New Keeper Panic

Curazai

Arachnopeon
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Nov 17, 2016
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Well, here it is. I'm a longtime reptile veteran who has steered countless newbies through the "oh god its not eating it's going to die" panic, now I'm the one panicking!

I recently acquired a little Brachypelma smithi sling as my very first Tarantula. I've been wanting to get into T's, because I do educational outreaches and everyone always asks about spiders. I've met a few B. smithi's in the past who were very sweet, and after some research I decided that was the species for me.

Now here comes the panic. This T has not eaten in since I got it, 10/31/16. I'm always worried about non-eating in young animals, as I've done my fair share of force feeding skinny ball python hatchlings and it's never a walk in the park. I've offered it small pinhead crickets, as small as I could find them (I was told to feed roughly the size of the abdomen), but it refuses and runs away every time. I wait for an hour, then remove the cricket.

It's being raised at 80F, spritzed on one side of the tube every 3 days, and has a little hide made out of a plastic leaf from a larger plant.

What can I do to get it to eat? Can someone tell me if this is just newbie panic or if I'm doing something wrong? I don't want to lose this cute little beast!!

Here's a picture of it:

 
Last edited:

Chris LXXIX

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17 days without eating are a nothing, trust me, man. One of my slings, a G.rosea, once remained more than two months without and he/she's perfectly fine.

My Hysterocrates gigas disappeared (literally) for three months for her pre molt issue and I can continue to mention to you others somewhat Gandhi/Bobby Sands T's memento of mine :rolleyes:

I suggest to you for mantain the humidity level (don't exagerate, btw) to use a pipette and pour drop of room temperature water directly in the substrate and not misting or else, T's do not exactly like that sound and water-mess. IMO only a source of stress. And the effect last longer the way I suggested.

If you can/want to post a pic, better. I can give you a better opinion :-s
 

Curazai

Arachnopeon
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Nov 17, 2016
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I feel so bad, I didn't know the spray bottle would freak it out! I'll do the eyedropper thing from now on.

I tried to upload a picture, let's see if I have better luck just raw-pasting the URL: http://imgur.com/8pgJlhy
 

Chris LXXIX

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You have nothing to worry, man. Your Theraphosidae is "fatty" IMO the right way, not skinny at all.
 

Curazai

Arachnopeon
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Nov 17, 2016
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That's a hell of a relief, thank you! Any tips on getting it to eat? It just seems to get freaked out by the crickets, and I get into a little bit of a mom-rage when the little bastards go to "investigate" my poor hiding T. It just seems to want nothing to do with them.
 

Chris LXXIX

ArachnoGod
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You can try killing a pinhead and see... slings eat pre-killed preys without problems. Could be pre molt, or only just not hungry at all. Nothing to worry :-s
 

Curazai

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Nov 17, 2016
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The breeder suspected pre-molt, but to keep trying every week. I'll see if I can't tempt it with a killed cricket. I was also told it can take up to a month to molt, is there anything I can do to help it along? A good soak usually kicks a stubborn shed with snakes.
 

basin79

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Think of T's not feeding like a blood python not crapping.

Very worrying if you're not used to it. Perfectly healthy when you do.
 

Venom1080

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The breeder suspected pre-molt, but to keep trying every week. I'll see if I can't tempt it with a killed cricket. I was also told it can take up to a month to molt, is there anything I can do to help it along? A good soak usually kicks a stubborn shed with snakes.
thats good advice, but after a few failed feeding attempts, i usually give up till it molts.
spiders usually take no more than 1-48 hours to actually molt, the smaller they are the faster.
the best thing to do is leave it alone with a small water dish and wait for the molt. its important to have water available after it molts, as they lose alot of fluids through the process.
 

Graves6661

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Dec 31, 2015
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If it refuses the pre-killed prey than I would say its most likely in its pre-molt phase. Keep an eye on the little guy and soon you may notice an extra set of legs in there with a slightly biggest sling near by.
 

Curazai

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Nov 17, 2016
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thats good advice, but after a few failed feeding attempts, i usually give up till it molts.
spiders usually take no more than 1-48 hours to actually molt, the smaller they are the faster.
the best thing to do is leave it alone with a small water dish and wait for the molt. its important to have water available after it molts, as they lose alot of fluids through the process.
I don't think I could fit a water dish in the tube, but I'll make sure to keep the substrate a little wetter than I would normally so it has plenty of water to drink.
 

CarbonBasedLifeform

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I don't think I could fit a water dish in the tube, but I'll make sure to keep the substrate a little wetter than I would normally so it has plenty of water to drink.
Wet substrate may stress it. For slings I just place a drop of water down the side into the sub once a week. No more is needed for a B smithi sling. Also I have had slings that ran away from live food premolt or not. I'll usually take an adult cricket, rip a leg off and leave the leg in the sling enclosure overnight. A small leg for a small sling or the big back leg for a larger sling. The mutilated cricket then goes to feed a larger T

Usually after leaving the room for a few hours I'll go back in to see the T eating the leg. If there is no luck after 24 hours then remove the food
 

Curazai

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So they will eat parts? I got the impression their feeding mechanism was more geared toward the movements of live prey? Thanks for the tip, I've got a few larger crickets I can mutilate for it.
 

CarbonBasedLifeform

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So they will eat parts? I got the impression their feeding mechanism was more geared toward the movements of live prey? Thanks for the tip, I've got a few larger crickets I can mutilate for it.
Yeah they'll scavenge. No need to put the leg near the T or in any strategic location. I just place it on top of the substrate where I can see it, then check in a couple hours later. I usually feed at night too so the T is more likely to come out sooner.
 

Venom1080

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Wet substrate may stress it. For slings I just place a drop of water down the side into the sub once a week. No more is needed for a B smithi sling. Also I have had slings that ran away from live food premolt or not. I'll usually take an adult cricket, rip a leg off and leave the leg in the sling enclosure overnight. A small leg for a small sling or the big back leg for a larger sling. The mutilated cricket then goes to feed a larger T

Usually after leaving the room for a few hours I'll go back in to see the T eating the leg. If there is no luck after 24 hours then remove the food
all slings should be on slightly moist sub till theyre over 1".

OP, they will eat prekilled while young, as they grow you can feed them live.
 

EulersK

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all slings should be on slightly moist sub till theyre over 1".
The vast, vast majority of slings are to be kept on moist substrate, yes. Some, though, not so much. I only know of two that actually thrive on bone dry substrate as 3i+ - C. darlingi and P. scrofa. Both of those don't tolerate humidity very well at all as slings. Another that fairs pretty well is P. murinus.
 

Venom1080

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The vast, vast majority of slings are to be kept on moist substrate, yes. Some, though, not so much. I only know of two that actually thrive on bone dry substrate as 3i+ - C. darlingi and P. scrofa. Both of those don't tolerate humidity very well at all as slings. Another that fairs pretty well is P. murinus.
hm, i kept my C marshalli on the moist side when young. assumed it was the same for the rest of the genus. same with my Pterinochilus..
 
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