BEGINNER: Reasons why my tarantula won't dig?

lunarae

Arachnobaron
Joined
Sep 22, 2015
Messages
385
I don't see why you couldn't move him now unless the substrate is soaking wet and needs to dry just a little bit, the pictures are kinda low light so it makes it look very wet but because of the lighting I'm betting it's just damp right? If this species likes humidity and such I don't see why not.
 

Moonohol

Two Legged Freak
Joined
Aug 8, 2016
Messages
115
I'm gonna go back on what I said earlier, I still think this guy could be mature. Those pedipalps look very suspect to me. Maybe someone with more experience could confirm for sure. Either way, I'm glad the rehousing went smoothly!
 

WeightedAbyss75

Arachnoangel
Joined
Feb 22, 2014
Messages
921
Love the look of the cage! Should work out, seems like it's a good size for it. Also, does look MM ish to me. Never had one, but that palps look huge! Hope it webs a lot for you, one of their highlights as a species ;)
 

cold blood

Moderator
Staff member
Joined
Jan 19, 2014
Messages
11,926
I have to admit, when I read the original post, I was sure it was a troll post, because line by line, everything was wrong. I'm glad I read on because the op does seem to be cooperative, willing to learn and most of all, still here:)

I'm going to give you the line by line play by play, cold blood style, because I think it might help you in a number of ways. This is gonna be a long one.

I most commonly use these two websites for my questions about this species:
MikeBasicTarantula
Tom's Big Spiders
---------------

Hi, I am new at owning a tarantula and have done a lot of research in my time before and while owning him. What I have is a Hapalopus sp. Columbia (Pumpkin Patch T.) and. I've noticed that he should be digging in his enclosure. I have 2 inches of dirt lain for him, a log against a coconut dome shadowed with giant plastic leaves, a ceramic bowl of water, and moss lain throughout along with strewn river rocks all on the wet side of the tank while the light shines on the dome side. I feed him a few of my already dusted/vitamin-boosted and gutfed crickets and dubias I feed my reptiles and he eats when he wants.

I've noticed he doesn't like to eat as much as I think he should; he once went in to his dome when I first upgraded him and then moved to the backside where the log lays against it to get away from the crickets. I've come to the obvious conclusion that he doesn't necessarily like curious humans scooting him out of his hiding place, so now he avoids that area completely. (That was dumb on my part, but I have been getting familiar with his odd behavior so I'm trying to see if HE'S STILL ALIVE. Beginner here, might I remind you.) Now that he doesn't stay in his original hiding, he goes under a few moss sections in the corners of the tank, if not there, curled up in the corner of a tank. He hates to be touched by anything, including crickets making their way across him. And something tells me he may be too thin for his age.

My first sign of something being odd about him is that ever since I got him as a sling, he's never dug a hole once. And for a good 8 weeks I had him in a critter cage full of mixed dirt and coconut shavings for moisture/water with leaves in his dome on top of a heating pad. I have been researching as much as my schedules allow me to try and get to the bottom of this concern but it seems that this species isn't popular enough to have sufficient advice on care and diagnosis.

So my question to this wonderful forum I keep falling back on is this: Why isn't he digging? And if you have knowledge or experience with this species, please let me know all of what I need to know. If I were to assume his age, I think he would be 8 months about now. Maybe more. I will add a picture of him, although it won't show a lot of detail, so I will describe him.


He doesn't seem happy at all and I want him to be the best looking boy/girl you come across - as all arachnid enthusiasts do! His name is Jack, by the way - for Jack the Pumpkin King. lol!

He's a very pale color with few hairs on his legs, his rump is still bald and he does shed great! (not as often as I would like him to be) Every now and then his thorax does get a nice bright orange and is black goes pretty dark, although a little pale still. He's got beautiful fangs and is very active (I see him prowling every now and then, sometimes just strolling). As for being skittish, I've heard that is normal with unhandled tarantulas.

I do have a theory of why he may not be as active or as "healthy" as the normal dwarfs would be and it's a factor I am missing with his settup (of what I know). What I think is it's his controlled humidity. He's in a normal glass fishtank with a screen top. The moss in the tank doesn't keep it's moisture and hasn't cemented it'self in to the dirt yet either. I use this moss for my Nightstalker gecko and for my Giant North American millipede (recently died of old age :c), Darkling beetles, and Flat Bladetooth Snail habitats. None of the moss has been able to keep their moisture. Even the live wood in the tanks are keeping little moisture and they're a good 3 inches thick with plenty of cork holes. The insect/snail habitat is in a regular desk-top fishtank without a lid and a 30-45 watt plant-light hovering above it. And for my gecko's tank, she is living in a bioactive tall 50-gallon with tons of moss and logs and her light is 70-120 watt light-bulb and a tropical UVB light. Anyway, this moss I specifically got for keeping humidity in and my open cages are getting the best of me. I don't know any other way of keeping the humidity in besides covering the cages completely or purchasing 3 expensive foggers to keep things alive and still having to find some place to plug-in and put them. (I have 9 tanks in my room, including my office area and 2 lights each tank with only 3 outlets in my room. My room stays at a constant 85 degrees during the day and all the lights shut off at night, dropping down to 78 degrees) So needless to say, foggers aren't the best option for the choosing.

If you have any advice on what I should do for my tarantula, or even my other animals, I would love you for eternity! I really am concerned about him because his behavior isn't what I would expect from a tarantula of his kind. And if everything is set and dandy, mind telling me what I should expect once he gets older? (if he isn't an adult already, which I hope not.)
1. "I've noticed it should be digging..."

Well there's no handbook, they do what they want, sometimes they just don't want to burrow....its not always a sign of anything wrong at all...but there's a reason for this one which I'll get to.

2. get rid of the rocks

3. "I feed him a few of my already dusted/vitamin boosted and gutfed crickets and dubias...he eats when he wants."

First, don't dust your t feeders with anything, just feed them (carrots and potatoes are good choices, as is dog kibble), nothing special has to be done with your feeders, its not like reptiles.

Second, free feeding like this is a terrible idea, especially in an oversize enclosure. One cricket hides away while the t molts and it will walk right out and eat the t, same for mealworms and superworms and the beetles that they turn into (future reference). This is one of the reasons smaller enclosures are preferred, so you can be sure the feeders don't get lost and can be accounted for.

4. "he doesn't like to eat as much as I think he should"

How much do you think he should eat? I assume you mean he's eating a lot less than he used to? There's a reason for this, its coming.

5. The next lines discuss its constant roaming...its related to the previous issues I was going to mention in the future....I can wait no longer...its a MM.:meh: Behaviors, as well as physical appearance change once a male has his ultimate molt. His behavior has nothing to do with "curious humans".;)

6. "he hates being touched by anything, including crickets making their way across him."

No t likes being touched by anything they're not going to eat. This goes back to #3, roaming crickets are an irritant and possible source of stress....in the wild the cricket may just walk by and be ignored, in an enclosure, it walks by over and over again, becoming increasingly bold, even walking onto the t. Remove all uneaten prey items in 12-24 hours....I personally remove any uneaten prey in just an hour or so....if they're gonna eat it, they would have eaten it by then.

7. "something tells me he might be too thin for his age."

But you don't exactly know his age, do you.:bored:

Age has nothing to do with how plump a t is, ALL ts are thin following a molt, its part of the process....thinner ts molted more recently, fatter t's will molt sooner in the future. Now, because yours is a MM, it will have undergone physical changes with its last molt, and a small abdomen is one of those traits, as is an extremely leggy appearance and often coloration differences....roaming and lack of appetite, too.

8. "I got him as a sling"

I'm curious as to how large he was when you acquired him...this is a dwarf species, and slings are small...no, small is the wrong word, they are infinitesimal...so small my 43 year old self has trouble even seeing them, they're virtual specks that could sit on a pin head. I'm guessing he wasn't that small when you got him. How many times has he molted in your care?

9. The heating pad....yeah, as mentioned, they're bad news, and a terrible way to supplement heat for a spider...most of which do just fine without supplemental heating. But if you do, heating the room with a space heater is the best method. You have zero need for additional heat.

10. "it seems this species isn't popular enough to have sufficient advice on care and diagnosis"

They're actually extremely popular, they've got kind of a cult following amongst many keepers. There have been plenty of threads and lots of info posted here on the species just in the past 2 years.

11. "if I were to assume his age, I would think he would be 8 months by now"

But unless you acquire a spider directly from the breeder, you can't and won't know his age, and because of the great variances in growth due to husbandry and individual growth rates, size is much more relevant than is age, which is why age is largely ignored for most things in this hobby.

12. "he doesn't seem to be happy at all"

Spiders don't have emotions....he's just looking for a female, that's what MMs do.

13."as for being skittish, I've heard that's normal for unhandled tarantulas"

wrong...see @viper69 's post, he covered it well.

14. "what I think it is its his controlled humidity. He's in a normal glass fishtank with a screen top."

Humidity is a wildly overblown word in the t hobby, focusing on this leads to dead tarantulas. Its as easy as providing proper ventilation and moisture to the substrate...there's no reason to measure humidity in a tarantula enclosure.

Now to the screen top...remove it, and replace it with a drilled plexi or acrylic. Screen tops let any added moisture float right out the top, drying everything out unnaturally fast. On top of that, ts can get their tarsal claws stuck in screens, causing loss of limb, or fatal falls...many ts can also chew right through them with enough effort.

15. "even live wood in the tanks is keeping moisture"

Huh, how are you growing trees in an enclosure?

Only DRY wood should be used in enclosures, or you are inviting a host of problems.

16. Your other critter's tanks and set-ups, are not in any way related, or relatable to your tarantula.

17. Constant light is not good, in fact, ts have no light requirements. Won't hurt them per say, unless they're heat lamps, but it will cause them to hide a lot more.

18. "my room stays at a constant 85 degrees during the day...at night, dropping down to 78 degrees"

You will never have a need for supplemental heat, regardless of the t species or size...you should achieve good growth rates as well...and males, like this one, will be sped to maturity quickly.

19. "mind telling me what to expect when he gets older"

He won't, as a mature male, he will eventually wind down and die, his life cycle has reached its end...all you can do now is send him to a female to breed.






I agree that it sounds fishy. I really hope OP and their friends didn't get scammed by being sold a bunch of mature males...
Ding ding ding...they did.:sorry:

No, no, I didn't say they passed away from parasites. They passed away and we couldn't figure out why in time. (sorry about the wording confusion) It could be a number of cases for a declined health or not, but I just know that parasites could be one of them. And I can tell you that he was DEFINITELY a sling when I got him. I watched him grow up and move from baby crickets to adult crickets. So old age is a complete out unless they only live for a year.


And for his size, he a bit bigger than a quarter.
Parasites in ts are exceedingly rare...in 15 years and hundreds of ts, I've still only seen them in videos.

Old age is NOT completely out, in fact its a typical age for many species of tarantula males to mature....and lots of MM's are really small....especially dwarves.
 
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Flexzone

Arachnodemon
Joined
Mar 1, 2015
Messages
726
I'd transfer him/her. Likely will be on the vertical like many Ts, but may surprise us and take to a corner rather quickly. Ts don't like to be out in the open, too much risk of getting eaten.
Tell that to my genic, I think she has a deathwish :D
 

Moonohol

Two Legged Freak
Joined
Aug 8, 2016
Messages
115
I have to admit, when I read the original post, I was sure it was a troll post, because line by line, everything was wrong. I'm glad I read on because the op does seem to be cooperative, willing to learn and most of all, still here:)

I'm going to give you the line by line play by play, cold blood style, because I think it might help you in a number of ways. This is gonna be a long one.



1. "I've noticed it should be digging..."

Well there's no handbook, they do what they want, sometimes they just don't want to burrow....its not always a sign of anything wrong at all...but there's a reason for this one which I'll get to.

2. get rid of the rocks

3. "I feed him a few of my already dusted/vitamin boosted and gutfed crickets and dubias...he eats when he wants."

First, don't dust your t feeders with anything, just feed them (carrots and potatoes are good choices, as is dog kibble), nothing special has to be done with your feeders, its not like reptiles.

Second, free feeding like this is a terrible idea, especially in an oversize enclosure. One cricket hides away while the t molts and it will walk right out and eat the t, same for mealworms and superworms and the beetles that they turn into (future reference). This is one of the reasons smaller enclosures are preferred, so you can be sure the feeders don't get lost and can be accounted for.

4. "he doesn't like to eat as much as I think he should"

How much do you think he should eat? I assume you mean he's eating a lot less than he used to? There's a reason for this, its coming.

5. The next lines discuss its constant roaming...its related to the previous issues I was going to mention in the future....I can wait no longer...its a MM.:meh: Behaviors, as well as physical appearance change once a male has his ultimate molt. His behavior has nothing to do with "curious humans".;)

6. "he hates being touched by anything, including crickets making their way across him."

No t likes being touched by anything they're not going to eat. This goes back to #3, roaming crickets are an irritant and possible source of stress....in the wild the cricket may just walk by and be ignored, in an enclosure, it walks by over and over again, becoming increasingly bold, even walking onto the t. Remove all uneaten prey items in 12-24 hours....I personally remove any uneaten prey in just an hour or so....if they're gonna eat it, they would have eaten it by then.

7. "something tells me he might be too thin for his age."

But you don't exactly know his age, do you.:bored:

Age has nothing to do with how plump a t is, ALL ts are thin following a molt, its part of the process....thinner ts molted more recently, fatter t's will molt sooner in the future. Now, because yours is a MM, it will have undergone physical changes with its last molt, and a small abdomen is one of those traits, as is an extremely leggy appearance and often coloration differences....roaming and lack of appetite, too.

8. "I got him as a sling"

I'm curious as to how large he was when you acquired him...this is a dwarf species, and slings are small...no, small is the wrong word, they are infinitesimal...so small my 43 year old self has trouble even seeing them, they're virtual specks that could sit on a pin head. I'm guessing he wasn't that small when you got him. How many times has he molted in your care?

9. The heating pad....yeah, as mentioned, they're bad news, and a terrible way to supplement heat for a spider...most of which do just fine without supplemental heating. But if you do, heating the room with a space heater is the best method. You have zero need for additional heat.

10. "it seems this species isn't popular enough to have sufficient advice on care and diagnosis"

They're actually extremely popular, they've got kind of a cult following amongst many keepers. There have been plenty of threads and lots of info posted here on the species just in the past 2 years.

11. "if I were to assume his age, I would think he would be 8 months by now"

But unless you acquire a spider directly from the breeder, you can't and won't know his age, and because of the great variances in growth due to husbandry and individual growth rates, size is much more relevant than is age, which is why age is largely ignored for most things in this hobby.

12. "he doesn't seem to be happy at all"

Spiders don't have emotions....he's just looking for a female, that's what MMs do.

13."as for being skittish, I've heard that's normal for unhandled tarantulas"

wrong...see @viper69 's post, he covered it well.

14. "what I think it is its his controlled humidity. He's in a normal glass fishtank with a screen top."

Humidity is a wildly overblown word in the t hobby, focusing on this leads to dead tarantulas. Its as easy as providing proper ventilation and moisture to the substrate...there's no reason to measure humidity in a tarantula enclosure.

Now to the screen top...remove it, and replace it with a drilled plexi or acrylic. Screen tops let any added moisture float right out the top, drying everything out unnaturally fast. On top of that, ts can get their tarsal claws stuck in screens, causing loss of limb, or fatal falls...many ts can also chew right through them with enough effort.

15. "even live wood in the tanks is keeping moisture"

Huh, how are you growing trees in an enclosure?

Only DRY wood should be used in enclosures, or you are inviting a host of problems.

16. Your other critter's tanks and set-ups, are not in any way related, or relatable to your tarantula.

17. Constant light is not good, in fact, ts have no light requirements. Won't hurt them per say, unless they're heat lamps, but it will cause them to hide a lot more.

18. "my room stays at a constant 85 degrees during the day...at night, dropping down to 78 degrees"

You will never have a need for supplemental heat, regardless of the t species or size...you should achieve good growth rates as well...and males, like this one, will be sped to maturity quickly.

19. "mind telling me what to expect when he gets older"

He won't, as a mature male, he will eventually wind down and die, his life cycle has reached its end...all you can do now is send him to a female to breed.








Ding ding ding...they did.:sorry:



Parasites in ts are exceedingly rare...in 15 years and hundreds of ts, I've still only seen them in videos.

Old age is NOT completely out, in fact its a typical age for many species of tarantula males to mature....and lots of MM's are rally small....especially dwarves.
Sherlock status. I learn so much here every day!
 

ShellessTime

Arachnopeon
Joined
Jun 8, 2014
Messages
34
I have to admit, when I read the original post, I was sure it was a troll post, because line by line, everything was wrong. I'm glad I read on because the op does seem to be cooperative, willing to learn and most of all, still here:)

I'm going to give you the line by line play by play, cold blood style, because I think it might help you in a number of ways. This is gonna be a long one.



1. "I've noticed it should be digging..."

Well there's no handbook, they do what they want, sometimes they just don't want to burrow....its not always a sign of anything wrong at all...but there's a reason for this one which I'll get to.

2. get rid of the rocks

3. "I feed him a few of my already dusted/vitamin boosted and gutfed crickets and dubias...he eats when he wants."

First, don't dust your t feeders with anything, just feed them (carrots and potatoes are good choices, as is dog kibble), nothing special has to be done with your feeders, its not like reptiles.

Second, free feeding like this is a terrible idea, especially in an oversize enclosure. One cricket hides away while the t molts and it will walk right out and eat the t, same for mealworms and superworms and the beetles that they turn into (future reference). This is one of the reasons smaller enclosures are preferred, so you can be sure the feeders don't get lost and can be accounted for.

4. "he doesn't like to eat as much as I think he should"

How much do you think he should eat? I assume you mean he's eating a lot less than he used to? There's a reason for this, its coming.

5. The next lines discuss its constant roaming...its related to the previous issues I was going to mention in the future....I can wait no longer...its a MM.:meh: Behaviors, as well as physical appearance change once a male has his ultimate molt. His behavior has nothing to do with "curious humans".;)

6. "he hates being touched by anything, including crickets making their way across him."

No t likes being touched by anything they're not going to eat. This goes back to #3, roaming crickets are an irritant and possible source of stress....in the wild the cricket may just walk by and be ignored, in an enclosure, it walks by over and over again, becoming increasingly bold, even walking onto the t. Remove all uneaten prey items in 12-24 hours....I personally remove any uneaten prey in just an hour or so....if they're gonna eat it, they would have eaten it by then.

7. "something tells me he might be too thin for his age."

But you don't exactly know his age, do you.:bored:

Age has nothing to do with how plump a t is, ALL ts are thin following a molt, its part of the process....thinner ts molted more recently, fatter t's will molt sooner in the future. Now, because yours is a MM, it will have undergone physical changes with its last molt, and a small abdomen is one of those traits, as is an extremely leggy appearance and often coloration differences....roaming and lack of appetite, too.

8. "I got him as a sling"

I'm curious as to how large he was when you acquired him...this is a dwarf species, and slings are small...no, small is the wrong word, they are infinitesimal...so small my 43 year old self has trouble even seeing them, they're virtual specks that could sit on a pin head. I'm guessing he wasn't that small when you got him. How many times has he molted in your care?

9. The heating pad....yeah, as mentioned, they're bad news, and a terrible way to supplement heat for a spider...most of which do just fine without supplemental heating. But if you do, heating the room with a space heater is the best method. You have zero need for additional heat.

10. "it seems this species isn't popular enough to have sufficient advice on care and diagnosis"

They're actually extremely popular, they've got kind of a cult following amongst many keepers. There have been plenty of threads and lots of info posted here on the species just in the past 2 years.

11. "if I were to assume his age, I would think he would be 8 months by now"

But unless you acquire a spider directly from the breeder, you can't and won't know his age, and because of the great variances in growth due to husbandry and individual growth rates, size is much more relevant than is age, which is why age is largely ignored for most things in this hobby.

12. "he doesn't seem to be happy at all"

Spiders don't have emotions....he's just looking for a female, that's what MMs do.

13."as for being skittish, I've heard that's normal for unhandled tarantulas"

wrong...see @viper69 's post, he covered it well.

14. "what I think it is its his controlled humidity. He's in a normal glass fishtank with a screen top."

Humidity is a wildly overblown word in the t hobby, focusing on this leads to dead tarantulas. Its as easy as providing proper ventilation and moisture to the substrate...there's no reason to measure humidity in a tarantula enclosure.

Now to the screen top...remove it, and replace it with a drilled plexi or acrylic. Screen tops let any added moisture float right out the top, drying everything out unnaturally fast. On top of that, ts can get their tarsal claws stuck in screens, causing loss of limb, or fatal falls...many ts can also chew right through them with enough effort.

15. "even live wood in the tanks is keeping moisture"

Huh, how are you growing trees in an enclosure?

Only DRY wood should be used in enclosures, or you are inviting a host of problems.

16. Your other critter's tanks and set-ups, are not in any way related, or relatable to your tarantula.

17. Constant light is not good, in fact, ts have no light requirements. Won't hurt them per say, unless they're heat lamps, but it will cause them to hide a lot more.

18. "my room stays at a constant 85 degrees during the day...at night, dropping down to 78 degrees"

You will never have a need for supplemental heat, regardless of the t species or size...you should achieve good growth rates as well...and males, like this one, will be sped to maturity quickly.

19. "mind telling me what to expect when he gets older"

He won't, as a mature male, he will eventually wind down and die, his life cycle has reached its end...all you can do now is send him to a female to breed.








Ding ding ding...they did.:sorry:



Parasites in ts are exceedingly rare...in 15 years and hundreds of ts, I've still only seen them in videos.

Old age is NOT completely out, in fact its a typical age for many species of tarantula males to mature....and lots of MM's are really small....especially dwarves.
HOLY COW!! I have so much to learn! I am going off of my experience with herpetology since it's the only thing I know and I'm still new in the arachnid realm. This is so helpful! It is unfortunate I have a MM. Man....well, I think if I got him as a sling I would have a much lower success rate. As for the bare rump, I'm assuming that's normal? I can say he did grow VERY fast. Now that I have moved him in to a new enclosure, I think my worries should be less extreme.

Also, Cold Blood, thank you for not being aggressive about correcting me. I really do appreciate the tone you used towards my ignorance of this hobby. I've already soaked up all of everyone's advice - I LOVE TO LEARN! Exactly why I have this tarantula and I'm tip-toeing through the hobby.

Maybe before his life comes to an end, I may just get another pretty. Do any of you guys recommend another species similar to this one? Now that I have learned about this one (and will continue my research with ears open on any new information), I think I would be better off going with one around the same requirements instead of risking learning everything new on another species which heightens my risk of killing it.
 

ShellessTime

Arachnopeon
Joined
Jun 8, 2014
Messages
34

I shouldn't expect such a stunning specimen, should I? Haha! This isn't a green bottle blue, but I do want to know what it is. It's gorgeous!

This is a Green Bottle Blue T., isn't it?
 

viper69

ArachnoGod
Old Timer
Joined
Dec 8, 2006
Messages
11,730
I shouldn't expect such a stunning specimen, should I? Haha! This isn't a green bottle blue, but I do want to know what it is. It's gorgeous!

This is a Green Bottle Blue T., isn't it?
Those are both GBBs. They undergo an incredible pattern/color change from sling to adult. Prob one of the most impressive IMO of all Ts.

All things being equal, over the years, I've noticed very little variation in color of the many I've raised.
 
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ShellessTime

Arachnopeon
Joined
Jun 8, 2014
Messages
34
WAAAHHH I WANT THE FIRST ONE HAAAAA! So stunning!!

One of the tarantulas that were from the original owner was a young GBB and that one passed away. My friend was very sad about the loss, they always wanted one.
 

lunarae

Arachnobaron
Joined
Sep 22, 2015
Messages
385
The above picture, IS a Gbb, that's a Gbb sling. They are beautiful. I can't wait to get one myself. And I would suggest perhaps getting 'The Tarantula Keepers Guide' by stanley schultz. it is outdated on some things, but for the core information it's going to help you a lot. Read that, then suppliment the updated info you can find here on the forums and you'll be on the right track in no time.
 

viper69

ArachnoGod
Old Timer
Joined
Dec 8, 2006
Messages
11,730
WAAAHHH I WANT THE FIRST ONE HAAAAA! So stunning!!

One of the tarantulas that were from the original owner was a young GBB and that one passed away. My friend was very sad about the loss, they always wanted one.
They are one of the most hardy species one can raise. This species lives in an extremely xeric environment as well. Read up on them. When you have questions ask.

It's an extremely popular species so almost all your question will be answered if you search via Google, as it indexes the forum.
 

lunarae

Arachnobaron
Joined
Sep 22, 2015
Messages
385
I have to say I personally want on really bad as well. XD Just waiting till I have the money and there are some slings out there for sale that corresponds with having the extra cash to spend on.....more T's >.> XD
 
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