STOP THE MISTREATMENT OF TARANTULAS AT PETCO!
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PETCO is selling tarantulas in completely inappropriate enclosures. These 'tarantula huts' are poorly ventilated, far too large for the spiderlings they contain, too tall for terrestrial species and they are being kept on a sponge inserted at the bottom that is SOAKED with water. I recently (in January) purchased an Avicularia avicularia. I was told by the associate "you don't want this tarantula, I'm the only one that takes care of them and I've been out for three weeks." I purchased this tarantula, an arboreal spider that had NOTHING to climb on, no hide AND this spider was in premolt with FOUR LIVE CRICKETS thrown in with it. This alone is bad practice. When I took this spider home to transfer it to an appropriate enclosure, about 1/4 cup of water came out of the sponge at the bottom. THIS WAS A DEATH TRAP FOR THIS TYPE OF TARANTULA.
Furthermore, on Petco's website there is a list of species they are currently offering. These include old world species such as Poecilotheria sp. and Pterinochilus murinus, affectionately known as the "orange bitey thing" in the hobby. These are NOT beginner tarantulas! These are medically significant species that can potentially send you to the hospital!
I called several Petco's within New England asking about these tarantulas. Many didn't know the difference from a common pinktoe. Others claim (as does their website) that an envenomation would be no worse than a wasp sting. Only ONE STORE had an associate that warned me of the potent venom. These employees for the large part have ZERO education about these animals. They are putting customers and their employees at risk selling old world tarantulas with no information on how to care for them and no warning on their speed and potency.
Add to that the fact that they are keeping these tarantulas in very, very poor living conditions is why I'm petitioning Petco to either re-write their care sheets, educate their employees AND upgrade these tarantula enclosures OR stop selling tarantulas completely and leave it to the professionals.
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