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Keeping slings moist

Discussion in 'Tarantula Questions & Discussions' started by Theneil, Aug 9, 2018.

  1. Theneil

    Theneil Arachnoprince Active Member

    I have been wondering lately about keeping the slings of dry/airid species on moist sub.

    Let me start with: i have read plenty of times that 'Small slings dehydrate rapidly due to their undeveloped waxy layer so they should be on at least partially moist sub until they are x.x inches'.

    However, i am having a hard time getting the math to add up. Usually the size given that they should be before keeping dry is somewhere from 1 to 2.5 inches but when i start thinking about the seasons and the time between molt cycles if there is a 4 Month wet season and a 1/4" sling were to hatch at the very begining of it, it would probably have to molt about once a month to barely make the minimum 1" mark or 1.5-2 times per month to vet to the 2-2.5" mark. Those numbers don't seem practical in captivity when we can keep temps constantly higher and provide constant food, let alone in the wild where there are much more dramatic temperature swings, less reliable food sources, and a million other unpredictables...

    Now to make the math even LESS possible, imagine that the species has a wet season mating cycle so the first 2 out of those 4 months are taken up by finding a mate, developing eggs before creating a sac and then development of the eggs in the sac after it is made.

    If i am missing something, please help me find it because my mind keeps going back to try figuring it out.

    My personal opinion on the matter is that we are generally 'babying' our babies much more than is unnecessary but i am happy to hear (read) the opinions of others. Especially anyone who has had a lot of slings of a lot of species and/or who has experimented on keeping the sub both wet and dry for slings of the same species.

    In my limited personal experience, i tend to let the sub dry out even in most of my sling enclosures (for the arid species) and haven't run into any issues (yet) but my 'collection is just a small drop in the bucket compared to the combined knowledge of this forum.

    Thanks for your thoughts.
  2. AnObeseHippo

    AnObeseHippo Arachnoknight

    I think you’re overthinking things. The science of T husbandry is still years away from being super solid so your logic or maths or numbers could be wrong so don’t worry about it.

    I usually just feel it out from T to T. I start all species in a genus from the same point. I’ve found that if its by the water dish a lot, then give it more or take it as a prompt to refill the dish.

    Or if you’re not sure where to begin at all then moisten half the substrate and see what it prefers. As long as there is a good dry spot and good ventilation, I can’t imagine it killing anything
  3. Theneil

    Theneil Arachnoprince Active Member

    I get that, i'm just curious about the actual Experiences that cause people to come to the conclusions they do.
  4. Nightstalker47

    Nightstalker47 Arachnoking Active Member

    Most tarantula genera will drop their sacs when conditions are favorable, typically during or right after the wet season...as there is an abundance of food.

    Keep in mind that species from xeric environments are not nearly as well equipped to deal with excess moisture, its just not part of their biology. I can only speculate that this may be due to harmful pathogens that pop up when moisture is abundant and ventilation is lacking...resulting in a sickly spider.
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  5. Demonclaws

    Demonclaws Arachnosquire

    There is a reason why most slings don't make it to adulthood in the wild. Why are you comparing captivity to nature?
    • Agree Agree x 2
  6. Bree24

    Bree24 Arachnosquire Active Member

    High percentage of deaths in wild slings. That’s why spiders lay so many eggs. It’s impossible to “do the math” when comparing them to captive raised slings unless you are actually able to observe and record the causes/number of deaths in an egg sac and compare it to a captive one. For all you know, desiccation could be a leading cause of death in slings. Arid species slings also spend a lot of time hiding in burrows, where moisture is likely to be higher than ground level, even during dry spells.

    I do think there is a margin of babying going on, if only to be safe instead of sorry. I’ve been told that a person can wean an arid species sling onto dry substrate at 1” or sooner, but why risk it when moist sub has proven to be just fine for them?
    • Agree Agree x 1
  7. Theneil

    Theneil Arachnoprince Active Member

    Seems like a good starting point for rational thought.

    Absolutely in agreement with you. There must be an extremely high mortality rate in the wild and because i don't know how much is predation, dessication (spelling?, starvation, or bad luck, i can't say that they don't need a little more moisture. i also cant say they do. That's the reason i asked. i am by nature a curious person and i don't like to limit my knowledge only to "this one thing works" i like to understand the hows and whys. Also knowing the 'hows' and 'whys' helps to know, remember, and often to teach the 'whats'.

    Side note: i think most of the adults live in burrows too. ;)

    Extra thought: Based on my understanding of natural selection and a very low dispersal rate of tarantulas i would first like to make the assumption that moat any arid species has been in an arid environ ment for a very long time (based on low dispersion rate). Then coupled with natural selection if dessication due to a physical charactaristic that varied between slings (as i think you were implying) then primarily the physically prepared slings would produce more essentially purging the inadequate traits from the gene pool.

    Like i said, my question is based primarily out of curiosity, however, to give an answer to your question: Just because something works doesn't mean it is ideal or even good for that matter. For example it used to be common practice to use plastic wrap over ventalation on Avicularia sp. enclosures to increase humidity because "they need high humidity" and nobody tried anything different because "why risk it when moist sub has proven to be just fine for them?"

    Then one day somebody decided "Hey, its kinda windy up here in the trees where the Avics live. Maybe they'd like a little more air in their enclosures" and thus husbandry was improved.

    Now i'm not trying to say that this is the same case as with avics, i am just trying to investigate the whys via asking for others' experiences, to satisfy my own curiosity. I'm not trying to change the world or commit spider genocide, and i'd be just as happy to have every bit of evidence say they need the moist substrate as i would to to find out they do better on dry. i'm perfectly fine with being wrong as long as i become aware and educated afterward. :)
    • Like Like x 2
  8. viper69

    viper69 ArachnoGod Old Timer

    A lot of people state things as if they are facts, and some people's conclusions on this forum are actually dumb, not based on logic or even sound observation. I've seen plenty of people that I thank GOD, are not responsible for a surgery, engineering an airplane or anything else involving human life.

    You are absolutely right to ask people the WHY behind what they state. I've been saying this for years on here. Sometimes WHAT someone tells you to do, is not as important as the WHY behind it. The WHY is sometimes cogent, and other times is no better than telling me the Earth is flat.
    • Like Like x 1
    • Agree Agree x 1