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Advice needed for a rescued Avic

Discussion in 'Tarantula Questions & Discussions' started by AssassinBug, Oct 17, 2016.

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    Thanks in advance for any and all advice!

    Here's the TL;DR version: should I risk moving a rescue tarantula that may be in premolt if the current owners are so eager to get rid of it they were planning on freezing the T?

    The full story: I'm a professor at a community college, and my students know I love inverts. One of my students works at a pet store chain, and has a bad habit of bringing home more animals than he can care for. He now has to get rid of two A. avicularias (by order of his parents), and had planned on just freezing them. I found out about this when he asked if I wanted the bodies to add to my displays of pinned insects. I told him I'd rather have the live Tarantulas!!
    I'm a tropical Biologist, but the only T experience I've had was a Brachypelma vagans that lived under the stairs of my place in Panama and a roommate with an Avic back in college. I've been spending a lot of time on the boards the last two weeks trying to prepare. I took possession of one of the Avics and her(?) enclosure today (pictured below). However, I had the student leave the other one home until I could get your advice.

    According to my student, the second Avic is two inches, hasn't eaten in 4 weeks, hasn't left the web, and may have an unusually large abdomen. He's not a detailed-oriented kid, so he's not exactly sure when the T stopped eating or if it's abdomen really is larger. Based on my research, this sounds like premolt, but I'm not sure. My question is, can I move the enclosure without unduly stressing the T? I don't know how long his parents will tolerate the T, and I feel like I may be stuck with two bad choices (a dangerous move, or the little one being frozen). Student doesn't have a camera phone, and he hasn't followed up on my requests for pictures of this other T.

    Any thoughts on what I should do, or how pushy I should be about not moving the T?

    (As a side note, feedback on how to improve the enclosure of the T I did receive would also be welcome. I'd like to move her into an inverted AMAC eventually, but is she ok in the current setup for now? The substrate is dry despite the dark color. The white steaks on the glass are feces, right? 20161017_153316.jpg 20161017_153324.jpg 20161017_153316.jpg )

    Thank you!!
  2. Apologies, that last picture is a duplicate!
  3. EulersK

    EulersK Arachnonomicon Staff Member

    Ouch, that's rough. It's so humid in there that I'd move it ASAP. Did they think that they were housing a frog? Jesus.

    @viper69 @cold blood, what say you?
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  4. I was worried about that. I've read Viper's breakdown on the basics of Avic care, and am wary of excess humidity! I don't think my student really thought that much about the setup, to be honest...
  5. EulersK

    EulersK Arachnonomicon Staff Member

    If you've read that, then you should be golden. I misread your original post - if it is indeed dry in there, then I wouldn't worry too much. The setup isn't terrible, so long as there isn't screen anywhere. Tarantulas can easily chew through screen. It would be a simple fix if you want to keep that enclosure, though. Just cut out the screen and replace with drilled acrylic, very simple. Your profile says you live in Southern California - the desert part or the beach part? If you live in a dry environment, then tell him to stop misting immediately. A water dish will suffice, and the enclosure will dry out pretty quickly. If you live in a humid environment, you may have to get the avic out of there.

    Avic's aren't my specialty, which is why I tagged those two people. I wish I could help more!
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  6. Thank you for tagging them and sharing what you know! I think the enclosure the second Avic is in looks a lot like this one, so if we troubleshoot this enclosure I'll know what to do if/when I get the second one.
    The top is mesh, so I'll deal with that. We live right in the hills just inland from the beach, so it's a compromise between beach-humid and desert-dry.
  7. EulersK

    EulersK Arachnonomicon Staff Member

    Just to be clear, wait for someone else to reply before removing it. I mainly keep terrestrials, so I'm pretty limited on what advice I can give. My vote is to leave it be, but avics are notorious for being fragile... although, not so much at this stage in life.
  8. Moonohol

    Moonohol Two Legged Freak

    Is that a giant mushroom cap in the bottom right corner?? :wideyed: That's definitely no bueno...

    I agree that @viper69 and @cold blood will know what to do. I don't have enough Avic experience to feel comfortable giving advice on this.
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  9. Venom1080

    Venom1080 Arachnoemperor

    its fine to move the cage of a premolt T.
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  10. 14pokies

    14pokies Arachnoprince

    I prefer to give avics good cross ventilation wich is impossible in that enclosure, however that T looks pretty happy in there... I have raised many avics in enclosures like that and as long as there is good ventilation on the top it will work fine..

    As for the second avic it's fine to give it a rehouse if neccesary.. I recently rehoused an A.avic late into its molt cycle and it started to spin web that night.. No worrys there..

    If the other enclosure is the same as the one in the pic and the T looks to be webbing and behaving normal I would just leave it ( them) be..

    *edit* What substrate is that? It looks to have gravel scaddered on it.. If thats the case I would just toss another inch of coco fiber or topsoil on it to cover the gravel..
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  11. cold blood

    cold blood Moderator Staff Member

    I personally wouldn't even use that enclosure at all...sell it, that's my enclosure advice...unless you are a skilled glass blower or driller, because with such a tall enclosure and only ventilation at the top, it doesn't leave much for air movement, especially in the bottom half of the cage...and if you encounter any issues, that's where the t will almost certainly end up.

    Now aside from the critical ventilation issue, the set up its self isn't too bad other than the wood being too small...it should reach the top, or near the top.

    For the one you haven't got, it certainly does sound like pre-molt...I would keep that one in the enclosure till that's done, so it doesn't need to spin another caccoon. Because you cannot predict the molt, waiting could mean a few days, but it could also mean months....too long to leave in the "freezer house" if you ask me. Actually if its 2" and in the same enclosure, that's ridiculously large for such a small t...I keep avics in 32oz deli cups will they get over 3".

    As for misting, its something you don't really need to do, not for maintaining the environment, but a weekly half spritz onto the webbing or wall is a convenient way to offer a drink.

    Yeah the walls have poo on them, its an avic, that's unavoidable, and while unsightly, its really not a big deal.
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  12. 14pokies

    14pokies Arachnoprince

    The stagnant air problem can be easily fixed by forcing airflow into the enclosure by fanning it with a piece of cardboard or a paper plate or even placeing the enclosure under a ceiling fan that runs for a few minutes each day..

    Now don't get me wrong I understand that is not an ideal enclosure for any T IMO but it could work..
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  13. cold blood

    cold blood Moderator Staff Member

    That would be a lot more effective if there were at least a few holes on the bottom.

    I agree with the last sentence wholeheartedly.
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  14. 14pokies

    14pokies Arachnoprince

    Lol.. Yea that enclosure is way too tall!

    My avics do best in enclosures that look relatively small compared to the T..

    My most recent Avic pick up was 3 1/2incher in a 5g and was webbing at the bottom ( I thought it was doomed seriously) I stuffed it into 1 gallon plastic jar with some palm frond stalks and she is webbing up like a mad man..
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  15. Andrea82

    Andrea82 Arachnoking Active Member

    Even though my experience with Avicularia sp consists of only a sling and a juvenile, I would just get them out of that house asap. An enclosure slightly less than ideal is preferable to killing by being put in the freezer, imo. Once in your possession, you can start improving their surroundings.
  16. Thanks so much for all the replies! I'm getting the second Avic tomorrow based on these recommendations.
  17. Robyn8

    Robyn8 Arachnoknight


    This is my Avic's enclosure, vents at the top and front. I keep the sub dry and a water dish in there for the humidity. She seems comfortable on her bark. She is in her tube on top during the day, and sits like that (hunting mode?) at night.

    Key points are good ventilation. A water dish for humidity and plants plus cork for anchor points.

    And yes, she uses the front glass pane as a toilet. Avic shit happens.
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  18. viper69

    viper69 ArachnoGod Old Timer

    I'm pretty much on board with what was said above.

    Only a pic would helpful w/that 2". At 3" I've seen some of my Avics go w/out food for up to a month POST-MOLT. Temps were constant 75F/68F night.

    I wouldn't use that container, as there's no ventilation from below. But, I can see it's doing OK (so it seems) based on the fact it setup a nice canopy for itself. I'd still change the container and give it either Sterilite, ExoTerra OR a fish tank on end.

    I dare say you probably have more in field experience with a tropical T than probably 90% or more of the active users here haha.

    You only need to give about 1-2" of coco fiber sub for an Avic. The larger the Avic, the more sub I give because mine come down to the bottom and hunt. So sometimes they dive bomb from 5" above. I want them "crashing" into something soft.
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  19. 20161018_234258.jpg 20161018_234309.jpg 20161018_234442.jpg Here's an update for anyone interested:
    I now have both Avics, and the enclosure for the smaller one is just a mini version of the other enclosure (see pics). The new Avic is much smaller, probably about 4cm (question: do you include the legs when you measure the size of a T?). I've only had this one for a few hours now, but I'll update if she/he behaves oddly. I'll upgrade enclosures as soon as possible, but I might wait and watch first to get a sense of how they behave and how healthy they are.
    Last edited: Oct 19, 2016
  20. In other news, the first Avic just took a walk around her tank, and it turns out she has a bum leg! My profile picture is actually the first photo my student sent me of this tarantula, and even looking at the full res version you can't tell that one of her legs sticks straight up. Hopefully her next molt will fix it, although she doesn't seem slowed by that leg at all. 20160911_233451.jpg