Youtube as an education platform for animal care and welfare

YouTube is an American video-sharing website based in San Bruno, California. The site was established by three former PayPal employees—Chad Hurley, Steve Chen, and Jawed Karim—in February 2005. Google bought the site in November 2006 for US$1.65 billion; YouTube now operates as one of Google’s subsidiaries. This has been a revolutionary tool for the sharing of music covers, talent, funny moments, moments that made their mark in history, multimedia platforms, advertising, songs, education, history and much more. The components of a media sharing platform are all ravelled in the YouTube sharing platform. People can express opinions, political or otherwise where as others see it as a way of sharing their experience in hobbies.

The users of Youtube in some cases get paid revenue from the adverts for their videos, which proposes jobs and it allows people to be paid for doing something they really have a passion fuelled investment in.

Speaking as someone who has a Youtube channel, I certainly see the possibilities of this site and see the successes of its use but also its flaws where people don’t realise the influence they have on their audiences however you have genuine users who respect their hobby, opinion and the influence they have on audiences. In my liked videos list of my channel, I have way over 5000 videos, probably border lining 10,000 liked videos and I have only 16 videos on my channel based on gaming. My initial passion was fuelled by wildlife conservation and Steve backshalls deadly 60. Somewhere out there is a video of my younger self giving a talk about finding a squid on a beach somewhere in Wales or Scotland!

Youtubers I like include, Jackscepticeye, Pewdiepie, Markiplier, Brave wilderness, KSI, Comedyshorts gamer, Ants Canada and one of my favourite channels Dark den.

Now on to the article!

As the platform has grown, so has its potential, and therefor the variety of users.

Petko, a nickname given to the owner of the Dark Den YouTube channel, joined the platform on the 20th of December in 2014. However, he had a more private and less known channel where he featured hanging out with his friends, skateboarding and covers for music a bit before the Dark Den launched.

Petko is from Croatia and created the Dark Den channel in response to his flourishing interest in the tarantula keeping hobby as well as how many species were in the hobby at the time. A similar channel is Brian Barczyk, where his channel focuses on snake breeding and morphs which is a hobby constantly growing as new morphs are created. However, with a lot of species of tarantula, there is no single care sheet method for each species. It is mainly based on substrate preference and the lifestyle, terrestrial or aboreal / New world or old world. From content I have seen Petko produce he makes the audience aware in some videos that the care isn’t fully known or understood, and that part of the hobby is trying new things and learning from mistakes. This isn’t only applied to the keeping of his species but can also be taken by the audience as a life lesson.

The Dark den is a focus on this hobby of tarantula keeping and since receiving fan mail and going to expos, he has expanded his collections. He has a fan mail wall and you get the feeling he really loves his fans. I would like to point out that he makes his own enclosures and shows people cost effective and time effective management while keeping welfare in mind and I have to say coming from someone that has 3 years in animal care and management academia, followed by work in several pet shops voluntarily and paid, and being in that part of the hobby for more than approx. 10 years.  I am very impressed with his channel, enclosures and I urge anyone interested to give it a look. His channel is linked below followed by his classic tarantula threat posture logo.

 

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https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC178kThBUvGNps5cabRP_2Q

 

His collection of 90> species range from P.Metallica, (Gooty ornamental)  to various mantis species, assassin bugs and all the invertebrates you can dream off while having a educational and comforting atmosphere. A fun story i had took from one of his question and answer videos was that he collected spiders when he was younger and had to hide them from his mother. I was in a similar situation, my mum constantly reminds me of how I got stuck in an ant nest and she had to spray me down with a hose, to which I responded with annoyance as she could have hurt the ants. Having all these species, some people would think has he ever been bitten or stung and he hasn’t which goes to show the passion for keeping his collection happy and healthy while being aware of the risks.

 

To mention risks, he has done a video on a potential scammer posing as an animal sanctuary which also refines his passions and has set up videos for all of species whether it be rehoming or setting up very natural enclosures for centipedes! He also advises on caring for food stock like roaches, and bio cleaners such as isopods as well as offering advice on accessing how a tarantula will react when touched and what it means.

Petko and his channel are a great example of how we can reinforce animal care, keeping and welfare while it benefits both owner and animal. Thanks to his dedication my niece is no longer afraid of spiders, my nephew used to be, but I helped him over come that fear, sorry Petko! I hope people continue to use YouTube in the manner content creators like Petko is, with respect and passion for what they love doing.

 

Please check out my interview with Petko if you like more information on him and stay tuned for my article based on Youtube as a tool for wildlife conservation with an interview on Coyote Peterson from Brave wilderness!

 

  1. What does your family think of your growing popularity?

‘’My mother is afraid that it will be gone as quick as it appeared and that I shouldn’t invest as much in it as I did and my father is just having fun telling everyone how his son is recording spiders for a living.’’

  1. If you could have any species of tarantula and any species of invertebrate, what would it be and why?

Since now I have an easy access to any species of tarantulas it is always what’s newest on the market, but when

it comes to invertebrates I would like to have a Heteropoda maxima to see how big they really are.

  1. If you could go any where to see wild animals, where would you go and what would you want to see?

Tough question, but I would love to visit the Socotra islands and find out how Monocentropus balfouri lives in the nature.

  1. Is there a spider that reflects your personality?

Jumping spider, since they are super curious and love to observe stuff :)))

  1. Do you have a message for people who hate or fear spiders?

They should learn a bit more about them and if they are open-minded they will surely change their mind.

  1. You don’t handle the spiders in your den in most videos, with exceptions to slings, is that something you want to promote?

Yes, I present tarantulas as observational pets not meant to be held in most occasions. I only rarely do it during unboxing and rehouses if I feel that it is the right time.

  1. What are your views on keeping exotic species?

It’s hard to summarize and generalize it, it all depends on the type of exotic animals and the situation.

  1. What is the future of the Dark den?

To expand on few reptile species, finish all the enclosure projects I plan for The Dark Den space and to start selling Dark Den enclosures!

 

 

 

 

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Josh Brierley

Josh Brierley

Loves wildlife and has a vast hands on experience in wildlife conservation. Currently working with honey bees!

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