A.chalcodes and 'hibernation'

Vys

Arachnoprince
Old Timer
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Sep 22, 2002
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1,571
As I read they (in the wild) usually go into hiding and stay there between october and may, I was wondering about people holding them in captivity's experiences.
Do you say 'bye-bye' to your blonde when he/she goes underground around october? Do you put him/her somwhat out of your mind until Arizona spring?
 

betelgeuse

Arachnopeon
Joined
Oct 7, 2002
Messages
12
You are correct in that they do "hibernate" in the wild. It is unclear as to whether the timing of this hibernation in captivity is built into their body clocks or due to the climate in the town which they are being kept in.

The build up to a dormancy usually consists of work on the burrow in preparation. In the wild their burrows are reported to be up to two feet in depth. The one I have has constructed a burrow about six inches deep despite having 12" of substrate suitable for burrowing.

During the dormancy they will seal up the burrow with silk (also can be a sign of imminent moult too). I tend to leave it alone during this time and do not bother putting crickets in; if it wanted food it would wait at the burrow entrance.

BTW, their colouration is designed to act as a camouflage as, whilst hanging out of the burrow entrance it is the blonde parts that are protruding whilst the darker parts remain in the burrow. You just have to imagine the burrow being on a sheer slope.

Their dormancy is what makes them the longest living of the tarantulas (to the best of my knowledge, anyway) with the females living for up to forty years. I am not certain, but I think that this makes them the longest living spider in the world??

With this species, I tend to not use any heating at all as this is what best represents their conditions in the wild. It gets cold in the desert at night and during winter. I guess though that, seeing as I have the heating on full blast during our winter, they are warm during the English winter and colder during the summer, when I have the windows open and such like. So the captive seasons are the reverse of those in the wild. I am not sure how this affects them, but it does not appear to do them any harm and they still seem to have their dormant period. If you do use heat mats, then try and have it so that the heat enters the top of the tank (like the sun would in the wild) rather than at the bottom of the tank.

Hope I have not waffled and that this helps.
 

Vys

Arachnoprince
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Sep 22, 2002
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1,571
Thanks for the input, although it would be fun to know how long yours stays dormant ?
 

MrT

Arachnoking
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Aug 13, 2002
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2,174
Desert species don't go into hibernation, they go into a state of "torpor". Hibernation implies active physiological thermoregulation, even at temps. near freezing ( as with ground squirrels ). Tarantulas are poikilothermic, and do nothing to control their temperatures while in a state of torpor. They are merely sealing themselves into their burrows while they are unable to defend or maintain themselves.

I was quoteing Stan Schultz, From the T keeper guide. Page 48.

I have several Az. blondes and they stay active all year long, as long as its warm.

They grow very slow. I've had 5 slings for 4 months now and they've only molted once. Their a tough sling to raise, cause they just don't grow. But I'll keep trying. I bought some tiny mealworms and they seem to be eating them better than the pinheads.:D

Ernie
 

GQ.

Arachnodemon
Old Timer
Joined
Aug 12, 2002
Messages
767
There are several A. eutylenum burrows that I have been checking on once or twice a week. The vast majority of them are still open, but three of them have already sealed themselves shut. Below is a picture of a burrow that I believe has closed shop for the year. The tarantula started plugging the burrow beginning 16 October 2002. The picture below was taken on 18 October 2002.
 

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