First ever mating - how did I do?

Damien

Arachnosquire
Old Timer
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Dec 18, 2004
Messages
62
Hello everybody,

I just had my first experience of mating my tarantulas! Heart rate still elevated.

Anybody up for evaluating how I did and how it went as these things go?

My first ever Tarantula Men-an-Tol, who is a female B Vagans, moulted on the 30th of July. Once she was ready to eat again stuffed her with crickets until today she didn't want any more.

Last week I put a separate tank inside hers, containing Mature Male Vagans Robbie Jones (both named after songs by the Levellers), who had mated before, unlike the female. I then moved the heat mat Men-an-Tol clings to permanently (I live in Scotland, so it's a bit cool) to where the dividing wall was, and today found both of them on opposite sides of the plastic.

So, I took off the lid of the big tank, and then took off the lid of the little one, so they had complete freedom. Then I quietly put on the Levellers in the background, dimmed the lights and sat down to watch. Nothing happened for the first half an hour. Then the male began drumming, doing his press-ups and satrting feeling his way around the top of the tank, three times trying to get up and over on the wrong side, so I gently guided him back in, and then put some nylon over the big tank to prevent him doing that. Still left a good two inches of gap between the top of the smaller tank and the nylon above, and sure enough he crawled straight over and started drumming on Men-an-Tol's legs. She started drumming back onto his, and both of them got down to the soil, where a little struggle seemed to ensue. I left them to it, as I read this is kind of how it goes.

He hooked her and lifted her up to the tune of Beautiful Day (what timing). Half the time they were both up in the air vertically, but the other half she was doubled over backwards and he was pretty much horizontal, seemingly boxing into her abdomen, which I imagine was trying to make an insertion.

Eventually he backed off, letting go with one hook first, backing off some more, letting go with the other one and then very gently backing off towards his own cage. She did not chase him, but seemed to make sure he was leaving. He walked up the dividing wall backwards -all going very well- when he hit the netting above, stuck to that and then proceeded to walk upside down to the far corner of her tank rather than going into his own. I lifted up the nylon gently, and scooped him up in the wee plastic tub I had on hand to protect him should she had gone for him.

Put him back in his tank and fed both of them a cricket. She went for hers instantly, and he ran away from his. Cricket ran straight into the water dish, so won't be annoying him for the moment. Replaced both tank lids and contemplated having a drink to celebrate.

What do the more experienced of you think?
 

Mina

Arachnoking
Old Timer
Joined
Oct 4, 2005
Messages
2,136
Sounds like it went really well. Wait a few days and repeat the mating, but it sounds good. From the boxing you described you could have gotten some good insertions.
Keep repeating the mating every few days for as long as the female is willing, then sit back and wait for babies.
Talkenlate04 is the brachy expert, what till he gives you his opinion, but I think he will agree.
 

dianedfisher

Arachnobaron
Old Timer
Joined
Mar 14, 2007
Messages
331
How exciting! It sounds like your guy did the deed. May the fertility gods bless you with a sack of itchy little slings. Di
 

Damien

Arachnosquire
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Dec 18, 2004
Messages
62
Is there any theory on how much time there should be between attempts? I didn't find any reference to that at all. I was thinking probably a week, but then that might just be based on my own expectations of getting lucky...
 

Damien

Arachnosquire
Old Timer
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Dec 18, 2004
Messages
62
My female decided to take matters into her own hands and climbed on top of his cage two days after the first mating, so I let the two of them at it again. Took them a while to find one another as she was on the side of the tank once I moved her from on top of his, but they finally met and went at it, after which she lunged straight for him and tried to eat him, giving me half a heart attack. I managed to spray her and get her to back off enough for him to escape out of the tank and onto the outside of my Pink Toe tank. Obviously he was very stressed indeed, but 12 hours later he is up and at it again, trying to get to her. What a couple.
 

dianedfisher

Arachnobaron
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Mar 14, 2007
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You better re-name him LUCKY! it's good that you were there to interrupt her snack attack. Did you think to re-feed her before turning him loose? I'm going to try again with cohabitation of my GBB's inside a larger habitat, but I'm going to feed CiCi well in advance and hope she doesn't snack on poor Romeo. Good luck! Di
 

Damien

Arachnosquire
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Dec 18, 2004
Messages
62
I did feed her again after the initial cricket immediately after the mating, but this time think I will stuff her for a few more days before letting them near each other again, regardless of how excited they get.
 

dianedfisher

Arachnobaron
Old Timer
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Mar 14, 2007
Messages
331
Kind of exciting isn't it? I figured my first try would result in immediate death for my male and I dreaded it. Good luck and keep posting about your methods. Di
 

Damien

Arachnosquire
Old Timer
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Dec 18, 2004
Messages
62
Attempts 3 and 4

My apologies if this is looking more like a blog than a discussion, but hopefully someone will find this interesting.

To give you a bit of a timescale:
30 July - Female moulted
16 August - Male in own enclosure inside her encloure
20 August - First mating
22 August - Second mating and near eating
26 August - Third attempt:

Once again Men-an-Tol, the female, had climbed on top of his tank, in what I imagine was an expression of her keen interest in him. Gently lifted the lid off with her on top and guided her back into her own part of the tank, all the while cursing myself for putting in a tank she could go and sit on top of. Thinking of ways to prevent this from happening. Dimmed lights, and sat back, holding onto the spray bottle for dear life.

The female did quite a bit of roaming, but not near him, and he sat still inside his own tank, not moving at all for a change. Gave up after an hour, and by putting the lid upside down hopefully prevented Men-an-Tol from sitting on his roof.

29 August - Fourth attempt:

Men-an-Tol had stayed off his cage since the I put the lid on upside down, and this morning found the male doing his roaming around. Dimmed lights etc and took off the lids. Robbie (the male) darted straight out and up onto another tank. Picked him up and put him back in his tank. Proceeded to crawl up and over, but along the top of her tank rather than into it. Guided him in once he reached the far corner. Did his press-ups and pulling on her webbing like a master, and slowly advanced. Once he was right by her, she pounced, giving me another heart attack (I'm too young for these things), but he hooked her and lifted her up. The usual freestyle wrestling and boxing ensued, Robbie using not just his hooks but the next pair of legs to cover her fangs as well.

All seemed to be going well. He started backing up slowly, let go and even made it an inch or two when she lunged at him. Spray bottle at the ready I gave her a blast, but she attacked again. Sprayed again, and she attacked again. Sprayed again and now she looks like a dog who has just come out of the lake. He went to hide in the corner rather than escape to his own enclosure. Possible he did so much wandering around he forgot where he came from in the first place. Picked him up with two tubs lest one of the two would bite me and put him in his cage. He was -unstandably- very jumpy, but seems to have settled down a wee bit now.

She's done some more roaming and completely ignored the roach I threw in. Suspect changing her diet while also mating her for the first time may not have been the smartest of things to do simply because crickets drive me to the brink of insanity.

Am now wondering what to do. Keep trying at the risk one day my aim will not be so true with the spray bottle, or hope for the best and spare Robbie the peril he faces every time he gets his rock off. Then again, what else is he going to do?

Any thoughts?
 

Alice

Arachnoangel
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Sep 29, 2006
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976
sounds good so far, good luck!

well, for me, three mating attempts would be enough ;). i also noticed that the females tend to get more agressive towards the males with each mating. if he got some good insertions, three matings should be more than enough for her to built a sac if she decides to do so. remember that brachys are more likely to make a sac if you give them a cooling period, and hope.

i wouldn't recommend they spray bottle to seperate them - try using a piece of cardboard instead, that's safer for both of them.
 

WyvernsLair

Arachnobaron
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Feb 25, 2007
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458
Sounds like things are going real good for you.

With my B. emilia I've been offering food to each spider the night before I put the male in with a female (I have 4 females) as that seems to work best with them. The girls just don't seem to be in the mood if I feed the same day I try putting them together. I set their cages next to each other on the floor and then take the lids off both. I nudge the male until he gets to the top of his cage.. from that point on he seems to know what to do and continues on over to her cage. I've been putting him to a single female for up to two possible successful mating attempts (where they actually lock up) before moving him on to the next female. He just started working on his 3rd girl this week. Once he's had a go with each of them twice I plan on rotating him through the group again if he has any strength left in him lol. Some nights he's quite bold and other nights he just cowers and wants nothing to do with them so I put him away and wait to try another night. Sometimes he goes through all of the fancy courting efforts, other times he just goes and does it without any preamble. A few times he has had to physically chase the female down and corner her (had a little nascar race around the outside of the cages one night when the female didn't really want to cooperate fully lol). One time he actually chirped at a female! (very cool that was). I have been watching his cage for sperm webs. After each possible successful mating I wait until I see any new sperm web leftovers before putting him to a girl again. The other night I actually got to see him crawling into his sperm web which was a treat... usually he makes them during the afternoon when I am at work. I've been lucky so far.. no outright aggression between introductions.. lots of slap fighting and running feints but no fangs kind of deal. However, when I finally get to my 4th girl, I'm probably gonna have a nervous breakdown.. she's the one with all the attitude and might actually make a serious attempt to hurt him.
 

Damien

Arachnosquire
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Joined
Dec 18, 2004
Messages
62
The cowering of the male I have witnessed as well, WyvernsLair, but not the female running away. On the contrary; my female is the one parked constantly on top of his tank. Have begun to suspect that's why he keeps crawling out and onto another tank when I take the lid off. Just trying to get away from a noisy upstairs neighbour.

If you guys think three matings should do the trick I think I will remove his tank from inside hers to prevent her from trying to get to him. Feel sorry for the bloke though. He obviously still wants to keep going, and I won't know whether impregnation has happened until she starts making a sac, will I? So am not sure if I am ready to send him on to the next lucky girl yet.

Also, Alice, what do you mean by a 'cooling period'? Do you mean leaving them alone for a while, or lowering the temperature? I'm also trying to picture using cardboard to separate them, but having trouble imagining how to wedge it in between them mid-lunge without hurting either one of them...
 

WyvernsLair

Arachnobaron
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Feb 25, 2007
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458
If you guys think three matings should do the trick I think I will remove his tank from inside hers to prevent her from trying to get to him. Feel sorry for the bloke though. He obviously still wants to keep going, and I won't know whether impregnation has happened until she starts making a sac, will I? So am not sure if I am ready to send him on to the next lucky girl yet.
I've been told 3 should do it if it's going to do it at all. I've also been told that a female that's well bred by a male is more likely to get very aggressive towards the male and could probably hurt or kill him. I would say you might try him one or two more times with her and then try to find someone else who might need a male for their female. By the time you know the female is gravid, the male will likely be dead or close to it. Better to send him off while he is still in his prime.

Also, Alice, what do you mean by a 'cooling period'? Do you mean leaving them alone for a while, or lowering the temperature? I'm also trying to picture using cardboard to separate them, but having trouble imagining how to wedge it in between them mid-lunge without hurting either one of them...
Cooling is when you put the female's cage in a place where the temperature gradually drops a few degrees Fahrenheit/Celsius and then holds steady at that lower temperature for several weeks (2-3 months seems to be the average).. then you gradually bring her back up to a warmer temperature. Once warmed up, you semi-flood part of the cage with water to increase humidity. Essentially you are trying to simulate a mild winter-like season and then a warmer/wet spring season and that should then trigger the egg laying instinct. I think most people try to drop the temp down by about 10 degrees F. If I remember correctly from what I have read, you should also continue to maintenance feed the female during the cool down period, but not a whole lot of food.. once you warm her up then you can increase the feedings to account for the energy that will be needed to create the eggs and sac. She will then either make an egg sac or she will molt. If she molts, then the breeding was not successful and you will need to find her a new male.
 
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