I have been keeping tarantulas for over 40 years and am always looking for better ways to house them. When I first started your only real choice were glass fish tanks. These were ok but heavy if you had to move them (and you have to also remember that tarantula guides from the 70’s recommended using fish gravel as a substrate adding to the weight). Next came the Critter Keepers, plastic enclosures with snap on, well-ventilated lids. I started using these and have been happy until the last few years, where the plastic used for the lids has gotten more flimsy, preventing the stacking of the enclosures. Thankfully Exo-Terra has come up with a solution in their Breeding Boxes.
One of the most difficult things in being an invertebrate keeper is finding good information on the very animals you are keeping. Sure you can do a Google search and find pretty much anything you want but then you have to ask yourself, “How reliable is this information?” What is the source? Is this information good for keeping an animal alive for many years or just a few months? Good, reliable information is hard to find, especially when it comes to animals that may not be as widely available as something like a tarantula.
The act of molting is a usually stressful process that invertebrates go through to grow. Since they have a hard exoskeleton they literally have to break free of their old skin, revealing a new skin underneath. At the time of molting the new skin is still soft and pliable and once blood is pumped to all of the extremities, the animal becomes larger.
In the case of tarantulas this is a fascinating process. Not only do they grow larger, but any hairs that were flung off in self-defense are replaced. If a leg has broken off, this too is replaced. After a molt, the tarantula’s colors are also very bright and fresh. Unfortunately though, this is when the animal is most vulnerable as it cannot defend itself.
Just before Christmas of 2015 I became aware of two books that I found to be very exciting, “Tarantulas of the World” by Francois Teyssie and the subject of this review, “Scorpions of the World” by Roland Stockmann and Eric Ythier. It had been awhile since a new book on scorpions came out and despite its $95 price tag, I immediately bought it.
Though I primarily keep tarantulas, I have always found scorpions to be fascinating and I have always kept at least one species as pets. Most times scorpions seem to be covered in books having to do with arachnids in general such as “Arachnomania” by Philippe de Vosjoli and “Tarantulas and Scorpions In Captivity” by Russ Gurley. Finally here was a book that dealt with just scorpions and though it wasn’t a book designed for people who keep scorpions as pets, though it is covered briefly, I thought it would be a good reference book. I could not have been more right.