Page 1 of 1 | © 2005-2010 text by Michael Jacobi
Tarantulas can't read.
Books are wonderful things. More people should read them.
As wondrous as the Internet is, it is no substitute for a book.
A well-written book is informative and entertaining.
A book written by a person who is very knowledgeable about a subject can even be educational. For humans, that is.
From a tarantula's viewpoint a book is rubbish. I won't even tell you what they think of this magazine.
Ever had a Poecilotheria regalis who ignored your pretty lichen-encrusted cork bark and lovely bamboo tube
and instead spent the majority of its time on top of or even buried in the substrate?
Ever provided a Theraphosa blondi with a back-breaking amount of damp soil and an exquisitely formed starter burrow only to have it sit in the middle of the enclosure and show no interest in hiding?
How about that Brachypelma smithi that keeps climbing the sides of its aquarium and hanging upside down from the lid?
Are these spiders illterate or something?
The books and the Internet forums are filled with information on their proper behavior. Why don't they follow it?
It's almost as if tarantulas believe that captivity and nature are two different things. How dare they?
But they can't just leave it at that, can they. They ignore the books regarding their natural behavior as well.
I'm starting to believe that tarantulas don't read at all!
The only rule is that there are no rules (or is it that you don't tell anybody about Fight Club?).
Captivity and nature are not... I repeat, NOT... the same.
A wise man or woman once said that if you keep doing something a certain way you will continue to have the same result.
The husbandry practices that are routine today are the result of trial and error in the past.
Tarantulas died for these lessons. Unfortunately, some continue to in the hands of people who won't learn.
Learning. We're back to the books, magazines, and Internet again.
While tarantulas can't read, most people can. They just won't. Not as long as that glowing television has them in a trance.
For those of you who do read, as evidenced by holding this magazine and weighing these words,
your tarantulas [and other exotic animals] are proud of you!
You are on a quest for information and are digesting different views and recommendations, deciding which instructions have the most value and what might be dismissed.
After all, just because it is in print doesn't make it truth.
An insatiable desire to learn as much as possible is one of the most admirable traits a person can have.
However, let us not forget that there are many different ways to learn.
A book or magazine is not the best way; it's just a very good way.
In my opinion, the best way to learn—after acquiring a good foundation of knowledge from written words and experience—is to observe your animals and open your mind to what they may be trying to tell you.
Not only can tarantulas not read, they can't speak either,
but if you give them your attention, they'll tell you things you can't learn anywhere else.
A tarantula constantly hovering over a water dish is saying, "Hey, it's too dry in here. I'm getting dehydrated."
The terrestrial tarantula that all of a sudden has taken to climbing the cage walls after you just cleaned or changed its enclosure is saying, "This substrate sucks. Please use something else."
Watch your spiders. See if they prefer the dry or damp or warm or cool areas of their enclosure.
Determine whether there is one prey item they pounce on immediately and seemingly prefer.
And when they're sitting there doing nothing and everything seems fine, read another book or search for quality information on the Internet. I won't tell if you read it to your tarantula!