Elderly Avic Stuck in Molt

Ungoliant

Malleus Aranearum
Staff member
Joined
Mar 7, 2012
Messages
3,826
My 10-year-old Avicularia avicularia started molting earlier today. Unfortunately, due to the location she is in, and due to her heavy webbing, I can't get any good photos, so I will do my best to describe it.

I think what happened is that she molted in a place that was too cramped for her to push the old exoskeleton off of her body. Her hind legs, where there was more space, are free, but she has not made any progress with her front legs in the four hours I've been checking on her. (On her left side, the front legs are still completely in the old legs.) I fear that her chelicerae and palps are also stuck.

I pulled the cork away from the wall to give her some more room and added additional humidity to the container. (She should be well hydrated, as I saw her take a long drink just last week.)

I doubt there is anything I can do for her if she can't at least get her face out, but is there anything else I should be doing?
 

Ungoliant

Malleus Aranearum
Staff member
Joined
Mar 7, 2012
Messages
3,826
Sadly, she didn't make it. It became clear that she was hopelessly stuck and not making any progress.

I've never heard any accounts where someone successfully extracted a tarantula from such a bad molt, but seeing as she would certainly die if we did nothing, we decided to try as a last-ditch effort.

Three of her hind legs were free. Two were stuck at the patellae. The other legs were stuck at the coxae. The sternum was free; her carapace was cracked and separated but still on her. Her abdomen was still inside the old abdomen. Her chelicerae and palps were still almost completely in the exuviae.

It became clear as we progressed that the molting had begun much earlier than when I first saw her this afternoon, because the new exoskeleton had begun to harden inside the exuviae. After an hour, we had finally gotten the exuviae off. Although it was likely a lost cause from the beginning, I think we inadvertently hastened her death when the soft skin near her face was punctured or torn near the end. (She had been moving before then, but she stopped within a minute or two of the injury.)

She was my first tarantula, and there will always be a special place for her in my heart, but I plan to set up her now-empty enclosure for a new arboreal.
 
Last edited:

Andrea82

Arachnoemperor
Joined
Jan 12, 2016
Messages
3,610
So sorry you had to lose her. :(
Nice touch to bury her under beautiful flowers :)
 

Jeff23

Arachnolord
Joined
Jul 27, 2016
Messages
621
Sorry for your loss.

It hurts to lose any of them. It hurts even more for the first one since it provided the initial joy of this hobby.
 

Ungoliant

Malleus Aranearum
Staff member
Joined
Mar 7, 2012
Messages
3,826
Out of habit, I keep looking over to check on her, and seeing the empty enclosure makes me sad.

I need to clean it out and set it up for a new arboreal.
 
Top