Has anyone else seen this behavior? Wow!

Case

Arachnosquire
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First, I guess I should introduce myself. My name is Scott and I am new to this forum and to tarantulas. I have been collecting and keeping beetles for a little while now, but I just got my first tarantula this week from a local pet shop. He is a 4" grammostola rosea.

I noticed something today that really impressed me. When he finishes eating a cricket, he will usually spit out a thoroughly-chewed ball of cricket parts, then sit down and clean his fangs and chelicerae with his 'palps.
But today, he did something different. I fed him two crickets today, at separate times. And both times, he went to the far corner of his cage, spit out the cricket-wad, then very deliberately shoved it into the very corner with his pedipalps and front legs. After that, he turned around and defecated on it or right next to it before returning to his usual spot and hunkering back down into his "just chillin" pose.
I was really impressed. Maybe I'm reading too much into this, but to me it suggested that he wants to keep his waste products as far from him as possible and avoid contaminating his living area.
Has anyone else observed this behavior?
Also, I'd like to ask: Do tarantulas have the capacity to learn new behaviors, or do they operate strictly on instinct?

Thank you!

Thoroughly fascinated by this new critter,

Scott Case
 

Paul Day

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"I was really impressed. Maybe I'm reading too much into this, but to me it suggested that he wants to keep his waste products as far from him as possible and avoid contaminating his living area.
Has anyone else observed this behavior?
Also, I'd like to ask: Do tarantulas have the capacity to learn new behaviors, or do they operate strictly on instinct?
"

Hey man, welcome to the hobby!

Very interesting question. Many tarantulas (and some true spiders) have demonstrated this ability. Tarantulas simply want to put their waste in it's place, just as you said, so it is far from them. Though the Chilean Rose isn't typically a species that does this (obligate burrowers such as the Cobalt Blue in particular are like this), it is certainly happens occasionally. Your spider probably is a Virgo (hehe).

Trapdoor spiders in particular are actually very well known for this "cleanliness" behavior, and will shove all their waste to one side of the enclosure.

As for training tarantulas, no you really can't. Some people claim they can do stunts with their spiders, but spiders are really instinctual creatures. They can't even be tamed.

Pauly
 

Case

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Paul,
Thank you very much for the welcome and for your input!

Regarding tarantulas and the ability to learn, do you think that they are even able to remember simple facts relating to their day-to-day survival? For example, when my tarantula gets thirsty, does he "remember" where the water dish is located from his last drink there, or must he wander around until he stumbles across it again?

I understand that this is probably something of a subjective matter and that opinions may vary.

Maybe I can take my tarantula on that television show "Pet Psychic" that they air on Animal Planet, where the lady claims to be able to telepathically communicate with pets. :) Have you seen that? It is a hoot!

Thanks again!

Scott Case
 

TarantulaMan

Banned
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Sep 7, 2002
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funnel spider

I once seen a funnel spider do that cleaniness trick. I was throwing tiny paper wads on his web and each time he/she would walk out grab the wad with his teeth and put it on the floor out of his web. I was very surprised that day.
 

belewfripp

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As far as taming and training Ts goes, I think Paul is correct in general. No matter what you do with them, they always will remain wild animals and being inverts they have far lower brain capacity than your average mammal. Two things, however:

1. They seem to show a certain ability for Pavlovian training, that is, they become accustomed to a certain stimulus and respond predictably to that stimulus. If I get a new spider, they usually do not immediately snare prey that is hurled into the tank, something I like them to do so I can tell if they are hungry more or less right away. Through time, and repeated cricket-chucking, they eventually come to pounce immediately on objects that come flying in at high velocity. So while an appearance on the Letterman show doing a stupid pet trick is probably out of the question, some repetition training seems possible.


2. I have a 7 in. T. blondi that I purchased at 2 in. Originally, it was very skittish, and easily upset, sometimes even kicking hairs. I started handling it regularly, about once a week, and over the last year or so it has gotten to the point where I can handle it reliably. I by no means advocate handling any tarantula and T. blondi can be a very nasty hair-kicker/stridulater/biter, so exercise caution and responsibility. However, my best guess is, being as chemoreceptively sensitive as they are, Ts can eventually become familiar with how you smell. If the same experience keeps happening to them, and each time it ends without any harm to them, they may begin to associate that smell with 'ok, this is alright, no danger here' and become more calm.


Again, I do not recommend anyone handle any of their Ts, and please use caution and be responsible, both for your sake and the spider's. That said, I think a limited amount of what might be called primitive training and some effects that look similar to taming can be achieved with Ts.

Adrian


P.S. God have I been wordy lately. Sheesh.
 

Wade

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Annother trick some like to do is deposit their waste in the water bowl, certain T's in my collection do this religiously.

They do seem to have some ability to learn, or at least adapt to new situations. Wether this should be interpreted as "training" or "taming" is open to debate, but if they were not able to alter their behaviour they would not do well in captivity. After all, no instict will tell them what a water bowl is (many species probably never encounter open water in the wild). If instict were the only thing driving them, they'd be a hell of a lot more predictable than they are.

Wade
 

Code Monkey

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Originally posted by belewfripp
1. They seem to show a certain ability for Pavlovian training, that is, they become accustomed to a certain stimulus and respond predictably to that stimulus. If I get a new spider, they usually do not immediately snare prey that is hurled into the tank, something I like them to do so I can tell if they are hungry more or less right away. Through time, and repeated cricket-chucking, they eventually come to pounce immediately on objects that come flying in at high velocity. So while an appearance on the Letterman show doing a stupid pet trick is probably out of the question, some repetition training seems possible.
There was a post on the old YABB boards that discussed the related repercussions of this learning behaviour. The poster had the unusual aggressive B. smithi and G. rosea and some other G. roseas that were sweet as honey. They observed everything they could and realised that due to tank and lid positioning they were always dropping prey right upon/next to the aggressive Ts and away from the normally docile ones. The "aggressive" smithi and rosea had simply learned to associate nearby distubance with food and pounced at anything that came by, including tongs or hands.

To corroborate the theory, the poster then started feeding the "aggressive" Ts away from the T, and started feeding some of the dociles right next to the T again. A few months later, the formerly aggressive spiders were docile, and some of the formerly docile Ts had become pouncy and "aggressive".
 

Paul Day

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There is certainly a difference between a spider which doesn't view you as a threat, and one that has been tamed. A tamed spiders is one you can ultimatly trust wont bite you, like a pet dog. A spider that doesn't view you as a threat, is reacting instictually based on the fact that you haven't been provokative in your course with it care-wise. Weather or not thats memory, or it just sensing how much less nervous you are then originally, is all opinon.

As for "training" animals, I think that any animal can be trained to some degree, but it certainly isn't common or easy with tarantulas.

Pauly
 

belewfripp

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"There is certainly a difference between a spider which doesn't view you as a threat, and one that has been tamed. A tamed spiders is one you can ultimatly trust wont bite you, like a pet dog. A spider that doesn't view you as a threat, is reacting instictually based on the fact that you haven't been provokative in your course with it care-wise."


Very true. While I tend to trust that T. blondi, I know in the back of my mind that it is still a wild animal and doesn't really 'know me' like my cats do.

Adrian
 

ithuriel

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Aug 11, 2002
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training?

:) hi , an example of what could be termed learned behaviour.....my mate who got me into Ts has two roses and him being short of cash at times and wanting to vary his Ts diet started feeding them moths , which they liked and insects from his garden. he put a black scorpion type insect in one day(very small but dont know what they are called?) and the T (his male) pounced on it and thought hmmmmm dinner:D next thing the T spat it out and threw a wobbly running round the enclosure obviously not liking the taste:8o . thing is any beetles he puts in there now that are small and black the T wont touch and ignores them. should not really come as a surprise because even though instinct plays a large part in a Ts behaviour spiders in general would not be what they are today if they did not have the ability to learn and take advantage of their ever changing enviroments.
 

The_Phantom

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SPider doodies

Yes, my G.Rosea also has a place where she very deliberatly puts cricket balls. I have a artificial cave and a plastic plant pot (with a side cut out) and the pot is where she used to put her dead cricket balls. SHe pooped always on the sides of the cage and sometimes in the plant pot. She never used to hide in the pot, but would hide in the artificial cave. Ive since removed the pot and given it to Scarlet my B. Smithi. SHes a slob though, she poops and dumps cricket balls where ever she wants.:mad:
 

Botar

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Re: training?

Originally posted by ithuriel
:) should not really come as a surprise because even though instinct plays a large part in a Ts behaviour spiders in general would not be what they are today if they did not have the ability to learn and take advantage of their ever changing enviroments.
Good point. As far as that goes, good points made by all who have contributed to this thread. My hat's off to you all. This type of thread is the very reason I joined here. There is a wide variety of experience and knowledge on this site. Now if someone can just figure out that nasty tumor thing that is on the T's in the "Bad Week" thread.

Botar
 

Immortal_sin

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I have experienced the same things.
One of my GBBs will come to the top of her vase as soon as I opened the lid, waiting for the cricket to be lobbed at her!
Some of my others do the same.
Over time, repeated handling of my L parahybana has calmed her down, or so I'd like to think ;)
I have an A chalcodes that wants to come out EVERY time I open her container. Each time I put her back, she tries to come out again until I've handled her. I'd like to think it's because she likes to come out and socialize, but that would be anthropomorphizing a bit too much!
 
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