Moulting 'First Aid'

MontePython

Arachnosquire
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Feb 13, 2020
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Well, it finally happened to me - entirely my own fault, and I'm annoyed enough at myself for it, but here we are.

So Nero, my male D. macracanthus has been underground for the better part of a month and a half, so I assumed he was moulting.

As a result, whenever I've had to do anything with the enclosure, I've tried to be very careful not to do anything that might disturb him (usually I removed whoever was topside, but left anyone underground to it). This time was much the same - I scooped the other four into my 'holding pen' tub and went about trying to fix what needed fixing.

Long story short, I misjudged where he actually was, and accidentally uncovered him.

He's still very pale in colour (especially his legs) and doesn't seem capable of anything beyond what I'd call reflexive movement (shying from contact etc), and for a moment I thought he might be dead before I noticed the very slight movement.

20200516_142616.jpg 20200516_142611.jpg

I immediately worked to minimise contact and placed him in a small tub I'd originally set up to split off a small culture of the springtails in my tank for the smaller tank I'm setting up that already had a layer (about an inch and a half to two inches I think) of damp substrate, added some leaves to shelter him, and closed the lid (it has small hole vents at the very top for placing in the microwave - I'd added gauze earlier in the week to keep gnats or whatever from getting in and springtails from getting out).

It's currently placed near my tank so that it gets some heat from my space heater, (enough to not be very cold) but not enough to heat the substrate too much or dry it out (I do have a very small USB powered heat mat for emergencies but figured if they burrow, they probably need it to be cool).

The reason I opted not to leave him on the surface in the tank, because I'd heard somewhere that S. fischeri have a reputation for occasionally eating surface moulting tank mates (though that was mentioned mostly in reference to juveniles housed together, I didn't want to take any chances).

Basically, I guess I'm asking if there's anything else I can try to do to maximise his chances of surviving my clumsiness here. I know the odds are stacked against me, but if there's anything I can do (or anything I should watch for during this), the advice would be much appreciated.
 

Arthroverts

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Well, the best thing would have been to leave him in there. Didn't you remove all the other specimens before? And even if you didn't, S. fischeri (and I've only ever heard of juveniles doing it as you said) only appear to cannibalize each other with surface molts, or least aways I've never heard of them cannibalizing a specimen of another species.

What's done is done however, so the only thing you can do is leave him be. He'll either harden up and hopefully continue to live normally (<---by the sounds of it this is likely as you didn't catch him in the act of actually molting) or slowly become weaker and die.

Thanks,

Arthroverts
 

MontePython

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Well, the best thing would have been to leave him in there. Didn't you remove all the other specimens before? And even if you didn't, S. fischeri (and I've only ever heard of juveniles doing it as you said) only appear to cannibalize each other with surface molts, or least aways I've never heard of them cannibalizing a specimen of another species.

What's done is done however, so the only thing you can do is leave him be. He'll either harden up and hopefully continue to live normally (<---by the sounds of it this is likely as you didn't catch him in the act of actually molting) or slowly become weaker and die.

Thanks,

Arthroverts
Ah well - I had read somewhere that if the cell was collapsed that reburying them could be harmful, which was my concern. I had removed everyone, but only into a small holding tub (about...20L maybe?) that wasn't fully set up for occupancy.

I'll keep an eye on him (or a nose - as I'll probably just open the lid to check moisture rather than actually look, so I'll probably smell if he's died), and fingers crossed things turn out okay. I'll let you know what happens!
 

Arthroverts

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You wouldn't have needed to rebury him, just have left him there and perhaps covered him with a piece of bark or some leaves.

Alrighty. Hoping he pulls through.

Thanks,

Arthroverts
 

MontePython

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When I peeked in to check moisture this morning, there was a little leg movement - he's still a bit paler than normal (esp his legs - though they're paler than the rest of him anyway), but the slight movement seems like a good sign. The weather's meant that I've had no trouble keeping his temperature and humidity stable which is good, so hopefully we'll be ok.
 

MontePython

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Feb 13, 2020
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Well.

Yesterday, I thought things were looking grim - I was able to get a clearer look and it looked like maybe there was more damage done to him than I thought, and he was pretty still, so I was really feeling gutted, thinking this was it, but I was determined to wait longer.

But this just an hour ago! Good news!

I opened the container just to check the moisture levels, and he was walking around, foraging a little! He curled back up quicker than usual for him when he realised the lid was open, but I can hardly blame him given the circumstances. I added a small twig with lichen on it, since it's one of his favourite things to eat, and let him be. I'm hoping to see more activity from him in the coming days, so that I can return him to the main tank.

I know it's still possible that things could go south for him (whether sooner or later down the line), but this was a much needed turn for the better.
 
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