TKC US Population Project: Poecilotheria vittata

Poecilotheria vittata. The Ghost Ornamental.

This one I am personally very excited about. The first “ornamental” tarantula that I fell in love with was Poecilotheria vittata, with their vivid whites and dark blacks. I wanted a female so bad but couldn’t find any in the states. I had to get a couple juvies on import. This was in 2017, over a year before the Sri Lankan Pokies were added to the Endangered Species Act (ESA). My juvies turned out to be all boys, but I was happy that I’d be able get some of their babies. My first male to mature went to Brandon Craig in Arizona and his mate there gave us a small sac, from which I have a four-spider communal who is thriving. One of my other males matured recently and the other passed away before maturing.

Just before the Sri Lankan Pokies were put on the ESA, Brandon offered to sell me two P. vittata females. I’ve named Wendy and Bonnie, from the early Casper the Friendly Ghost cartoon, after girls whom befriended Casper. Right around that same time, Brandi Vance contacted me with a mature male P. vittata (whom Brandi had named Casper, he was a charmer!). I couldn’t believe how lucky I was getting! Fast forward to a year later, we have over 100 beautiful spiderlings from Casper and Bonnie!

Unfortunately Casper died of old age before Wendy molted in our care. He spent his last days stuffed between two beautiful ladies (all in their own enclosures, of course!), and he tapped to them until he couldn’t tap no more. Wendy has since molted and met with my other boy, whom I call Ghost. (Hopefully we’ll have another P. vittata project at the end of the year!)

The Spiderlings

The majority of the spiderlings yielded by Bonnie have been donated to the TKC for distribution via the TKC US Population Project. We also recently received spiderlings donated by James Fuentes for the TKC US Population Project. (Thanks again, James!!) We are very happy to announce that we have twenty-five sets of three P. vittata to ship across the United States!

How Can You Get Involved?

If you would like to participate in the TKC US Population Project: P. vittata, all you have to do is email us ([email protected]) and tell us about yourself. (Please don’t PM us with breeder requests.) Let us know what species you’ve bred, what other breeders you have worked with, etc, and be sure include your location. When we choose breeders, these are these are the main things we look at. Be sure to include anything you want us to know about yourself or your experience. If your request is missing information, you will be passed for this project. Unfortunately we do not have time to seek your information so it will be your responsibility to include it. We are accepting breeder requests for the next couple weeks. In mid-August, the breeders chosen will be emailed and we will begin sending out sets of P. vittata!

The Tarantula Keepers Coalition is forever grateful to all of our wonderful supporters. We absolutely love all the participation we are seeing. We hope to continue this program for a long, long time, and to expand it to other Poecilotheria species or Brazilian species if they get added to the ESA or are otherwise regulated. Through the TKC US Population Project, we can ensure species thrive in the United States. We are proud to work with so many like-minded people. If you are interested in participating in this leg, please be sure to email us.

If you have spiderlings or are expecting spiderlings and would like to donate them to the project, email us or PM us on Facebook and we will work out the details. We truly appreciate everyone who is participating! However a very special thanks to Brandi and James for donating portions of their spiderlings to the TKC. We are honored. We look forward to working with many other wonderful people in the community.

Facebook Groups & Live Animal Sales

Facebook Group - Live Animals Sales

As you may know, several of the Tarantula Keepers Coalition board members are also admins/mods for the Facebook group The Tarantula Community. On Sunday of this week, Facebook disabled The Tarantula Community was for live animal sales posts. The admins of the Tarantula Community spent all of Sunday removing any posts that might trigger Facebook algorithms. On Monday the group requested a review by Facebook. As of now, a back-up group was created called The Tarantula Community TTC. Until the review has been processed, we are unsure what the outcome will be for the original group. We will update as anything changes.

We spoke with many other Facebook members during the past few days and it seems that even if a group has been reinstated, Facebook has often deleted the group again in a short period of time. This hasn’t been the case for every group that’s been disabled but the possibility hangs over the group.

Facebook’s Live Animal Sales Policy

Understanding Facebook’s live animal sales policy is imperative for all group admins/mods. It has long been Facebook’s policy that sales of endangered animals and their parts were forbidden. In May, they updated the policy to include sales of all animals between individuals. Animals sales are allowed to be posted by rehoming services, adoption services, shelters or brick-and-mortar entities. What is determined to be a “brick-and-mortar” entity is a case-by-case basis, but it is fair for us to assume if you have a storefront or established location which is connected to your business wherein customers can purchase tarantulas, you should be safe to make sales posts.

According to Facebook’s commerce rules, posts by individuals may not promote the sales of any of the following: live animals, pets, livestock, or any part, pelt or skin from an animal, including fur. However, the following are allowed: animal cages, (non-living) products for animals, veterinary services, grooming services, and boarding services.

Protect your Group from Being Disabled

Prevention is the best course of action. Here are some ways you can help prevent violations.

Full Post Approval for your group – this allows you to control every post that is attempted to be posted in your group. This is the #1 best tool at your disposal. You can also set pre-approved members if there are members that you trust to never submit a post that could result in a violation. Admins and mods are automatically pre-approved.

Watch for words/phrases that could trigger Facebook’s algorithms such as “sale”, “for sale”, “PM me for details”, etc. Decline or remove posts including such words/phrases which appear to be transactions between individuals. Again, brick-and-mortar entities are allowed to make such posts. (This is a important detail to remember!)

If your group gets disabled, any work on the group prior to the review can only be done by admin. You may want to consider promoting mods to admins, just in case. You get one chance for review so you want it to count. Be diligent in your group and you should be safe. 🙂 Most members are very understanding and willing to work with the groups they’re in as no one wants to see Facebook groups get shut down.