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Help! B. Vagans having trouble molting. I think!

Discussion in 'Tarantula Questions & Discussions' started by Jade McDonald, Aug 11, 2018.

  1. Jade McDonald

    Jade McDonald Arachnopeon

    I bought a brachypelma vagan a while ago. She is having her first molt with me (I think!).
    I can see into her hide in two places where there are small gaps. A few days ago, after having been out of her hide constantly for about 3weeks, she went into her hide. When I peeked through a gap I thought it looked like her leg was upside down. I googled and saw that being upside down when they molt is normal. The following morning I couldn't see her as she must have been tucked up tight in the corner. That night it looked like she was upside down again in the centre. Then in the morning she looked squashed sideways against a gap. Now I can see a long upside down leg again.
    When I googled it seemed that a molt took between 15 minutes to 3 hours. It also suggested it is a very delicate time and not to interfere etc. Now that it seems to be going on for days should I take the top off her hide and check her? What am I looking for? What do you think is going on? She is obviously moving around and changing positions overnight then staying in that position for a while

    Today she has stayed in the same upside down position. So has gone from moving about to being still for 24 hours now. It seems common advice being given is to leave her alone. I can do that! But how long before it's really time to be worried ?
    Last edited by a moderator: Aug 13, 2018
  2. Thekla

    Thekla Arachnodemon Active Member

    My B. vagans stays in its hide for a few weeks when moulting. The moult itself doesn't take that long of course, but I guess (s)he needs that time off. ;) Oh, and (s)he likes to squash the moult in front of the only window I have to see into her hide, so all I can see afterwards is a jumbled mess. :shifty:

    How big is your T? Do you know when its last moult was? Pictures always help. :)

    Most possibly everything's just fine and you just have to be patient until (s)he comes out again, which can take 1-2 weeks after moulting.
  3. Bree24

    Bree24 Arachnosquire Active Member

    Even if you could get in there, there’s nothing you can do, especially if it’s already been a few days. Unless you’re absolutely certain she’s dead, disturbing her burrow could cause more trouble. I agree about pictures helping, but probably the best advice would be to leave her be for a few weeks, maybe longer, and hope for the best.
    • Like Like x 1
  4. Jade McDonald

    Jade McDonald Arachnopeon

    Thanks. I can wait easily! I was just concerned as she's upside down and I thought they only did that for the actual molt
  5. Theneil

    Theneil Arachnoprince Active Member

    If it actually has been molting for 24+ hours (clock starts after carapace pops) then it is probably stuck in its molt and honestly after 24 hours, i would guess (though i have no personal experience) that the legs have probably begun to harden by now and getting it out of the molt would not be easy. There is a thread that explains how to hel (by @boina i think)p, but in short it would be to use a rather wet artist brush to help 'brush' the molt off of the tarantula.

    That being said: If i was going to place a bet on the situation i would put my money on what @Thekla suggested. I think you are likely not looking at the tarantula any more but are instead seeing the old exuvia (molt).
  6. boina

    boina Lady of the mites Arachnosupporter

    I do not agree with the "wait it out" advice. If a molting tarantula needs help it needs help soon and I'd rather have a look than just let her die. At this point I'd look inside the hide and see if she needs help.
    • Agree Agree x 2
  7. AnObeseHippo

    AnObeseHippo Arachnoknight

    How large is your T? I agree with @boina
  8. Thekla

    Thekla Arachnodemon Active Member

    I agree! But here I think it's difficult to say what the OP is actually seeing, especially if it's her first T and there might be a chance of new keeper jitters and not knowing what to look for. In that case she could do more harm than good if she looks inside. If my B. vagans had any trouble moulting (not that I could see that anyway), I'd bring a whole mountain down on her (figuratively speaking) looking inside, because her burrow is quite deep and long. So, it's also a question, whether she could lift/remove the hide safely. That's why I suggested pictures and asked for the size of the T. :)
    • Like Like x 1
  9. Jade McDonald

    Jade McDonald Arachnopeon

    How do you measure size? I'm not a 'new keeper' in that I 'looked after' my friends Trinidad chevron for 6 months while he went to work in Australia. Turned into 3 years from which he went to Barcelona for another 3. She sadly died and I missed her hence getting my B. Vagan. However, I was new with her and never had to do anything except feed her. In all those years she only had one molt which went like clockwork. So technically I am a new owner as I have no real experience. Do you measure leg span width, length or diagonally? I can't provide pics without 'going in'. I can easily access the hide. She's got bark on one half and for my daughter a 'hampster' wooden cottage on the other It has a lift off roof and it is the cottage that she chooses to use ‍♀️
    Sounds like I should at least take a peek?
  10. buzz182

    buzz182 Arachnosquire

    Diagonal leg span (DLS) from front leg on one side to back leg on the opposite side of the T.
    • Helpful Helpful x 2
  11. Jade McDonald

    Jade McDonald Arachnopeon

    Well she's obviously not available for measuring! But if I had to guess I would say 4 inches
  12. Jade McDonald

    Jade McDonald Arachnopeon

    05f67a9b-1d1a-452c-a723-8d7472137417.jpg So I took the roof off and had a peek. What I could see moving around had been her exoskeleton! She'd had a successful molt I'm sooooooo relieved
    Despite having had a T for years, I have no experience! How did you all learn?! I shall read threads now I've joined Thanks all for your help
    • Like Like x 3
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  13. Ungoliant

    Ungoliant Malleus Aranearum Staff Member

    A combination of reading Arachnoboards and experience.

    It's natural to be a little anxious about a molt until it's over. Some tips:
    • Hydration is more important than humidity. (It needs to make molting fluid.) Make sure it has access to water during pre-molt and after the molt.
    • The larger the tarantula, the longer it takes.
    • It can be on its back (or side) for quite a while before the carapace pops.
    • As long as it is making visible progress, leave it alone.
    • If it becomes clear that no progress is being made, it's time to intervene. The prognosis will depend on how far into the process she got stuck and how long you waited to intervene. If the fangs and body are out, and you intervene early, there is a decent chance she'll survive.
    • Damaged legs, palps, or fangs will regenerate with subsequent molts.
    • It may continue to rest in the molting position for a while after extracting itself. Larger tarantulas seem to rest for longer than slings.
    • I like to remove the exuviae as soon as I can get to it to confirm that everything molted properly. One area in particular to check is the sucking stomach. (If this does not molt, the tarantula won't be able to eat until it molts again.)
    • If a piece of skin (such as the abdomen) is stuck, gently grab it and let the tarantula walk away while holding the piece. This is easier when the tarantula is freshly molted, and the new exoskeleton is still soft.
    • Strange poses after the molt are normal. (Stretching is particularly common.) The only pose you should worry about is a death curl.
    • Your tarantula is soft and vulnerable during the days immediately following a molt. Be extra careful when removing the molt or doing maintenance. (As with the pre-molt and the molt, the post-molt hardening phase is longer for larger tarantulas.)
    • Do not attempt to feed it until its fangs are black. (They start out white, turn red, and then gradually darken.) When the fangs are soft, they may break.
    • Helpful Helpful x 4
    • Agree Agree x 1