Eurycantha calcarata

Origin -
Papua New Guinea and surrounding islands incl. New Britain, New Ireland and Solomon Islands.

Food -
Bramble, rose, raspberry, oak, beech, photinia, salal, ... Extremely polyphagous species. They will even eat the paper towel in the enclosure.

Adult length -
female 12-16 cm, male 10-13 cm

​Terrarium -
These should be housed in a very large enclosure, with adequate moisture and a very thick layer of substrate (preferably forest soil, old potting soil, ...) Make sure to provide them with a lot of hiding spots, like pieces of bark or cork, in the daytime they like to hide underneath these objects. Terrarium should not be too well ventilated, as this species absolutely loves humidity. Springtails and isopods should be added to the substrate, to combat mould.

Incubation time eggs -
4 to 6 months

Experience with this species -
These are some of the easiest to keep and breed. As mentioned above, the enclosure should be very large, as this is a very large plasmid. Also, they like to live in groups. In the daytime, they all gather underneath large pieces of bark, and will be sitting even on top of each other, they just love company. Males do claim certain areas in the enclosure, and at night, they will even engage in "fights" to claim their spot. More dominant males are usually bigger and search for elevated places to own their spot, like on top of a piece of bark. Both males and females are very aggressive, and you will definitely need gloves to handle them. Both sexes will display a threat pose, with their hind legs in the air.

Anything that will enter the space between those hind legs will be slapped, scratched or pinched, which can be very painful and if not at least very unpleasant. Especially males are very eager to pinch you and the spikes Males can also spray a very foul scented substance, which is hard to describe. It really stinks and is kind of sickening. You can also make them get used to you so they will be less aggressive, but this means you will have to pick them up regularly.

They are not demanding at all, but they have their preferences. Females literally lay hundreds of eggs, which they drill into the substrate. Up to 400 or 450 eggs per female is no exception.

Virtually all eggs will hatch, and in no time, your enclosure will be flooded with nymphs, that grow into adults in just a matter of months (3-4-or 5 months, depending on conditions)

Eurycantha are not fussy eaters, they devour anything they are offered. In my breeding, bramble, oak and salal are favourite food plants.

Food should always be fresh and enclosures can be kept clean by adding a "clean-up crew" to the substrate. Isopods, springtails and even earthworms will keep the many faeces in check and prevent the faeces from getting mouldy. You can regularly remove the top layer of the substrate if the faeces build up too much.

Other recommendations are to spray them with reversed osmosis water, especially at night, before they wake up. They do like to drink once in a while.

This is an excellent beginner species, as they are very hardy, show interesting behaviour and above all- they are fierce!!!

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