Blondi Problem

wyllomoon

Arachnopeon
Joined
Oct 27, 2006
Messages
23
Hi, I've been here a while but I haven't posted much yet. Guess I'm a little shy :8o or afraid I'll ask something stupid since I only have 8 tarantulas and am still pretty new to keeping them.

Anyhow, I'm having a huge problem with a gorgeous w/c theraphosa blondi I picked up back in October and I'm not sure if anything can be done. I'm not even sure what's happened to cause this.

She's been living in a 15 gal. aquarium with a screen top, 5 inches of cactus soil which I mist fairly often, a shallow plastic water dish, a hide cave and a little (low to the ground) fake plant. She's been in there since October of 2006 and I've never had a problem with her other than the fact that she doesn't eat a lot and last week one cricket was left in there overnight for a few nights without my noticing that it was there.

So anyhow, the problem is this. Yesterday I noticed that her back leg looked strange - bent at an odd angle. I don't know if she climbed up the side of the tank and fell (not something she does often at all) or if somehow a solitary cricket could damage her leg. Today the leg has come loose and almost fallen off. I've also noticed that her abdomen is becoming really sunken in and her legs are starting to curl under her. I'm just so upset about this because all my other spiders are doing wonderfully and I don't know what happened to her or what I did wrong.

I imagine it's a lost cause since there are really no vets that deal with arachnids and since I can't see her lasting too much longer considering how bad she looks this morning. Is there anything I can do or does anyone have a guess at what might have happened to her? I feel awful just sitting here watching her die but I guess the options are pretty limited, unfortunately .:(
 

Ungweliante

Arachnosquire
Old Timer
Joined
Jul 24, 2006
Messages
96
Today the leg has come loose and almost fallen off. I've also noticed that her abdomen is becoming really sunken in and her legs are starting to curl under her.
Doesn't sound good.

The thing to do now is to transfer her carefully to an ICU: An Intensive Care Unit for tarantulas. Basically an ICU is just a very well cleaned plastic or glass box with semi-wet paper towels for substrate and air holes at the top for ventilation.

The ICU with the spider should be placed to a warm and a dark place and left completely alone. It might not help, but a lot of people believe that a tarantula has a better chance to get well in an ICU than in their normal housing.

Good luck with her getting well!
 

Johnny_27

Arachnoknight
Old Timer
Joined
Aug 1, 2006
Messages
257
How big is she? These sound like all the traits of a mature male. Small abdomen, not eating much, legs dropping off, curling up....
 

littebigspider

Arachnopeon
Joined
Jul 4, 2006
Messages
32
Internal injuries from a fall are possible, and their really is no fix for that. Your soil could contain pesticides, or fertilizers. I would double check that.

Do you know what the humidity and temperature readings are? What are you using for a heating source? Screen top or glass top?

First things I would check would be the temp (should be 75-80 *F) and the humidity (should be 80-90%). If your using a heat lamp, stop, they tend to dehydrate tarantulas. If you have a screen top on the tank, replace it with a glass top, for the mean time cover the screen top with plastic wrap or plexiglass. The soil should be moist, but not soupy wet. I pour a couple of glasses of water into my tank to moisten the soil then I mist it regularly. If all else falls remove the animal from the tank and place it in another enclosure on damp peatmoss or damp paper towels, with the above described conditions, with the addition of a water dish.

Hope this may be helpful, if you have questions on keeping a T. blondi search this site for a care sheet.
 

BLS Blondi

Arachnoknight
Old Timer
Joined
Aug 4, 2005
Messages
247
To hopefully answer what's going on here, I am willing to bet the T. blondi is dying from parasites and/or internal injuries. As far as the leg, that is a separate incident. If her legs are in the "death curl" and her abdomen appears deflated, I am telling you, your T will die very soon. I used to buy w/c T. blondi females, and this happened to me once. There are countless others who had purchased w/c T. blondi and shared the same fate. If her abdomen is really deflated, I am willing to bet your T will be dead in the next 72 hours. I am not trying to be mean, but this is the reality. The problems with w/c T. blondi is that often they are injured during importation, can have parasites, and MOST of the time, do not do very well in captivity. Ask all the dealers, they will tell you the same: most w/c's will not live through their next molt. So if yours does (molts successsfully) consider yourself lucky. In the future: do not buy wild caught. It is much more worth it to raise a captive bred. As for your T's condition, an ICU is the best you can do. Good luck.
 

wyllomoon

Arachnopeon
Joined
Oct 27, 2006
Messages
23
Ungweliante said:
The ICU with the spider should be placed to a warm and a dark place and left completely alone. It might not help, but a lot of people believe that a tarantula has a better chance to get well in an ICU than in their normal housing.
Thank you for the advice. I went and did this right away, so she's now in a smaller container with damp paper towel tucked away in a warm bedroom closet upstairs. She didn't enjoy the move much and the leg issue didn't stop her from flicking hairs at me with her good leg :rolleyes: . But, she's in ICU now.

Johnny_27 said:
How big is she? These sound like all the traits of a mature male. Small abdomen, not eating much, legs dropping off, curling up....
I must apologise, I use "she" as a sort of generic spider term. I haven't got a clue what the gender is since she/he wasn't sexed before I got her. The spider is about 4 - 5 inches max and has been since I bought it in October. It could very well be a male. I'm not experienced enough to know by looking. Legs just drop off when mature males die? :eek:

littebigspider said:
Do you know what the humidity and temperature readings are? What are you using for a heating source? Screen top or glass top?
I've read dozens of care sheets and they all say something different, it seems. My house is super warm because I breed reptiles and snakes as well so I don't use any extra heat on the spiders. Heat was at approximately 77 - 78 F and humidity, I don't know. I don't have a gauge to read it with. I pour water into the soil and mist fairly regularly, as you've said here. It's never too wet but usually fairly humid. I know it's too dry when I see her sitting in the water dish for extended periods of time and then I wet it down again.

Soil is fine as far as I know. I checked with the greenhouse as I've encountered a problem with pest insects in other kinds of soil before this. I use it for all my other spiders and have no problems. I had a screen top. If she survives this I will replace it with glass ASAP after she goes back in there. Thank you for your advice.

BLS Blondi said:
There are countless others who had purchased w/c T. blondi and shared the same fate. If her abdomen is really deflated, I am willing to bet your T will be dead in the next 72 hours. I am not trying to be mean, but this is the reality. The problems with w/c T. blondi is that often they are injured during importation, can have parasites, and MOST of the time, do not do very well in captivity.
I'm not an experienced spider keeper and I was unaware that there was a difference between w/c and c/b. I spoke with a lot of people ahead of time and was told that as long as she's eating, I shouldn't have a problem. If this is incorrect, then it's my own mistake for not researching w/c spiders well enough on my own.

I understand that you're not trying to be mean and I don't doubt that she'll be dead very soon. I do appreciate your advice and time just the same.
 

wyllomoon

Arachnopeon
Joined
Oct 27, 2006
Messages
23
I've taken a few pictures of her/him with my cell phone. Unfortunately, I don't have a digital camera so the quality is crap.

In the enclosure at 8am this morning:


In ICU 15 minutes ago. This should show the leg issue (it's nearly fallen off completely :() but I know the pictures are awful. Best I could do with what I have.






Thank you for taking time to help me. I'm such a wuss and I get really emotional about my little guys when they get sick or die.

Lisa
 

Alice

Arachnoangel
Old Timer
Joined
Sep 29, 2006
Messages
976
a lost leg should not present a problem to a healthy t - they will regenarate them within a few molts. that abdomen, on the other hand, doesn't look good. a blondi with an abdomen that size and not eating definitely has something worng with her.

i don't think that there is a blondi male who will mature at a mere 4-5", and i don't see boxing gloves. still, that's nearly impossible to tell from your pics, and blondis don't get hooks when they mature. and yes, in the last stages legs will drop off a mature male... not fun :(. i really don't have any advice besides leave it alone in the icu.

with ts, however, it's nearly as bad as with reptiles: many wc specimen will have parasites, and in the case of a t, there is next to nothing you can do if those are internal. so i'd say steer away from wcs and try to raise your own blondi from a sling. they grow as lightning and are fun to watch.
 

Anastasia

Arachnoprince
Old Timer
Joined
Jan 8, 2007
Messages
1,848
Lisa
from what I can see, leg dont look good at all
I had an experience from the past
T get hung them selfs from the top screen, wit one leg get caught, and blondi is a massive T cud get a pretty harsh damage, maybe thats what happened??
is he/she have any open wounds??
Good luck wit her/him
 

Ungweliante

Arachnosquire
Old Timer
Joined
Jul 24, 2006
Messages
96
is he/she have any open wounds??
I was thinking about that as well.

She could be leaking hemolymph (tarantula blood) from the leg that's injured. Can you see anything leaking out? That would also explain her shrinking abdomen.

If she's indeed leaking hemolymph from an open wound, then the wound needs to be closed. For that you can place small pieces of toilet paper directly on the wound. Also some people use super glue, but then you would have to be careful not to glue the semi-deattached leg to the tarantula.

Again, good luck with her getting well.
 

wyllomoon

Arachnopeon
Joined
Oct 27, 2006
Messages
23
Alice said:
a blondi with an abdomen that size and not eating definitely has something worng with her.
Hi Alice. She eats, but just not a lot. She often ignores food and I have to take it out. The abdomen looked fine the past 4 months or so (but small, so I wondered if maybe I had a male). Another 2 phone pics taken some time in December (the light was borrowed from a reptile tank so I could see her clearer):





with ts, however, it's nearly as bad as with reptiles: many wc specimen will have parasites, and in the case of a t, there is next to nothing you can do if those are internal. so i'd say steer away from wcs and try to raise your own blondi from a sling. they grow as lightning and are fun to watch.
All my other spiders are c/b little babies and I have really enjoyed watching them grow. Thank you for your time.
 

wyllomoon

Arachnopeon
Joined
Oct 27, 2006
Messages
23
I had an experience from the past
T get hung them selfs from the top screen, wit one leg get caught, and blondi is a massive T cud get a pretty harsh damage, maybe thats what happened??
is he/she have any open wounds??
Ungweliante said:
She could be leaking hemolymph (tarantula blood) from the leg that's injured. Can you see anything leaking out? That would also explain her shrinking abdomen.

If she's indeed leaking hemolymph from an open wound, then the wound needs to be closed. For that you can place small pieces of toilet paper directly on the wound. Also some people use super glue, but then you would have to be careful not to glue the semi-deattached leg to the tarantula.
Aha! Maybe that's it! I did see blackish stuff leaking out by the leg late last night. Before that, it was just thinner than the other legs (only noticed this a few days back) but once it started to come off it probably started bleeding. I've never seen one bleed before so it sort of looked like dirt to me and I didn't recognise it for what it was. It would explain why she keeps getting thinner.

All I can think of is that she climbed up and fell from the screen some time in the night when I was asleep. I can't see a single left over cricket gnawing off a whole leg, can you? (And I took it out as soon as I realized it was there).

I have to admit, the idea of getting my fingers close enough to glue or put toilet paper on the wound is a bit scary. She's not exactly a friendly one. I'm not even sure exactly where the blood is coming from and what's blood vs. damp soil. Will it stop bleeding on it's own or will it keep leaking out until it kills her if I don't do something? (I understand that her chances of recovery from this are already slim).

Thank you both. I think you may have figured out the problem.
 

Ungweliante

Arachnosquire
Old Timer
Joined
Jul 24, 2006
Messages
96
I have to admit, the idea of getting my fingers close enough to glue or put toilet paper on the wound is a bit scary. She's not exactly a friendly one. I'm not even sure exactly where the blood is coming from and what's blood vs. damp soil. Will it stop bleeding on it's own or will it keep leaking out until it kills her if I don't do something? (I understand that her chances of recovery from this are already slim).

Thank you both. I think you may have figured out the problem.
I think the blackish stuff (something like reddish-brown) was tarantula blood, hemolymph. It doesn't contain clotting agents so it won't clot on it's own, except if the wound is very small. If her abdomen is getting smaller, then the wound seems too big to clot on it's own.

You have to conquer your fear now ;) I haven't clotted any tarantula wounds myself, but many others have, and you can search the boards for additional advice for that. Toilet paper / super glue is certainly one option. Also some people have used baby powder or something similar to that. Some have even used dry peat moss. The idea with the toilet paper / powder / dry peat moss is to provide a means for the hemolymph to attach to, a sort of a natural clotting agent. Superglue closes the wound and is different.

Could you get a long stick with a soft ending of some sorts, and use that to apply the clotting agent? Some people refridgerate tarantulas for a while to calm them down, but it certainly stresses them and is not advised by many of the experienced people here. Some have said that it drastically shortens their lifespan.

Anyway, if the blondi is still aggressive enough to defend herself from you, the keeper, I'd say that that's a good sign :)
 

Anastasia

Arachnoprince
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Lisa,
Now keep her/him well hydrated, its very importaint
can u see how big is the wound?
can u close it?
and is the leg complitely damaged?
in sum cases its better perferm Amputation of the leg,
and close the wound, then let him/her drag it around and keep opening the wound
T can survive wit 7 legs

P.S. Experts, Please if Am right, back me up on this
if not, correct me
 

Ungweliante

Arachnosquire
Old Timer
Joined
Jul 24, 2006
Messages
96
Lisa,
Now keep her/him well hydrated, its very importaint
can u see how big is the wound?
can u close it?
and is the leg complitely damaged?
in sum cases its better perferm Amputation of the leg,
and close the wound, then let him/her drag it around and keep opening the wound
T can survive wit 7 legs

P.S. Experts, Please if Am right, back me up on this
if not, correct me
I agree about the hydration. It might be a good idea to place a small well-cleaned water dish right next to the tarantula into the ICU. If the tarantula becomes unresponsive, you can try placing her "head" into the water dish and leave her like that for a couple of hours, but be sure to leave her backside out of the water.

From what I saw of the leg in the pictures, it looks like it will deattach by itself. If it looks like it would come off easily, you could try yanking it off. It's true that a semi-attached leg might do more harm than good if the tarantula moves around, but at the moment the tarantula isn't moving in the ICU, right?
 

Windchaser

Arachnoking
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Joined
Dec 13, 2004
Messages
2,997
I think the blackish stuff (something like reddish-brown) was tarantula blood, hemolymph. It doesn't contain clotting agents so it won't clot on it's own, except if the wound is very small. If her abdomen is getting smaller, then the wound seems too big to clot on it's own.
Hemolymph is clear with a slight bluish tint to it. If it was blackish in color I would go with the parasite theory. Parasites can actually eat a tarantula alive and you effectively have a tarantula that is the walking dead. Some of its functions will continue on even though it is effectively dead. I don't think the outcome for your tarantula looks good.
 

Anastasia

Arachnoprince
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Messages
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I agree about the hydration. It might be a good idea to place a small well-cleaned water dish right next to the tarantula into the ICU. If the tarantula becomes unresponsive, you can try placing her "head" into the water dish and leave her like that for a couple of hours, but be sure to leave her backside out of the water.

From what I saw of the leg in the pictures, it looks like it will deattach by itself. If it looks like it would come off easily, you could try yanking it off. It's true that a semi-attached leg might do more harm than good if the tarantula moves around, but at the moment the tarantula isn't moving in the ICU, right?
I wouldnt yank it tho, maybe cut careful, above the wound
she will molt it off later
 

wyllomoon

Arachnopeon
Joined
Oct 27, 2006
Messages
23
Ungweliante said:
Could you get a long stick with a soft ending of some sorts, and use that to apply the clotting agent? Some people refridgerate tarantulas for a while to calm them down, but it certainly stresses them and is not advised by many of the experienced people here. Some have said that it drastically shortens their lifespan.

Anyway, if the blondi is still aggressive enough to defend herself from you, the keeper, I'd say that that's a good sign :)
LOL she's still flicking hairs at me every time I go near her but I think I could use a really long pair of tweezers to touch her if I need to. I've taken a closer look and there is already some potting soil stuck to the wound, but maybe I should try some peat as well just in case.

Could I keep her hydrated just by misting the paper towel and "wall" in front of her (not the back by the leg)? I've stuck her in something really small not realising that she would want a water dish right now. I just didn't want her to move around too much.

From what I saw of the leg in the pictures, it looks like it will deattach by itself. If it looks like it would come off easily, you could try yanking it off. It's true that a semi-attached leg might do more harm than good if the tarantula moves around, but at the moment the tarantula isn't moving in the ICU, right?
No, she's not moving. Not a lot of room in there for walking around. I was actually wondering about that myself. The leg looks like it's just hanging there by a few threads but I wasn't sure if it would fall off by itself or not. The thought of pulling or cutting it off makes me cringe, but if everyone thinks it's the best option I would be willing to try.
 

wyllomoon

Arachnopeon
Joined
Oct 27, 2006
Messages
23
let us know how you get on trying to stop the bleeding
Thanks for your concern. I'll keep you updated and I really appreciate everyone's help here. I'm hoping she survives this but not counting on it.
 
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