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Coping with accidentally killing your tarantula?

Discussion in 'Tarantula Chat' started by Cambananas, Jan 11, 2019.

  1. Cambananas

    Cambananas Arachnopeon

    I had a 6 year old female Brazilian Black tarantula I got as a sling at a reptile show. I'd actualIy gone out of my way to go to this show specifically looking for a female Grammostola pulchra. She was the only one there, and I lucked out that she turned out to be female. I named her Nanners when she did something goofy a few days after I got her. She was pulling up big clods of substrate and hiding/sitting in the holes, so I told her she was acting "bananas", and that's how the name happened lol. She was the cutest, calmest (well, most of the time), sweetest thing. She had a funny ridge of hair between her eyes that looked like the world's tiniest mohawk. She had a great temperament and was entertainingly quirky (for instance sometimes she liked killing all her crickets at once, and smooshing them into a disgusting "murderball", which she would protect from me). I loved her so much. Even my now husband loved her, and he doesn't care so much for arachnids like I do. Thankfully, he does follow my no spider killing in the house policy.
    Anyways, about 2 years ago it was spring, and I was cleaning off the shelf that I kept Nanners's tank on. It was nice out, so I set her tank on an outside patio table in the shade while I cleaned. About an hour or so later I was cleaning around the kitchen, looked outside at the nice day and saw it.... the tank sitting in full sunlight on a now much warmer day. I felt sick. I knew she wasn't ok before I checked. The tank had gotten too hot inside, she'd tried to hide in her little log, which was where she'd died. I killed her by being stupid enough to put her outside where the elements could potentially harm her, and then forgetting she was even there. I buried her in my yard. She was my first tarantula, it's been over 2 years and I still have yet to get another. I'd like one, but thinking about it still makes me feel guilty, like I don't deserve another one. It's not like this was my first pet. I'm in my 30s, so it really shocks me how sad I still get sometimes about her, and feeling so awful for cutting her lifespan short by about 20 years. I would have expected to grieve her like a fish maybe, or other small pet that you are sad about, but move on. It's been 2 years and I still tear up about her! Does this make me weird? I think the guilt of accidentally killing her, and knowing she would have lived so much longer, makes it a lot worse. Also, it probably was an unpleasant way to go :*(...essentially cooking her really messes with my head. I think that's the worst part of it. Knowing that it had to have hurt, right? Does anyone else get super attached to their tarantulas? I feel a little nuts that I'm unable to sleep, grieving a tarantula two years after it died, grieving it enough to join this forum and post about it. How weird am I to still be upset about a pet that probably never even really liked me that much, or saw me as anything other than a cricket dispenser?
    • Sad Sad x 20
  2. Ungoliant

    Ungoliant Malleus Aranearum Staff Member

    It's not unusual at all on this forum.

    The best way to move on is to learn from your mistake and then, when you're ready, get a new tarantula -- not to replace the one you lost but to give you something else to care for and enjoy.

    I remember when I lost my first tarantula a couple years ago. (She was an elderly female, and she died in a bad molt.) She had a full life, and it wasn't my fault that she died, but still, every time I looked at her empty enclosure, I started to tear up. Cleaning out the enclosure and getting a new tarantula to live in it cheered me up.
    • Agree Agree x 5
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  3. Rhino1

    Rhino1 Arachnoknight

    Awww that's a sad story, no wonder you feel so bad.
    The way I see it is that accidents happen, it was simply an accident but apart from that incident it seems to me like your a very devoted keeper and Im certain you would give another lucky T a damn good home.
    Honestly, in your own time, the best way to move on would be to get another one and then another and then another............. you see where I'm going with this.
    • Like Like x 2
    • Agree Agree x 2
    • Love Love x 1
  4. Sorry that happened. :( She might have sought a cooler spot but she lacked the physiology to feel pain as, say, mammals do.

    I know when some people lose a pet, they never want another one, since it hurts to lose one.
    I feel the opposite. If I lose a pet, I get another in tribute to the first -- that having had such a wonderful pet -- I never want to be without one again.

    Plus, any new pet would benefit from you knowing even more about caring for them well.
    • Like Like x 2
    • Agree Agree x 2
  5. EtienneN

    EtienneN Arachnonovelist-musician-artist Arachnosupporter

    Well, I can say I know how you feel because I actually accidentally killed a box turtle in the exact same manner. There was lots of crying involved. Just don't beat yourself up to hard. It was an accident. I hope you get to have another tarantula in your life someday.
  6. Teal

    Teal Arachnoemperor Old Timer

    I'm so sorry ): You are not weird at all for mourning her still, and you are certainly not alone. I lost a snake in the same manner when I was a kid. I put her tank on my front porch in partial shade while I cleaned my room. Only, I forgot about her as my cleaning evolved into completely rearranging my room. Hours later, the spontaneous rearranging project complete, my stomach flip-flopped when I remembered I had put Tai Chi's tank on the porch... which was now in full sun on a warm California day.

    I am a firm believer in the addage "Everything happens for a reason." The reason may be unknown to us, but I feel there always is a purpose to events.

    When you are ready, I do hope you'll get another T. They will be lucky to have such a caring person, even if they don't know it :)
    • Agree Agree x 1
  7. AphonopelmaTX

    AphonopelmaTX Moderator Staff Member

    One aspect of being human is the ability to form emotional bonds with animate and inanimate objects alike and to feel empathy and sympathy. People are emotional creatures by nature so it isn't strange to experience a strong emotional reaction when a pet spider dies.

    Spiders by their nature have no emotion, do not feel empathy or sympathy, and certainly do not form emotional bonds with anything. Keeping that in mind might help with coping with the loss of a pet tarantula. Although keeping anything as a pet makes one responsible for the care and well being of it, knowing that a pet tarantula does not feel scared or depressed when experiencing trauma should help one cope with one's own guilt in the matter of accidentally killing it. It may also help to see things from the spider's perspective. If one accidentally kills a pet tarantula, it doesn't know it was you that messed up taking care of it. In the situation described in this thread, all it knew was that it was getting too hot, tried to deal with the situation, then died.

    Take the experience learn from it, then try again. If people gave up on keeping tarantulas as pets due to a mishap in care, we wouldn't know so much about captive rearing and breeding. Everyone accidentally kills at least one tarantula in their hobby career.
    • Like Like x 3
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  8. basin79

    basin79 Arachnoemperor Active Member

    Being upset a loved pet died is perfectly natural. A mistake more so. I've been there. I still feel it. And I'm glad I feel the pain and guilt.
    • Like Like x 1
    • Agree Agree x 1
  9. Flashback

    Flashback Arachnosquire

    This is a great supportive community of people who many have experienced the same loss as you did. It sounds like you are a great keeper who really cares for the well being of any pet you have! As others have said, when you're ready, by all means you can give another T a great home!

    You certainly shouldn't blame yourself for a mistake. It was just an accident. Accidents happen (that's why we call them accidents), but, if it is at all possible, try not to let that determine your future enjoyment of a new pet or loving another animal.

    When you're ready, maybe try going into a reptile store or something just to look around :) Maybe you'll find a spark or be drawn to a new T! The most important thing however is to not blame yourself, it was just an accident.
  10. viper69

    viper69 ArachnoGod Old Timer

    See a therapist

    Very... as you completely know this animal doesn't develop emotions for their owners. You can't be upset at the animal at all, that's just delusional.

    Plus given its eyesight, I doubt it ever saw you at all :D Assuming you have the species correct, at least it wasn't a really rare species to obtain.

    Give it another go, I would.
    Last edited by a moderator: Jan 13, 2019
    • Funny Funny x 2
  11. Zevil

    Zevil Arachnosquire

    When dealing with a loss of a pet you had for a long while, it doesn't matter what animal it is, it's normal to get emotionally affected. I remembered seeing Nicole Taylor Dean tearing up at the loss of her fish.
    • Agree Agree x 1
  12. SonsofArachne

    SonsofArachne Arachnoangel Active Member

    I will sometimes beat myself up for a day or two over a lost invert even when I'm reasonably sure I did nothing wrong. I keep wondering if there was something I missed that I should have caught. So I can imagine what the op is going through.
    • Agree Agree x 1
  13. Yes. I intellectually know the spid doesn't love me, but I'm emotionally attached. I feel loss big time. I'm like a kid with my Ts, I watch them with awe, a childish "wow". I grieve - even for invertibrates.
    Don't be afraid to get another. ;)
    And another...
    And another...
    • Like Like x 3
  14. Nightshady

    Nightshady Dislike Harvester

    Sorry for your loss. Learn from your mistake and get another T would be my advice. Cheers.
    • Agree Agree x 1
  15. Misa

    Misa Arachnopeon

    Mistakes happen. I say, get another Tarantula!
  16. DustyHYT

    DustyHYT Arachnopeon

    I killed my G. Rosea by being too loving. They were just a sling, but I put a lot of time into checking on her, giving her water, proper humidity and temperature. She died a couple months after I got her. I was so upset and thought about quitting the hobby. This was a spider I had wanted for such a long time but found that they are more difficult to find than I expected, since they are a staple in the hobby, haha. Come to find out, with these spiders you have to do everything wrong to keep them alive, haha.
  17. thebronzedragon

    thebronzedragon Arachnosquire

    I kind of know how you feel, just yesterday my first shipment of multiple inverts came in. I was so excited but at the same time I was extremely worried as they were supposed to arrive the previous Thursday but had been delayed and lost in shipping. There was 1 scorpion and 6 tarantulas including a freebie that Tarantula Canada had been kind enough to give me. Only 2 of 7 survived the journey, I know that technically it was the shipping company's fault for losing the package but it hurt so much knowing that if I hadn't ordered them, they would still be alive. I agree with the other people on this thread, it may hurt to lose a pet you care for, I didn't even have those T's when they were alive and it makes me cry, but you shouldn't deprive yourself of the experience because you made a mistake.
  18. I'm in feeling gutted for you sound like a horrible way to go
  19. dangerforceidle

    dangerforceidle Arachnolord Active Member

    Very sorry to hear that. :(
  20. Anoplogaster

    Anoplogaster Arachnodemon Active Member

    Sorry for your loss. We all make mistakes in life. But here’s the thing: You learned a valuable lesson from your mistake. So if you go forward never owning another tarantula, it almost seems like a waste of that lesson, doesn’t it? If an animal died for you to learn that lesson, might as well put that lesson to good use. Wouldn’t getting another one be a good tribute to your former T?

    On the topic of blaming oneself (doesn’t relate to pets): I’ve had two accidents at sea where life was nearly lost. Both times were due to MY negligence. I almost swore I’d stay away from the ocean forever. What got me back out there was realizing that I shouldn’t waste the experience that life has given me.
    • Agree Agree x 1
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