Brachypelma Hamorii Tarantula: All You Need to Know About Your Hairy Friend

Tarantulas are the largest spider species on earth. You will find them across all kinds of environments, from the deserts of Africa to the tropical rain forests of the Amazon. 

They belong to the Theraphosidae family, which comprises over 860 different species.

Often, you’ll hear people talking about the old world and new world species. The new world (North and South America) includes species like the Brachypelma hamorii, a species found in Mexico.

The old world refers to species found in Asia, Europe, Africa, etc. New world tarantula species tend to be less aggressive compared to their old-world species. They tend to be aggressive and have more potent venom.

Characteristics of Brachypelma Hamorii

  • Females tend to be larger than their male counterparts.
  • Their legs and palps are black to reddish in color, with three distinctly coloured rings.
  • Adult males have light greyish-red carapace.
  • The upper part of the abdomen is black.
  • Females can live up to 30 years, while males live for roughly 5 years.

What feed your Brachypelma Hamorii

Like most tarantulas, this species’ diet tends to comprise mostly of insects, but some tarantulas may grow to be large enough to eat small rodents and birds. In the wild, they hunt by slowly sneaking up on their prey and jump on them.

Others prefer to tube web or burrow for food to come to them. Once they are within range, they then pull the prey into their hole where they consume them.

As large as they are, these beautiful creatures aren’t always the hunters. Sometimes, they become the prey. There are countless tarantula predators, including:

  • Wasps, 
  • Birds, 
  • Snakes, 
  • Coyotes, 
  • Lizards, 
  • Scorpions 
  • Other spiders (spiders are cannibals)

By far, the most lethal tarantula predator is the Pepsis wasp, a.k.a, the tarantula hawk. They sting the tarantula, which paralyzes it. Then, the wasp will drag it back to its nest. She will then lay her eggs on the tarantula. Once they hatch, the larva consumes the tarantula.  

Tarantulas as pets

In the invertebrate world, no species is more popular than tarantulas. They cost anything from $10 to $200 or more, depending on their popularity, rarity, and size. Some hobbyists collect different species just for fun, while others keep them as pets.

What makes these creatures popular is that they are inexpensive, beautiful, and easy to maintain – compared to other pets.

If you wish to keep a tarantula as a pet, there are a couple of things you need to think about first.

  1. Tarantulas tend to live for many years; they are not a pet you will get and only have to worry about for a year or two.
  2. You need to conduct in-depth research on the care of the various species you want to buy. Care doesn’t vary much, but if you want your pet to live long and happy, it’s vital you give your tarantula a healthy environment.
  3. Decide whether to get a species like the Brachypelma hamorii to hold and play with or the pink toe tarantula to look at; please note that there are multiple species to choose from. Pick the type that most fits what you are looking for.

Lastly, new pet owners tend to struggle with the question of how often they should feed their hairy friends. The answer depends on the age and size of your pet. Younger tarantulas tend to eat more often than adults. Always remove any food they haven’t consumed from their cage.

Napoleon, Jan. 7th Pet of the Week!

The French emperor Napoleon Bonaparte was a shrewd military personage who built an empire with his skills. Unlike Bonaparte, though, our Napoleon resembles the sweet, custardy dessert of the same name, and he’ll delight you just as much as that gooey goody does. No calories to worry about—this 1-year-old pitty mix is energetic and playful and will lead you through the routines, only to settle down later for some love. Want your heart blown apart (heh heh)? Take a Napoleon home! Because the shelter is closed to the public, adoption appointments are conducted through appointment, so call 562-570-PETS or email PetAdopt@longbeach.gov  to meet Napoleon. Ask for ID#652588.

(This rescue encouraged by the usual suspects.)

Starting a Vegan diet this New Year? These products are a must-try!

It seems that more people are starting the New Year with becoming Vegan. This isn’t a bad thing but it is sometimes difficult to find brands that are consistent and taste good. I have tried many baked good that are Vegan but felt that something was lacking in the taste.

Lehi Mills is a premium baking mix company that recently launched their Certified Vegan Line. With over 100 years of milling experience, quality has always been their first ingredient. To this day, Lehi Mills thoroughly inspects each harvest to ensure their ingredients meet their quality standards, following their motto, from farm to mill to table. By valuing nutritional factors like sodium and sugar and steering clear of processed ingredients, Lehi Mills’ proudly backs it’s Certified Vegan Label with promise and research, exceeding quality and health standards set by competing brands. 

Included in the Lehi Mills Certified Vegan Line is the delicious Vegan Pancake and Waffle Mix, Vegan Raspberry Muffin Mix, and Vegan Double Fudge Brownie. All of which are plant-based and perfect for when you want a wholesome, vegan treat.

I had the opportunity to try the Vegan Pancake and Waffle Mix and the Vegan Double Fudge Brownie mix.

Vegan Pancake and Waffle Mix

Their plant-based pancake mix tastes like your classic, hearty pancake, even without the dairy and eggs. Made with finely milled organic flour, this vegan pancake is as delicious as it is wholesome. Available on LehiMills.com and at select Kroger stores; MSRP: $4.99. I really like this mix and it has quickly become a new favorite of mine!

Vegan Double Fudge BrownieWith this plant-based brownie mix, you and your family can whip up the most decadent, fudgy brownies in a matter of minutes. You can feel good about preparing this vegan recipe with your family. We know they’ll love it—even without the dairy and eggs! Available on LehiMills.com and at select Kroger stores; MSRP: $4.99.

I was surprised by how much I loved this one! I have tried Vegan brownies at a local bakery in the past and did not like them so I was very surprised at the great taste of these!

Self Disclosure: I received free samples of the above items to facilitate this post. Images were also provided.

Have Kids? Have Pets? Life can be messy but Kids ‘n’ Pets has you covered!

As a Mom, I know if you have young kids, and if you have pets, life can get messy! It isn’t easy to find cleaners that are non-toxic and safe to use around children and pets so I was quite excited to learn about Kids ‘n’ Pets Instant All-Purpose Stain & Odor Remover. What I really like is that it is non-toxic and is made with all-natural ingredients. What makes it different and effective is Enzymes. The Enzymes attack naturally and digest all kinds of biodegradable stains and odors. You can use it on carpet, furniture, clothing, and basically any other water-safe surfaces. It doesn’t just mask the odor either! I wish I had known about this when we were housebreaking our dog 6 years ago. This definitely is a must-buy when housebreaking a new puppy. It would also be helpful when teaching a kitten to use a litter box. It’s also simple to use! You simply wipe up the stain and spray with Kids ‘n’ Pets and leave it on for about 5 minutes and then you wipe it up with a clean white cloth. If you are trying to remove an old stain-you can leave it on for an hour or so before wiping it up.

It can be found at many retailers such as Walmart, Home Depot, and even Amazon.com. I also like that it is not expensive either but it works better than more expensive brands I have tried.

Self Disclosure: I am participating in the Kids ‘n’ Pets Ambassador program and received free samples/compensation to post. Photo Credit: SoCal City Kids.

North America’s largest dinosaur experience brings socially distanced, roar-some family fun to four SoCal Cities beginning January 1st!

Image Credit: JURASSIC QUEST 

More than 70 photorealistic dinosaurs are ready and raring to return from extinction to invade Southern California in the New Year. The Jurassic Quest Drive Thru, the nation’s largest touring dinosaur exhibit, will migrate to four Los Angeles, Orange County and San Diego-adjacent destinations after welcoming legions of guests to sold-out weekends across the country: 

  • Del Mar Fairgrounds near San Diego: Jan. 1-10 
  • Rose Bowl Stadium in Pasadena: Jan. 15-31 
  • OC Fair & Event Center in Costa Mesa: Feb. 5-14 
  • Fairplex in Pomona: Feb. 19-28 
     

The Jurassic Quest Drive Thru will transform the outdoor parking areas of these iconic SoCal venues into an interactive drive-thru experience, featuring more than 70 moving and life-like dinosaurs, as well as our 50 foot-long Megalodon! Jurassic Quest’s herd of animatronic dinos are displayed in realistic scenes that allow guests to experience them roaring and moving as they drive through the tour.  Although the drive-thru experience means visitors will stay safe inside their vehicle, they’ll still need to avoid the swinging tail of our 80 foot-long Spinosaurus!   

More than 300,000 vehicles and 1.5 million people have attended the Jurassic Quest Drive Thru since the national tour launched in mid-July with stops in New York, Boston, Philadelphia, San Antonio, Dallas, Oklahoma City, Detroit, Atlanta, Cincinnati, Ft. Lauderdale and Houston.  

The Jurassic Quest Drive Thru is the only place to encounter some of the largest dinosaurs to ever roam the Earth, and some of the eeriest marine creatures to ever lurk the ocean’s depths, from the safety of your family vehicle. Guests will be among the first in the nation to go on a quest with our adventure-for-all-ages online audio tour that will lead them through the thrilling dinosaur safari. The audio tour is available in English and Spanish, and special accommodations can be made for the hearing impaired. For $49 per vehicle (8 people or less), your dino crew can time-travel and enjoy about an hour-long ride back in time. 

Jurassic Quest worked in collaboration with leading paleontologists to ensure each dinosaur was painstakingly replicated in every detail, depicting how we understand dinosaurs looked and moved! 

In addition to the life-like dinosaur exhibits, there will be opportunities to visit with our one-of-a-kind baby dinosaurs and our team of dino trainers as well as the chance to capture the moment with a safari-style photo of your vehicle and family transported back in time via a Jurassic setting complete with a dinosaur backdrop. All attendees will leave with the same bragging rights, “We Survived Jurassic Quest 2020!” One photo per family is included with ticket purchase.  

Designed to be thrilling but not scary for our littlest adventurers, big or small, young or old, guests of Jurassic Quest have a dino-mite time! 

COVID-19 PRECAUTIONS  

Jurassic Quest takes extra precautionary measures to provide a clean and safe event and operates under COVID-19 safety protocols in accordance with county, state and CDC guidelines. Guests are to remain in vehicles and to wear masks in the event they exit the vehicle in allowed areas. Social distancing rules are requested of all guests and maintained by Jurassic Quest crew. We sanitize equipment, dinosaurs and workstations frequently and thoroughly throughout the entirety of the event. Our employees apply hand sanitizer and wash hands regularly throughout each day, in addition to wearing masks. Guest safety and enjoyment is our top priority. 

TICKETS & LOGISTICS  

Jurassic Quest Drive Thru adventurers will need to buy tickets in advance online at www.jurassicquest.com. Tickets are $49 per vehicle and include a 100% ticket guarantee that in the event of a show cancellation or postponement for any reason, ticket purchases will be automatically refunded for the full purchase amount. Guests must travel through the drive-thru in the comfort of their own vehicle – no rentals or golf carts will be provided, and walkers are not allowed. To ensure participant safety, all guests must ride inside their vehicles (yes, pets inside vehicles are allowed), no riders in truck beds, however. Trailers are also not allowed – we’re worried they might tempt the hungry dinos too much! Oversized vehicles and vehicles with 9 or more riders are permitted but will need to contact Customer Service, customerservice@jurassicquest.com, for pricing and scheduling. A full list of Frequently Asked Questions can be found online at https://www.jurassicquest.com/drive-thru-faqs.  


Event:              Jurassic Quest Drive-Thru 

Admission:      Tickets available online 

   Cost for entry: $49 per vehicle 

Where:            Del Mar Fairgrounds (2260 Jimmy Durante Blvd, Del Mar, CA 92014) 

When:             January 1-10, 2021 (closed Monday & Tuesday, January 4-5) 

Hours:             11 am – 8 pm opening day (January 1); 9 am – 8 pm daily (January 2-10) 

Press Preview: Begins January 1, by request *Please RSVP 

Where:            The Rose Bowl (1001 Rose Bowl Dr., Pasadena, CA 91103)  

When:             January 15-31, 2021 (closed Monday & Tuesday, January 18-19)

Hours:             11 am – 8 pm opening day (January 15); 9 am – 8 pm daily (January 16-24) 

Press Preview: 9 – 11 am Friday, January 15 *Please RSVP 

Where:            OC Fair & Event Center (88 Fair Drive, Costa Mesa, CA 92626)  

When:             February 5-14, 2021 (closed Monday & Tuesday, February 8-9)

Hours:             11 am – 8 pm opening day (February 5); 9 am – 8 pm daily (February 6-14) 

Press Preview: 9 – 11 am Friday, February 5 *Please RSVP 

Where:            Fairplex (1101 W McKinley Avenue, Pomona, CA 91768)  

When:             February 19-28, 2021 (closed Monday & Tuesday, February 22-23) 

Hours:             11 am  8 pm opening day (February 19); 9 am – 8 pm daily (February 20-28) 

Press Preview: 9 – 11 am Friday, February 19 *Please RSVP 

Credit: JURASSIC QUEST 

Currently touring as a Drive-Thru only. The largest and most realistic dinosaur exhibition in North America. Now with new animatronic water dwellers, Jurassic Quest is the only dinosaur event that has up to 100 true to life-sized dinosaur replicas from the very small, to the gigantic, to those found under the sea. Guests will witness their favorite dinosaurs move, roar and roam and have the chance to interact with baby dinosaurs and adolescent dinosaurs, including the T. Rex, Spinosaurus, Triceratops and many others. With the addition of Ancient Oceans, guests will also be able to “swim” with our 50 foot long, prehistoric Megalodon!  

Everything comes bigger in Texas, and Houston-based Jurassic Quest has been mounting epic dinosaur experiences since 2014, treating millions of people around the world to an as-close-as-you-can-get look at the giants that ruled the Earth and sea millions of years ago. Developed in hand with leading paleontologists, Jurassic Quest dinos featuring realistic movement and sound have brought more than 1.5 million fans a safe family adventure option via new drive-thru experiences. For more information and tickets visit www.jurassicquest.com.

Xena, Dec. 30th Pet of the Week!

Xena is a 5-year-old sweetheart of a Rottweiler. She has special needs—she’s blind—but the emphasis is on “special.” Xena’s a lovebug with her bright smile and easygoing disposition—just what’s needed for the new year! Here she is with her seeing-eye human, shelter volunteer Gary. Want to be her eyes? She sure will be your heart! Because the shelter is closed to the public, adoption appointments are conducted through appointment, so call 562-570-PETS or email PetAdopt@longbeach.gov to meet Xena. Ask for ID#A652438.

(This rescue encouraged by the usual suspects.)

Lilly’s Light: The Movie * A Fun Loving Adventure With Wonderful Songs and Messages

Lilly’s Light is a fun-filled and heartwarming family musical, starring Lilly, (Sherry Hursey, Home Improvement, Bring It On) a loving foster mom and keeper of an enchanted lighthouse. Using joy, love, laughter and song as her tools, Lilly shows everyone that “Life is Full of Possibilities!” It is an inspiring and uplifting adventure that will capture the hearts and minds of children and adults everywhere. KIDS FIRST! Film Critic Kayla A. comments, “The heartfelt film Lilly’s Light: The Movie is perfect for young children. I love this movie because of the elements of magic and hope that are embedded throughout. Also, the message is clearly delivered through catchy songs.” Rosemary K. adds, “The film’s message is about joy, bravery and making the best out of what one has.”  Giana N. adds, “Lilly’s Light: The Movie is a musical that shows people that they always need someone. The characters are fun and the songs have great messages. This film is enchanting and heartwarming.”  Avery P. wraps it up with, “The recurring message is that life has endless possibilities and you should stay true to yourself. Lilly had to survive and help herself by making a family out of friends. By doing this she has many lessons to teach others. You should know that the film does include topics about orphans and foster kids. You also should know that your child may sing these songs over and over again!” See their full reviews below.

Lilly’s Light: The Movie

By Kayla A., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 10

The heartfelt film Lilly’s Light: The Movie is perfect for young children. I love this movie because of the elements of magic and hope that are embedded throughout. Also, the message is clearly delivered through catchy songs.

This film follows a caring foster mother named Lilly and the keeper of a magical lighthouse. The real fun begins when members of Lilly’s crew of children discover The Big Book of Little Adventures in the lighthouse basement.  Inside the book, the talking pelican messenger Pel-Mel shows them Daniel, a poor orphan who isn’t open to new people in his life. Lilly and her crew take him on a magical adventure where they meet the Wizard of Hog and Sir Oinks A Lot. But will Daniel loosen up and open his heart to new friends?

I really like how the film delivers strong messages through positive, uplifting and inspirational songs. This family-friendly musical is filled with colorful and playful sets that really engage young children.  Sherry Hursey who plays Lilly acts with such passion and joy; she is like Mary Poppins in training! 

This film conveys many uplifting messages, but the one that spoke to me most is: you have the power to change the way you think.

I give Lilly’s Light: The Movie 4 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 5 to 7 who will absolutely love this film and be begging for a sequel. Lilly’s Light: The Movie is currently streaming via Gathr At Home for children and families to watch and sing-a-long together.

Lilly’s Light: The Movie
By Rosemary K., KIDS FIRST!  Film Critic, age 12

I really appreciate that it took a lot of hard work and effort to make Lilly’s Light: The Movie. Sherry Hursey co-wrote and produced the film, as well as performs in the lead role. It is very creative and is like no film I’ve ever seen before and is suitable for young children. However, the storyline and themes may be a bit confusing for them. The film has a lot of wavering fantasies and unrealistic things mixed with realistic, half-funny jokes. 

The storyline follows a girl who is raised an orphan, Lilly (Sherry Hursey) who, as an adult, opens a foster care center in a lighthouse where she takes children on wonderful and magnificent journeys and brings joy to everyone’s life. She helps a boy find happiness and imagination and takes all the children into an imaginary world that they make a scrapbook of to show people in the future.

Even though I didn’t resonate with the storyline, the special effects and animation are well executed. There are beautiful transitions between the scenes and the music is very original and enjoyable. There are speaking animals, which are convincing and really funny. My favorite part is when they are in an imaginary pig-style version of Camelot with talking pigs that make jokes. This part is overall hilarious and ties together the deeper parts of the film.  It is a bit corny and some of the dialogue isn’t very realistic and doesn’t draw you into the story. 

The film’s message is about joy, bravery and making the best out of what one has. 

I give Lilly’s Light: The Movie 3 out of 5 stars recommend it for ages 6-13, plus some adults.  People who really like unique and out of the ordinary fantasy films will particularly enjoy it. Lilly’s Light: The Movie is currently streaming via Gathr At Home for children and families to watch and sing-a-long together.

Lilly’s Light: The Movie

By Giana N., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, Age 9

Lilly’s Light: The Movie is a musical that shows people that they always need someone. The characters are fun and the songs have great messages. This film is enchanting and heartwarming.

Lilly’s Light: The Movie is about a woman named Lilly, played by Sherry Hursey, who was a foster kid as a child. When Lilly becomes an adult, she uses a lighthouse to create a home for other foster children. A young boy named Daniel, played by Vitor Philipe, just lost his grandmother, his only known family member, making him a foster kid too. Lilly invites him to the family, but he declines and says he doesn’t need anyone. But, Lilly and the kids take Daniel’s book bag to keep him at the lighthouse long enough to convince him that he needs them after all.

The writers of Lilly’s Light: The Movie uses storytelling to tell about the adventures of the foster kids. The scenes switch back and forth between the past and the present as the story is told. The set of the movie is colorful and appealing. For example, the colors of the furniture in the lighthouse give the house an artistic vibe. All of the songs in this film have a positive message. For example, the song “Life Is Full of Possibilities” gives us the message that anything can happen in life. I like the talking goose, but the part I like the most is when Daniel realizes that he needs Lilly, because even though his grandmother is no longer with him, he has a new family now.

The message of Lilly’s Light: The Movie is family isn’t just your relatives, but it’s the people who love and care for you. There aren’t any inappropriate things to look out for in this film. This is actually a family-friendly film.

The music and the message of Lilly’s Light: The Movie makes this film worth watching. I give this film 3.5 out of 5 stars and recommend it to ages 5 to 13. Lilly’s Light: The Movie is currently streaming via Gathr At Home for children and families to watch and sing-a-long together. Be sure to check it out!

Lilly’s Light: The Movie

By Avery P., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 13

Lilly’s Light: The Movie is a very whimsical film! It is especially creative and has many great messages and entertaining content.

The storyline is about Lilly (Sherry Hursey), who was stranded from her parents at sea and is raised by a fisherman, Uncle Fitz (LeRoy White). Lilly grows up to become a foster mom to three young children. She easily helps others and eventually takes in more kids including Daniel (Vitor Philipe). Lilly reads to her foster kids about all the adventures she has had with other kids.

I enjoyed the fun personalities of all the characters. Everyone is very bubbly. The singing and musical fun is entertaining and lighthearted. The songs are motivating and very catchy. Some songs are a little slow, but for the most part it is upbeat. There are many fun talking animals which is very appealing. I also like the computerized characters that come to life.  The background music is magical with lots of sound affects showing off certain moves, songs and games. The film is adventurous and playful. The costuming is especially creative and colorful. There is a point in the film where Lilly and the kids switch to a different time period. The costuming in this era has many medieval renaissance dresses and clothing. The background and setting starts in a colorful, magical lighthouse with has tons of cool inventions. My favorite thing is that the movie promotes imagination and inventions. The film may be a bit long for its intended audience.

There are multiple messages from the film.  The recurring message is that life has endless possibilities and you should stay true to yourself. Lilly had to survive and help herself by making a family out of friends. By doing this she has many lessons to teach others. You should know that the film does include topics about orphans and foster kids. You also should know that your child may sing these songs over and over again!

I give Lilly’s Light 2.5 out 5 stars and recommend it for ages 5 to 8. Lilly’s Light: The Movie is currently streaming via Gathr At Home for children and families to watch and sing-a-long together.

Mr. Iglesias, Season 3 * Good Message, Encourages Us To Realize The Importance Of Teachers

Mr. Iglesias is an American comedy streaming television series that premiered on Netflix on June 21, 2019. The series stars Gabriel Iglesias who executive produces alongside Kevin Hench, Joe Meloche, and Ron DeBlasio. In August 2019, the series was renewed for a second season which premiered on June 17, 2020. Season 3 comes out December 8, 2020. KIDS FIRST! Film Critic Calista B. comments, “Mr. Iglesias is a streaming TV series with a great moral message and a lot of potential. The story follows Mr. Iglesias (Gabe Iglesias), a high school teacher who wants nothing more than to help his students thrive.” See her full review below.

Mr. Iglesias, Season 3

By Calista Bess, KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, Age 17

Mr. Iglesias is a streaming TV series with a great moral message and a lot of potential. The story follows Mr. Iglesias (Gabe Iglesias), a high school teacher who wants nothing more than to help his students thrive. He works to help his students through their interpersonal issues while also working on his own anxieties.

This show is a sitcom, so how is the comedy? To be honest, the comedy is very hit or miss for me. And that’s mainly because this show uses a laugh track. I found it a bit annoying and it consistently broke my immersion. I also don’t understand why this show needs a laugh track in the first place. It’s a very outdated tactic and it makes the show feel outdated as a result. Though, the pop culture references definitely don’t help. There are some genuinely funny lines despite this flaw, but it’s still something that really bothered me.

The characters are also hit or miss. I like a lot of the students, especially Grace (Gloria Aung) and Marisol (Cree Cicchino) as I felt they have a lot of development throughout the show. However, Mr. Iglesias’s co-workers are mostly annoying. Paula (Sherri Shepard) especially bothered me the more episodes I watched, which is unfortunate since Sherri Shepard is a great comedy actor. Her very inappropriate humor feels so jarring and it made me feel uncomfortable at points. Weirdly enough, Carlos (Oscar Nunez) actually grew on me. Despite how comically evil he is at first, once he tones down his hatred for children, he becomes a very entertaining straight man. Mr. Iglesias himself is consistently entertaining. He definitely steals the show most of the time. Despite this, I’m not a fan of the way he is presented in the show. The character version of Gabriel Iglesias is presented with very few flaws, and characters regularly comment on how his biggest flaw is how nice he is. It feels unnatural and too perfect.

Mr. Iglesias has a good message and encourages us to realize that teachers are incredibly important to the lives of children— we should celebrate that importance. The upcoming third season is the best season of the show. Despite fewer episodes, the jokes are a lot funnier, and there’s a lot of character development in the third season. So if you are already a fan you will definitely be happy with what’s coming next.

I give Mr. Iglesias 3 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 14 to 18. Season 3 comes out December 8, 2020.