Fear Not Tarantulas – A FANTASTIC Place to Buy Spiders

FEAR-NOT-BANNER

Between the blog, Facebook, Tumblr, Twitter, and now my YouTube channel, I spend a lot of time talking to keepers new and established and answering inquiries into various aspects of the hobby. One of the most common questions I get is “where is a good place to buy tarantulas online?” Although I have a couple go-to dealers that I won’t hesitate to recommend, I’m always on the lookout for new dealers to buy from. I’ll be honest; I get a certain thrill from clicking on a new tarantula site for the first time and perusing the stock. And, when I find a dealer that I have a good experience with, I do my best to spread the word.

While watching some video on YouTube last week, I met theswimmingfox, or Melissa Fujimoto, a fellow tarantula enthusiast. I commented on a video she had posted showing off one of her gorgeous Phormictopus sp. purples grooming itself. During the ensuing conversation, Melissa mentioned that she had bought hers from Tanya at Fear Not Tarantulas.

Hold up…who?

I was honestly shocked, and a little embarrassed, that I had never heard of this dealer before, especially after hearing Melissa rave about their service. I hadn’t seen many folks carrying the sp. greens, so I had to assume that if Tanya had these in stock, she had a lot more goodies to offer. I immediately did a quick Google search and located the site…and quickly got excited.

A great site with dozens of amazing species to choose from.

The site is very well laid out, with the tarantulas for sale organized by slings, juveniles, males, females, and package deals (along with some other convenient choices). What’s more, there is even a “species descriptions” tab that brings you to husbandry notes for a plethora of species. These aren’t generic and often useless care sheets, but tips and observations  culled from the folks at FNT’s own experience and research. Personally, I think this is an amazing idea and something I wish more dealers would do.

Now, I do a LOT of window shopping on various dealers’ sites, and I’ve seen many that carry the “standard” avic, grammy, and brachy species but don’t offer some of the rarer or less common tarantulas that usually catch my eye. This is definitely NOT the case with Fear Not Tarantulas. Sure, Tanya carries many of the “hobby staple” species, but her stock is incredibly diverse, including rare species of Avicularia, H. pulchripes, Phormictopus sp. greens, and several Pamphobeteus species. Even better than the selection might be the prices with many species selling for less than what I was used to seeing. The prices on some of the females she was offering were particularly reasonable.

After a couple days of making lists of the spiders I was interested in, I finally placed my order for a female Psalmopoeus irminia, a juvenile Brachypelma vagans, an Avicularia juruensis sling, and a “probably female” Lasiodorides polycuspulatus. I should mention that FNT also offers several choices of freebies when you spend a certain amount, although I opted not to select one for this order. Shipping was $45 for FedEx overnight and LAG, which is quite reasonable, especially if you buy a few Ts in your order. Orders over $500 get free shipping, which is great for folks who have the coin and want to make a big tarantula purchase. My order placed, I was quite excited, not only about the tarantulas, but see how this transaction went.

FEAR-Irminia

My new female P. irminia from Fear Not Tarantulas

 

Probably the best communication I’ve ever had from a dealer.

The next day, I received a text from Tanya asking me if it would be okay to ship my order that day, or if I would prefer she waited. Having been shipped orders with no warning before, and having to frantically email dealers to try to get a shipment delayed so I could be there to receive it, I can’t even tell you how much I appreciated this gesture. She also double-checked to see if I wanted my package held (I did) which was very important to me as I have all of my FedEx shipments held for pickup. I’m always worried there will be a mix-up, so the fact that the dealer was actually thoughtful enough to reach out before she shipped was amazing.

Now, as I mentioned earlier, the L. polycuspulatus was labelled as “prob F” on the site, which I took to mean it might be female or might not. At $35 for a 1.5″ specimen, I honestly thought the price was good regardless of the sex. To me, “prob” means “maybe”, so it was a non issue. Well, during our text conversation, Tanya said that this specimen was actually unsexed, and the “prob f” was a personal note that erroneously made it onto the website. She was unsure of what the sex was, and offered an apology, a refund if I wanted it, or said she could substitute a female B. vagans for it. As luck would have it, I had been on the lookout for a female vagans, so this was an amazing upgrade. Although I offered to pay the difference, she simply substituted the sexed female for they unsexed specimen I had already ordered.

Even cooler? She actually texted a photo of the adorable female as she was packing her up! I honestly couldn’t get over the fact that she was actually texting me while my order was being assembled.

I’ve mentioned before that I often get a better idea of how a dealer’s customer service is when the order doesn’t go perfectly. Personally, I like to see how people react if there is a mix-up or hiccup. The fact that Tanya immediately mentioned what she saw as an issue and then upgraded my order to make up for it is the type of response that makes me trust a dealer completely. 

Fear-VAGANS

My new female B. vagan (being a bit coy) from Fear Not Tarantulas.

Tanya’s packing gets an A+

My box arrived as scheduled, and I rushed home to open it up. This was easily one of the best packing jobs I’ve seen. The box was lined with foam stuffed with newspaper for padding. Even better, the heat pack was tightly secured behind a piece of foam, keeping it from slipping and becoming loose in transit. There was no way this thing was moving. This is a detail most don’t consider, but if a heat pack bounces loose and settles next to the tarantula vials, it would likely fry the spiders. I definitely appreciate the attention to detail and the obvious understanding of great packing practices.

The Ts themselves were well secured in vials lined with moist toilet paper or paper towels, and these were carefully wrapped in moistened newspaper. When I unwrapped them, I was floored to discover that not only were the vials labeled with the species’ names (made with a label maker, no less) but three actually had the date of their last molts on the package. WOW. I’ve have ordered tarantulas dozens of times, and I’ve never seen this before. Not only is it incredibly great information to have for records, but it shows that the dealer really pays attention to her animals.

The tarantulas themselves were in great shape, and all have been housed and have eaten. You can tell these animals were well-cared for. My new female B. vagans is absolutely adorable, and the A. juruensis is so inquisitive that I just might have been tricked into a brief, impromptu handling session… This order proved to be an amazing experience all around, and I’m already making up a wishlist for my next order.

I would highly recommend Fear Not Tarantulas to beginner and established hobbyists alike.

I get a lot of new hobbyists who ask about good places to buy tarantulas, and I’m very careful about who I recommend. I look for places not only with a good selection of Ts and easy to navigate sites, but also great communication. Those new to the hobby often have many questions, and I feel they should be directed toward dealers who will take the time to consider and answer these questions. Tanya at Fear Not Tarantulas knows her stuff, and her communication during this transaction was the best I’ve ever received. I’m more than confident that this approachability would be much appreciated by someone new to the hobby and making their first purchase. And, of course, their great prices and diverse stock would make FNT a great shopping destination for established keepers looking for rarer Ts with great customer service. Fear Not Tarantulas gets my highest recommendation for great prices, diverse stock, and quality shipping and communication. 

FEAR-juruensis

An adorable A. juruensis sling from Fear Not Tarantulas

Site Update – Husbandry Notes by Species!

When I first started Tom’s Big Spiders, it was really only to share some of my cool experiences in the tarantula hobby. I honestly never expected anyone to discover or read what I was writing; instead, it was more to serve as a fun outlet (and to spare my family and friends from having to listen to prattle on about bugs). However, little by little, I actually developed an audience as the content evolved from fun molt and feeding posts to more informative husbandry and species notes. With folks actually reading what I was writing, I focused less on the fluff and more the informative and hopefully educational articles.

As a site that was basically created with no real audience in mind, I didn’t give a heck of a lot of thought on how to arrange it (or on the name, for that matter!). However, as I wrote more and more content, and saw what folks were reading and searching for, it quickly became apparent that I needed some way to organize information so it was easier to find. Therefore, some new pages evolved out of the mix: added were Resources, Vendor Reviews, and finally the most popular page, Beginner Guides. 

I also created the Topic Index page, which was supposed to act as a site map of sorts, but it quickly became outdated and was mostly ignored. Particularly, the species-specific husbandry articles were getting overlooked as there was no real clearly designated page for them.Folks were often asking if I could talk about species I had already covered because they couldn’t find the post.

Well, that’s finally been fixed…introducing the Species Husbandry Notes page.

Having done husbandry articles or videos on 40+ species , it was high time I created a page just for species care. I didn’t just want it to be a list of names though…it needed to have some visual flair and possibly a quick way for folks to identify the challenge level of each species. I spend a lot of time trying to get good photos of all my Ts, so I definitely had a lot of material to work with. After a few hours on Photoshop, I came up with what I hope will be a visually-appealing and useful system.

Each species’ name bar is color-coded to indicate the potential level of “challenge.” These designations are based on ease of husbandry, temperament, speed, and venom potency, and are only meant to serve as guidelines for those new to the hobby or species. Obviously, keeper experience and ability, as well as variations in individual specimens’ behavior can be hugely important as well (and can’t really be factored in). Bottom line, if the spider is labeled orange or red, spend a little more time researching its temperament and husbandry needs.

HUSBANDRY-NEW

The colors work as follows:

  1. Green – Beginner
  2. Yellow– Intermediate
  3. Orange – Advanced
  4. Red – Expert

If I’ve done a husbandry blog on the species, just click on the photo to be sent to it. If there’s no article yet, you’ll be sent to the husbandry video on YouTube (my goal is to eventually get write-ups for all of the species).

Hopefully, this will make it easier for folks to find the info they need while affording them the opportunity to peruse all of the species husbandry notes if they feel so inclined. I have 33 of the spiders up as I write this, and my goal is to create guides for all of the 60+ species I keep. Also, I will continue to periodically update articles with the very latest observations, notes, and photos to ensure that all posts are current.

Again, thank you to all who currently use Tom’s Big Spiders as one of your sources for tarantula information!

Tom