Confused kind of worried Newbie

JujuLove2108

Arachnopeon
Joined
Jun 17, 2017
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About a month ago, after studying profusely, I decided to get a tarantula. (My son has been begging for quiet some time.)
After careful consideration I decided to adopt a curly hair.
The pet shop I'm almost sure was off their rocker, as everything they've told me this far has been proven untrue. I.e.: he is arboreal. .
While I admit he has some odd characteristics from what I can compare in my reading, he also tends to stick to the basics of care.
However, he eats like crazy. He will eat a cricket and begin his hunting routine minutes after finishing the last. He is also quiet active.
Oh by the way I'm referring to him as he in the assumption that the pet shop was right about gender. Hmmph.
Anyways, now after a few weeks of this behavior he has decided to use the hide I constructed for him. He has yet to even go near it until this evening. I guess what I'm asking is if his behavior could be considered normal? Or possibly a fast version of premolt?
There is so much conflicting info on the inter webs (haha pun intended).
In the meantime, I have removed the cricket hiding for its life in fear it may harm him.
Also, I'm using about 4inches of substrate from EcoEarth and his humidity is around 80. He has a small water dish with no gels or sponge and seems to be comfortable with his habitat. I'm generally just confused and wondering if maybe Cousin It is as nutty as myself. Go figure.
Sidenote I have no flipping clue how to size him, or what his age could possibly be. He does have a bald spot that has grown in appearance over the last several days but I'm unsure if that could be related to stress of the move here and settling in, or possible premolt. Also, his legs near his abdomen seem darker and old looking if that makes any sort of sense.
I know these sound like silly observations, in laughing at myself as I type. But some reassurance would be wonderful! Thanks!!
Also, I have attached a picture up close from last evening of the spot in question.
 

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Ungoliant

Malleus Aranearum
Staff member
Joined
Mar 7, 2012
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4,058
But some reassurance would be wonderful!
Do you have a picture of the tarantula's entire enclosure?

In general, if the tarantula is plump and not in a death-curl, you likely have nothing to worry about.

Oh by the way I'm referring to him as he in the assumption that the pet shop was right about gender. Hmmph.
You can attempt to sex a tarantula ventrally (by looking at the underside), but the best way to sex a tarantula is by examining the exuviae (shed exoskeleton or molt). If it's a mature male, however, that will be obvious right away, as it will have bulbous palps and little hooks under its front legs. If you post a picture of these areas, we can tell you whether he's a mature male.

This video by @z32upgrader shows you how to prepare exuviae for sexing (and how to sex).

If you'd like us to try to sex your tarantula (or if you want confirmation of your own attempts), you can post pictures here:

Anyways, now after a few weeks of this behavior he has decided to use the hide I constructed for him. He has yet to even go near it until this evening. I guess what I'm asking is if his behavior could be considered normal?
Tarantulas may or may not use the hide you provide (but you should always include one anyway). The ideal hide is lightweight (in case the tarantula undermines it) and has no bottom. Ideally, bury it most of the way so that there is only a little starter entrance, which it will happily excavate.

Brachypelma albopilosum will often burrow if given the chance, especially when younger.

Or possibly a fast version of premolt?
Tarantulas usually reject food during pre-molt, so a ravenous appetite would seem to indicate that it is not preparing to molt.

Also, I'm using about 4inches of substrate from EcoEarth and his humidity is around 80. He has a small water dish with no gels or sponge and seems to be comfortable with his habitat. I'm generally just confused and wondering if maybe Cousin It is as nutty as myself. Go figure.
Don't worry about hitting specific humidity readings. (I wouldn't even bother with a hygrometer.)

This species will generally tolerate dry substrate as long as you provide a water dish. (The dish should be relatively flush with the substrate and wide enough that the tarantula can submerge her whole face to get a drink.) You were right to exclude gel and sponge from the dish.

If you do want to raise the humidity, you can periodically moisten a bit of the substrate by overflowing the water dish. (You just want a small area to be slightly damp. Do not moisten all of the substrate or make anything sopping wet.)

You can sometimes get a sense of what the tarantula prefers by observing her behavior. If she's spending a lot of time hovering next to the water dish, it may be too dry. If she is constantly avoiding contact with the substrate, it may be too wet.

Sidenote I have no flipping clue how to size him, or what his age could possibly be. He does have a bald spot that has grown in appearance over the last several days but I'm unsure if that could be related to stress of the move here and settling in, or possible premolt. Also, his legs near his abdomen seem darker and old looking if that makes any sort of sense.
Age is really not that significant for a tarantula, and there's no easy way to determine the age just by looking at the size. (Growth rate depends on species, feeding schedule, temperature, and possibly other variables.)

We generally go by size instead of age. We measure a tarantula's diagonal leg span (DLS): from the tip of the front leg on one side to the tip of the hind leg on the opposite side.

He does have a bald spot that has grown in appearance over the last several days but I'm unsure if that could be related to stress of the move here and settling in, or possible premolt. Also, his legs near his abdomen seem darker and old looking if that makes any sort of sense.
A bald spot is nothing to worry about. Some tarantulas flick hairs more than others. (They may also increase hair flicking before molting, but this is not always the case.) When it molts, it will have a fresh set of urticating hairs.

With a bald spot like that, you should be able to get a good indication of when a molt is imminent. It will darken considerably in the days before the molt. (It does not look that dark yet.)
 

JujuLove2108

Arachnopeon
Joined
Jun 17, 2017
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I so greatly appreciate you taking the time to reply! And so thoroughly. This was all very helpful. I will try to post a pic to the link of Cousin It's underside as well. Guess he's just being a T lol. This has been a fascinating experience so far for all of us here and I can't thank you enough for your response!
 

mconnachan

Arachnoprince
Joined
Aug 5, 2012
Messages
1,244
It's perfectly normal behaviour, your T's abdomen looks slightly dark, if it had just moulted the colour would be like our skin, It is slightly on the dark side, not enough to warrant a moult just yet, in the coming week or two you should notice it darkening , it will look shiny black almost like a black ink colour, then you'll know for sure a moult will be imminent, never touch or disturb your T when it gets like this as it can kill it, just keep the water dish full. All the best...
 
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