Show cover of Tom's Big Spiders - Tarantulas and Inverts

Tom's Big Spiders - Tarantulas and Inverts

A podcast devoted to the proper care and upkeep of tarantulas and other inverts. After keeping a G. porteri for over 16 years, I decided that I wanted to add another tarantula to my collection. Several years later, I now keep over 100 specimens and 90+ different species. It’s safe to say that I am now completely addicted to the hobby.I’m NOT an expert, and I’m currently still learning about keeping these fascinating creatures. In fact, there are so many species, that I suspect that I’ll still be learning years from now. This blog is a bit of a journal to track my interest in the hobby and to share some of the information I’ve learned. A teacher by trade, I enjoy passing along what I’ve information and techniques I’ve discovered and helping others in their successful pursuit of this hobby. I enjoy hearing from folks, whether through comments on the blog or email.I have done and continue to do a lot of research, and I will only be discussing animals I personally keep, so the information I present should be current and accurate. I also regularly update older posts with current photos, observations, and information. However, this is an ever-evolving hobby, so I implore anyone interested in keeping these animals to use whatever they find here as a springboard for further research on techniques or species-specific care.


Tityus stigmurus or the "Brazilian Yellow Scorpion" Care
In this episode, we break away from talking about spiders for a bit and instead discuss the care for T. stigmurus. This amazing little scorpion can produce asexually and can be kept communally.  I started with only one specimen back in October of 2016, and have kept dozens since! 
39:47 5/19/24
The Most Heavily Webbing Spiders I Keep
First, we discuss some listener feedback from last episode.Then, I've had a bunch of folks ask me to cover this over the years, and I honestly thought that I had already done so! In this episode, I go over a dozen species of spiders I keep that love blanketing their enclosures in webbing.Happy Mother's Day to all!
52:44 5/12/24
D. Pentaloris "The Tiger Rump" vs. H. formosus "The Pumpkin Patch"
First off, we discuss last week's episode and some of the feedback I received (a HUGE thank you to all who took the time to comment!).Then, it's the battle of the orangey/black dwarfs as Davus pentaloris "The Tiger Rump" takes on Hapalopus formosus "The Pumpkin Patch"! 
55:34 5/5/24
The Future of the Podcast and Signs Your Old Tarantula Is Dying
If someone would have told me back in early 2018 that this podcast experiment would continue for over 300 episodes, I would have laughed. But here we are, in our seventh year, still churning out shows. That said, I always worry that the program will eventually jump the shark and overstay its welcome. To kick this one off, we’ll discuss the fine line I try to walk producing shows that will appeal to both beginners and more advanced keepers alike and how you can all help as we move ahead.Then, my old adult female Harpactira pulchripes passed this week after a bizarre occurrence that had happened only once before. This will lead into a discussion about signs that your old tarantula is dying.
51:32 4/28/24
The Best Tarantula Species for Folks Raising up Their First Slings
As I've spent more time keeping tarantulas, I've realized that questions "what is a good beginner species?" and "what is a good species to raise as a first time sling? have two very different answers.  Just because a species is easier to care for as an adult does not always make it an easy one to raise up. In this episode, I'll discuss the species I tend to recommend when asked what species make for good first-time slings. 
53:22 4/21/24
The Importance of Establishing Routines with Growing Tarantula Collections
How do you know when you’re getting too many tarantulas? How can you tell when you’re reaching what should be your limit?In this episode, we’ll discuss the importance of establishing routines and setting boundaries early on to avoid having your collection turn into a hoard. 
38:54 4/15/24
Tarantula Max Lifespans - A Realistic Discussion
I've encountered this scenario many upset keeper emails me to ask what he did wrong because his adult female didn't make it to the supposed max life expectancy.  In many cases, it sounds like the animal died of natural causes, but the thought that it should have lived longer can eat away at a concerned keeper. In this episode, we discuss some of the maximum lifespans given for tarantulas online and break down why some might live longer than others. I will also share the ages of several of my females when they finally passed away. 
52:22 4/7/24
The Goliath Birdeaters - Theraphosa Genus Review
In this episode, I talk about my experiences with the three Theraphosa species: Theraphosa stirmi (the Burgundy Goliath Birdeater), Theraphosa blondi (the Goliath Birdeater), and Theraphosa apophysis (Pinkfoot Goliath Birdeater). 
55:27 3/24/24
Dos and Don'ts When Ordering Tarantulas Online
To start this one off, I share some of the feedback I got from last week's episode and respond to a couple comments.Then, at 21:25,  it's been five years to the day when I last covered some tips for ordering tarantulas online. In this episode, we will review the dos and don't as well as discuss some new issues that have presented themselves over the last five years. 
67:15 3/17/24
The "Domestication" of Tarantulas - Why our Pets Are Not Quite Wild Animals
A couple of years ago, I stumbled on an article about the "inadvertent domestication" of animals raised for the sole purpose of being released back into the wild. This is when, despite our best efforts, captive animals were becoming inadvertently domesticated by temporarily or even permanently adapting to a captive environment , which was making them less fit to survive in the wild. This could often occur within a single generation of captive-reared animals.And that got me thinking...Many species of tarantulas have been actively bred in captivity for decades, so is it possible (or likely, even) that the animals in our collections have adapted over multi-generational captive breeding to be better suited to being kept in our home? In essence, is there a fundamental difference between our captive bred spiders and their wild counterparts? Is human selection making allowing them to thrive in our care?In this episode, we will explore the theory of tarantula domestication and why I think that it’s important to consider that the spiders in our collections might not necessarily be true wild animals. NOTE: I am NOT talking about them becoming tame, like dogs or cats. Spiders are not and never will be tame animals. We are specifically asking if they could have been changed by years of being bred and kept by humans. 
57:46 3/10/24
Why Bother Asking? When Keepers Ask Questions and Ignore the Answers
I've been doing this a while now, and there is one occurrence that I will never understand...when keepers ask for advice and then ignore it.  Luckily, it doesn't happen often, but when it does, the results can be quite tragic. In this episode, we'll discuss a few of the more egregious experiences I've had with this type of behavior.
54:05 3/3/24
Tarantula Substrate - Some Inexpensive Mixes
Over the years, I've continued to constantly switch up what I use for substrate when it comes to housing my tarantulas. In this episode, I review what I've used in the past and share an inexpensive "recipe" I'm currently using that yields a LOT of substrate for very little money. 
42:17 2/25/24
Tarantula Collection Killers
In this episode, we discuss some instances where folks have lost large parts or all of their collection due to mishap or an overlooked environmental hazard. 
46:05 2/19/24
I Want a Tarantula - Where Do I Start?
Within the past couple weeks, I spoke with two teenagers who were interested in getting their first tarantula. Both had many questions about where they should start and what they should prepare for. In this episode, I lay out several things anyone thinking about getting a tarantula should do...and some things that they shouldn't. 
54:03 2/11/24
How I've Tweaked My Fossorial Tarantula Setups
First, we discuss the "controversy" a recent episode caused. Then, I field a question from a long-time YouTube subscriber about changes that I've made in how I set up fossorial tarantula enclosures. 
47:41 2/4/24
Pamphobeteus vs. Phormictopus! The Battle of Two Giant Tarantula Genera
Well, it had to be done! In this episode, two popular genera of giant tarantulas will duke it out for hobby superiority! Okay, that's a bit dramatic; in reality, we will compare the two genera and talk about the similarities and differences.
51:45 1/28/24
The One Issue in the Tarantula Hobby I Will Never Overcome
To start this one off, we'll discuss some feedback to last week's episode.Then, after reflecting on 10 years of doing the TBS stuff, I realized that there is one major issue that I will never overcome. 
55:53 1/14/24
Tarantula Feeding Schedules and Fat Ts
Recently, I've received some comments on my YouTube videos with folks saying that my tarantulas are "skinny" or "underfed", which left me a bit confused. However, after speaking with a hobby friend, I realized that, through social media, many folks new to the hobby may be exposed to photos of chubby Ts. For many, a spider with a bloated abdomen is the norm.In this episode, we'll discuss overfeeding tarantulas and feeding schedules. A huge thank you to Charlotte for the awesome topic idea!
56:26 1/7/24
Do Tarantulas Have "Personalities"?
Happy New Year! In this episode, I give my take on whether or not it's appropriate to say that tarantulas have "personalities." We will also discuss whether tarantulas need enrichment to avoid boredom.
47:48 12/31/23
The A. geniculata vs. The N. chromatus - Two Classic Tarantulas
In this episode, we compare two very similar species: the A. geniculata or "Brazilian Black and White" and the N. chromatus or "Brazilian Red and White." Both are awesome species and, in my opinion, hobby staples. But which has more to offer?
43:32 12/17/23
The GBB vs. The Brazilian Blue Beauty
First, I have an important message from the US Tarantula Sustainment Project.Then, we're going to have a little fun. In this episode, we'll compare and break down two species that are often confused for each other, the C. cyaneopubescens (GBB) and the D. diamantinensis (Brazilian Blue Beauty). Which spider is the "best"? Who knows! But we will attempt to find out!Be sure to chime in with your vote on either Spotify or! 
49:13 12/10/23
Tarantula Species That Need it Drier As Slings
In this episode, I'll talk a bit about the tarantula species that I've raised that buck the old "keep 'em moist" rule for slings. 
47:46 12/3/23
Eresus walckenaeri Care and the Velvet/Jumping Spider "Fad"
Having just rehoused my juvenile Eresus walckenaeri (Velvet Spider), I figured that it was time to talk a bit about how I care for it.Also in this episode, is the current Jumping Spider and Velvet Spider social media fad and rampant anthropomorphization leading to decline in overall appropriate husbandry in the spider hobby? I'll discuss what I feel are the realistic pros and cons of the attention these "cute" spiders are currently receiving. 
53:25 11/26/23
Tarantula Enclosure Blowout!
In this episode, I'll go through all of the types of tarantula enclosures I've used, from cheap to pemium, and share my pros and cons of each.
75:21 11/19/23
A History of Tom's Big Spiders and Why I Do This
Last week, I had a few folks contact me a bit upset that there was no episode for Sunday.  And, to be honest, this happens every time I miss a week. Although I completely understand that this podcast has become very important to folks for a myriad of reasons, I thought that it might be a good time to explain why I do the Tom's Big Spiders stuff . In this episode, I'll go through the entire history of TBS from the original blog, to YouTube, and now the podcast. My hopes are that folks will understand my motivations for putting out this information and appreciate that, sometimes, I just need a day off. My apologies for spending an entire episode talking about me. Next week, it's back to spiders! 
50:51 11/12/23
The Fastest Spiders That I Have Kept
I've been asked to do this one many times over the years, but there is honestly no way for me to scientifically prove which ones are faster. However, in this episode, I will share the ones that I think are fastest based on my own personal experience. What are YOUR fastest spiders? 
68:19 10/29/23
Is Your Enclosure and Setup Killing Your Juvenile Arboreal Tarantula?
First, I read a listener question and talk about last week's episode. Then, I get a lot of emails and comments from panicked keepers who are alarmed to discover that their arboreal slings and juveniles are actually burrowing.  The fact is, MANY arboreal species will do some burrowing as slings and juveniles, and the correct setup should allow for and encourage this behavior. Unfortunately, many folks don't do enough research, and some of the "sling" and "juvenile" tarantula enclosures being sold do not permit for an appropriate setup. In this episode, we discuss how to keep these species correctly, why it's important to have the correct setup, and why this issue has become so prevalent. 
56:57 10/22/23
When Losing Confidence Leads to Mistakes
Deaths can really rattle a tarantula keeper and cause them to second guess their tarantula care. In this episode, I speak about a few recent instances I had where my fear of deaths led me to do some pretty stupid things. 
41:54 10/9/23
10 Reasons to Give True Spiders a Shot
In this episode, I'll discuss some of the perks to keeping "true" spiders and Mygalomorphs and why tarantula keepers may want to one day give them a try. 
48:24 10/1/23
E. campestratus "Pink Zebra Beauty" Care and Notes
I have it on pretty good authority that Eupalaestrus campestratus or "Pink Zebra Beauties" will be available in the US hobby again very soon. As I'm sure that many folks will be scrambling to add a sling to their collections, I figure that this would be the perfect time to revisit the husbandry for this amazing species. 
44:18 9/24/23

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