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Molt unraveling tips

Discussion in 'Tarantula Questions & Discussions' started by Theneil, Jun 30, 2019.

  1. Theneil

    Theneil Arachnoprince Active Member

    Just wanted to share a little tip i have been using with great success to help me unravel molts in less time and with greater success.

    #1. My main trick is the use of alcohol. I know most people use slightly soapy water (which to behonest i have never tried). I have found that a little spray of alcohol (isopropyl) will thouroughly wet the molt almost instantly vs water which is initially repelled and takes a hit of time. Unfortunately straight alcohol seems to deteriorate the molt slightly more than water and dries out a lot faster than water as well. My solution to that is that i will slightly spray the molt with water,(basically leaving just a puddle underneath the molt) then i will spray with IPA, and then i will respray (almost a rinse) with water. In short the alcohol absorbs instantly and because alcohol and water mix readily, once the molt is wetted with alcohol, it can be flushed with water for all the benefits which water provides.

    Perhapse a person with more patience than me would not need atrick like this, but i believe most my issues unraveling molts in the 1-2” range is simply from them not being thoroughly wetted (presumably from me not waiting long enough) and this method reduces wait time to just a few seconds.

    #2. My second suggestion is not to use anything sharp. i use the small head of a pin (dressmaker pin i think?) NOT the pointy end. Personally i am unable to feel that i am poking through or tearing the exuvia when i use the sharp end.

    #3. if a molt it twisted and you cant find where to start unraveling, Sometimes, you can take your spray bottle (water) and aimed from front to back right where the abdomen connects, shoot a little water and it will sometimes ‘inflate’ the abdomen and help with a lot of the untwisting.

    Side note: I do everything on a glass table. I imagine would would jot be appreciative of routinely being sprayed with alcohol. So protect whatever furniture you use. LOL

    Hope this helps somebody, i am interested to hear if anybody else uses the alcohol trick or if you don’t but decide to try it, was it better or worse than what you usually do?
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  2. Thekla

    Thekla Arachnoprince Active Member

    I actually do it the old fashioned way with a drop of dish soap in water. I just throw the moult in there, leave it for a few minutes and start unravelling... with needles. :smuggrin:
    I do it under my trusty little microscope while looking at the monitor to see what I'm doing. I have a little plastic sheet with some white paper underneath and the Q-tips are for drying out parts where there's an excess of water.

    stuff for moult sexing.jpg
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  3. Teal

    Teal Arachnoemperor Old Timer

    Great post!

    I just use plain ol' water. I tried using soap, but I didn't like the look of the molt when it dried. I also the patience of a sloth, but it takes less than 5-10 minutes for me to hydrate, examine, photograph, and share about the molt lol I use blunt tip tweezers and moist cotton swabs for unraveling, and you are so right about being able to 'balloon' the abdomen with water sometimes! I love when I get that lucky! I always like to position my molts into nice poses, so I start by filling the carapace area with water that then seeps into the legs.

    I do mine on a small yellow ceramic plate (if anyone has ever seen molt photos of mine, you have seen this plate haha), usually in my lap on the floor because I'm not fancy haha
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  4. Killertut

    Killertut Arachnosquire

    i am basically doing what tecla does, just with a pocket microscope that is not hookep up to a pc.
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  5. The Grym Reaper

    The Grym Reaper Arachnoreaper Arachnosupporter

    Same here, I just plonk the moult down on my work area, pipette a few drops of water around the abdomen and suck up any excess with the pipette once the moult is wet, doesn't even take that long for the moult to soak up the water.
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  6. Teal

    Teal Arachnoemperor Old Timer

    I'm not even that fancy lol I just use my spray bottle lol But yeah, it really isn't a long process!
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  7. Mirandarachnid

    Mirandarachnid Arachnobaron Active Member

    I use water with a tiny amount of dish soap. It hardly takes any soap at all the break the surface tension of the water, I use as little as I can to avoid a residue on the molts when they dry. I start the first molt in the water while I'm getting my stuff together, then I'll soak the next molt while I'm working on the first.

    As for tools, I use detail paint brushes and orange wood sticks (like for manicures) for unfolding the abdomen. Tiny scissors, razor blade, q-tips, tweezers, and a fine tip sharpie are also used in the process. Each molt is spread on a labeled deli cup lid so they can be put to the side to dry before I tape them in my book.
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  8. korg

    korg Arachnobaron

    Rub a little soap between your fingers, wet your fingers, then let some of the water drips fall onto the molt. Pretty much soaks in instantly and the whole process takes less than 30 seconds! I use straightened paper clips as my molt manipulation tools.
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