Need Cage Dimensions

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3 years 11 months ago #72216 by Red
Hello everyone! I've been pondering a future project that I would like to get started on in the New Years here. I plan on building custom enclosures for all my little critters and I'm starting with our Fireleg. I just need to know a good size to make the enclosure. I don't want it to big or small and stress the T out so what's a good size enclosure to go with?

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3 years 11 months ago #72217 by SixGun16
Hi Red,

Welcome to the forum.

A few questions firstly:

1. What size is your B. Boehmei (Mexican Fire Leg)?
2. When was it's last molt?

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3 years 11 months ago #72218 by Red
I believe she's pushing at least two inches now leg span included. As for her molt, we've owned her for a little over a month now and she still hasn't molted! Her butt is almost completely bare now of hairs, only a tan bald spot remains! I've done extensive research to help this, her temps stay between 75-78 and humidity is fine. Her appetite is lacking a bit but she is taking crickets here and there.. I was planning on building an adult enclosure and wait till she's a lot larger before moving her in.

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3 years 11 months ago - 3 years 11 months ago #72219 by Stanley A. Schultz

Red wrote: Hello Forum! My name is Red and my fiancé and I seem to be new owners of a Mexican Fireleg now! (At least that's what the breeder said it was) Shes been great so far as for handling, very docile. ...


WELCOME TO THE HOBBY!

WELCOME TO THIS FORUM!

Your tarantula is probably more properly known as Brachypelma boehmei. (Pronounced bracky-PEL-ma BOW-ee-my.) While they are docile tarantulas, they tend to be a little jumpy and flick their urticating bristles more readily than most other tarantulas. Those bristles (also called setae, but NOT hair) cause varying amounts of irritation, itching and rash depending on the individual human who gets them on their skin. You need to be extremely cautious not to get them into your eye. When working with the tarantula or around its cage, never touch your face or eyes. As soon as you're finished working around the cage or handling the tarantula be very certain to wash your hands.

This species is pretty much bullet proof. If it's a baby care for it as any other baby tarantula. As it grows you should convert its care to that of an arid species. Read Growing Your Own for more information. It doesn't matter that they originally came from a jungle. In captivity they do best in an arid cage. Read Natural Is Better for an explanation.

Red wrote: ... My only concern is the moisture of the substrate. I can't seem to research a firm answer on if the substrate should be bone dry or if a corner of the cage should be a tad bit moist? ...


The answer to this depends largely on the size of the tarantula, and this (plus some enthusiasts simply not knowing what they're doing) causes much confusion.

First, read Care Sheets: The Mothers of All Myths to find out how badly you've been mislead!

Then, read Relative Humidity to see how badly you've been duped!

Then cross correlate all of the foregoing webpages and you'll have a pretty good idea of what you're dealing with. Does that sound like a lot of work? "Sorry 'bout that." You're going to find out "real soon now" that tarantulas are unexpectedly complex creatures, and you've got a lot, LOT to learn!

Whatever you do, don't keep just a corner of the cage "a tad bit moist." That does absolutely no good whatsoever, and it provides a small oasis for vermin to survive and re-infest the cage. Relative Humidity explodes a lot of myths and provides a much better way of dealing with the humidity issue.

While we're at it, I would strongly urge you to go to the Spiders, Calgary webtree and start reading.

DO NOT FAIL TO READ THE FOUR BOOKS RECOMMENDED IN STAN'S RANT !

The best news is that 90% of the questions you wanted to ask plus a lot, LOT more that you didn't think to ask are all laid out for you for ABSOLUTELY FREE if you read that website and take advantage of your friendly, neighborhood, public library! All you need do is read.

Red wrote: Hello everyone! I've been pondering a future project that I would like to get started on in the New Years here. I plan on building custom enclosures for all my little critters and I'm starting with our Fireleg. I just need to know a good size to make the enclosure. I don't want it to big or small and stress the T out so what's a good size enclosure to go with?


This depends almost entirely on the size of the tarantula. Also, be aware that because baby tarantulas grow into big tarantulas, the size of the container must also increase. Which means that you'll be changing it moderately frequently. Because some kinds of tarantulas grow faster than others, and because their grow rate varies widely and wildly with the conditions under which they're kept, the cage changing frequency also varies. Since you'll be changing cages from time to time until it's more or less fully grown, it doesn't make a lot of sense to spend a lot of time, effort and money on caging when they're small. Those of us who've had tarantulas for a few years eventually settle on using whatever is at hand, saving fancy setups for their adulthood. Here's a photo of examples of containers for "young 'uns." (Click or right-click the thumbnail to see a larger image.)



The Aphonopelma seemanni (Costa Rican zebra tarantula) in the 500 ml jar in the upper right is about ready to be moved to adult caging.

The rule of thumb that is generally given by advanced enthusiasts is that the shortest horizontal dimension of the cage should be about 3 times the DLS. (See definitions below.) The longest horizontal dimension can be larger than that. A round-ish cage (e.g., round or hexagonal) should be 3 times the DLS or larger in diameter.

Much more important than floor space is the height, and like most other aspects of tarantula care the issues are the exact opposite of what you'd expect. For most TERRESTRIAL tarantulas we base the ideal height on the spider's DLS, again. Tarantulas occasionally climb, but the terrestrial ones aren't very good at climbing glass and plastic. In too tall a cage they can easily fall and injure or kill themselves.

1) For babies less than about 4 cm DLS, the CIH should not be significantly greater than 3 or 4 times the DLS.

2) For spiderlings of about 4 cm DLS and larger, a CIH of no more than about 1-1/2 times DLS is recommended.

3) Except that very old or terribly obese tarantulas should not be kept in a cage with a CIH larger than their DLS.

4) Except that the truly giant tarantulas (e.g., Theraphosa blondi [goliath birdeater], Lasiodora parahybana [Brazilian salmon]) should not be kept in cages with a CIH greater than their DLS.

There is no real maximum size for a tarantula's cage, but most enthusiasts settle on cages nearing the larger dimensions recommended here. Cages that are too large allow prey to easily avoid a hunting tarantula. And, we often hear of tarantulas pacing endlessly if kept in massively large cages. Too large a cage also is a waste of money. If a cage is seriously too large for a tarantula, doesn't it make much better sense to buy two smaller cages instead so you can keep two tarantulas comfortably? (And you should NEVER, EVER divide a single cage into two compartments for two tarantulas. Somehow, someway, one will find a way of digging under, climbing over, knocking down or teleporting across the divider. And the cheap tarantula always eats the expensive one! YOU'VE BEEN WARNED!)

As always, the arboreal tarantulas prove to be a clear exception to these rules. Because they have evolved to live at altitude, the height restrictions are not relevant. The floor space recommendations are probably okay, though. Regardless of whether a tarantula is terrestrial or arboreal it still needs some room to move around in.

Hope this helps. Best of luck.

CIH = Clear Inside Height, the open distance between the top of the substrate and the top of the cage.

DLS = Diagonal Leg Span, the linear distance between the tip of one front leg to the tip of the rear leg on the opposite side when the tarantula is in a normal, resting position. Yes, it's very inaccurate. Yes, it's very unfair. But, we're not competing for gold medals or a new car. We're just trying to figure out how big your spider is.

"Mine's bigger than yours is! Neener, neener, neeee-ner!"


________________________________________________________

The Tarantula Whisperers!
Stan Schultz
Marguerite Schultz
Co-authors of the TARANTULA KEEPER'S GUIDE, now in its third edition!
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Last Edit: 3 years 11 months ago by Stanley A. Schultz. Reason: #$%^& ostyp!

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3 years 11 months ago #72220 by Stanley A. Schultz

Red wrote: ... her temps stay between 75-78 ...


Read Temperature .


We need to learn to view the world from the perspective of a large, fuzzy spider!

The Tarantula Whisperers!
Stan Schultz
Marguerite Schultz
Co-authors of the TARANTULA KEEPER'S GUIDE, now in its third edition!
Private Messages have been turned OFF!
Please send all E-mail postings directly to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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3 years 11 months ago #72221 by Red
Wow Stan I really appreciate the explosive response you just provided! I suppose I have a lot to read up on tonight :) Thank you very much with all the links and information provided I will supply an update after I'm done all my researching! Thanks again!

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