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Help with my M. balfouri communal

Discussion in 'Tarantula Questions & Discussions' started by boina, Mar 9, 2017.

  1. boina

    boina Arachnobaron Arachnosupporter

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    My three balfouri slings share a box. Because of burrowing and heavy webbing and their generally skittish nature I haven't seen much of them since I got them last September. Yesterday I've actually managed to see all three of them and now I'm concerned: While two of them have grown a lot and already show their adult colors (I think have both molted twice), the third one hasn't grown at all. It looks tiny compared to its siblings and I don't think it has molted at all. It looks a bit too skinny for my taste, too, though the abdomen is still a bit bigger than the cephalothorax.
    Now what do I do? Should I separate them and put the runt in an extra box by itself? Or will it still thrive and just needs more time than its siblings?
     
  2. EulersK

    EulersK Arachnoengineer Arachnosupporter

    @Blue Jaye @Thistles

    These lovely ladies are the most experienced with this species in a communal setup. Hopefully they can do something for you. I can already say that they'll want pictures - not necessarily of the spiders, but of the enclosure. Pictures of the spiders wouldn't hurt if you can get them. What sizes are they, roughly?
     
  3. smitje

    smitje Arachnosquire Active Member

    Same here, I got 3 of which one escaped. I found it back 5 months later. The escaped one is the biggest, twice the size of the smallest one. Number 2 is right in between. So I have 3 different sizes now :) They all look good and in proportion. I feed them once every 2 weeks but trow in a bunch of crickets so they all get their part.
     
  4. boina

    boina Arachnobaron Arachnosupporter

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    Pictures of the spiders are pretty much impossible. I'll see that I can get up one of the enclosure.
    The large ones I'd estimate both to be about 1.5 inches, the small one is maybe half that leg span.
     
  5. boina

    boina Arachnobaron Arachnosupporter

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    And that's where they live: It's a small Kritter Keeper kind of thing, but the slits are too narrow for even the smallest one to get through. There is a piece of cork bark under all that webbing.

    IMG_4031a.jpg IMG_4032a.jpg
     
  6. Thistles

    Thistles Arachnobroad Arachnosupporter

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    I have a group of about a dozen siblings all kept together. When I went to pull one to send off recently, I uncovered a tiny one. The rest are about 2" DLS and this little guy still looked like a 4i, maybe .5" DLS. They didn't eat the munchkin! I removed my runt, and would suggest you do the same, but I also wouldn't stress too much about it.

    I have no idea why my little guy didn't grow at the same rate as its siblings. There is plenty of prey and it looked plump enough.
     
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  7. boina

    boina Arachnobaron Arachnosupporter

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    Oh thanks! I will get the tiny one out then and see how it does by itself.

    How do you feed? I throw in 4 or five small crickets twice a week and remove any that are uneaten the next day. On occasion they may get prekilled mealworms, but then they get only three. Was that sufficient for everyone to at least have the chance to feed?
     
  8. Thistles

    Thistles Arachnobroad Arachnosupporter

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    Yeah, that's essentially what I do: toss in whatever the other spiders don't eat, and let them fend for themselves. Sometimes they share, but I usually put in enough for everyone to have their own cricket. I feed far less frequently than you do, though. I check on them once a week but they're fatties, so I only feed maybe every other week.
     
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  9. boina

    boina Arachnobaron Arachnosupporter

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    Yeah, makes sense, cause I do seem to remove most of the crickets again after a day... I was probably too worried that there wouldn't be enough for all.
     
  10. Thistles

    Thistles Arachnobroad Arachnosupporter

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    Yeah, I was a worrier when I first started keeping balfouri together. I don't really think about it now.
     
  11. CEC

    CEC Arachnolord Arachnosupporter

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    Communals are hard to distribute food evenly to, therefore, most will have differences in sizes, that's completely normal for any species. A lot of times a female is the hog and the biggest one. It all depends, really. I'd leave the runt, no need to remove it unless you feel it's unhealthy and not just small. Just my 2 ยข
     
    Last edited: Mar 9, 2017
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  12. Blue Jaye

    Blue Jaye Arachnoknight Arachnosupporter

    I have a few that are smaller in my communals. I feed pre killed medium to large Dubia and feed rather heavy. Most of them share some grab and run. Some of the size difference is due to male versus female. And some females grow a bit slower IME. While others reach the same sizes as everyone else. I've yet to remove the smaller ones as they aren't skinny by any means. My communal was quite large at one point 100+ and the adult female. I culled the army a few times to sell some. And I also pulled a few to live individually. There was a very noticeable change in there temperament. They went from being very calm to quite skittish. I've recently did a rehouse on the communal into a much larger enclosure. I will post a thread about it soon. Hope some of that was helpful.
     
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  13. Trenor

    Trenor Arachnoprince Active Member

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    I feed mine prekilled dubia roaches (the size they need) with one more extra than I have T. If they clean them out quickly I add in two more. All of mine are very fat and none of them are lot smaller than the others. I mainly use the prekilled dubias so I can monitor how they are eating. I can regularly catch sight of most of them around midnight after putting the food in while they are eating. Mostly they are growing pretty even though. Likely it's cause they are too fat to hog too much of the food.

    They are prone to disappearing for a while at times.. I think it's because they are too fat to move about much. :D
     
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  14. Trenor

    Trenor Arachnoprince Active Member

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    Yeah, I've heard several people on here say that the solo ones tend to be more skittish. I was kinda surprised because my communals are always so laid back. I do have a tiny one that has been kept solo as it was small enough to slip out of the communal enclosure. So far it hasn't been too skittish but it's just at the 1" stage and has mostly been in the burrow. I plan on adding it back in once it gets some size on it.
     
  15. Blue Jaye

    Blue Jaye Arachnoknight Arachnosupporter

    @Trenor Omg the difference is huge! Example of calm in communal setting. I cupped 18 2-3 inch balfouri in about 8 minutes. Not one runner and the rest just kept to their own. The ones I housed individually. Well it was hard to even get their lid off without an escape. They just furiously ran the walls like a little tornado. I decided to add another balfouri to each of the individuals enclosure. After doing so. They were once again calm and easy going. They aren't even big enclosures and they do very well. I've noticed that even when provided with lots of space they choose to stay close together. Right on top of each other actually. And then there are the pairs that (not necessarily male and female) that move farther off from the colony but have webbing that leads back to the colony.
     
    Last edited: Mar 10, 2017
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  16. Trenor

    Trenor Arachnoprince Active Member

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    @Blue Jaye That is good to know. Now I know why @viper69 keeps saying his his so fast/flighty. Mine have always been so calm. They are by far the calmest of all my baboons.

    I'm excited to see what you did because I'm going to be redoing my communal setups to larger enclosures soon. So ideas and tips are all welcome. :)
     
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  17. Blue Jaye

    Blue Jaye Arachnoknight Arachnosupporter

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  18. viper69

    viper69 ArachnoGod Old Timer

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    Yours are exactly like mine. They are very fast.


    At only about 2-3" both of mine will give a threat pose, like an OBT. This is not a species to toy with at all.

    People see these captive communals and are deceptively fooled into thinking they are more easy going than other baboons.

    We don't know if they are communal in the wild. Someone suggested there is documented evidence of this, but that person has not provided the proof.

    This is the main reason I don't keep mine in groups. Captivity induces unnatural behavior, this may be one of the them.
     
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  19. Trenor

    Trenor Arachnoprince Active Member

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    None of mine have ever threat posed regardless of size. Not even when I rehoused them. Still though, I suspect all my Ts are hiding shivs waiting for their chance to strike so I'm always on guard in the T room regardless of the species. :shifty:

    From my experience, mine are a lot calmer than any of my other baboons. This doesn't mean I'm going to grab it up and smooch it. They're just calmer. :D

    We don't know either way about the wild. We do know they work pretty good communally in captivity though.

    Maybe you should let them visit each other so they calm down and aren't angry all the time. :p


    Really though, I'm just giving you a hard time. :)
    I was surprised to hear how different they act when kept in single T setups. It's interesting information. I'll be curious to see if my little one that's solo shows the same behavior your Ts did as it gets bigger.
     
    Last edited: Mar 10, 2017
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  20. viper69

    viper69 ArachnoGod Old Timer

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    I've thought about introducing them into a larger setup, but at this point, I don't want 2 to become 1, esp because I don't know the gender. I have a funny feeling I have 1.1.
     
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