The woodcut above was taken from an 1873 edition of The Universe by F. A. Pouchet, MD. It's described as "Chicken-spider (Aranea pullaria), the size of life." While it probably really is a Theraphosid tarantula, there are many anatomical errors in the illustration. The artist obviously was not an arachnologist!
Because we no longer sell tarantulas and other arachnids we'd created this webpage in response to the frequent queries for Canadian sources for them.
But then it became obvious that we also needed to address some other, related topics, and the page has gradually grown to what you see now. Here we offer some heartfelt advice about determining the proper care for your pet tarantula or other arachnid, and we offer even more heartfelt advice about buying and shipping arachnids and tarantulas within Canada.
This page resides on a publicly owned and operated server and we are prohibited from including "advertising." It became obvious after some time that we were dangerously close to violating that basic rule, therefore we voluntarily withdrew the references to specific individuals and commercial interests that sold arachnids to the hobby. But we do tell you how to locate them with a clear conscience.
If you're just starting out, or if you're at the end of your rope with trying to sort out all the problems and suggestions that you've encountered, perhaps you need to read Stan's Rant to help sort it all out and get you onto a track that works.
Here are a few of the major resources that may be of use to you.
We list here the major arachnid/tarantula societies. The fact that your favorite society isn't mentioned here doesn't mean we don't like it, but rather that we were unable to find forwarding references or links to it or that we merely aren't aware of it. A myriad of smaller, local organizations also exist but we simply haven't the resources to list all of them here them here.
Note that the primary focus of these organizations is the academic study of arachnids and ordinarily doesn't concern arachnoculture. Hobbyists and enthusiasts interested in the care and breeding of arachnids and tarantulas should contact one or more of the enthusiast forums instead.
We list here the major professional arachnology organizations because, while much of their work involves arachnids and spiders other than tarantulas, they might still be of great interest to the serious enthusiast. There are almost surely other such organizations of which we are unaware. Interested enthusiasts are encouraged to contact Zoology, Entomology or Arachnology Departments at neighboring colleges and universities for leads to these.
We list below the Internet forums that we are aware of at the moment with memberships in excess of one hundred or that have a national rather than a local focus. You can find even more at Yahoo's arachnid groups website. Be advised, however, that the only thing constant about the Internet is its change and some of these may no longer exist tomorrow or even by this evening. Once you make contact with one you should ask for references to others as well.
In each case you will have to visit the listed URL and subscribe to the forum. There is no charge for this subscription. It's principally a security guarantee for both you and the forum server. (You're not deluged with interminable "spam" on their account, and they and you are protected from virus attacks.) After subscribing, you usually will be able to freely send postings to the forum server, which will post them on their message board for all the world to read. Similarly, any messages including responses to your postings from any other forum members will be posted. Each such forum maintains basic operating rules (e.g., no profanity, no commercial messages except on forums specifically set up for the purpose, etc.) that you should review when you subscribe so that you don't commit any faux pas.
The primary focus of these forums is the keeping and breeding of tarantulas and other arachnids. While arachnid taxonomy and biology are frequently discussed in these, such discussions are generally done at the hobbyist level.
Some of the professional societies listed above have their own message boards and forums, and the interested reader should visit their websites to discover the appropriate URLs.
Note that the primary focus of these forums is the academic study of arachnids and closely related animals, and ordinarily doesn't concern arachnoculture. Hobbyists and enthusiasts interested in the care and breeding of arachnids and tarantulas should use one or more of the enthusiast forums instead.
|Because of the often distressing fluidity of the Internet, any of the addresses or links quoted here may become inactive at any time without warning. In that case you are advised to use a web search engine like Google to locate a current address if one is available. If you need help using Google, select here.|
Because we will no longer be listing specific commercial interests as sources for arachnids in general and tarantulas specifically, we offer the following tips for finding these yourself.
Good places to look for dealers are in the American Tarantula Society's Forum Magazine and the British Tarantula Society's Journal of the British Tarantula Society. Note that these are not the only such periodicals available. Contact any hobbyist society to ask if they publish a journal or paper.
Note that a membership in the society is normally required to receive these publications.
In addition, many Internet forums and message boards include a webpage wherein enthusiasts and dealers may advertise. Some may be subdivided into American, Canadian, and even International dealers. Do not neglect to use this important resource! Here is a list of message boards for such advertisements that we know of at the time this page was last updated.
WHAT THE DICKENS IS A "HERP?"
In the hobby and the profession, reptiles and amphibians are collectively referred to as "herptiles" or "herps" and those who keep them or study them are called "herpetologists."
Almost every herp fancier has at least thought of keeping one or two tarantulas just to see what they're like. As a result they are also sold at herp shows and swap meets. (There were no less than five vendors selling tarantulas at a recent TARAS show!) Keep track of local herp club shows in your local newspaper or through your local pet shops. They're often good places to pick up exotic species that you won't see in the traditional pet industry. (They're also a good place to set up a small booth so you can unload some of your excess stock.)
There are at least two herp clubs in Alberta. These organizations do not sell tarantulas. They merely organize and hold the shows that allow others to do so. DO NOT CONTACT THESE ORGANIZATIONS TO ASK ABOUT BUYING TARANTULAS OR OTHER ARACHNIDS! Contact these organizations only to find out the time and place of their next shows, or to become a member of their organizations.
You can find a lot of information about the herptile hobby at Kingsnake.com. including source listings and lists of societies. However, it is largely focused on the much larger American herptile hobby and has little direct information about Canadian societies and sources.
It is entirely likely that there are other Canadian herp societies in existence. You might consider contacting one of those listed above to ask about the existence of a society in your area.
There are lots of pet shops and pet shop chains that have a reputation for selling tarantulas and other exotic pets. Check your Yellow Pages for local stores and call them to inquire about their stock. Be certain to refer to Stan's Rant, however, before following any care instructions given by pet shops!
Whenever you find another enthusiast who keeps arachnids or tarantulas or an enthusiast organization ask them if they know of other sources.
Do a web search with such keywords as "tarantula," "spider," "herp," "herptile" and "reptile" in conjunction with your particular province's or city's name. Amateur herpetologists and the stores that cater to them frequently keep and sell arachnids as well, even though they may not overtly advertise them. Looking for businesses that cater to herp fanciers is a good way to find arachnid/tarantula sources.
There are a number of magazines and other periodicals that are sold by the larger magazine and book stores as well as the larger pet shops that cater to the reptile hobby and the exotic pets hobby. Seek out these periodicals and pore through the advertisements.
Between September 1 and June 1 you should not ordinarily ship or receive any arachnids any other way than by air freight or personal pickup or delivery. During the warmer months, from June 1 until September 1, you may be able to ship and receive tarantulas by other means (e.g., courier or even by Canada Post although these might be illegal). The weather is just too unpredictable and cold for any other shipping schedule. YOU'VE BEEN WARNED!
Having said that, a few dealers and advanced hobbyists have learned a few tricks for successfully shipping tarantulas by mail or courier in all but the severest weather. Be sure to ask about the number of times that they have done so and what their success rate was. Before ordering tarantulas or other arachnids, and especially if you decide to order them during the colder months, you should discuss at length the terms of the shipper's guarantee. These may be tough questions that might severely impact the cost of the tarantulas, but they could easily be worth their weight in gold! Good questions to ask are:
Shipping by air freight automatically means a minimum fee of about CDN $150. Don't consider this unless you can buy lots of tarantulas to cut the shipping costs per animal to a reasonable level. Can you split a shipment with another enthusiast? When arachnids are shipped by air freight they go as live animals and special precautions are usually taken to protect the boxes from adverse heat or cold. If the shipment is insured you may have some recourse in case it is lost or severely damaged in transit. At least you shouldn't have to pay the freight, but don't even dream that they'll reimburse you for dead animals on arrival. Live arrival guarantees are something you should discuss with the shipper before placing your order.
For air freight shipments we recommend Air Canada, not because we have stock in the company (We wish!), but because they seem to have a better track record than most other airlines. They also apparently have a specific department that oversees the care of shipped animals. If you get particularly good service from some other airline, however, we'd like to know about it. Please contact us here .
Couriers and Canada Post are less expensive but the level of care that the package receives isn't as high either. Typical courier fees for a small package being shipped across Canada are about CDN $20 - $30. Couriers and Canada Post have rules prohibiting the shipment of livestock. That means that on most occasions the package will have to be mislabeled as chocolates or something else for it to be accepted for shipment. No special care is given any parcel (They are frequently left outdoors in an unheated truck overnight and tossed some distance during loading and unloading) and if there's a problem during shipment, you have absolutely no recourse. You get what you pay for. Insuring such a parcel is an especially rude joke on you! Again, live arrival guarantees are something you should discuss with the shipper before placing your order.
Lastly, shipping arachnids across international borders is another completely different subject, much too long and involved to be discussed in this way. If you seriously need information about this, contact us directly.
If any of the links or references on this page are no longer functional, please contact us so we can correct or remove them.
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Copyright © 2003, Stanley A. Schultz and Marguerite J. Schultz.
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This page was initially created on 2003-March-15.
The last revision occurred on 2012-March-12.