Cause of death of my tarantula?

EvanMyst

Arachnopeon
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Dec 28, 2016
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6
To sum it up... my Chaco Golden Knee died recently. I've had it since it was a sling, and it's been with me for 5 years. It's death may have been yesterday, or a few days ago, I couldn't tell. That's why I need help, and I was hoping someone could provide me with the answers I need.

My main suspect is dehydration- the abdomen is terribly shriveled, as seen in the picture below. It was like this when I realised that there was something wrong.

But the fact that there are white patches, and tears in the abdomen have had me looking at other possibilities.

But regarding humidity issue. Admittedly I was not consistent with it. This is partly due to my earlier research about how my species did not need to much of it, and of my earlier negative experience with maintaining too much humidity, which resulted in a mite infestation(I took care of that quickly, tho)

But albeit all that my tarantula was fine with the low humidity. He was an active and energetic fella, which always pounced on the mealworms I dropped in immediately.

I did not use a humidifier. All I used was the water dish and occasionally pouring small amounts of water into the substrate, but not thoroughly soaking it.

Up until a few weeks ago it started acting weird. It stopped eating, with all the mealworms I dropped in ignored. For a period of time it hid itself under the bottle cap(which was emptied so I filled up a new one and left it in the middle of the enclosure). It even flipped itself upside down, buried under the surface of the substrate. It couldn't have been molting as it just did about a month ago... I did some research and thought that maybe it was going through a phase and I shouldn't disturb it. Also, at this point it had a shriveled abdomen... and was still moving its legs rather energetically when I prodded them so I felt that he still had the strength to drink from the dish.

But, recently I went on a 6 day vacation- I left with some soaked substrate and a full water dish, and by the time I came back the enclosure was bone-dry. And the tarantula had been reduced to the state in the image.

I don't know if it acting weird had contributed to this, but what I do know is that I am terribly at fault for not ensuring that the humidity was maintained- I should've made sure that the enclosure was sufficiently humid. I should've told my grandparents to refill the water dish every single day, yet I forgot and thus... most probably resulted in my tarantula's demise.


Apart from humidity being the most probable cause, another possibility would have been a fall. The enclosure is as such- the substrate may not have been deep enough- but I did make sure that the height was the same as my tarantula's leg span. He did have a habit of climbing up to the blue cover, but there are no possibly sharp decorations, the only other item being the bottle cap I used as a water dish.

However, before my trip the tarantula only had a shriveled abdomen- it did not have any white fluids leaking out of it so I doubted that it suffered any injuries.

The third possibility would be a mealworm attack. Unfortunately, although I removed most of the uneaten worms, one of them remained burrowed and upon my return from my vacation, had metamorphed into its adult beetle form.I felt that it may have attacked the weakened tarantula during my absence, but I am not sure.

Dehydration, fall damage, mealworm attack- these are the three possibilities I'm looking at right now.

I am a terrible keeper and I understand that I have failed horribly. I deserve no respect or tolerance for my acts... I only hope to understand my shortcomings, and I pray that even though I deserve every bit of hate from all of you... someone will be able to tell me what I did wrong.

That is all I ask for.

I'm sorry.
 

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KezyGLA

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possible blockage of internal organs or trauma as looks as though haemolymph or excrement buld up around the spinerettes.

Has the white fluid been there for a while or has it only just appeared recently?

Humidity wouldnt be an issue for this sp. and being without water for 6 days wouldnt do it either.

More than likely a fall :(
 

Andrea82

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The abdomen looks as to it has ruptured or has been chewed on, but i'm not sure if that was the cause or the result of damage after it died.
The fact that it already had a shriveled abdomen before you left says that whatever this caused, it was already begun before you left. A healthy tarantula can go without food or water for a week.
There are some white specs visible in the first picture, did you check for mites?
I'm not sure you are to blame for this, sometimes spiders get sick without us being able to do anything about it.
But i would like to wait to make conclusions until others have chimed in.

In any case i am sorry for your loss.
 

Andrea82

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possible blockage of internal organs or trauma as looks as though haemolymph or excrement buld up arohe spinerettes

Has the white fluid been there for a while or has it only just appeared recently?

Humidity wouldnt be an issue for this sp. and being without water for 6 days wouldnt do it either.

More than likely a fall :(
I noticed the white goo as well. There was a thread a few days ago on a T dying because it was impacted-suffered because of blockage. But if that was the case, the abdomen should have been bloated, not shriveled, right?
 

Ghost56

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Aug 28, 2016
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443
The fangs don't look completely black/hardened to me. Has it molted recently? If it has, maybe a feeder did some damage during the molting process?
 
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Venom1080

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i think it was the mealworms that killed it, the abdomen looks half eaten. this is why crushing the mealworms head before putting it in is so recommended. uneaten food should always be removed.
i just dont see how a fall or dehydration could take out half the abdomen.
I am a terrible keeper and I understand that I have failed horribly. I deserve no respect or tolerance for my acts... I only hope to understand my shortcomings, and I pray that even though I deserve every bit of hate from all of you... someone will be able to tell me what I did wrong.
That is all I ask for.
I'm sorry.
we're not monsters. :p
dont apologize to us, we didnt suffer from your mistakes.
 

viper69

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I am a terrible keeper and I understand that I have failed horribly. I deserve no respect or tolerance for my acts... I only hope to understand my shortcomings, and I pray that even though I deserve every bit of hate from all of you.
That's a pretty strong choice of words, and a bit extreme.:wideyed:
 

Paiige

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That's a pretty strong choice of words, and a bit extreme.:wideyed:
Probably better to be modest and understand the gravity of loss of life than to be stubborn and hard-headed when a T is suffering and the poster is not listening to advice, only to potentially repeat the same mistake down the line.

@EvanMyst I'm very sorry for your loss, I'm sure after 5 years together you are very sad. View it as a learning experience and when the next one comes along remember this, and it will not have been in vain. We all make mistakes and learn from them, that is part of life
 

EvanMyst

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Dec 28, 2016
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possible blockage of internal organs or trauma as looks as though haemolymph or excrement buld up around the spinerettes.

Has the white fluid been there for a while or has it only just appeared recently?

Humidity wouldnt be an issue for this sp. and being without water for 6 days wouldnt do it either.

More than likely a fall :(
The white fluid was non-existent when I left for my vacation, so it probably occurred within those 6 days.

But now that you mention it, my T hasn't been spinning any webs ever since its last molt. I think your theory about internal blockage could be it, but what could have caused that?

Thanks for your thoughts, man
 
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EvanMyst

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Dec 28, 2016
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The abdomen looks as to it has ruptured or has been chewed on, but i'm not sure if that was the cause or the result of damage after it died.
The fact that it already had a shriveled abdomen before you left says that whatever this caused, it was already begun before you left. A healthy tarantula can go without food or water for a week.
There are some white specs visible in the first picture, did you check for mites?
I'm not sure you are to blame for this, sometimes spiders get sick without us being able to do anything about it.
But i would like to wait to make conclusions until others have chimed in.

In any case i am sorry for your loss.
I'm pretty positive that there aren't any mites- there weren't any on the corpse, or in the enclosure. It was like I said, bone-dry, and my enclosures have been in such an anti-mite state ever since the last infestation. The specks you mentioned were unmoving, and when I moved it to the ICU I did not see any mites crawling externally either. Maybe they were droplets?
Anyhow, I am unaware that mites can deal so much damage! I've only ever read about them blocking up the book lungs.

Thanks for your input!! :)
 

EvanMyst

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Dec 28, 2016
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The fangs don't look completely black/hardened to me. Has it molted recently? If it has, maybe a feeder did some damage during the molting process?
Yeah, it did molt, around a month or two earlier. I'd think the fangs would have matured by now. Here's another picture with a closer focus on the fangs.

In regards to whether the mealworms have done damage to it during the most, I can't say for sure as there may have been mealworms within the enclosure. But they were still larvae, thus I think damage would have been minimal.

Additionally, the T was doing fine after the molt, up until it stopped eating... But it is entirely possible that this was due to damaged fangs? Could you look at the picture again and let me know?? Thanks!

Anyway, thanks again for your help
 

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EvanMyst

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Dec 28, 2016
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i think it was the mealworms that killed it, the abdomen looks half eaten. this is why crushing the mealworms head before putting it in is so recommended. uneaten food should always be removed.
i just dont see how a fall or dehydration could take out half the abdomen.

we're not monsters. :p
dont apologize to us, we didnt suffer from your mistakes.
My guts are telling me the mealworms played a part, but as Kezy and Ghost mentioned it could have been preliminary damage as well(ie,. blockage and molting issues). For now, I think it may have been a combination :(

But yeah, I have always been lax with removing uneaten food... and I guess this is the price I have to pay. Thanks for your advice- will definitely utilise your method for food in the future!
 

EvanMyst

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Dec 28, 2016
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Probably better to be modest and understand the gravity of loss of life than to be stubborn and hard-headed when a T is suffering and the poster is not listening to advice, only to potentially repeat the same mistake down the line.

@EvanMyst I'm very sorry for your loss, I'm sure after 5 years together you are very sad. View it as a learning experience and when the next one comes along remember this, and it will not have been in vain. We all make mistakes and learn from them, that is part of life
I do feel that this is the state of mind I have to be in for such a situation. I recognise that the victims here are the innocent Ts... so the brunt of the blame for any mistake must fall on me.

Thanks for the condolences- I will definitely make this a learning experience. It is especially saddening as the fella came to me as a sling no wider than 2 centimetres... I'll miss it dearly.

Also, I'd like to thank everyone here who have shared their thoughts and offered condolences. The T keeper community has always been such an intelligent, yet caring and helpful bunch, even for situations like this. Apart from learning what I can from this death, I would also like to wish the best of health for all of your guy's Ts! May they live long and prosperous lives, and hopefully a similar tragedy does not repeat itself. :)
 

darkness975

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In regards to whether the mealworms have done damage to it during the molt, I can't say for sure as there may have been mealworms within the enclosure. But they were still larvae, thus I think damage would have been minimal.
Few statements could be further from the truth than this one. Mealworm larvae can (and will) cause serious injury to a molting Tarantula. Those jaws are no joke.

You will noticed many keepers on here that use mealworms will crush their heads right before feeding them to their Tarantulas. That is a smart and safe practice that you should get into the habit of doing if you will be continuing to use them as feeders.
 
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