This BLOG is my online journal for my Brachypelma Hamorii Spiderling named, Arogog. This BLOG will be daily updated with my new observations and actions.
/s/ Alfonso Faustino
As many of you know, recently, within the last year, I became a full-time actor auditioning for film and television roles. My finances, time, and energy are now focused on establishing my acting career in Los Angeles; hence, I need to jet-off at a moments notice to get to my auditions or booked-gigs — I live and travel light in order for me to have this lifestyle.
Notwithstanding my crazy traveling schedule and life-style, I still wanted a pet — I love all animals: land, see, and air — mammals, birds, reptiles, and amphibians. I’ve had them all from a green iguana to a Holstein thoroughbred. These animals are high-maintenance and need constant care. For example a dog. I would love to adopt another Retired Racing Greyhound, but my acting schedule just doesn’t allow me to adopt one. If I get called to fly out somewhere for an audition from my crib in Beverly Hills, CA, who will take care of my greyhound at a moment’s notice?
It is in my nature to take care of another being…so, I did some research, and I decided to focus my need of caring of another being to that of a tarantula; hence, I am a beginner-level tarantula owner.
I spent four months or so researching scorpions and tarantulas; and, after my research, I decided to purchase a tarantula: Brachypelma Hamorii: Common Name: Mexican Red-knee.
(Photo Credit: George Chevolosky. Source: Wikipedia.)
You can do your own research on this wonderful animal. This was my choice for a tarantula pet; because, they are clean, docile, slow moving, patient, venom is equivalent to a bee sting, terrestrial, and visually appealing to me (so many vibrant colors and color combinations).
They have an easy eating schedule ~ once or twice a week under normal conditions; however, during pre-molt, molting, and post-molting, their eating schedule drastically decreases from their easy eating schedule.
The Brachypelma Hamorii has the reputation of tolerating human handling; although, I have no interest in handling any tarantula except for situations that require me to handle them. In my non professional tarantula opinion, it’s just a matter of time before a tarantula will bite its handler; although, it is known that tarantulas are expressive in their moods — if they don’t wanna be handled, they will let you know either by flicking the hairs off their abdomen (urticating hairs that can irritate your skin and eyes (New World Tarantulas)) or take on a threatening posture: fangs exposed, two front legs, and two pedipalps raised in the air that states, leave me alone — if you don’t, I will bite you with my big fangs!
Tarantulas, like a pet fish, are observation and display pets; hence, they are not pets that need nor want to be cuddled or handled.
Tarantulas satisfy my primal interests in aggressively taking down live prey and eating the prey while it is alive. I am so intrigued by the tarantula’s power and watching them attack and eat a live cricket, cockroach, mice, and so on.
I also like their colors. Blue is my favorite color; hence, as I gain more experience with tarantulas, I’m gonna look for a tarantula that has blue hairs in its genetic make-up.
For now, the Mexican Red-knee’s colors are vibrantly attractive and captivate my visual interest.
So, for this stage of my life and tarantula experience, the Brachypelma Hamorii is the best tarantula pet for me.
Before I acquire my Brachypelma Hamorii, I must, first, build an enclosure that satisfies the life-style of my tarantula.
I’m been viewing YouTube personality, Petko: The Dark Den. I learned about tarantulas from him. He lives in Croatia. Now, it was my time to take all the information I learned from him and put it to use.
So, 10-December-2019, I went to Tap Plastics; and, I purchased:
- custom-cut acrylic panels (14″x 14″x 14″)
- acrylic glue
- acrylic hinges
- acrylic knob
- acrylic 3/16″ drill bit;
I went to the nursery to purchased:
- potting soil
- Hydroton Clay Balls;
I went to the pet store to purchase:
- Coco Fibre Substrate
- Cork Bark Panels
- fake plant
- Cork Bark Hiding Tunnel
- 15″ tongs;
then, I went to an artists’ store to purchase:
- artist’s paint brush
at the hardware store and knick-knack store, I purchased:
- various plastic containers
- foil turkey baking pan
- plastic straws
- wooden kabob sticks
- Dremel bits;
and, a partridge in a pear tree! Merry Christmas, all.
Now, back to my DIY Tarantula Enclosure…I went to Petko’s The Dark Den, to learn more about the way I needed to build my enclosure for my soon-to-be-acquired, adult male Brachypelma Hamorii. Yes, it is important to build the enclosure before you acquire the tarantula.
Thanks to Petko, I got it all done!
Check it out boys and girls — I made my first acrylic adult-size tarantula enclosure!
Oh…with some help of my HAM buddies: WD6DZS (Wayne Lake) and NX6E (Leonard Tom).
My very first DIY acrylic tarantula enclosure. Thanks, again, Petko, for your awesome video at The Dark Den. You inspired and motivated me to build my Brachypelma Hamorii adult-size enclosure; and, you taught me, so much, of the beauty, power, and demeanor of many different tarantula species — especially, about the Brachypelma Hamorii.
(Petko uses a combination of glass and acrylics; I prefer 100% acrylic; because, the curing time for all the panels to secure is 10 minutes; glass panels need aquarium-type silicone, which takes 24 hours to cure — I’m not that patient.)
It’s not perfect, but it will get the job done; and, I’m certain my tarantula will love his new crib…it is a mansion for him, and he will impress many female tarantulas — he will have no problems being the ladies man.
I learned a lot about building this enclosure; and, I will take all that I learned during this build, and I will apply them to my second build…should I decide to acquire a second tarantula.
Do you see the cork-bark tube-like structure in the foreground of the picture, supra?
It is hollow — ~10″ in length and ~4″ in diameter. I filled it in with substrate; so, my soon-to-be adult tarantula can dig and burrow. He can use the end, which leads to ~ 7″ deep of substrate for his private living quarters; and, he can come up to the opening to ambush prey that I will put in for him.
If he wants, he can build another opening for his exit.
When he decides to come out for a drink or just to enjoy the view, he will enjoy the viewing or climbing up the cork-bark wall.
If he wants to just hang-out outside on the ground, his paws will feel the soft, cushiony substrate.
I put a fake plant to hold water for him. I will provide him with water that has 100% water molecules — no faucet water that has chlorine and other treatments. He will get pure untampered water just like what he gets from the rain out in the wild. I will also put a water dish in the left rear corner just in case he doesn’t want drink off the fake plant.
The potted soil will provide him with humidity; and, I provided vent-holes on the side and top panels for circular and cross-ventilation.
He will be so happy with his crib!
The next thing to do, before purchasing my adult male Brachypelma Hamorii, is to purchase crickets to feed my Brachypelma Hamorii. I want my crickets to have a couple of days of getting gut-loaded with vegetables, oats and grains, and fruits. That way, they will provide my Brachypelma Hamorii with tasty nutrition.
Every morning for the past 25+ years, I eat my veggies and fruits for breakfast.
I put them all in my blender and slurp it all up. This holds me over for the entire day; then, I will eat dinner if I’m still hungry.
So now, I will include my breakfast routine to the feeder-crickets.
I want the crickets to be fat, juicy, tasty, and nutritious for my adult-sized male Brachypelma Hamorii.
Now, onward towards finding my adult-sized Brachypelma Hamorii.
This BLOG will be updated as I progress with my Brachypelma Hamorii.
18-December-2019, @ 1307 Hours PST:
I contacted a couple of tarantula suppliers on the Net, and they won’t be shipping until after 6-January-2020; because, the Christmas Holidays pose possible delays, and the weather can be cold; hence, these two events create safety and health risks to the transporting tarantulas.
So, after visiting several stores, I finally found one that is clean, housed their animals well, and had a good selection of animals; but, the only Brachypelma Hamorii they had were small spiderlings.
I really wanted a larger juvenile or adult-sized male Brachypelma Hamorii: >=2.5″ DLS.
Well, I thought about it, and I decided to accept the challenge of raising a spiderling; hence, I purchased the biggest spiderling the Reptile Room had.
I figured the reward of raising and overcoming the challenges of this Brachypelma Hamorii spiderling to a big adult Brachypelma Hamorii would be a wonderful and educational experience.
Mind you, I am a beginner tarantula owner; and, the tarantula community doesn’t recommend beginners to start with a small tarantula spiderlings nor slings. Raising slings and spiderlings take a lot of work, and spiderlings and slings have a high death-rate — many spiderlings and slings do not make it to adulthood.
I selected this Brachypelma Hamorii spiderling; because, out of all the ones I viewed, this Brachypelma Hamorii spiderling preferred to stay out in the open rather than hiding under the cork bark.
Now, in my non professional opinion, I guessed this little spiderling figured out, through all the human contact, there was nothing to fear. This spiderling was hatched and raised in a safe and domesticated environment and not in the wild; hence, this spiderling didn’t have any life-threatening experiences requiring a hiding behavior.
So, I concluded this Brachypelma Hamorii spiderling was the best choice for me.
Other tarantula spiderlings at the Reptile Room all hid under their coco barks.
Brachypelma Hamorii tarantulas, adults, slings, and spiderlings, use hides or create burrows to have privacy, safety, comfort, and ambush their prey. It’s natural and common, especially, in the wild.
Shea, an employee and tarantula owner at the pet store, mentioned that this Brachypelma Hamorii spiderling will get bigger and get its color in the next molt or so.
It came with its own enclosure, which was a Critter Box. Since my Brachypelma Hamorii is a small spiderling, the enclosure I built was too big.
Shea mentioned to keep the Brachypelma Hamorii spiderling in the Critter Box; and, after its next two molts, I can move the spiderling to the adult-size enclosure I made.
When I got home, I presented a cricket to my new family member. My Brachypelma Hamorii spiderling ignored the cricket.
My instincts tell me, the Critter Box is too big for my little Brachypelma Hamorii.
I will keep close observation on this…I felt my Brachypelma Hamorii should have taken down the cricket I presented.
19-December-2019, @1030 Hours PST:
My Brachypelma Hamorii spiderling still isn’t eating, and he seems to be hanging out at the top corners of the Critter Box enclosure.
I find this odd; because, the Brachypelma Hamorii is a terrestrial, which means, this species prefer staying on the ground.
Hanging out on the top corners of the Critter Box enclosure could also mean my Brachypelma Hamorri doesn’t like the substrate — I find that the substrate looks to be too moist, and the Critter Box enclosure is too big.
After viewing my Brachypelma Hamorii’s underside, I am 90% confident that my spiderling is a male; hence, I will name him Arogog.
Arogog is the name of the Acromantula in the Harry Potter book, Chamber Of Secrets.
In the event that Arogog is a female, I will name her Mosag; the name of Arogog’s wife.
19-December-2019, @ 2337 Hours PST:
Arogog still hasn’t eaten, and he has been at the same spot for the entire day and night. His abdomen looks a little slim, but nothing to worry about — it’s still a healthy size in my non professional opinion; but, I’m concerned about his behavior of hanging out at the top of the enclosure and not eating. I don’t find this behavior to be a positive sign.
I consulted with the Trinity for guidance, and asked Him, “should I move Arogog to a smaller enclosure?”
He confirmed my instincts with a strong, yes.
Tomorrow, 20-December-2019, I will start the process to build him a smaller enclosure.
20-December-2019, @ 2347 Hours PST:
I moved Arogog to a smaller enclosure; and, he was so calm; he moved calmly, without any signs of aggression, such as urticating hairs or taking on a threatening stance exposing his fangs, into the new small enclosure I prepared for him.
My mum and sister took me to a knick-knack store called, Diaso, and I purchased a plastic container with a lid for 97 cents.
I drilled holes in the container and lid for circulation and cross-ventilation of air.
I filled it with a 50/50 mix of potted soil and coco fibre.
I put enough substrate for Arogog to dig a burrow should he decide.
Now, Arogog spends his time on the ground; because, I created a new substrate for him; and, he loves it!
I put his smaller enclosure into the big enclosure for humidity and some his visual stimulation — well, really, for my own visual stimulation. I don’t know about the way tarantulas see their world with their eyes.
Once he moved to his new enclosure, I fed him one cricket, and he ate it! About four hours later, I fed him a second cricket, not thinking he would eat it; but, to my surprise, he ate the second cricket! A couple of hours later, I put in the third cricket, and he pounced on it, and Arogog chomped away on his third cricket.
Would their be a fourth? Yes! He ate the fourth cricket!
How about a fifth cricket? Nope! He was full, and he refused the fifth cricket:
Arogog ate four crickets today; and, I am so jazzed!
His tummy is round and fat like it should be; and, he is not stressed out at all — he just hangs out on the substrate instead of on the top corners of the enclosure.
21-December-2019, @ 2315 Hours PST:
Arogog ate two more crickets in his new smaller enclosure. I’m relieved. I have the feeling he might be going through a pre molt. I will determine by the changes in his abdomen and feeding patterns.
22-December-2019, @ 2349 Hours PST:
Arogog ate a total of six crickets within the past two days after moving him to a smaller enclosure.
Today, he refused the cricket I presented to him. He definitely satisfied his appetite during the past two days…he might be going through pre molt; or, he might be just plain full or both — full and pre molt. I will monitor these two events.
It’s amazing that this little guy…
will grow up to be looking similar to this big girl…
and, I will be part of that experience.
22-December-2019, @ 2236 Hours PST:
Arogog didn’t eat today — nothing to worry about. He is still full from the 6 crickets he at over the past two days.
Adult tarantulas have a slow metabolism; tarantula experts also include slings and spiderlings also have a slow metabolism, and the experts recommend a once or twice a week feeding. My common sense tells me that slings and spiderlings need to eat as much as they can to grow fast. In the wild, they want to get big fast to fend off and intimidate potential threats — just my common sense input. So, I’m gonna offer Arogog a cricket every day; and, if he eats it — great. If he doesn’t eat it, I just remove the cricket from his enclosure.
Oh, by the way…do you see that black spot on his abdomen?
It has gotten bigger during the past four days of having him. I’m guessing that he is growing up, and he is beginning to show more of his adult colors — I wouldn’t be surprised if his next molt will show more of a new black abdomen, like this older spiderling, pictured below: Photo Credit: Fear Not Tarantulas (tarantula distributor).
For the record, I have not engaged with this distributor at any level — I am merely giving this distributor a photo credit.
23-December-2019, @ 1237 Hours PST:
Today, I re-housed Arogog’s enclosure, based upon the information I gained from Tom Moran: Tom’s Big Spiders.
He recommended a tight pack and moisturizing the bottom layer of the substrate.
So, Arogog calmly moved from his enclosure to a holding area while I re-housed his enclosure.
I removed the substrate and placed it in a cup; then, I put some of the substrate back into the enclosure and saturated it with distilled water. I packed it down tight. I put the next layer of substrate, but I didn’t saturate it with distilled water; I kept it dry, and I packed it down on top of the saturated bottom layer. I did the same for the final top layer.
I made starter burrows at all four corners of Arogog’s enclosure just in case he wanted to burrow down into the moist first layer substrate.
Arogog calmly went from the holding area to his newly designed enclosure. I will monitor his behavior to see if he is adjusting well.
He is just hanging out at the top level substrate. He looks like his is in pre-molt phase. Check out the round abdomen — it is big and the exoskeleton seems really tight, as seen with the presence of a shiny spot in the picture, below.
I will continue to observe his physiological changes and behaviors; at this time, they are indicating pre-molt.
According to Tom’s videos, I’m guessing Arogog is ~ 2 – 3 years old. Certain species, such as, Brachypelma Hamorii, have a slow growth rate.
I can’t wait for his first molt with me — of course, he had many molts before coming to me.
23-December-2019, at 1620 Hours PST:
I measured Arogog’s DLS as best I could with his slight bends on both legs. My measurement came up to ~1.7″ DLS with slight bends — I can imagine his DLS could be 1.75″ if the two diagonal legs were fully stretched out.
I did some search on the Internet, and I found several breeders mentioning their Brachypelma Hamorii spiderlings were hatched in 2017, and they measured, 1/2-3/4″ DLS.
Based upon the distributor’s measurement, compared to Arogog’s ~1.7″ DLS measurement, my guess is Arogog’s age is ~2.5 – 3 years old; hence, I will give is DOB my purchase date minus 2 years; hence, his DOB is 18-Dec-2017.
Wow — the tarantula breeders weren’t kidding by their assertion that the Brachypelma Hamorii is a slow growth species.
24-December-2019, at 1007 Hours PST:
Arogog refused a cricket. He hasn’t eaten for two days…I’m not concerned. He ate six crickets over the past two days.
I will mist his enclosure just in case he is thirsty.
24-December-2019, @ 2202 Hours PST:
Arogog’s first Christmas with me. He refused another cricket. I misted one corner of his enclosure. He has been hanging at one spot of the enclosure for the entire day after I presented the cricket to him and misted the one corner of his enclosure. I also put a water dish and fake plant in his enclosure.
I still suspect he is going through pre-molt based upon my observation of him: not active, not eating, large shiny abdomen.
25-December-2019, @ 0930 Hours PST:
I observed Arogog kicking the coco fibre substrate into the bottle-cap filled with distilled water; then, after several minutes, he went into the bottle-cap and dragged a piece of wet coco fibre out of the bottle-cap. He waited several seconds and dragged the water-logged (saturated) coco fibre under the fake plant and began to suck on it. I couldn’t observe the sucking motion cuz his booty is facing me, but I did observe the saturated coco fibre captured in his fangs, and I saw the movement of his fangs, the same movement as he does with a cricket in his fangs, before he retreated to the fake plant. So, I am 99% confident, he is drawing water from the coco fibre under the fake plant.
Arogog’s Substrate Preference:
It seems that Arogog’s substrate preference is 100% dry. When the substrate is dry, he is not pressed up against the wall of his enclosure like the picture, below. (I can sense his discomfort in this picture — the substrate is too moist for his liking.)
When the substrate is 100% dry, he is not up against the wall, and he appears to be happy, as shown in the picture, below.
So, based upon this information, I will not mist Arogog’s enclosure. Instead, he will have his water bottle-cap containing a mixture of coco fibre and distilled water in a mud-like mixture for him to get his water intake.
I really love this little guy…he has never flicked his hair at me; he has never assumed the threat-position; and, he always moves in a calm manner into his catch-cup while I landscape his enclosure.
I really like that he stays out in the open even when I approach his enclosure or enter his enclosure to adjust it or feed him — most slings and spiderlings tend to hide — Arogog seems confident and seems to feel safe around me since he doesn’t bolt nor hide from me.
I feel like he trusts me, and he knows my routine with him.
When I had my three Beta fishes, in time, they would all face me and swim towards the front panel of their aquariums to greet me with or without food.
I would put my finger on the outside of the glass aquarium panel, and they would follow my finger as I moved it. It was our way of bonding.
Wouldn’t it be neat if Arogog showed his own way of acknowledging and bonding with me? Maybe, like walking over to the front door of the enclosure whenever I visited him.
For now, we seem to be working together really well in our newly-found relationship. He is really a marvelous being, and I enjoy his presence in my home.
6-January-2020, @ 1500 Hours PST:
Arogog ate again; and, he ate his first mealworm. I crushed the mealworm’s head and left it in Arogog’s enclosure. I went out to play tennis; and, I saw the mealworm in his mouth when I returned home at around 1730 hours. I’m glad he ate.
28-January-2020, @ 1018 Hours PST:
Since my last post, no real updates with Arogog; he hadn’t eaten since my last post; hence, I suspected he was in pre-molt.
Well, here are two major updates:
– I moved Arogog to his adult enclosure on 26-January-2020, at 2233 hours PST. I got the sense he would be happier in a bigger enclosure with lots of real estate to explore.
Now, are you ready for the BIG update?
– Arogog is officially in pre-molt phase! His first molting since being in my care!
This is huge!
It’s like having a first baby in the family!
I’m hoping after Arogog molts, he will FINALLY show his adult colors — I’m guessing he will; because, his abdomen is starting to go black, which means, his tarantula hairs are coming in — his abdomen should be covered with black hairs after he molts.
See the following picture.
That shiny black circle is the black hairs under his exoskeleton.
The black circle will continue to get bigger and bigger, looking like a big Concord Grape.
When his entire abdomen goes black, Arogog will spin a web, which will be like a bed. He will flip on his back on the bed-web, and he begins the molting process by crawling out of his exoskeleton. He will emerge with a new body — prettier, vibrant, and bigger.
I’m really excited about this! More to come.
8-February-2020, 1745-2200 Hours PST:
I am elated — bouncing off the walls. After getting home from dinner, I checked on Arogog, and he looked different. I looked closer; and, while I was out at dinner with Elena, Arogog molted, and he looks bigger and more like a tarantula.
So, here are pictures of when I first purchase him, 18-December-2019, at 1330 hours PST, to present.
Around 23-December-2019, Arogog started to show signs of pre-molting. He wasn’t eating, didn’t move around that much, and his abdomen was getting bigger and shiny.
I stilled maintained his routine feeding schedule, which was every Sunday. I presented crickets to him, but he would look at it, maybe take a defensive posture, then leave it alone. I knew he wasn’t in the eating mood, and typically characterized in a pre-molt stage.
He was dull in color — still showing his early spiderling colors, which is a brown color; but, by looking at his legs, you can see the location of the red-knees, which would be more pronounced through each molt, as he approaches adulthood. I knew this was the beginning stages of his pre-molt; and, he would probably not molt for about a month or so.
Then, on 28-January-2020, when I came home from a television series audition in LA, I checked in on Arogog, and I saw a big change — a large black spot on his abodoman. It was shiny, and Arogog’s exoskeleton looked really tight. I knew he would probably molt in the next three weeks or so. That black spot is new abodoman covered with black hairs. As time goes on towards molting, his abdomen would get darker as more hairs fill in underneath his exoskeleton.
As time went on after noticing the large black spot on his abdomen, his carapace (head) getting darker, as well as his leg segments. Notice in these pictures, supra, Arogog’s carapace is small; his abdomen is fat and looks like it’s gonna burst.
On 7-February-2020, between the hours of 1745 and 2200 hours, Arogog molted! I was at dinner with Elena, and I missed the molt. When I got home from my dinner at around 2200 hours, I checked on Arogog, and I found a brand new tarantula in the enclosure — it was Arogog — bigger and showing more of his adult colors — he finally looks like a tarantula. Check out his carapace — notice after the molt his carapace is significantly bigger than prior to his molt?
Look at his new exoskeleton…it is still fresh and soft…it will take within two weeks to harden up; and, in that two weeks, the exoskeleton will get darker and show its true colors — the color will have a strong contrast between black and red hues, of which, are his adult colors.
I collected Arogog’s molt, which is his old exoskeleton. He destroyed the abdomen part while he crawled out of his exoskeleton; hence, I could not determine his gender. I’m still 90% confident, Arogog is male. Notice the size of the carapace? It’s smaller than his new carapace.
I really wish I could have seen Aragog climb out of his exoskeleton…that’s okay,..it’s not worth my dinner-date with Elena…I hope to be present for Arogog’s next molt-exit.
Here is a picture, supra, of Arogog’s molt-mat. He creates a bedding, like a hammock, out of his silk webbing, then he flips on his back and crawls out of his old exoskeleton. Since I did not witness the event, I don’t know the amount of time it took him to get out; but, according to the experienced tarantula-keepers, the process can take two hours or so.
10-February-2020 @1150 Hours PST:
Notice Arogog’s colors? They are more vibrant and have more contract between them — that’s because his exoskeleton is getting harder; and, notice his carapace…it is also darker and more defined.
As his exoskeleton continues to harden, there will be more contrast between his colors.
He probably won’t start eating until after his exoskeleton hardens; because, his fangs are still soft. I still present food to him should he decides to take it, but, most likely, he won’t eat for another two weeks.
Ha! He is looking at my iPhone 11 Pro camera and struck a pose — handsome Arogog!
Ok…are you done taking pictures of me? I have to finish exploring my new home!
When I first got Arogog, he was around 1.5″ DLS; now, he is 2.5″ DLS. He is still considered a spiderling — he is now around 2 years old or so.
I’m so happy neither Arogog. He is really a gentle and sweet tarantula. He has never taken a hostile threat posture with me nor has he kicked off any of his urticating hairs at me.
Stop taking pictures of me!
Today, he the tubular cork bark, and he is hanging out at there instead of his little hide-spot. If he wants to, he can dig 10-inches down through the tubular cork bark to hide out and get privacy.
He has more than enough room to roam and explore. This will continue to be his home at adulthood. He has places to climb, sleep, and dig — over 7″ of digging depth should he decide to.
I just love little Arogog…such a funny little guy!
11-February-2020, at 2030 Hours PST:
Arogog was roaming around his big enclosure today.
His exoskeleton continues to harden…his carapace is much darker, as well as part of his legs.
Parts of his legs are still lighter in color, which means those areas are not fully harden yet.
I tried to check out Arogog’s fangs, but he does not show them to me, so I can’t tell if his fangs have harden.
I know he is getting ready to feed; because, he built a web-mat at the opening of his shelter.
I tested it by dropping a meal-worm on it, and Arogog came out to investigate the intruder, but he did not eat it.
He just touched the worm with his front legs and pedipalps and that was all he did. He eventually retreated and left the worm there, and I removed it from the web-mat.
He is not ready to eat — that doesn’t surprise me since it is still within the two weeks of his molt.
I’m glad Arogog likes his tubular cork-bark. It is big enough for him to grow into when he grows up to be his adult full size.
I filled the tubular cork-bark with substrate; so, Arogog could dig and do interior design to his liking and taste; and, that’s exactly what he did, today. See the substrate he is holding and dumping outside of his shelter? (Picture, supra)
13-February-2020, at 0700 Hours PST:
Arogog has been doing a lot of excavating and interior design. He has made a den for himself using the tubular cork-bark.
As mentioned earlier in my BLOG, the cork-bark is 10″ long and 4″ in diameter. I packed substrate in the tubular cork-bark like a sausage.
During Arogog’s exploration of his new enclosure, he found the tubular cork-bark and has been digging the substrate out and creating a home for himself.
He moved the substrate towards the entrance of the tubular cork-bark.
Now, he has a tunnel that goes into the tubular cork-bark about 2-3″. Then, there is like a dip — I think that is the location of his sleeping and cozy area.
I usually see him at the entrance at around 0700 hours.
When I first made this enclosure, I was preparing to purchase a full-size male Brachypelma Hamorii, as I mentioned earlier in this BLOG.
I ended up getting a Brachypelma Hamorii spiderling that was on about 1.5″ DLS; so, I ended up creating a smaller enclosure.
After considerable thought, I decided to move Arogog, a spiderling, to the full-size adult enclosure; because, my theory was…in the wild, Arogog would have access to a large space. So, I created some spots in the adult-size enclosure for Arogog to hide.
When I transferred little Arogog to the full-size enclosure, he spent all of his time at the hiding place at the left. He also did his molt at that hiding space.
After he molted, he hung out there for several days.
As the days passed after his molt, he began to explore his enclosure.
He eventually found the tubular cork-bark and made it his new home.
Next Friday, will be two weeks after his molt, and I will put a cockroach, cricket, or meal-worm in his enclosure. I’m guessing his fangs and the rest of his exoskeleton would have fully harden, and he will be ready to devour his prey.
14-February-2020, 0937 Hours PDT:
One week have Arogog’s first molt with me, the molt that unveiled his tarantula colors, he ate his first meal-worm — two in total. That means, his exoskeleton is fully hardened — especially, his fangs.
His personality has changed since his molt with me — he is now more reclusive. I place the prey item at the entrance of his den, the tubular cork-bark, and he grabs it and retreats to the deep recessed chamber of his den.
He doesn’t hang outside like he did before his molt; so, I miss not seeing him.
He is still a spiderling; so, I understand his new behavior. Hopefully, he will start hanging outside his den after his next molt.
18-February-2020, 1628 Hours PST:
Today, I made some minor adjustments to Arogog’s den. I re-positioned it, and I added more substrate to the general area.
While I did that, Arogog was checking out his entire enclosure, which included quick little sprints (bolts).
He enjoyed climbing the cork-bark wall I put together for him.
Eventually, he will find his cork-bark tubular den, and I probably won’t see him for a bit, as he constructs his den after I re-positioned it.
I like his colors, and he will be more vibrant with each molt — he will get bigger, too.
21-February-2020, @ 2000 Hours PST:
Today, I changed Arogog’s substrate from coco-fibre to Excavator’s Clay, and he loves it.
Arogog is a desert tarantula…the coco-fibre is more of a forest-type substrate, whereas the Excavator’s Clay is more sandy and replicates more of a deserts look and feel.
How do I know they Arogog prefers Excavator’s clay over the coco-fibre?
Well, he didn’t climb up on the corner of his enclosure when introduced to the Excavator’s Clay.
When I used coco-fibre, Arogog would climb to the corner of his enclosure and would stay up there…after an hour or so, he would come down and stand on the tubular cork-bark; he would seldom stay in the floor of his enclosure, which was the coco-fibre.
So, I knew he didn’t like the feel of it. Also, I didn’t like it because prey could easily burrow in the the coco-fibre — meal-worms and the spotted cockroach.
So, Petko introduced Excavator’s Clay, and the texture appealed to me; because, it looked more like a desert substrate, which is where Arogog is from — the Mexico desert.
To test my assertion about the Excavator’s Clay, I packed it into Arogog’s smaller enclosure; and, once it became partially dried, I moved Arogog into his smaller enclosure, and I observed him.
He took to the ground, and he walked around — he did not climb the walls of his smaller enclosure to find a corner — he stayed on the ground.
Eventually, he found the burrow I created for him, and he nestled in it.
Since I deduced the Excavator’s Clay met Arogog’s approval, I began the arduous task of removing all the coco-fibre from Arogog’s adult-size enclosure.
After packing the coco-fibre away, I began to mix the Excavator’s Clay with water and moved it into Arogog’s adult enclosure.
I began to sculpture the landscape and incorporate his tubular cork-bark den into the landscape. Also, I created a little burrow for Arogog in case he wants to stay on the ground.
Because of the amount of Excavator’s clay I used, 20 pounds, it will take several days to dry while indoors at 70-degrees F.
I really like the Excavator’s clay for the following reasons:
– it is easy to mold to a specific form;
– I can use it over and over again and molt other landscapes;
– the surface, when mixed with water and hardens, prevents meal-worms and spotted cockroaches to burrow;
– it is easy to clean;
– it allows Arogog to dig if he wants to;
– it is more like a desert substrate; and,
– you don’t need to mix water — you can leave it in its original packaged form, and it is like loose desert sand.
5-March-2020, at 1330 Hours PST:
Arogog is beginning to show signs of pre-molting again; hence, after this molt or the next one after, he is gonna out-grow his present enclosure.
He really liked the design of the landscape I made for him in his spiderling enclosure.
So, I replicated the landscape to his adult-size enclosure, which I will move him after his next molt or the molt after.
I really dig the Excavator’s clay — no pun intended.
I added water to break down the previous landscape, and I created the new one, pictured, supra.
The clay is still very damp; it will take about two to three weeks to dry — by that time, I’m hoping Arogog would have molted; if so, I will move him into the the newly landscaped adult-size enclosure; and, I hope he will dig it.
I removed the tubular cork-bark; because, I believe the clay-made burrow is more like the environment he would fine in the desert. I also don’t like the tubular cork-bark because prey can hide in the books and crannies of the bark.
I covered the majority of the burrow’s opening with the leaves of the fake plant. The diameter of the burrow is about the same diameter of a soda pop can. The depth of the burrow is about 4-6″ deep.
I designed the burrow this way to make Arogog feel safe. It is dark at the below of the burrow, and the only light that comes in is from the entrance.
The leaves of the fake plant at the entrance of the burrow will provide Arogog web anchor point should he decide to create a web-mat or whatever. Arogog has spun a web since I purchased him — he did create web hammock for his molts.
The present clay landscape prevents prey from digging under the substrate to hide, and the prey will be fully exposed for Arogog to hunt down.
I also sunk his water bowl to the surface level of the clay substrate. That way, Arogog doesn’t need to climb over the lip of the water bowl to drink — the sunken water bowl will simulate a puddle of water, pond, or still water that he would come across while living in the desert.
With each molt, his personality changes — presently, he is more reclusive in his burrow, and bolts into the burrow the moment he noticed my presence — he is fast.
Another personality change after his last molt is he prefers pre-killed prey.
I hope after his next molt, he will return to killing his prey; I enjoy watching him stalk, pounce, and eat his prey alive.
The following pictures show the iterations of Arogog’s adult enclosure — from iteration number 1 to the final version:
I hope Arogog digs the final version.
22-April-2020, 1223 Hours PDT:
Arogog has been hiding in his den and comes out during the day…like around this time, as I type of this BLOG.
He has gotten bigger; and, now, he appears to be set up for his second molt since being under my care.
So, I wrote this before, and I writing this again…Arogog has got to be one of the most gentle non aggressive tarantulas out there…he has never taken a defensive posture with me nor has he ever kicked up any hairs at me.
Moreover, he seems to trust me…whenever I need to move him to his holding container, he gently walks into the catch-up and calmly leaves the to wherever I need to put him. He has never bolted on me…he is still a spiderling, and most spiderlings, due to their instincts to survive, bolt for safety. As they get older and bigger, they bolt less.
Well, Arogog, as a spiderling, has never bolted on me…I like to think he somehow is cognizant that he is safe with me, and I like to think he chooses to trust me…I don’t know the stuff that he thinks, but this is my choice to believe he does.
I adore him.
His abdomen has gotten dark and plump like a Concorde grape, which indicates he is in pre-molt.
All his urticating hairs are still present, which supports my assertion that he does not flick his hairs at me.
He hasn’t eaten for ~ three weeks.
He spends most of his time in his den, and he comes out during the afternoon to hang-out.
I believe he loves his enclosure. When he retreats into his den, which is underneath the fake plant, he knows he is safe. I don’t enter it — that is his den, and he knows it. He knows every access point to it should he feels scared.
Arogog did all the interior design.
Do you see all the moss in the picture?
Well, when Arogog moved in, all that moss was around the fake plant above his den. I thought he would like that to hide his den and make him feel more safe.
Well, he didn’t like it, so he spent most of the night moving the moss to the location in the picture.
Do you see all the rubble at the den’s entrance by the front-facing leaves of the fake plant in the picture above?
Arogog bull-dozed all that dirt to make his den. That is ~ .75 ounces of rubble.
All this activity tells me he is happy, comfortable, and he feels safe in his new enclosure.
He spends all of his time on the ground…I haven’t seen him claim the walls, which is a great sign that he likes the substrate, which I wrote about in my earlier entry in this BLOG.
So, the next entry will be after his second molt — I am looking forward to a bigger and more colorful Arogog.
1-May-2020, @ 1030 Hours PDT:
I’m so happy. Arogog has his second molt while under my care. I saw him outside of his den, and he looks so handsome: more colorful and much bigger.
I tried to get a picture of him, but he retreated back into his den before I can get a shot if his new exoskeleton. Once he comes back out, I will see if I can capture a picture of him.
Second Molt Stats:
- Present DLS: ~2.5 inches
- Prior DLS: ~1.7 inches
- Present Carapace: ~.40 inches (Width)
- Prior Carapace : ~.3 inches (Width)
- Present Carapace: ~.406 (Length)
- Prior Carapace: ~.306 (Length)
- Present Leg Diameter: ~.0998
- Prior Leg Diameter: ~.0355
Prior Molt Size and Color:
Last Molt and Color ~1-May-2020:
I still cannot determine his gender; I’m 95% confident he is male — I hope he is male. Owners in the tarantula community prefer females…I don’t care; I enjoy their presence regardless of gender — they are really amazing beings; and, unfortunately, misunderstood.
Here are picture progressions of when I first got Arogog, his first molt, and his present state as of 1-May-2020:
I just adore Arogog; he is so gentle, and he has hasn’t flicked his hairs at me; he hasn’t shown his fangs in a offensive posture with me, and he has never bolted on me.
Whenever I need him to move into his catch up, he gently walks in while I arrange his home; then, he walks out of his catch-cup and backs to his home.
I respect his den. I do my best not to encroach while he is in there. I wait for him to be outside then I collect his molt.
When he doesn’t wanna see me, he retreats to his den. I leave him alone.
Owners in the tarantula community indicate tarantula’s don’t really bond with their owners…I disagree…at least in my time with Arogog, I feel like he trusts me, and he feels safe with me. Just my sense with my time with him. He is such an amazing being…makes me so happy whenever I see him hanging outside of his den.
10-May-2020, 2030 Hours PDT:
About two weeks after Arogog’s second molt, he finally ate his first meal-worm.
I knew he was hungry; cuz, he came out of his den to forage. So, I presented him with a meal-worm, and he accepted it. He brought it back to his den, and started his feeding process hidden away in his den.
Next week, I will feed him a cock-roach. He seems prefer meal-worms over cock-roaches and crickets.
Also, ever since his first molt, he seems to prefer that I kill his prey before he feeds on them. Such a funny little guy; I just adore him so much!
20-July-2020, @ 1030 Hours:
Arogog executes his third molt; and, he is pretty much in schedule…the other thing I noticed is that he molted out in the open of his enclosure instead of hiding in his burrow.
I take this to be an excellent sign that he is comfortable, happy, and he feels safe. During his last molt, he hid in his burrow.
He appears to be healthy and looking vibrant in his coloring. He is getting bigger; and, he is more outgoing.
I will wait a bit before feeding him; I wanna make sure his fangs and exoskeleton hardens up a bit.
I really dig this little guy…though, he is not so little anymore, but he still has a lot of growing to do.
Once he gives me the opportunity, I will take his measurements. I give him his privacy, and I don’t prod him to move a certain way unless I need to clean his enclosure.
I like him to realize his enclosure is his safe-zone; so, when he retreats to his burrow, I don’t prod him out; I wait for him to come out.
This time around, I will feed him earthworms. He seems to like mealworms, and last month, he preferred that I kill his food before presenting it to him.
Such a cute and funny guy with his own personality — I just love the little guy so much!