Resources For Spider Lovers

Whether you’re a tarantula enthusiast hunting for new information, an arachnophobe trying to educate yourself about spiders to help conquer your fear, or simply interested in learning a little more about the wonderful world of spiders, I wanted to put together a list of resources and places to start.  This list will be a work in progress, and I’ll add to it over time as I come across new and updated information. It will be mostly online but I’ll also include some books, and I’ll link to those whenever possible.

Tarantula web sites

RFUK Invert Forums – The spiders/inverts section of Reptile Forums UK, packed with info and people to answer your questions

Arachnoboards Forums – Another great forum packed with useful info

The British Tarantula Society

The American Tarantula Society

 

Tarantula books

The Tarantula Keeper’s Handbook by Stanley and Marguerite Shultz

Tarantulas and Other Arachnids by Samuel D Marshall

The Legacy of Annie Rose by Carolyne E Swagerie – a great story of a lady who, like myself, overcame her arachnophobia through tarantulas

 

Spider/arachnid web sites

The British Arachnological Society FAQ – Not just a FAQ, but also a WIKI giving a ton of information about spiders in general (both domestic and worldwide), specific species and info on other arachnids.

The Society Of Biology – What Spider Do I Spy? – Small but helpful PDF guide to help identify the most common spider species in the UK.

The Natural History Museum ID Help – info and forums to help with spider IDs

Do Spiders Have Super Powers? – a multimedia fun facts list from the BBC

 

Spider/arachnid books

Spiders: Learning To Love Them by Lynne Kelly

The Private Life Of Spiders by Paul Hillyard

Biology Of Spiders by Rainer Foelix

Spiders : The Ultimate Predators by Stephen Dalton

Spiders of Britain and Northern Europe by Lawrence Bee

 

Choosing Your First Tarantula

If you’ve found this site then there’s a very good chance you’re thinking about getting your first tarantula. I remember very well being in that exact situation, and trying to get my head around the minefield of information out there, so I wanted to add a post here very quickly which helped the newcomer to the hobby make the RIGHT decision early on, and avoid some of the pitfalls!

Therefore, I’ve decided to share some of the best resources I found when I was looking at getting my first T in the hope that you’ll find them as useful as I did!

The basics of tarantula husbandry

The very best advice I can give a newcomer to the hobby, is to read as much as you can on the subject before buying your first tarantula. Depending on the species, age, and sex of tarantula you buy you could end up with an animal which you’ll have for the next 15 – 20 years or more! You’ll also be keeping a venomous animal, and one which has the potential to escape if you’re not careful, and one with very different care requirements to more “typical” pets such as cats, dogs, or hamsters! So please, do yourself a favour and do as much research now as you can, it really will help set you up for success.

To start you on the right path, read this Basic Tarantula Care article over at tarantulas.com It will cover a lot of the basics about housing and caring for your first tarantula!

The perfect beginner species

One of the most common questions I see from beginners on the forums is “what is the best beginner species of tarantula”. Well there really isn’t one definitive answer, and this will certainly be the topic of a future article on this site. In the meantime though, this short article from thespidershop.co.uk gives a few suitable choices:

Suitable species for your first tarantula

This certainly isn’t a definitive list (others such as Brachypemla albiceps – Mexican Golden Red Rump come to mind!) but they are all terrestrial, new world tarantulas which will be relatively easy to care for, generally slow moving and non-aggressive, and with mild venom. I would certainly recommend reading much more about any of these species which you like the sound of, but this is a good starting place!  Once you have an idea of what species you’re interested in, and have done your research on tarantula husbandry, your next task will be reading up on how to buy a tarantula.

Where to go for help

I intend to put a resources page together on this site and add to it over time, but for now here are a few of the resources I found invaluable when I was first researching tarantulas and trying to decide which species to start with:

RFUK – Being a long time reptile keeper, Reptile Forums UK was one of my first stops when I started researching tarantulas. As the name suggests, these forums are mostly about reptiles but they have an excellent spiders and inverts forum with a very knowledgeable community.

tarantula-keepers-guideThe Tarantula Keeper’s Guide – Of all the books on tarantulas I’ve read, this one is by far the most useful to the beginner keeper. It’s packed with great info, and it’s not too expensive. If you only ever buy one book on tarantulas get this one!

The British Tarantula Society – If you’re in the UK then I definitely recommend joining the BTS. For about £15 a year you get access to their journal and lots of great information. Even if you don’t join, there is lots of great free info on their website. If you’re not in the UK, they do international membership, or see if there is a tarantula society in your own country. For those of you in the US, The American Tarantula society can be found at http://atshq.org

My hope this that over time this site will become a valued resource for tarantula keepers and beginners, just like some of the resources listed above. In the meantime though, I hope you find these links as useful as I did when I first started.