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I may be in mourning!

Discussion in 'Tarantula Chat' started by Gavhasacurly, Apr 25, 2019.

  1. Gavhasacurly

    Gavhasacurly Arachnopeon

    Many, many weeks ago, back in March, I joined this forum because I had bought a less than 1cm Brachypelma A. sling. I ran around frantically for the bugger for weeks, making sure my home was warm enough, killing small mealworm for it, dropping in the odd fruitfly etc.
    I assume the spider is (at the most 8 weeks old now, but it's still [with legspan] about an old 1p coin. I originally had it in a small enclosure full of peat, but played the goodguy and bought a small bag of Spiderlife substrate. It's been sluggish (two weeks) since I changed its substrate to that. I think I may have messed up a bit there. But the tiny blighter DID keep eating. Now tonight, it's dead to the world. It's been in one position for 48 hours. I know I shouldn't have, but I touched a leg with a cotton bud yesterday - didn't move. It's still in the same position now. And it has previously wandered about. Is it dead? It isn't curled, but I've never seen it non-reactive. It must be at least 9 weeks old now.
    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 26, 2019
  2. lostbrane

    lostbrane Arachnobaron Arachnosupporter

    You could try to poke/nudge it again very gently. Tarantulas aren’t the most active of creatures so 48 hours in the same spot wouldn’t be unheard of. That being said, slings have been known to die in odd or non-typical positions.

    If it’s alive great. If not, not so great. Pictures of enclosure might help us either way. If anything, it might prevent something in the future.
  3. EtienneN

    EtienneN Arachnonovelist-musician-artist Arachnosupporter

    Photos? It’s incredibly hard to ascertain the tarantula’s condition without seeing it.
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  4. Gavhasacurly

    Gavhasacurly Arachnopeon

    EDIT: Just seen it move. So it ain't dead.

    OK. Will endeavour to take a pic and upload. Give me a few mins.

    Incredibly difficult to get an indicative shot of the spider, but encouragingly, it has moved places
    But I will show you what I just photographed in a sec

    These images are one I took a week or so ago when the (admittedly tiny) spider looked chunky and healthy as I was cleaning out and changing substrate. And two I have just taken. There IS a dead mealworm in the tiny tank to give scale. I have honestly dedicated my care to this critter. I want him/her to become an adult because I adore spiders! onside.jpg above.jpg weekago.jpg onside.jpg above.jpg weekago.jpg onside.jpg above.jpg weekago.jpg

    And yes - I noticed there was a leg missing a couple of weeks ago. Dunno what happened there!

    In bloody fact it's missing on my avatar photo so was missing all along lol.

    What I HAVE just noticed from the photos I just took - is how bulbous its abdomen is. I sincerely hope its just moulting. But thanks for your help and interest peeps. It's like looking after a baby lol.

    The only reason I jumped in with a post was that I have never kept a sling before and I'd read they usually turn upside down to moult. The one I have is tiny (5p coin size) and i cannot find any stuff online about how they behave at that stage. All I ever see on youtube is the 'eggs with legs' stage and '2cnd instar'. So if my 1cm brachy IS molting, what will emerge? Will it be more 'tarantula'-like?
    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 26, 2019
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  5. lostbrane

    lostbrane Arachnobaron Arachnosupporter

    Well, that’s an absolutely massive enclosure for a sling. You can get away with a souffle/condiment cup for it for quite a bit.

    Can’t really tell from the photos so the substrate might only look drenched. However if it is wet you might want to change out with drier sub.

    It might find an awkward position but it should flip if it’s going to molt. A plump abdomen is an ok sign. Can’t really see if the abdomen has darkened though so it might just be a very fat sling. If you’ve been regularly feeding it pieces of mealworm like the one in the photo its probably been stuffed to the brim for a while now.

    I believe there is a guide to sling care linked in this thread but you may find other threads/links of interest that may answer some questions you have: https://arachnoboards.com/threads/tarantula-information-for-beginners-and-more.318718/

    I know it says beginners but there are a lot of useful things in there for keepers of all different experience levels.
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  6. Gavhasacurly

    Gavhasacurly Arachnopeon

    Thank you for the info. The substrate isn't drenched, but it is far more moist than I suspect it needs to be. It's 'SpiderLife'. Won't buy it again - from the point I opened it I thought it was too damp. I'd originally had it in simple garden centre peat (wish I'd kept it in that now).
    It does have a dark fleck on its back. When I originally bought it, it had a circular patch of hair on its rump at the back, but this gradually went. But the dark fleck is more of a line down its (spine if they had one) on its abdomen. I'm pretty sure the spiddy is on its last legs. I've cared for it and I hope it survives, but if not, I'm not put off the hobby. I've put a timelapse camera tonight on the one I think is iffy, so if it's molting I'll catch the action, but I suspect it's a gonner. But I WILL use dryer substrate from now on.
  7. Thekla

    Thekla Arachnoprince Active Member

    If it's still responsive I'd get it out of that enclosure right now!!!
    It looks indeed way too moist and stuffy in there and I can't see any ventilation at all (at least not on the sides of the enclosure, does the lid have ventilation?).
    Put it in something very well ventilated! I'd just scoop it out with a bit (!) of moist substrate and put it on a dry tissue paper or such. Just make sure it gets some fresh air.
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  8. Paul1126

    Paul1126 Arachnodemon Active Member

    Do yourself a favour OP in the future when you want slings get some deli cups and pin prick ventilation holes into them.
    It is a lot easier to care for slings this way and slow growing slings will be in these cups for a year easily. Especially slings from the Brachypelma genus.
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  9. The Grym Reaper

    The Grym Reaper Arachnotank Arachnosupporter

    That's the tarantula's heart, it's visible under the exoskeleton.

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  10. Vanisher

    Vanisher Arachnoprince Old Timer

    Isnt it the patch of urticating hairs visable through exoskeleton?

    NOT DRY, slightly moist! Your sub seemed to wet though! As said, they fo best in small delicups with small holes in the lid! I often used pinpettes ( dont know english word) sucked up little water and burried the tip in the sub and pressed out the water. This way the water gets down into sub! But you can just dump water in, some teaspoon or so for a delicup! Little sling can drink directly from sub!
    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 26, 2019
  11. The Grym Reaper

    The Grym Reaper Arachnotank Arachnosupporter

    I believe that the initial dark spot that forms when a tarantula is in pre-moult is the new mirror patch forming underneath.

    I'm going to try to put together a thread on terrestrial sling/juvie pre-moult at some point with pictures of the various stages now that I have a decent camera.

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  12. Vanisher

    Vanisher Arachnoprince Old Timer

    Yes do that! That would be intresting!
  13. The Grym Reaper

    The Grym Reaper Arachnotank Arachnosupporter

    Yeah, it'd be good to have something to link to (or possibly even have it stickied as well) when we get all the newbie posts regarding pre-moult rather than endlessly having to explain it over and over again.

    My M. mesomelas has just kicked herself bald so she should moult sometime soon (given that she only does this when a moult is approaching IME) and I'm going to track my B. klaasi sling's moult cycle, the latter will probably take a while given that it's a Brachy but it's all I currently have to work with in regard to small slings.
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  14. Gavhasacurly

    Gavhasacurly Arachnopeon

    Thanx for the replies and advice folks. You'll be pleased to hear my little one is still alive. It's incredibly sluggish though. But every time I view the perspex box he/she's in, regardless of its few movements, it IS usually in a different place. I'll not go overboard with water and prey for a week or so. In fact I'll keep both of these things away. If it's in moult (hope it is) it'll be a pleasure. I just don't really know how soon I'd expect a first moult on a 1cm B.Albo, having had it six weeks. But main thing - it ain't dead!

    And I have just moved it to the deli cup it came in. So do I now continue to leave it in there? I have added a couple of cm of spiderlife sub which I had left to dry without water for two weeks. I have placed a killed mealworm - less than the size of the spiderling in there as well. I also dripped moisture into the substrate with a pipette. The spider itself happily (infact maybe eagerly) crawled onto the paintbrush so it was not difficult to transfer. I do apologise to arachno-experts. T. keeping is a new hobby to me. I've kept spiders before, mainly low maintenance UK common species and I regard myself as a bit of a spider expert. But T.s are new territory for me. I'm trying to educate myself. But I guess when one imagines, with no experience, a tarantula, they start thinking it's tropical, needs specialised care etc. I guess I imagined that from the point I received the Brachy, it would be little more than a few weeks before it became an instar on from how it arrived. Obviously I'm wrong and, like I say, I feel a douche for ranting about it on here and panicking. Hopefully, now re-housed in its deli cup, I might have more positive and less seeimingly silly questions in future. Once again, thank you for the advice. This forum has been invaluable.

    And yes, the lid had ventilation holes.
    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 27, 2019
  15. Olan

    Olan Arachnolord Old Timer

    Sounds like premolt. Try to leave it alone for a few days
  16. Gavhasacurly

    Gavhasacurly Arachnopeon

    Hoping that's the case. Yesterday I really thought it was a dead sling. Today I'm not so sure. I do have an unhealthy habit of checking on the blighter, so shall leave alone now for a few days now it's back in the tiny pot it came in!
  17. viper69

    viper69 ArachnoGod Old Timer

    The dark line is the vasculature.
  18. Gavhasacurly

    Gavhasacurly Arachnopeon

    Checked on it this afternoon and its legs were curled under. Sh**. My first ever T dead at 7 weeks as a shop bought sling. Checked again tonight and same situation. Legs curled under and in same position. So I started to empty the deli cup. And it moved - slightly, but shed another leg. Not liking this. Anyway, I researched spiderling ICUs and it's warm and snug in a moist towel in a deli cup now, with warmth nearby. I looked at the broken off leg under my microscope and it appears to have broken from the spider's carapace, so hopefully no loss of haemolymph. Dunno if the fella is about to die or not, but I'll be pretty disgruntled with myself if it does. I really didn't want to fook this up. Love spiders, but baby T's seem hit and miss.
  19. ItsFebreze

    ItsFebreze Arachnopeon

    An ICU isn't going to help, if anything, it will make it decline faster.
  20. Thekla

    Thekla Arachnoprince Active Member

    I don't know if there's any chance to save your spider (pictures might help immensely), but whatever you do, get it out of the ICU!!! It might need water but not stuffy conditions like you had before in the first set up.
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