Fainting chalcodes? Playing possum? What in the world?

Dovey

Arachnobaron
Joined
Apr 9, 2016
Messages
548
I've never seen this behavior before. I found a MM chalcodes in my driveway a few mornings ago in a death curl and on his back like he was going to molt right there! Newly minted, though, and just gorgeous, with rich red bum, really striking stripe-knees, and shiny copper carapace. I assumed he was dying but put him in a hospital container anyway, just in case. Warmth and moist air can cure a lot of ills, right?

Anyway, when I checked on him that evening, he was up on his feet...until I opened the lid, when he collapsed into another death curl. Next morning, same thing, only I lifted him out to investigate for injuries or signs of poisoning, etc. After a few minutes of close but gentle physical scrutiny, he suddenly jumped to his feet and tore out hell-for-leather and has been hiding under my bed somewhere since yesterday morning!

In the words of the Muppets' Swedish Chef, "voot Der hey???" Is this normal? He goes down like a fainting goat and looks like he's got at least 5 of his 8 feet firmly in the grave. Seriously, I was actually smelling him to see if he was even still alive! Then POW: I'M OUTTA HERE! What is this???
 

Sarkhan42

Arachnodemon
Active Member
Joined
Dec 29, 2015
Messages
758
It sounds like he truly is playing dead, I can't imagine he'd recover that instantly. That's incredible, I've never heard of that kind of behavior before! My vote would be get him a lady- fainting tarantulas, what a novelty that would be to have in the hobby. Not saying its definitely genetic, but he's fresh and all, and the idea of having fainting Ts just makes me laugh too much!
 
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dragonfire1577

Arachnolord
Joined
Oct 7, 2015
Messages
637
he suddenly jumped to his feet and tore out hell-for-leather and has been hiding under my bed somewhere since yesterday morning!
Are you saying he escaped and you haven't seen him since yesterday or am I misunderstanding this? If so I'd get on top of catching him right away!
 

Dovey

Arachnobaron
Joined
Apr 9, 2016
Messages
548
Oh, he'll show up. I have antique furniture with lots of hidey-holes, and I don't want to injure him by shifting it around. He came out to poke around last night but scurried away under a heavy dresser before I could scoop him up. It's a mature male chalcodes during high breeding season in an escape-resistant room. I expect to run across him pretty quickly in his wanderings. Meanwhile, I put water down and check my shoes and sleeves--even more carefully than usual in scorpion country! We keep the dogs on the lower floor and have no cats. These guys pretty much grow up in our house all the time. They are definitely the alpha predators inside. I have two 2 inch adolescents I "rescued" from a closet and the livingroom, respectively, earlier this year.
 

Dovey

Arachnobaron
Joined
Apr 9, 2016
Messages
548
I'm extra motivated to nab him though. He's a supermodel, visually. His knees look like at some point an Aphonopelma seemanni got over the fence! I'd love to breed him...if he can manage to stay conscious long enough to get the job done. ;)
 
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14pokies

Arachnoprince
Joined
Oct 25, 2014
Messages
1,722
I've seen P.murinus and H. minax do this.. Out of hundreds of imports I worked with I have only seen it happen three or four times..

The H.minax really freaked me out because it was "dead" in the deli cup when we recieved it.. I went to remove it with tongs and it bolted right up them onto my arm, over my shoulder and then down to the floor.. That earned her a spot in my collection.. She never did anything like that again though..

The two OBTs did it while doing rehouses.. They were all geared up to kill and after some prodding just scrunched up on there sides and played dead.. It was obvious what they were doing but still pretty cool to see..

The other was a 6inch T.stirmi.. I don't really know if it was playing dead or just exhausted.. It was a hot day in the reptile room when it escaped.. I chased it around a bunch of enclosures and boxes of supplies... It was out running full steam in the middle of one the aisles and it just crumpled.. I scooped it up and put into a new enclosure and it it was fine after a few minutes.. It was like a 5 minute chase so I'm guessing it was just really tired..
 

Dovey

Arachnobaron
Joined
Apr 9, 2016
Messages
548
Yeah, I found him out there on his back at about 6 am, just as it was getting light. What in the world had just happened that A) he was on his back curled up and B) nothing had eaten him yet in that unprotected position? The property us crawling (and flying) with potential predators at that hour - it's during a shift-change! :cat::penguin::vamp::beaver::robot::bear::troll:
 

14pokies

Arachnoprince
Joined
Oct 25, 2014
Messages
1,722
Yeah, I found him out there on his back at about 6 am, just as it was getting light. What in the world had just happened that A) he was on his back curled up and B) nothing had eaten him yet in that unprotected position? The property us crawling (and flying) with potential predators at that hour - it's during a shift-change! :cat::penguin::vamp::beaver::robot::bear::troll:
Probably a cat or something that got a taste of his urticating hairs and decided mice are less itchy!
 

Estein

Arachnoknight
Joined
Feb 11, 2016
Messages
154
That is nuts. I wouldn't think playing dead would be a terribly successful defense strategy for a tarantula, but I guess the little guy has made it this far!

If you are able to get a video of this behavior, that would be super cool to see. :)
 

Dovey

Arachnobaron
Joined
Apr 9, 2016
Messages
548
This is coyote/hawk/eagle/big owl/bobcat country: no cats! :( Maybe a miner's cat (Bassariscus astutus) or fox. A javalena wouldn't pause over a few hairs - they eat cactus for a living.
 

dragonfire1577

Arachnolord
Joined
Oct 7, 2015
Messages
637
Yeah, I found him out there on his back at about 6 am, just as it was getting light. What in the world had just happened that A) he was on his back curled up and B) nothing had eaten him yet in that unprotected position? The property us crawling (and flying) with potential predators at that hour - it's during a shift-change! :cat::penguin::vamp::beaver::robot::bear::troll:
Did you find him outside? If so that's crazy I would have thought he'd be long gone if he made it outside being a MM
 

Dovey

Arachnobaron
Joined
Apr 9, 2016
Messages
548
He was probably living in our garage or some lumber near the driveway.
 
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