Dehydrated tarantula

Sana

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Oct 26, 2014
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Okay guys. I've got an E. uatuman sub adult female who I basically never see. She has an intricate burrow web dirt mess that she hides in. I saw her toes about a month ago. As I'm doing maintenance today I found her at the top of her hide thing (though still lower then the rest of the sub level) with her abdomen shriveled and her legs curled under her. I thought she was gone but I squirted some water under her just in case and she moved a couple legs. She's currently sitting face planted in some water that's taking it's sweet time soaking in to the sub. I don't usually squirt water into her hide mess so it's pretty dry right there. The other end of her enclosure is kept a bit more moist. I already know what happened. We went into a sudden hot, dry spell about four days ago. Temps spiked up to 100F from the mid 80s and the humidity in the room itself dropped to 19%. I can feel the moisture being sucked out of my skin as I sit here and type. She only gets fed once every week or ten days and she's got a water dish as big as she is so I didn't think anything of it until I opened her enclosure today and found her. This one surprises me because every other tarantula in the house is just fine. Enclosures are a bit drier then usual but no other problems. I'm guessing that er sub wasn't as moist as I thought that it was. So now the actual question. To ICU or not to ICU? In general I'm not a proponent of ICU for a tarantula unless the cause of the problem is environmental. Unfortunately, I can't tell if she's drinking the water or not. The only way I figure I'm going to know is if I get her out of her hide and flip her over so I can put drops on her mouth and see if they disappear. So if I have to wreck her hide and stress out the poor ding spider anyway, do you think that she would have a better chance of recovery in a small more humid container or in her enclosure with the humidity boosted through the ceiling? I'm off to check the next set of enclosures. Be back in a few for opinions.
 

Poec54

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When I have a dehydrated spider, I put it in a 16 oz deli cup with a wet cottonball, no papertowels. They have a good drink overnight and can be put back in their cage the next day.
 

Sana

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So at the moment she's face planted into a water dish. In the process of retrieving her from her hide she grabbed my paintbrush. She held on just tight enough that when I moved it away, she went with it. So I took advantage of the moment and parked her fangs in the nearest handy water dish. She has drank nearly at full milk jug cap of water. I just refilled it for her. I kicked the humidity in her enclosure up but I haven't removed her to a different container. I'm going to let her keep drinking water like that for a bit unless someone comes along to tell me that's a really bad plan. I'm not planning on checking on her for another half hour so that I'm not just hovering over her.
 

Andrea82

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So at the moment she's face planted into a water dish. In the process of retrieving her from her hide she grabbed my paintbrush. She held on just tight enough that when I moved it away, she went with it. So I took advantage of the moment and parked her fangs in the nearest handy water dish. She has drank nearly at full milk jug cap of water. I just refilled it for her. I kicked the humidity in her enclosure up but I haven't removed her to a different container. I'm going to let her keep drinking water like that for a bit unless someone comes along to tell me that's a really bad plan. I'm not planning on checking on her for another half hour so that I'm not just hovering over her.
I think if you can get and keep her to drink in her own enclosure, that is better than moving her to a new environment.
 

Sana

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I haven't moved her and at this point I don't think I'm going to need to. I have been refilling the water every half hour and I'm actually able to see her abdomen stretching back out and regain size. I took a picture just after I posted this thread thinking that someone was going to want one to confirm what I'm seeing. I'll have to take another picture before I go to bed so that everybody can see the differences that I'm seeing in just a couple of hours.
 

AphonopelmaTX

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This scenario sounds very familiar to me as I have lost spiderlings of Ephebopus species from dehydration. The problem was that the burrow was dry and I think that is why your E. uatuman ended up dehydrated. All to often I see that humidity should be kept high, but in reality it is the dampness of the substrate which tropical fossorial tarantulas need. Sure it increases moisture in the air within the enclosure as the water evaporates, but years of my own observations has shown that tropical fossorial species need to be in constant contact with damp soil to keep from desiccating. Instead of keeping one side of an enclosure damp or just overflowing the water dish, keep the whole thing damp by slowly pouring a cup of water on the substrate. Just like watering a plant. When keeping substrate damp, one must also soak the burrow even if that means flooding it. The excess water will eventually dry or the substrate will soak it up, but it is important to keep the area the tarantula spends all of its time damp.

I also think the coarse of action already taken is the right one. If the E. uatuman is drinking in its own enclosure from a cap of water and/ or the pooled water on the surface of the substrate, then it should recover if it is not too dehydrated. I also suggest using the opportunity to dampen the side of the enclosure the burrow is at.
 

RMJ

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I wish you all the best with this, picture would be a great reference. You are doing exactly what I would do.
 

Poec54

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All too often I see that humidity should be kept high, but in reality it is the dampness of the substrate which tropical fossorial tarantulas need. Sure it increases moisture in the air within the enclosure as the water evaporates, but years of my own observations has shown that tropical fossorial species need to be in constant contact with damp soil to keep from desiccating. Instead of keeping one side of an enclosure damp or just overflowing the water dish, keep the whole thing damp by slowly pouring a cup of water on the substrate. Just like watering a plant.

Absolutely. My observations are the same: most tropicals need moist substrate. That's one of the things I've criticized in the TKG, the recommendation to keep tarantulas as dry as possible. That works with most of the calmer NW terrestrials that made up the bulk of Stan's collection, but with so many tropical species introduced in the hobby in the last 20 years, it doesn't apply to most of what we now keep.
 

Mauri

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Well my E.cyranognathus hasnt had moist subs...but then it's been eating every 4-5 days and I have watered parts of the subs...(I do with all my slings every 2-3 days).

Am going to keep an eye on it after reading this. (plus will water the area near its funnel thing).

It has actually made two so it can always move to the other side if it doesnt like the extra moistness.

p.s I guess with slings it's easier...due to the fact they eat regularly..

It's good to know this for the future.

Am guessing also my Thrixopelma lagunas likes it a bit wetter. Well am right in thinking lagunas means "lagoon" in english (from the spanish word)?
 

cold blood

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p.s I guess with slings it's easier...due to the fact they eat regularly..
Actually its the opposite. Slings lack the waxy layer that protects them from dehydration, making them far more prone to dehydration issues than their adult counterparts.
 

Sana

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She's still with us this morning and recovering well. Thanks for the information @AphonopelmaTX . I will make sure to remedy the moisture level at her burrow, and I'll take a closer look at my other tropical species as well. I just refilled the water next to her yet again and left a prekilled cricket next to it so that she has it if she needs it to regain some strength. Here are those pictures that I promised. Assuming that I loaded them in the correct order the first one is from last night right after my first post and the second one is from just a few minutes ago.
 

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Mauri

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Actually its the opposite. Slings lack the waxy layer that protects them from dehydration, making them far more prone to dehydration issues than their adult counterparts.
I would have thought the fact they eat regularly (or should) counteracts this as long as you add the necessary extra humidity. Hence why I said I add extra just in case they do get dehydrated...

But if you say slings are more prone to suffer from dehydration than adults because of this missing waxy layer then ok didnt know this...

Well I heard from a few keepers they add a bit of extra moisture for their slings, perhaps the extra for when a T is in moult..

p.s some spray, I dont. Prefer to add vermiculite to my subs and then add the extra humidity by keeping a patch moist. Am sure most of us do this. So far havent had a single issue touch wood...

But good this thread came about to keep me on my toes and perhaps do a bit of extra research into which of my T's might prefer a bit more of a moist environment. So far because I have mostly slings this hasnt really occurred to me.

(although my P.Irminia has extra humidity because I water the plant in her enclosure and for my A hentzi I make sure her dish is always full plus again I add a bit extra now and then).

Basically we are simulating rain! Although am not going to get out the tarantulas sprinkler just yet :) (pipette will do).

Actually this had made me think what to do with my M.Balfouri. As it's disappeared much to my horror (yes mind is playing tricks on me). Do I soak parts of the substrate as I have no clue where it is!(been tempted to dig it up and give it a good scolding hehe...but am pretty sure crickets are going..but perhaps they are in my room. I never thought I'd be searching for crickets with a torch because of a burrowing tarantula).

(am guessing it's ok..has a water dish n I water a patch a bit).

(oh and my baboons I perhaps add a bit more moisture...well the P.Muticus? Unless I have this wrong).
 
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Crone Returns

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Mar 22, 2016
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Here in Albuquerque the temps are up to 100° again with single digit humidity. I am keeping one side of my Ts containers damp. I'm surprised how fast it dries. I have to keep an eye on them. My A. seemani rascal is cruising under the substrate that's damp. I can see her -- she thinks she's hidden. Even Phred, my little boy A. avicularia, is drinking a lot of water. Thankfully they are all doing great. Don't know how all of you keep track of all your "kids" when you've got so many. I bow to you most excellent T owners.
 
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