Today I am going to put together a 10-sling M. balfouri communal in a Terrestrial Juvenile Enclosure Kit.
To start, I filled the enclosure with 3” of substrate which only used about 1 1/2 of the 2 bags included with the kit.
How do you like my super-cool ruler? I got it on Earth Day third in Mr. Richardsons third grade class. It has literally survived decades of weekly (ab)use with nothing but a scratch!
I must confess I was didn’t use the half round bark with the kit:
It’s not that there was anything wrong with the included bark but give me a break here, I had the perfect piece leftover from a larger cork tube I sent out this week and what better excuse to use it than a M. balfouri communal?
I normally don’t recommend feeding directly upon housing…
…except maybe in this situation.
I am not sure if this is common practice for others who do communal enclosures however, normally when I set up a new tarantula communal I put feeders in there before housing all the spiders.
I figure if someone is hungry enough to eat a community member, if given the choice it would most likely go for food it’s familiar with, the potential food that doesn’t have fangs to fight back with.
So in go five pinhead and one small B. lateralis roach.
Keep an eye on that one small B. lateralis roach. This persistent little bug photobombs quite a few pictures in this post!
Normally I would add the moss, silk plants, and other furnishings and mist before adding the tarantula(s) however, I wanted to get clear photos of everyone going in and I have noticed sometimes my camera will want to auto-focus on the silk plants.
So without any further adieu it’s time to add the M. balfouri!
M. balfouri #1 goes in and hides before I can snap a photo.
M. balfouri #2 goes in, then shoots out before I can move. It runs across the table…
Now #2 is safely in the enclosure. Whew!
After about a minute a roach comes in contact with M. balfouri #2. #2 is not interested!
M. balfouri #3 went in without incident, gets close to #2 but moves the opposite way to find a secluded hiding spot.
M. balfouri #2 is touched by a roach and flees to the other side of the enclosure.
M. balfouri #4 goes in, flees to same corner as #3, touches #3, flees to opposite corner.
M. balfouri #5 in. A roach touched #5 within the first minute, no interest.
M. balfouri #6 goes down into log where I can’t see it .
M. balfouri #7 slowly crawls on top on #5, #5 dashes away and #7 is startled.
After a minute a roach touches #7, #7 flees to a secluded spot.
M. balfouri #8 goes into the cork tube.
M. balfouri #9 gives me a threat pose but otherwise goes in without incident.
M. balfouri #10 goes into the cork tube.
I am assembling this enclosure without glue although if you like you can use hot glue to make the arrangement a little more permeant. Here I simply place some moss on the substrate and wedge the silk plant piece between the cork and moss.
Keep in mind I typically recommend adding all the furnishings before adding the tarantula(s)
A little more moss on the other side
And another silk plant piece
A little more moss to cover up the unsightly joint
A third silk plant piece and a little moss on top
Here are some photos of the completed colony:
During the photoshoot #8 and #10 got in a disagreement both were in a threat pose. They both backed away from each other. One calmly left the tube.
I’m leaving out the water bowl that comes with the juvenile kit. These slings are small and will get misted often.
I often tell my customers if their enclosure is a on the dry side to mist so the tarantula can drink the “dew”
This is a great example of an enclosure on the drier side, and how I mist so my slings & juveniles can drink.
I noticed one of the M. balfouri come over and drink for a minute before proceeding to another part of the enclosure.