Did I Hurt My Tarantula?? :(

Ashes44

Arachnopeon
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I'm a nanny, and today I saved a Texas Brown from being stomped on by four scared kids. I don't kill things and this spider is so beautiful...so I caught her and made a make-shift habitat for today until I could get a decked out terrarium with some of my paycheck tomorrow. Before today, I knew nothing about Tarantulas until I started looking facts up online every chance I got. I went to the pet store to get a ballpark of how much I would be spending to keep her (I've decided she's a girl for now) and keep her happy...
I left for maybe an hour to shower and when I got back, the 14-year-old and 17-year-old told me she had been very still nearly the whole time I was gone. This surprised me because of how animated she had been all day, moving freely around, and even showing me her initial discomfort with her new captivity by baring her fangs and dripping venom...something even came out of her rear end and there was webbing involved.
Before I read more, I panicked of course. At that point, she was very still and I was caressing her back with a blade of grass, still unsure of what to do but terrified that she was dying...
Now I've read for over an hour, and I think she was actually trying to molt? I'm not sure, but when I first got her in the cup, she was trying to lie down and she was trying to put webbing around her. There was more webbing when I got her into a container with more room and a place to hide under a huge leaf with some grass (I'm sorry if that seems ameteur). She actually ate some of the greens and when I gave her water I was still scared so I poured some water onto a lid for her, missing just a bit so there was just a little extra water on the side. There were a few times that she tried to flip on her back but I turned her back over, not being familiar with molting.
I just feel like an utter failure. I keep going over everything in my head...finding reasons to blame myself for the state she's in now. I wanted to SAVE her, not hurt her and I feel so guilty.
Right now, I think she might be dying. I don't know what to do or if there is anything I CAN do?? Please help...
 

thebugfreak

Arachnoknight
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Dec 17, 2009
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just leave it alone and dont bother it. usually before the T molts, its sluggish and aggressive. i'm putting my money that she will molt if you leave her alone in a dark room and let her do her thing. and once it molts, dont bother it for a couple of days. because the exoskeleton needs to dry so you can hurt her if you bother her right after she molts.
 

Ashes44

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Definitely Mature

I did read that the reason its back (not the rear end part) is bald and lighter in color is because it's an older spider...
I want one though. And if I killed this one accidentally, am I gonna have horrible karma when trying to care for another?
 

thebugfreak

Arachnoknight
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the reason why its bald is because it kicked hairs during its life time to fend off potential predators. the new worlds have the capabiability to kick irritating hairs onto enemies. the old worlds dont. but they make up for it with more potent venom.

if its in premolt, the abdomen or the butt should be dark and rather fat.

if it was on it's back like this: http://members.shaw.ca/fungii/images/molt_02.jpg then it is definitely molting.

here is a comparison of a T in pre molt and one that is not in premolt:
http://www.beccastarantulas.com/tarantulas/husbandry/PreMoltComparison.jpg
 

Ashes44

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And right now, she is on her belly again (I did that a few hours ago, because she was twitching and I thought she was dying). Should I flip her back onto her back, or really just leave her be? Should I put a damp towel in with her?
 

Ashes44

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Oh no. I just looked at the pictures you posted and I'm second guessing the molting diagnosis :( I'm gonna cry. Its leg hairs are very dull, and the abdomen is enlarged but not dark like that. Did I give it a heart attack when I caught it? Maybe it's really just old. But it was so vibrant earlier today...
 

thebugfreak

Arachnoknight
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nonono. you want to leave her completely alone. in an hour or two, she should be back on her feet and she should be done molting. leave the T alone in a dark quiet place and dont try to do anything to her for a couple of days.

is her position like the picture of the link i sent you? if it is, she is molting and you do not want to disturb her in any way.

i'm not really sure what you mean by belly.. i think your talking about molting?
 

Sky`Scorcher

Arachnoknight
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There were a few times that she tried to flip on her back but I turned her back over.
I think your critter is trying to molt :D Don't disturb her, just observe and check up time to time. Give her time to recover from all the stress she's gone through and just leave a shallow bowl of fresh water, she'll drink if she wants to.

I almost forgot to ask, is she keeping her legs under her body? :)
 

Ashes44

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Well yes, like I read that they flip on their backs when they are going to start molting, but I flipped her over onto her belly again.
 

Ashes44

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She is keeping her legs under her body now. She wasn't doing that earlier. That's why I'm scared I messed everything up.
 

Ashes44

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Yes :( ........ omg i killed her somehow!!!!! Is she in pain??????? WHAT DO I DO???
 

thebugfreak

Arachnoknight
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that is a death curl. the best you can do is wait and not bother it. she might recover from it. just leave her alone for a couple of days so she can get rid of the stress and get used to the new habitat.
 

Ashes44

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Okay I will. Still keep her in a dark place for the time being, since that will make her more comfortable? What are the chances of recovery? When I checked on her, she had moved a couple of inches in the last half hour. Still with her legs under her though...
 

Sky`Scorcher

Arachnoknight
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plus can we get a picture of your little one in her enclosure? So, we can help you out more effectively :D
 

thebugfreak

Arachnoknight
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yeah that would be good. i never had a T perform a death curl on me, so i don't know. but id say a 50/50 they are most vulnerable during and after the molting process.

generally, when you are keeping Ts, you dont want to handle them or keep opening the cage every five min. to check up on it and stuff. Ts are more like display animals and even though you may think that helping them out physically a lot is beneficial to the T, it causes stress and sometimes do more harm than good.

the only time i handle the T is when i am transfering it to another cage, or if i'm doing cage maintenance. i may handle my Ts once in a while but that is rare.

i would only recommend handling the T if you need to. most of the time if they run into a problem on their own, they can get out of it.
 

Ashes44

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The pictures I took of her today are on my camera at my best friend's house, also where I nanny. I was excited to show pictures because my best friend won't get anywhere near a spider.
I didn't handle her really at all...I know to respect the line between myself and nature. I did keep opening the lid though, second guessing everything like how big her water lid was and how much crap I should have in there just because I didn't know what I was doing. Opened it when I got crickets too. Took those out a long time ago, so no worries about them hurting her.
I have some huge tupperware so I cut the top up so she would have air to breathe but not enough room to get out. It's a half gallon size probably. I took it to the pet store with me to ask if it was okay to keep her in until tomorrow. I never touched her except to turn her over once.
 

thebugfreak

Arachnoknight
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that is good then. what you want to do is leave the T alone. if there are crickets in the cage, try to remove it now without bothering the T too much. if she happens to molt, the crickets can eat the T if they are hungry. you want to put the crickets in after a couple days of molting since she wont be able to eat untill she hardens. and she will most likely not eat untill she is comfortable with her new home. i think she will make it just fine. just give her a couple of days and dont bother her too much. hopefully it is a clear container so that you can see how she is doing without opening the cage. you can use a flashlight. i think using a flashlight to see the T clearly is better than opening the lid.
 

Ashes44

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Thank you soooo much for your help...I was gonna freak clear out!!!! If it comes to the worst...I know what to NEVER do again :( Gonna feel so guilty either way. But you have been so generous to help.
Thanks again!
 
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