No announcement yet.

wild caught spiders and other invertebrates

  • Filter
  • Time
  • Show
Clear All
new posts

  • wild caught spiders and other invertebrates

    contraversial thread time, but i'm slightly annoyed about how much the pet trade in wild caught spiders is villified...not by our natural enemy the media, or "animal rights" groups, who not only revel in misinformation, they require it to survive...but by hobbyists themselves who should know better!!!

    let me start by saying wanton collecting of any animal such that it cannot replenish itself in a given locality is taking the mickey. this is true when it's for food, fur, trophies and for the pet trade. this is not what this thread is about.

    however...spiders and most invertebrates breed ALOT. they produce sometimes many, sometimes hundreds or even thousands of offspring in each batch. the survival rate is low, partially because of predation, partly because they compete amongst themselves.

    if you go in, as a collector for the pet trade, and get a reasonable number (dictated by the population plus the distribution of the species) of adult females, possibly ready to have done nearly no damage to the species at all. the ones you didn't find will drop eggsacs, and their young will flourish and the slight absense of competition. the next time you visit, the population will have recovered.

    i realise some in the past have collected too many...Brachypelma, for example may've suffered for the numbers shipped out before they were added to CITES. go there now, and the populations are FINE. in fact, the locals still consider them vermin and kill them whenever they can, but the populations thrive. read Andrew Smith's account if you don't believe me.

    some species are not as spread out as that...some are specialised and inhabit small areas. we need to be responsible with them, yes...but a collector would probably never find all of them in a 2 week trip, and they should bounce back too.

    or they would do, if not for the real enemies!!!

    habitat destruction goes on at horrific rates...vast swathes of the Amazon, for example, are reduced to farmland for beef. South-east Asia has not escaped as they have replaced their indigenous forest with palm tree plantations. again, read Andrew Smith's very sad's terrifying.

    the other enemy is the dry trade. people, who have to feed themselves somehow, have discovered that us silly westerners like trophies...we like pinned dead huge tropical bugs and things. i am being general with that "we", of course.
    therefore, people who have the time because they live there are systematically stripping their environment of thousands of these animals and killing them.
    this is hailed as "good" by various organisations, as it's the indigenous people living off their own resources, etc.
    but this is about as wise an action as us cutting down every oak tree in the country because some other country likes the furniture. ...oh wait, we've already tried to do that here and other places...hmmm

    but even this could be sustained to a degree, if not for habitat destruction...just a bit of responsibility would help.

    compared to these two massive problems, the pet trade is a drop in the bucket. and what's more, you could argue that taking the spiders from an area before it was logged SAVES them. perhaps one day they can be reintroduced, if the madness of habitat destruction is stopped!

    i'll repeat that thought...WC spiders are INTENDED TO LIVE AND THRIVE. some die en route, that is a sad fact, but things have improved. what businessman would want his animals to all die? he'd want to sell them all...each death hits his profit margin. add to that that most spider traders are enthusiasts themselves...they generally care!

    compare that to the trade in deads and habitat destruction...and hopefully some of you will re-think their stance on WC spiders. it may come to a time when the only live specimens are in'll be a sad day, but at least they won't all be dead!!!

    an alternative is to set up captive farming projects...this could be a great way for locals to make money on their own fauna AND put something back into the wild. for each sac of G porteri, 75% could be reintroduced, and 25% sold to the pet trade. seeing as we generally seem to suck at breeding them, this could help nature AND us...
    this could be extended to other forms of animal life as well, larger creatures...and in fact, this sort of thing IS happening there is hope!!!

    so don't be too quick to jump on the band-wagon the media and the "animal rights" groups have created. they are full of lies and deceit. i know of one "animal rights" group, the Animal Protection Agency (Ltd!!!) that is a registered company. they fund themselves with their fraudulent campaigns. they've attempted to cause trouble for reptile keepers, in partnership with Lush, recently, and been countered effectively argument by argument, by the Federation of British Herpetologists...mainly using current CITES figures, actual data and plain logic...

    these "animal rights" groups etc cause much trouble for the hobby, and each of them would love exotic animal keeping (in some cases ALL animal keeping) banned. this would be counterproductive for everyone, especially while habitat destruction, etc, continues.

    rant over.
    Returning violence for violence multiplies violence, adding deeper darkness to a night already devoid of stars... Hate cannot drive out hate: only love can do that.
    -Martin Luther King Jr.

    <-Black Metal Contra Mundum->
    My Collection: - Support captive breeding

  • #2
    Very well said!


    • #3
      I've been waiting a long time for you to get your thoughts down on this subject.......

      Seems it was worth waiting for .... some valid points, some controversial, some obvious (if you remove etiquet blinkers!! )
      Don't forget to learn what you can, when you can, where you can.

      Please Support CB Grammostola :- Act Now To Secure The Future


      • #4
        thanks guys, you know me...i love throwing spanners into the works! contraversy is good for us
        Returning violence for violence multiplies violence, adding deeper darkness to a night already devoid of stars... Hate cannot drive out hate: only love can do that.
        -Martin Luther King Jr.

        <-Black Metal Contra Mundum->
        My Collection: - Support captive breeding


        • #5
          James, thanks for sharing your thoughts. I agree on most of what you have said. Concerning WC specimens I would just like to emphasise some issues if I may. We have recently seen the horrific flooding in Queensland, Australia. Yes, some theraphosid species may bounce back, some may not. This is where the issue of captive breeding and re-introduction comes in. I have heard concerns in the past that over generations some of the behaviours learnt in the wild by species might be bred out, as well as the resistance to fungal infections. How can we do behavioural comparison studies in a safe, secure environment without having WC specimens to compare to, and without WC specimens initially how would CB populations start? Also it is vital that occasionally wild caught specimens are brought into the hobby to "freshen up" the gene pool, acting against the potential negative evolution mentioned above.

          Secondly on to the environment. Through my involvment with the WWF I can tell you that due to population isolation the Amur tiger is in real danger of becoming extinct in the wild. Numbers of Amur leapord in the wild are so critical that we have nearly lost this beautiful animal. All because of Russian logging companies. The amount of polar bears being lost becuse of their habitat destruction due to greenhouse gases is frightening. The problem is James, without wishing to sound harsh, is best explained in the following way (mentioning no names for legal reasons).

          Recently I was talking on the telephone to someone who vehemently was trying to tell me that global warming didn't exist, that it was all a money making propoganda exercise on behalf of Al Gore & co. He had "found this out" from looking online at the ignorant comments made by a nameless US senator. He stated that the world way climatically "going through a warm period" anyway, and that everything would be fine.

          Ok, here's the other side. Yes, the world is going through a temperate period in its climatic cycle. However man-made carbon dioxide and water vapour emissions into the atmosphere have accentuated the issue to the point where the threat we have all heard about from Global Warming is very real. melting ice caps pouring fresh water into the oceans and thus affecting oceanic salinity, thus influencing the water cycle and oceanic currents, temperature fluctuations and real climate adjustments all are starting to happen. Effort is being made but things take time, and the really nasty stuff hasn't started happening (I hope it never will). Idiots like that Senator, recieving donations from (again unamed) oil companies, don't help with their propoganda purely based on self interest. Oh and as far as I am aware Al Gore & co. are really decent, honest human beings. Further species depletion also affects the dynamic of an ecosystem, some tarantula species under these circumstances may not be as safe as you think.

          All species are threatened by habitat destruction and global warming, though sustainable forestry is now commonplace in many parts of the world. So keeping captive bred populations, genetically enhanced by WC specimens introduced into the gene pool regularly is a great idea for conservation as well as for the hobby. Though harvesting hundreds is pushing it a bit too far.

          Still there are two more issues which need to be raised. Firstly on the issue of trade; whatever our views on wild caught specimens for trade, we must respect the laws of the countries we collect from. Ignorance is really no defence, we can easily pick up a phone and find out the rules, though sometimes mistakes do happen, fair is fair. As well as that I agree wholeheartedly with Andrew Smith's article in the BTS journal last issue. In fact he goes further than I would!

          Finally regarding the dry trade, the solution is in campaigning. We all have access to the internet, and whether the BTS for legal reasons wishes to formally endorse (or even spearhead) a campaign against dry specimens I don't know. But people have to understand as you so rightly point out that having a dry spider is no different than having a stag's head on your wall, or a tiger's head, or an ornament carved out of elephant tusks. This message has to be got accross and by the look of things it isn't. I know people have to feed themselves but there are always ways of providing alternative and more productive employment, as highlighted by Mr. Attenborough's recent television programmes on Madagascar. I would really like to hear the BTS Committee's opinions on the issue of "dry" specimens and whether they are interested in campaigning against such issues.

          Everyone who has internet access can find and can e-mail their MP about climate change, the "dry" specimen trade, and other conservation issues. It only takes a few minutes. Thanks James for your brilliant post.
          sigpicHate is for people who find thinking a little too complicated!


          • #6
            Excellant reply with some topical points.....I'll add a few things to the mix to get a broader "topic view" to discuss..

            The good side of WC specimens is that with a controled environment and restricted import and export that Australia has means (in my mind) that if a speces is completely knocked out by a natural disaster then this species, once identified, can be reintroduced from original WC or captive bred stock (if this was in the hobby in OZ) as the animal will still be "pure" due to the control of the environment.

            Global warming from our own waste materials plays a fair part in the whole scheme of things but two things are scientifically proven 1) we're getting closer to the sun day by day (not by much but enough to cause issues along the way) 2) the effect of magnetic fields, gamma radiation, solar flares, uncontrollable UV and IR spectrum light and the effects of other planets (including the moon) on the earth is naturally diminishing the stratospheric ozone (even though we go on about global warming so much the weird thing is that ozone depletion gets much worse when the stratosphere is very cold .. go figure eh?)

            Lastly i myself (rather pessimistically and sadly) don't think we have much of a chance of saving a good percentage our endangered animals due to the fact that we cannot cut off the cause of the matter, there will always be people who want certain items for medicine, trophy, collections, dry trade, illegal trade etc.
            I'm all for conservation and help in any way possible to my limits, a desperate situation has arisen and at the end of the day it's all down to the small percentage of the world population that will still feel the need to hunt, capture and experiment.

            In the words of the late, great Spike Milligan on Myxomatosis

            "A baby rabbit, with eye's full of pus, is the work of scientific us"

            Sad but true
            Don't forget to learn what you can, when you can, where you can.

            Please Support CB Grammostola :- Act Now To Secure The Future


            • #7
              thanks for the excellent posts Nicola and Colin!
              truly a lot of stuff needs to be done if we're to save ANYTHING!
              the nice thing with inverts is that they probably don't lose alot of hardcoded instinct just from living in a jar for a few generations...there isn't alot of brainpower there, though their ability to make decisions and show preference with that tiny gangleon is truly impressive.

              it's also possibly hopeful for some reptiles. someone i know vaguely had a carpet python when he turned up again (at a neighbour's house), he had gone feral in three weeks, and it took him some time to settle back into his normal, calm demeanour. so for these "simpler" animals...reintroduction may be more possible, due to their lack of massive intellect, and reliance on instinct. that's a good thing!
              of course it's harder with birds and mammals...they must be kept a certain way to maintain their feral natures to any degree.

              also, the possible loss of immune function and resistance to environmental dangers could be a threat to all...but i'd like to see some serious moves made towards re-introduction. the reluctance people show must be based on good reasons, but we need proactive solutions to the problems.
              Returning violence for violence multiplies violence, adding deeper darkness to a night already devoid of stars... Hate cannot drive out hate: only love can do that.
              -Martin Luther King Jr.

              <-Black Metal Contra Mundum->
              My Collection: - Support captive breeding