M. balfouri sling molt concern

WJHolby

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Mar 8, 2017
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First time poster, long time lurker...

I recently (2/12) obtained a 3i M. balfouri sling... my smallest (and most expensive!) sling to date. (S)he was in premolt at time of acquisition, and molted two days later. Upon inspection, I noticed the L 4th leg appeared moderately deformed; almost "curled" in appearance. It is also discolored and looks as if it did not fully develop beneath the old exuvium.

The sling has not cast off the bad leg as of yet, and mobility seems mildly impaired at most. However, (s)he does not appear to have control over the bad leg, and through the past several weeks it looks as it it has "shriveled" relative to the other legs.

(S)he was observed scavenge feeding on a pre-killed dubia about a week ago, but I have not seen her take any other prey; live (pinhead crix) or pre-killed. In fact, (s)he will run away from even the smallest live prey. I'm not sure if the feeding has anything to do with the "defect," or if it's just premolt again. The abdomen appears round and there are no other signs of distress.

Housing is in an acrylic "silver dollar" tube with ventilation holes, 1" Eco-Earth/coconut coir substrate kept slightly moist, and a silk plant leaf for a little hide. Temp is warm (~80-85F).

My questions are:

1) Is it likely that the T will have difficulty with the next molt due to the bad leg? If a new leg is developing within the "shriveled" one, I am concerned that the exuvium may not come off cleanly, and with a T this small I'm not sure I can help it if it gets stuck...

2) Can anyone offer personal insight about eating/behavior/molt frequency, etc for an M. balfouri sling at this stage? I have 13 other Ts, OW/NW/arboreal/terrestrial from sling to sub-adult, all raised from slings and I've never encountered feeding difficulty, molt problems, etc. This one in particular (perhaps because of the cost and size) is stressing me out a bit...

3) Related to question 2: Much of what I've read on M. balfouri indicates that they do very well communally and when "raised" by the mother. I would like to know if anyone has had experience with a "single" specimen as well as communal/"mom raised" slings, and can speak to the differences in success, etc.

Sorry for the long post, but please know that I truly appreciate all of the help and knowledge that's out there among fellow T-Keepers!
 

Trenor

Arachnoprince
Joined
Jan 28, 2016
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1,899
My questions are:

1) Is it likely that the T will have difficulty with the next molt due to the bad leg? If a new leg is developing within the "shriveled" one, I am concerned that the exuvium may not come off cleanly, and with a T this small I'm not sure I can help it if it gets stuck...

2) Can anyone offer personal insight about eating/behavior/molt frequency, etc for an M. balfouri sling at this stage? I have 13 other Ts, OW/NW/arboreal/terrestrial from sling to sub-adult, all raised from slings and I've never encountered feeding difficulty, molt problems, etc. This one in particular (perhaps because of the cost and size) is stressing me out a bit...

3) Related to question 2: Much of what I've read on M. balfouri indicates that they do very well communally and when "raised" by the mother. I would like to know if anyone has had experience with a "single" specimen as well as communal/"mom raised" slings, and can speak to the differences in success, etc.
1. No, if it's bad enough it'll drop the leg off. Likely it'll be fine after the next molt.

2. I've kept these both as single and communal setups. Mine eat regularly. I usually feed them a dubia roaches that is the size of their abdomen weekly. Once they are plumped out I'll feed them as the needed. Communal setups I feed more often and they tend to eat more regularly.

3. Yes, I bought 5 of them for a communal setup and one was much smaller than the other 4. So, I opted to keep it separate because I was worried it would get out the vent holes of the communal enclosure. It is growing and doing great.

After they hatch, I've heard of the mother caring for them. Feeding them and looking out for them. I think they will do fine either way and the 8 I own in two communal setups and one solo all are growing well. I don't think you'll get a big advantage either way.
 
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cold blood

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"Housing is in an acrylic "silver dollar" tube with ventilation holes, 1" Eco-Earth/coconut coir substrate kept slightly moist, and a silk plant leaf for a little hide. Temp is warm (~80-85F)."

First, they should be really kept predominantly dry. Your temp do not need to be that high, 70-80 is ideal, its my experience that while over 80 isn't really "bad", they do lose a degree of activity when its too warm. Occasionally my room exceeds 80 for a while, and the first thing I notice when the temps cool down is a massive increase in activity from all my ts in the room. I'd definitely try to cool it a little.

How are you applying heat to get those temps?

At this size mine, kept solo, was molting about every 45-50 days, but after a few molts, this quickly went up to around 90 days, where its remained through its last molt...its about 3.5" now.

@Blue Jaye has extensive communal experience with them, but has also raised them solo, her observation is that they tend to grow noticeably faster (for her) in a communal set up.

"Much of what I've read on M. balfouri indicates that they do very well communally and when "raised" by the mother."

Keep in mind that while the mother of this species does appear to care for its young and offer food, it doesn't mean that this is required, and like any other t, they are born more than capable of living solo without that help.
 

WJHolby

Arachnopeon
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Mar 8, 2017
Messages
31
Thank you for your replies.

I keep my sling vials on top of my cable box for warmth. It seems to provide just enough extra heat since my ambient room temp is 68-70 in the winter months. Once they reach 1.5in, I move them into bigger housing and into room temp conditions. I've found that with my other Ts the higher temp increases metabolism and feeding response, so my growth rates have been fairly fast... but not with this one....

I'll try drying it out and cooling a bit to see if that helps. I do tend to fret over moisture with slings, and especially with this one and the bad leg... but I'm more than willing to take advice from all of you with more first hand experience than I have.

If you have any other suggestions please feel free to offer up!
 

cold blood

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Thank you for your replies.

I keep my sling vials on top of my cable box for warmth. It seems to provide just enough extra heat since my ambient room temp is 68-70 in the winter months. Once they reach 1.5in, I move them into bigger housing and into room temp conditions. I've found that with my other Ts the higher temp increases metabolism and feeding response, so my growth rates have been fairly fast... but not with this one....

I'll try drying it out and cooling a bit to see if that helps. I do tend to fret over moisture with slings, and especially with this one and the bad leg... but I'm more than willing to take advice from all of you with more first hand experience than I have.

If you have any other suggestions please feel free to offer up!
You could probably just keep it on a small book or magazine to diffuse some of the heat.

I think we all understand the heat raising the metabolism, but there is too much of a good thing, or, the law of diminishing returns. I'm consistently 75-80 and I get ridiculous growth rates practically across the board....even at a consistent 80, when it drops to 76 I definitely notice increased activity sling to adult.

I will use the largemouth bass (Micropterus salmoides) as an example. Being cold blooded, they are more active at 60 than they are at 50. But their ideal temp is between 72-77. Once you get to 80, despite the increase in metabolic rate, its just too much, and they can get stressed, and activity levels plummet, as does their food drive as they bury in weeds or head deep into the thermocline.

Ts are basically the same way, in hotter temps in the wild, almost all of them would be in burrows under heavy debris or sealed away somewhere in the trees, seeking refuge, all to keep those temps down at a level they prefer, emerging at night to feed, when the temps are more reasonable and to their liking.

Ts aren't like reptiles, and actually don't require nearly the same temps, in fact good temps for reps for example and just too hot for ts....despite both being cold blooded. Ts are mor e like bass than reptiles.:)
 

cold blood

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Yeah that's little damp in there...I would have expected to see a lot more webbing.
 

WJHolby

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Cool. Thanks for the insight. I'll try elevating it a few inches so it isn't in direct contact with the box. That way there's at least some warm air circulating around it without the added convection into the tube. I'll try to "titrate" the temp to about 75 and add a little dry coir on top.

Any thoughts on the bum leg? You can see it pretty well in the top pic.
 

cold blood

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Bum leg isnt even a small concern in any way...not something to worry about. Its a nice looking specimen.
 

Blue Jaye

Arachnobaron
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Well every one covered everything and gave great advice. I will say the same let it dry out as even balfouri slings do not do well with moisture and definitely lower the temps a bit. The leg will most likely be fine after the next molt. Try feeding again after it's dried out a bit.
 
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