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M. balfouri doing poorly

Discussion in 'Tarantula Questions & Discussions' started by Sana, Oct 4, 2018.

  1. Sana

    Sana Arachnoprince Arachnosupporter

    I’m going to start with saying that I haven’t been taking pictures through the whole of this week so the only thing I can contribute will be pictures of the enclosure and the little one in question at the moment. That makes this a little more difficult. It’s also quite the saga so I don’t blame anybody that doesn’t want to read through this thread.

    The balfouri under discussion is in a communal setup with only one other sibling currently. The other one is thriving and as far as I have observed isn’t causing issues with the one that’s not well. They sit together in the adorable pile of legs that you get with multiples. They get a lot of food and have multiple water bowls that are kept full. They are pretty close to the same size I would guess about 3.5” leg span. They are in a 10 gallon enclosure so they have space to go in different directions if they choose though they don’t generally. Because we’re talking multiple tarantulas in a single enclosure tracking molts is a little harder especially with these guys two cause they build with them instead of throwing them out. Based on body size I’m guessing this one molted fairly recently.

    Last Thursday I noticed the little guy sitting in what looked like an odd position face down and like he was trying to squash himself into the back corner of the enclosure right at the edge of one of the burrow entrances. I wrote it off as a spider being a spider but he didn’t appear to move from that spot. He was still there Sunday while I was doing maintenance and I was concerned enough to get out the paint brush and touch legs because he really did look dead despite the lack of curl. He twitches legs at the paintbrush though not nearly the reaction that I would expect from a healthy spider. He then lost his balance and slid partway into the burrow. He attempted to climb back out and didn’t seem to be able to get a grip on anything though the edge of the burrow entrance is pretty solid. He continued to struggle to climb all the while sliding farther into the burrow. He finally lost his balance all together and fell into it backward. He couldn’t get turned over and gave up trying in about 15 seconds. Digging a tarantula out of a burrow while monitoring the cup sitting over his fortunately cooperative sibling is a pain. When I finally got him dig out (without any damage!) his abdomen looked a bit shriveled. Fall is being difficult in Colorado at the moment. We’re bouncing between the high 90s and the low 40s every day or two and the humidity is just as insane. Keeping the tarantulas stable and happy has been a challenge so it made sense to me that he would be dehydrated. I ended up separating him into a small enclosure with a full water dish that I draped him over the edge of. He drank through that and a second full one so clearly he was more dehydrated than I realized.

    Monday evening I gave him a prekilled cricket that I mashed quite a bit so he didn’t have to work for the food at all. He picked it up before I went to bed and at least played with it.

    Tuesday morning he was looking like a normal healthy (if a bit skinny) spider. I made sure he had water next to him before work. When I got home that evening he was flipped on his back. I left him alone on the hope that he was molting out of whatever issue he had despite appearing to have molted too recently to be molting again.

    I gave him 24 hours (almost to the minute) and no molt. I took a chance and turned him back over with a paintbrush. He had a much more normal (if a little slow) reaction to being messed with. As soon as he was upright he took headed up the edge of the container slipped and fell on his back again. If I were a burrowing tarantula I would have been headed out if a small container that I couldn’t create a proper house in too. He seemed to be moving just fine overall and reacting pretty reasonably so I put him back in his regular enclosure. He refused the food and water that I stuck directly in front of him walked all the way around the outside of the enclosure and went back to his corner.

    He and his sibling haven’t had any issues since the reintroduction last night. They are currently sitting side by side at the new burrow entrance. He doesn’t look right though. He’s not sitting quite as strangely as last week but still strangely. He’s obviously stressed from all the moving and poking but even with that consideration something still doesn’t seem right.

    Now to insert pictures of the enclosure. Disclaimer: I spilled full water dishes into the substrate because I wasn’t thinking when I went to dig him out. The peat was also much more damp underneath than I originally realized as well so I’m waiting on it to dry a bit. The sibling spent the last several days rebuilding the burrow and rearranging to the general preference but it’s not nearly as established at the moment as it was previously. Again my fault. I’m not sure if I’ve made the right decisions through this whole week but I went with what seemed most reasonable at the time. I looked at these pictures and normally I wouldn’t be terribly concerned about the stress ball of a spider. It’s hard to find an angle the shows exactly how face planted and awkward he looks and my hands were already waaaay to close to a pair of OWs. He also kind of fell into the spot he’s in and hasn’t moved since. 62E8A279-E2F9-4102-9C8E-20179408BF19.jpeg B7FFEA16-4352-4216-9609-575EFD12DED5.jpeg F00372D6-B020-4A0E-A406-B047AFEE9D19.jpeg 656807DD-A501-4F3A-800D-C1A01C71B5D3.jpeg 7CB13E16-0CD8-436F-86A3-B3A22B548011.jpeg 4FA688FF-2497-4D34-9E3B-F3CD8BBEFF1C.jpeg
    • Optimistic Optimistic x 1
  2. Venom1080

    Venom1080 Arachnoemperor

    Time will tell for sure. i want to think hes just stressed from all the activity and will be getting back to normal within a week..
  3. Liquifin

    Liquifin Arachnoangel Active Member

    I don't what kind of peat or substrate mix you use for the substrate, but it does seem very loose. I know you was messing around a bit to check on them, but you should at least try to pact the sub back down to give it a better hold of a burrow if they do decide to create a new one. This is one of those situations where you going to have to hope and wait to see what happens. There are times when its almost impossible to know what is happening to a T. so it's best to observe it everyday at its behavior and hope something improves.
  4. Sana

    Sana Arachnoprince Arachnosupporter

    I’m glad that you guys could help. I don’t really see anything else to do but watch. Poor little guy has had a tough week.
  5. Embers To Ashes

    Embers To Ashes Arachnoknight

    Does he have a proper hide? It looks like he is trying to hide himself in the corner. If he doesn't have anywhere to run and hide that might be why he seems so stressed. His behavior seems like a stressed out t, possibly in pre molt. I would consider reducing the height he can fall in that enclosure, especially if he's having trouble getting around. I've never had one flip upside down and stay there for a day, not molt, and survive. That is bizzare. I would separate him from his sibling if he is that weak.
  6. boina

    boina Lady of the mites Arachnosupporter

    I disagree with pretty much everything @Embers To Ashes said. This looks like more than just a stressed out T. M. balfouri deals well with height, too - they usually have everything webbed up within days and thereby reduce the height all by themselves. Mine have a GBB-like setup with definitely more height than I'd give other terrestrials. I wouldn't separate them either, M. balfouri seem to like sitting in a pile especially when smaller.

    I do agree that behaviour is strange and it doesn't look like premolt to me. The spider is too skinny for that and M. balfouri usually eat very, very well. All I can come up is that the substrate maybe was too moist from what you are describing. Many of the African arid species do not seem to deal well with moisture at all.

    I do suspect it's more a case of: sometimes things just go wrong :(.
    • Like Like x 1
  7. Didn’t know these were so communal what a excellent looking Baboon wish I had some .
    He definitely is trying to hide or something, and how big do these get? They look similar build to obt.
  8. Blue Jaye

    Blue Jaye Arachnobaron Arachnosupporter

    Hey @Sana if you can watch your balfouri at night with a red light. You might be able to see more interaction between the two. There are several factors that could be the cause of stress from what I’ve read in your post. While balfouri are communal they don’t always get along. You have a couple not a communal. I have kept balfouri for a very long time and have kept 2 together as well as many large communal. When a balfouri does the face plant stance this is a stress stance for them. I’ve seen it many times. When I rehouse one of my females she will do this stance for several days until she gets comfortable.

    I’ve also seen it in coupled balfouri where one is a food hog and in their body language and physical communication can make the other balfouri uncomfortable and stressed. It does happen sometimes.
    Little things to look for. are they sharing food and are both getting enough. When they are physically communicating is it gentle and responsive from both balfouri. I did see that they are still staying close together and hopefully it’s a normal closeness and not a bulling closeness. I have seen both. I had a male and female couple that paired and lived together since juvies. When the male got weak and it was his time the female stayed with him and pet him like comforting him. This lasted at least a week. When he passed she ate him. I actually saw the moment. It was one of the most endearing things I’ve ever seen in tarantulas. Just some thoughts. Hope it helps.
    • Informative Informative x 4
  9. boina

    boina Lady of the mites Arachnosupporter

    I'm sorry if I'm disrupting this thread, but since my question is very similar to the OPs I thought maybe it would help to put it here:

    I've a very successful communal of three who all turned out to be males. They basically always lived on top of each other and were the most harmonious roommated you can imagine and I'd thought all balfouri would be like that. Because they are all males I got another communal with 5 slings and everything went wrong right from the beginning: One died early on, then another one died in a bad molt, then I found the third one dead (not eaten, just dead) for reasons unknown. Now I've only two left... and I never see them together. They are always sitting at opposite ends of the enclosure. They made a burrow but only one is ever in there, the other is usually somewhere in the web castle they built. Both are well fed and look chubby, but still, what you said had me thinking... should I separate them? Could one of the remaining two be a bully that had stressed his dead siblings so much that they died??
  10. Blue Jaye

    Blue Jaye Arachnobaron Arachnosupporter

    It doesn’t sound like the same kind of stressed situation. It sounds more like the three you lost were more due to circumstance like maybe weaker siblings. And of course a bad molt. I’ve had several couples that lived on opposite sides of the enclosure and only came together when walking around or sometimes sharing a meal. So it’s not uncommon for them to live farther apart. In my large communal the mom has always lived separately from her young once they hit about 2-3 inches. So it does happen. Even though balfouri tend to pile on top of each other and share the same burrow and tunnels. I believe that part of my success with them is giving them enough room so when they do need space they have it and can burrow somewhere else if they want to. So I will give you the same advice. Before you decide to separate spend some time watching them at night with a red light and when you see them out. If you don’t see any aggression and their physical communication is generally gentle then they are most likely fine. It doesn’t sound to me like you have a problem between the two. I’m sorry it went wrong from the beginning but don’t let that dishearten you. You still may have a good couple living together well.
    • Helpful Helpful x 2
  11. Dono rarely you will get weaker Ts that just don’t make it like my last few Obt were oddly small only hit 4” mark or 3.5” and very small one female had bad molt other died of broken fang & refused to eat.
    Didn’t know til too late fang was broken.
    My other 11 were obt males I should had sold em o well fail.
    Obt are usually 5-6”:sour:
    Possibly they were inbred too many times or something?:jimlad: From seller.
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