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Moulting and Housekeeping

Discussion in 'Tarantula Questions & Discussions' started by Kevin Girling, Jun 21, 2006.

  1. Kevin Girling

    Kevin Girling Arachnopeon


    I'm new to the hobby of keeping Tarantulas. I have a B.Smithi that I bought from Swallow Aquatics in Norfolk about 2 months ago. Everything appears to be well at the mo....the spider has undergone two moults so far, growing considerably with each moult. The colours are more akin to the adult now and it measures about 4 cm business end to spinnerett!

    I was surprised as it moulted for the second time about 2 weeks after the first moulting. I was unprepared for the rapidity, but am assuming it had some catching up to do or something, perhaps due to the length of time it was kept in a small tub in the pet shop (I found no evidence of food waste in the container) and it eats like a horse!!!.

    Also I have noticed it collecting up waste matter (ex-cricket parcels) into a heap and buries them in the corner of the tank where it usually lives....the parcels appear to have been fully processed (i.e. they are not freshly killed) so I do not think they are 'for later'.

    I will clean them out of the tank tomorrow as I do not want them rotting.

    Any views on the two points above.


  2. ShadowBlade

    ShadowBlade Planeswalker Old Timer

    So, two week molt? Is it like 1/16" of an inch or something?{D

    If she does the housekeeping, u haul out the trash. It's always great when u have co-operative T's.
    Out of curiosity, what substrate is :)rolleyes: she:rolleyes:?) living on? And what is it housed in?
  3. Kevin Girling

    Kevin Girling Arachnopeon

    It grew by at least another 5mm body length both moults.....I kid u not. Going by the books it mentions nothing about them molting so soon. :?

    I have the spider housed in a 10" square glass tank. It is on a 2" deep John Innes potting compost/Vermiculite blend (I can't remember the percentage I did what it said in Schultz).

    Temperature is maintained somewhere between 70 and 80F, depending on the external temp....on a hot day it gets nearer 80. Humidity varies between 55-75, depending on whether the cooling fan is on for the Metal Halide on the marine tank (this drops the humidity a bit as it allows more air to circulate around the tank)
  4. Kevin Girling

    Kevin Girling Arachnopeon

    {D I call it'IT' cos I'm not hedgeing my bets!!!!!{D
  5. Kevin Girling

    Kevin Girling Arachnopeon


    Heres a couple of pics...hope they come out OK

    Attached Files:

  6. smof

    smof Arachnodemon Old Timer

    Cute T :D

    I would really recommend adding several inches more substrate to your tank. Partly because your T might want to dig, but mainly because at the moment there's a lot of space between the ground and roof. If the spider climbs to the top and falls it could do serious damage to itself, maybe rupture it's abdomen and die. Not nice. From those pics I'd suggest you want the tank at least half-full of substrate. A good guideline is you don't want the gap between the ground and roof to be any bigger than 2x your Ts legspan (that's what I go by anyway)

    Also you might want to offer a hide. A bit of cork bark with a gap underneath would work, or you can buy small hides from pet shops. Obviously your T is eating and growing fine so it's probably not too bothered but it's an idea.

    As for the Ts growth rate, that is quite impressive especially for a Brachy. But spiders like to mess with our heads and never do what you expect. One might moult every two weeks while another of the same size and species might go a year between moults. My first spider was also B. smithi. I've had him 6 months and he's moulted twice, putting about an inch on in legspan both times, and I thought that was fast! This is a pic of his two skins so far. He's now up to 4 inches.

    Wish he was as attentive to house-keeping as yours. Mine just leaves all his dinner remains and poo in his hide :rolleyes:
    Last edited: Jun 21, 2006
  7. Kevin Girling

    Kevin Girling Arachnopeon

    Dirt Depth

    It occurred to me that it may climb and fall, so I may just add some more soil as you suggest, but I wanted to avoid it digging a tunnel and hiding away. I have read that they are a tunnel dweller, and I am quite keen to look at it as I find it intriguing, with all its little habits!

    Perhaps I may try taking up the space with some large stones or something.

    I had a bit of cork bark in there, but it just hid away all the time....Schultz said it would b OK without a hide so I took it out.

    Like I said about the moults....perhaps it had been sitting in the shop unfed for a while and is playing catch-up!

  8. kitty_b

    kitty_b Arachnoprince

    never leave a T without a place to hide. they may not show it, but being permanently exposed can cause a lot of stress. my smithis never burrow.... i recommend a small flowerpot cut in half, so that it can feel safe but still be visable to you.

    don't worry, as they get older, they tend to "sit out" in the open 99% of the time.
  9. Kevin Girling

    Kevin Girling Arachnopeon

    Cutting Flower Pots

    OK Good idea.

    Just how can you successfully cut a flowerpot in half? I had wondered how it is done.

  10. kitty_b

    kitty_b Arachnoprince

    i purchased a cheap terra cotta-colored plastic pot from lowes. it was relatively easy to cut in half with an exacto knife.

    i used to get whole terra cotta pots, but it became hard to bury the pot with enough dirt at the front so they felt secure while still leaving the inside of the pot open. with just half a pot, i can put it on the substrate's surface and they can burrow as they see fit.
  11. Kevin Girling

    Kevin Girling Arachnopeon

    Flower Pots

    OK Thanks for that I will give it a go.

  12. stargell

    stargell Arachnosquire

    Kevin, if you don't want to cut the flower pot you could always put enough substrate in that you bury half of an uncut one.

    Cork bark is super cheap too. You can get that at any petstore.

    Not only will it give your T. a place to hide but it'll liven up the aesthetic of your enclosure.

    BTW: Where did you get an enclosure with that type of lid? Me likes.
  13. Kevin Girling

    Kevin Girling Arachnopeon

    Tank Info

    I live in the UK, and I think the tanks are made locally by an aquarium manufacturer....they are not branded. The one I have is a 10" cube. It is made of 4 or 5mm glass. The lid sits down about an inch and is supported by two strips of glass silicon sealered in place. I have taken another photo for clarity. I paid £19.99 GBP, but you could make one easy enough....it doesn't have to be water tight....the lid is a loose fit so air can get in.

    Attached Files: