Please help a novice.

Rchocky

Arachnopeon
Joined
Sep 15, 2010
Messages
0
Hi folks,

I am a new hobbyist and I have to say that arachnoboards has provided me with so much fantastic info, but I was hoping that some more experienced people could help me out with a couple of questions.

I have a Eupalaestrus Campestratus (first T). S/He's a juvenile and has been in premolt for about 3 weeks. Is this a normal time to be in premolt or is there something wrong with the enclosure? I have a large faunarium that is quite damp (my hygrometer says it is 60% humidity but I'm starting to doubt the accuracy of it because I have been spraying almost daily). The T has a hide available and there is a large piece of drift wood which limits the floor space. I was wondering if it might be too damp or if the lack of floor space is an issue. I was going to take the wood out but I don't want to disturb the T.

Also, I have just acquired a Thrixopelma Ockerti sling and I am unsure how I should keep it in relation to water. I have read varying accounts on different websites (some claim it should be kept dry and others claim it should be 80% humidity). Does anyone have any experience regarding this species? Also, does my sling need a waterbowl? It is tiny (about the size of a small fingernail) so I imagine the answer is no. In any case, how do I ensure that it is getting enough water? Also, the container that the T. Ockerti came in had no holes so i put some ventilation holes in the lid. I assume this was a good thing, but like I say, I am a novice and any advice would be much appreciated.

I apologise if the answers are in the forum search but I didn't have any luck earlier. Hope you can help me out.

Rchocky
 
Last edited:

Abby

Arachnoknight
Old Timer
Joined
Sep 9, 2009
Messages
297
Hi :)

I've never had a T. ockerti, but I do have an E. campestratus :)

I don't keep my E. campestratus in really moist substrate.
The coco fiber is only moist on one half of it, and my T usually hangs out on the dry part.
I know she is in premolt when she starts to spend more time in the moist side.
She is a really good eater, and only refuses food when she's about 2 weeks prior to molting. She is probably about 2.5 inches at this point.

Maybe try drying out her home a bit more.
Also make sure you have good ventilation or you might get mold.
Maybe she'll start eating, if she is not in premolt, if you make a few changes to her home :)

Good luck and keep us posted :)
 

Rchocky

Arachnopeon
Joined
Sep 15, 2010
Messages
0
Thanks Abby,

I have quite a lot of ventilation and I've discovered that this is what is messing with my hygrometer (it went from 55% to 80% when I closed off some of the ventilation even though I hadn't added any water). Basically, cheap hygrometers are not to be trusted.

I'm going to open up the ventilation again to avoid the dreaded mould and just leave the T alone for a couple of days and see if it helps. I think I may have stressed it out by constantly adding water to try to get the humidity up before I realised my hygrometer was rubbish.

I'm still convinced s'he is in premolt due to the bald patch on the abdomen (it has been steadily increasing in size) and the fact that s/he is webbing the floor.

Fingers crossed it happens soon or I'm gonna be a nervous wreck!

I'll keep you posted.
 

Abby

Arachnoknight
Old Timer
Joined
Sep 9, 2009
Messages
297
:D good think you noticed the bad hygrometer.

Your baby might be webbing the substrate because it's too moist for her.
I experienced that with mine.

Usually if the bold patch gets dark then it means it's in premolt.
If it gets bigger it means it's kicking hairs, maybe due to stress.

I can't wait to see pictures of her.
I'm sure she is beautiful :)
 

KnightinGale

Arachnoknight
Old Timer
Joined
Sep 16, 2009
Messages
170
Have you actually seen your Campestratus flicking any bristles? For instance when you are moving things, opening the cage or misting? Some tarantulas are jumpier than others and since they cannot replace their bristles until a molt it is not uncommon for them to get a little bald between times. Has it been pushing any dirt around or anything like that? Another idea is that it is making itself at home. I actually caught one of my gals doing this. She was digging out her hiding spot and she liked to web along the top (it is made of driftwood too) and around the mouth and the sides. She would flick off some of her hairs in spots during the building. I have read of others doing this as well by the mouth of their burrow. I would assume that it is to keep away any mammals that might come sniffing around. Tarantulas also will often spin a "molting mat" for themselves to molt on and sometimes they will flick bristles onto that as well. Though as the last poster said, there is a noticeable change in colour when they shift into pre-molt. Their opisthosoma (abdomen) exoskeleton is leathery rather than stiff and somewhat see-through. When your T is in intermolt it is pink because the organs etc. underneath are light coloured. When they begin to grow their new exoskeleton underneath it will begin to darken and end up as a dusky black. Then is the time to make sure you are not offering food and begin to start watching for a molt. But don't panic, it still might not happen for a week or two. :) I know, the first one is nerve-wracking. As far as your driftwood, floorspace is not necessarily a problem as your Tarantula can crawl all over the wood and such as well, but in order to molt there should be at least one spot in the enclosure that can accomodate your T fully stretched out without being cramped. It needs to be able to flip on it's back and squeeze it's way out without difficulty. Also they like to lie around stretched out for awhile after molts most of the time to get all the wrinkles out of their new suit before it hardens.
I don't have experience with Thrixopelma Ockerti, I'm afraid.
As far as a sling that small and water, what I would do is put some substrate in for it and keep the substrate moist (but not so damp you can squeeze water out). Very young Tarantulas are more susceptable to dessication than older ones so some moisture is important. When it is a little bigger it can have a small dish, with some pebbles in if you think it is too deep. (Don't use cotton or things like that. They get gross and invite pests. Pebbles can be washed.
Hope that helps. Don't worry, your T will figure out molting just fine, even if you are a wreck by the end. :) Good call with making the holes, by the way. Ventilation is important.
Knight in Gale
 

Rchocky

Arachnopeon
Joined
Sep 15, 2010
Messages
0
Hi Knight in Gale, thanks for the reply. My E. Campestratus is definitely not a hair kicker but the info you have given me is making me wonder if s/he is maybe not in premolt as I thought. If s/he isn't in premolt then s/he hasn't eaten for about 4 weeks and last time I tried to feed her (about a week ago) she still refused food.

Could it be that she just doesn't like being hand fed (food being offered in front of her in tongs)? should I leave some food in the tank and see how it goes?

Thanks again,

Rchocky
 

Londoner

Arachnoangel
Old Timer
Joined
Mar 21, 2008
Messages
846
Your T sounds like it's in pre-molt to me. Pre-molt doesn't start with the darkening of the abdomen, it generally becomes apparent long before that when the T starts to refuse food as yours has done. Four weeks is definitely not a long time for a pre-molt fast when it comes to a juvie. Just keep offering food every week or so and take it out if it's not eaten. Make sure the T has access to water and basically just keep an eye out. If it's not pre-molt, as long as the T isn't losing an alarming amount of weight, I wouldn't worry about a month long fast.

Good luck.

ps You're spot on about the hygrometers. You won't get anywhere near an accurate reading from a cheap one. If you have to use one, invest in a good quality one (I never use one myself but that's another story).
 

jeryst

Arachnopeon
Joined
Mar 10, 2010
Messages
30
My Chaco Golden stopped eating about a month ago. Then she barricaded herself inside her burrow. She just molted yesterday.
 
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