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Little worried about one of my tarantulas (B.vagans)

Discussion in 'Tarantula Questions & Discussions' started by TNC, Aug 30, 2009.

  1. TNC

    TNC Arachnopeon

    I decided to post and ask about this just incase their is any problems with my B.Vagans as i couldn't face losing her D:

    I checked on her today and found her in the corner of her tank (in a kind of huddled position - her legs all tightly together) and i had read this could be a sign of stress (or even death =/) I actually went back to take a photo of her after i had found my camera and noticed she had moved slightly so the picture i have taken is AFTER she had moved, she was a lot more huddled in the corner beforehand (maybe me leaving the light on had effected this).
    But is this a sign of her being stressed if she was so tucked up into the corner? Another thing i also noticed, is around a week ago.. usually she never moves the substrate she is on but she must have been pushing the substrate about as it now is in mini kind-of mountains/lumps. Not sure why this is? :(

    I have been refilling her water dish to full every day (and noticed it is going down a lot faster than usual - though i check on her often and havnt ever seen her near the water dish).

    Mainly the thoughts i have are-
    - I live in a fairly warm apartment with the room temperature shes in at 25C and so have not been using a heat mat as using a heat mat seemed to cause them to go on the side of their tanks more (seemed to not like the heat) maybe it is time to start using the heat mat again?
    - Am i doing the right thing refilling her water dish so often and dampening the area around her water dish? (would it be causing the tank to be too moist as she is in the opposite corner)
    - Each time i check on them i turn the light on (random thought but could this be causing her stress? lol =/)

    Maybe im just paranoid, i'd just like to know what others think as i would not like to risk losing her and if she is stressed and i can prevent this i would definitely prefer to!
    The B.Smithi i have is lively as ever, and in completely the same conditions, except his water dish does not go down anywhere near as fast as the B.Vagans.

    Picture was quite big so i've just included the link.

    Thankyou for any replies ~
  2. Roski

    Roski Arachnobaron

    Your T is fine. Lethargy may indicate an upcoming moult, or it's just your T being a T. Moving substrate is just the terrestrial's OCD housekeeping, and 25 degrees ambient temperature is more than fine with your species.
    Refilling the water dish is good, as long as it's shallow. My G. pulchripes often dunks surrounding substrate into the water dish, then walks away annoyed to the other end of its enclosure when the water leeches out and spreads in the enclosure:rolleyes: . Just be careful not to flood the substrate.
    EDIT: Oh, and I doubt turning on the light has much bearing on the T, but I could be wrong on this one.
    Last edited: Aug 31, 2009
  3. First, i have some questions.

    How long have you had the T?
    How long has it been in its present enclosure?
    How big is the enclosure?
    What's in the enclosure(hide, substrate, how big of a water dish)?

    The legs will curl under when in a death curl. When they have their legs all pulled up into themselves, that is stress/ pouting.

    It is not odd for a T to move dirt/ rearrange their enclosure. It's normal and just a T being a T.

    The water dish could be emptying through evaporation. How much ventilation does the enclosure have?

    How often is often? They are sneaky little buggers and it is rare to catch a T drinking.

    25C(77F) is a perfectly fine temp. So, there is definitely no need for a heat mat right now. i don't know what your temps are in the winter, but generally people are told not to use heat mats.(we have used one, but stopped as it wasn't necessary. We were newbies!) However, since you stated the temp in Celsius, you could be in Europe and then a heat mat might be necessary in colder months.

    It is fine to refill the water dish, but i would stop overflowing it as Brachypelmas like it dry.

    Yes, this could be the reason she is on the opposite side/ pouting.
    Are we talking room light, or tank light? i don't think the room light would have much of an effect, but a bright tank light could.

    Let the substrate dry out a bit and see if the pouting stops. It sounds like perfectly normal T behavior and there is nothing to be alarmed about in the picture. Paranoid, maybe a little, but if this hobby is new to you, it's not uncommon.;)

    One last thing about the picture of the enclosure. It doesn't look like there is enough substrate in there. There should only be about a leg-span and a half between the top of the substrate and the top of the enclosure. This is to prevent them from hurting themselves if they decide to try out being arboreal and fall.:D
  4. t-lover

    t-lover Arachnosquire

    give it slightly moist substrate my vagans does a bunch of weird stuff and i just give it more water then she is fine. in florida b.vagans is found in burrows next to a water source(stream,river,ect...) at least my vagans likes a little water, mainly humid not wet
  5. I don't think you have any thing to worry about.She is probably in premolt
    and will molting in the near future.If there is any changes post us again.
  6. mickey66

    mickey66 Arachnoknight


    Sounds like pre-molt and what I do with my B.Vagans,B.Smithi and Aphonopelma "Flagstaff Orange" is this.....I take a handful of peat-moss soke it under the tap then ring out the water with my hands so its in a ball....then just set the ball in the tank....alot of the times the spiders will huddle close to the peat-moss for a day or two then flip and molt....try this ,it will work for you. Good Luck! PS: My substrate is very dry.
  7. TNC

    TNC Arachnopeon


    Thankyou for all the replies :)
    I will be careful not to overflow the water dish from now!
    It was the first i've seen either of my tarantulas move substrate around in the 3 years i've had them so it was a little odd to see first time around ^_^
    She has been in her present enclosure for around 3months now, to give an idea of how big the enclosure is i have included a photo as i'm unsure of the actual dimensions of her tank: http://img142.imageshack.us/img142/2669/tankvegas002.jpg
    In her enclosure is substrate and a water dish (I actually replaced the water dish yesterday as i noticed it seemed to be leaking! and so thats why the substrate seemed so damp around the water dish- not just from overflow)
    I had put down the amount of substrate that the pet shop had advised, but it seems they are not always correct - should i be putting down some more? If so how much cm/mm would you recommend?
    As you can see by the picture the tank has ventillation around the sides, and on the sides/top of the lid. Also she is out in the center of her tank now and seems a lot happier :) I believe the problem may have been the water dish leaking causing too much moisture in the tank. I do try to check on them each time i pass the room their in (8times ish a day) - probably because i am always worrying about them as i have a lot to learn about caring for them in my opinion :)
    Again thankyou all for your help, i have also noticed she is looking a little bloated so i can hope for a molt soon ^^
    • Informative Informative x 1
  8. Moltar

    Moltar ArachnoGod

    I think your tarantula is fine, don't worry.

    She could really use to have that container filled about half full of substrate. Also she would probably be more comfortable if you included a hide. Anything will do really, a flower pot, half log or coconut from the petstore, anything she can go inside and be dark and protected.
  9. slayer sl8

    slayer sl8 Arachnopeon

    my trate is dry rather than wet although i do spray it once maybe twice a week, i also use heatmat but my room is quite cool..i have a little home made hide at one end and a bottle cap for water at the other, the heat mat is placed at the hide end an he/she dont seem to mind it. He/she normally blocks the entrance with web an trate too leaving just a tiny hole an spending alot of time in there tbh but he/she molted yesterday so hoping to see more of my t!! :)

  10. crawltech

    crawltech Arachnoprince

    vagans are happier when they can burrow.....it helps to have at least a 4-6 inches of substrate....or at least a hide,as stated in the above posts
  11. Overflowing the water dish every now and then isn't a bad thing. i do think every day is a bit much though and until the substrate around it has dried a little i wouldn't.

    i find that very odd. The only T's we have that have never moved dirt are our A. verisicolor and A. purpurea slings. (we have kept T's for about a year) Maybe you need to add substrate in all of your enclosures.

    My opinions on making the enclosure a bit more suitable are:

    *Add substrate up to a little under(1 1/2 cm/ 1/2 inch/ the width of your finger) those side vents.

    *Add a hide- this can be anything that provides a place to get out of the open area. Cork bark buried in the substrate and hollowed out a little under it, is the first thing that comes to my mind.

    *Restrict some of the ventilation with clear packing tape, sticky side out - i do not have a B. vagans myself, but i from what i have read they like dry substrate, but a little humidity. This can be accomplished by blocking some ventilation and having a large full water dish.

    What kind of substrate?

    Most pet store employees are very ignorant about tarantulas. They keep them on a thin layer of substrate and no hide in the store, so people can actually see them and to hopefully sell them easier. You should research your T's a little on this forum. The search function can be your best friend if you let it!:D

    Since you don't know the dimensions of the enclosure, there is no way someone can answer that question.;)

    BINGO!! i really bet that was the problem.

    Our tarantulas are in a lighted room until we go to bed and the adults have lights for the plants on for 8ish hours. Checking on them 8 times a day, shouldn't be stressing them out.

    Just because it looks 'bloated' does not mean it is going to molt soon. It most likely just means it is fat and could use a week or two without food. When the abdomen turns blackish, they start refusing food or start webbing on the substrate more are ways that we determine our T's are in pre-molt.
  12. TNC

    TNC Arachnopeon

    Thankyou curiousme,
    I will definitely look into making her home more comfortable with your above suggestions, and take a good look around these forums to ensure shes getting the best of care :D
    To be honest, i don't know what the substrate is.. it just comes in blocks that you cut sections off and immerse in water and it expands, i was only aware of it titled as "Substrate" from the pet shop >.<
  13. Moltar

    Moltar ArachnoGod

    That's coconut coir. Also know as coco fiber, bed-a-beast, jungle bed, etc... Good stuff, particularly for tarantulas that like things more dry. (Like yours)