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Creating a friendly environment for arachnids captured in the wild

Creating a friendly environment for arachnids captured in the wild

Arachnids are a thing of beauty in their own right, and unfortunately many more of them are becoming extinct and endangered for many reasons, including habitat loss as man develops certain tropical areas.  This is a problem in Asia and South America in particular, and that is also where we find some of our most beautiful specimens.

Personally, I am not a fan of wild caught anything, and I buy captive bred whenever possible.  Unfortunately, when you are dealing with rare, endangered, or newly discovered species wild caught is the only option.  When you are dealing with wild caught specimens, there are many problems that can be encountered.  assuming the spider doesn’t have a pepsis wasp burrowed in its belly waiting to explode out of it once it has matured into the dreaded Tarantula Hawk, you have other issues in a spider that may not adjust well to being held in captivity.

Duplicating the spiders native habitat is the most important thing you can do.  Substrate, humidity and diet are all big factors in stabilizing a spider that has been captured.  While all spiders should be kept at parameters that mimic their native land, captive bred tarantulas are slightly more forgiving than their wild caught counterparts.  Proper temperature and humidity are critical towards getting these tarantulas to thrive.

An arachnid that isn’t happy, wont breed.  When you are dealing with rare specimens, losing males in an unsuccessful mating is extremely disenheartening, while females live longer than the males and can mate many times over their lifespan, males generally only get one chance.  To find another rare male who is ready to mate can be quite difficult.  Every opportunity that is given to mate the two tarantulas should be handled with the utmost of care, and whenever possible the male should be removed before she has a chance to kill and eat the male, though this will result in 30% less egg production in the egg sac.

Getting your female bred is only the beginning.  Females should be bred in the first five months following a molt, and if you bred your female after that you will likely find she molts and no egg sac is produced.  If you are lucky enough to get an egg sac, now in addition to caring for your female, you have to care for your egg sac!  Not to worry, she will do most of the work for you, and she should be left alone so she doesn’t eat the egg sac.  You do have problems to worry about such as the egg sac molding, but this is generally only in cages that require very high humidity.

Once your egg sac hatches, you will have anywhere from 60 to 2500+ of what we call “eggs with legs”.  They will be very small, and while in more common species it is not uncommon for some breeders to let them cannibalize themselves down to a more manageable number, when dealing with rare species every spiderling is worth more than its weight in gold, and is immediately contained in its own living area.  Feeding and maintaining these critters can be difficult, but they grow very quickly (depending on the species) and generally reach a more manageable size in no time at all.

Once you have your spiderlings, the cycle is complete and the cycle begins of establishing a responsible captive breeding program.  There are already species of arachnids that went extinct in the wild some time ago, yet thrive and are commonly available through captive breeding programs.  It is crucial to save endangered and rare species of all plants and animals, and while it is generally mans intervention that has led to their demise, it is only with mans help they can be saved.

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