she is housed in a sprouting jar with a mesh lid. We’ll get her an open in the front tank like Pirouette has when she gets a bit bigger.

Secondly we agreed not to add any fake plastic plants because spiders don’t really care --that fake greenery is really for people as it makes the tank look nicer but all they every do is cover it in webbing and it is a bitch to clean. Rossetti took a real dislike to her fake tree--dug out all the substrate from under her half a log hidey-hole, uprooted the tree and shoved it under there. It was funny to watch, but we didn’t know what she found so objectionable.

Then we decided to turn their tanks width-wise not length-wise to get more spiders on a shelf and be able to share heat mats evenly between tanks. Spiderman arranged everyone’s “furniture” --their hidey and water dish--so we could get a better view when they were hiding. We went round to charity shops and found several cheap ceramic mugs and little shallow dishes so everyone could get new furniture.

Lastly, we decided to go back to water dishes. We have gone back and forth with this idea--we used them for a few years, but were convinced no one was using them. Several dumped all the water out and then sat in the empty dish. What was that about? Who knows what a tarantula’s thinking. We tried bug gel--which is like water flavoured jelly (jello to my American peeps)  for a while as someone said their spider’s loved it and it didn’t evaporate. But again no one seemed to use it. We tried just keeping the substrate moist as we read somewhere that spiders can get all the water they need from the soil.  But the reading of some new books on spider care indicated that they really did need a watering hole so we did (except for Polychrome--she is still too small and could drown in a dish) and all the girls immediately went over and had a drink or at least splashed about. We got a really good shot of Rossetti having a drink with her bum in the air. Spider’s mouthparts are on the underside of their body so they have to balance on the edge of the dish and lower themselves down.

she has a bald spot on her abdomen

 I am glad we did it as Blanche has been seen sucking it down as well. Now that everyone has a clean tank spiders have started to mess them up a bit. Tibia did a big poo right down the front of the glass (that may have been a dirty protest for making her go in and out of the travel box) and Blanche has just strung up some messy clothes lines of web. Pirouette and Polychrome have quite rightly made little hammocks between their sticks as they are arboreal tree climbing sorts. Everyone seems happy in their new homes.

Well that’s it. That’s all the stuff we got done on our summer holiday. We’ll probably never be this productive again.

1 comment:

  1. I love the name! Tarantula Towers just sounds some sinister, but it is really cool!