Poecilotheria Mistake...advice required...

Cerbera

Arachnobaron
Old Timer
Joined
Mar 12, 2005
Messages
540
Yesterday, I made what, with hindsight, turned out to be a rather large mistake in spider-keeping. For the first time I found myself with a very hungry spider, and no available prey of exactly the right size. I did, however, have an old and ailing large roach, and having previously watched my young sub-adult P.fasciata deal successfully with a large cockchafer beetle (maybug), I wrongly assumed that her speed, strength of venom, and willingness to tackle things larger than herself would win her a much needed meal.

I was wrong, and have some highly distressing video to prove it - not the footage I am about to show you now, which is the unusual behaviour of the spider the morning after the feeding attempt.

To summarize, a 1.25" hissing roach went in with the spider (body size around 2"), was caught, and had Pokie fangs in its back for around half an hour. The spiders technique was good, and the roach was held 'legs to ground' for the duration of the attempt, so as far as I am aware, there is no injury to the spider.

However the sheer size, stress, energy and pulling power of the roach caused the spider some rather large problems, and eventually it had no choice but to let the roach go, complete with half an hour's worth of envenomation in its back end.

The result now is dreadful - the roach has horrendous injuries, but is still alive, and the spider now will not go near it, instead, sitting far away from its normal refuge, on the glass, in daylight, obsessively 'cleaning' either its fangs, or feet. I am not sure if this is a) normal, or b) a good thing, but instinct tells me I should ask those of you who might know. I am currently unable to retrieve the roach due to its positioning in the tank. It is my intention to remove it as soon as an opportunity presents itself.

Here is the video of her behaviour this morning. All suggestions for what this is would be helpful. Thank you, and may we all learn from my rather appalling mistake.

Please watch the video here.
 
Last edited:

Gigas

Arachnoprince
Old Timer
Joined
Apr 6, 2006
Messages
1,977
Looks like spider is building up digestive juices to a point and cleaning the palps with them, like Bob said, normal grooming?
 

Cerbera

Arachnobaron
Old Timer
Joined
Mar 12, 2005
Messages
540
Oh. Well thank you for that. I am just surprised that having looked after that spider pretty much since birth, and watching it 90% of the time, I have never seen it do that before, night, day or any time.

Perhaps I was wrong to link it with the failed feeding attempt last night.

Anyway - thank you for setting my mind at rest...
 

Gigas

Arachnoprince
Old Timer
Joined
Apr 6, 2006
Messages
1,977
What sp of roach was it? even some feeders can excrete a bad amelling fluid eg. N. cinera, maybe the T got a taste of this and dropped the roach and was cleaning the chemical off its palps?
 

Cerbera

Arachnobaron
Old Timer
Joined
Mar 12, 2005
Messages
540
I am afraid I don't know exactly what species of roach it was. But that spider did her level best to hang on to it as long as she possibly could. Also, there was a surprising amount of energy put into pumping venom into it, something that was also achieved in a way I had never seen before - by 'jerking up and down' on top of it repeatedly for around 20 minutes.

In the end though, the roach simply had too much power and pulling force at its disposal (had all its legs on a very grippy type bit of cork bark) for the spider to restrain it. She attempted to recapture it several times before changing her behaviour and seeking to avoid it after a few more failed attempts...
 
Last edited:

spid142

Arachnobaron
Old Timer
Joined
Apr 9, 2006
Messages
492
behavior

I have seen my large regalis do this a few times after catching and eating a larger than normal meal. Seems they secrete more fluiid to clean up from a big meal. Probly your gal thought she needed heavy-duty cleaning after the aborted eating attempt. Seems pretty normal to me.
 

spid142

Arachnobaron
Old Timer
Joined
Apr 9, 2006
Messages
492
roach

BTW, I had an unusual thing happen with one of the roaches I got to start a roach colony. One of my cats knocked their cage on to the floor and a rock in the cage partially crushed the roach, entirely destroying most of its back, with bubbles of fluid coming out of its back, and a few crushed legs. But the danged roach just kept walking around and wouldnt die. Amazingly tough bugs. I finally banged it with a hammer and put it out of misery.
 

Alakdan

Arachnoangel
Old Timer
Joined
Jan 24, 2006
Messages
822
Cerbera,

You might not like to do this, but whenever I'm faced with a similar predicament as yours, I snip off the legs of the roach or cricket. By doing this, the prey stays alive but lacks the ability to run or defend itself. I have raised a lot of scorpions and tarantulas with this technique. Some may find it cruel. I don't thing they feel the same kind of pain as we do. Besides, I'd rather have a maimed roach than an injured T.
 

Alice

Arachnoangel
Old Timer
Joined
Sep 29, 2006
Messages
976
when dealing with such a situation, i just crush the roach's head. sounds a bit extreme, but they can live with a crushed head for around six days and die because of dehydration and lack of nutrients - not because of the crushed head. and they put up little fight that way and cannot burrow. if the prey item is really too big, i prekill it. never had a sling refusing prekilled prey.
 

pinkfoot

Arachnolord
Old Timer
Joined
May 9, 2006
Messages
613
Looks normal to me too, but I'm astonished that with the known virulence of the pokie, it was unable to nail that roach in short order!

Clearly the roach was able to combat the attack more easily than say, a mouse would have, despite the roach being 20% of the mouse's size - genetic defence, perhaps..?

Thanks for the info Cerbera. :clap:
 

KJE

Arachnoangel
Old Timer
Joined
Oct 21, 2004
Messages
808
I'm not sure how your enclosure is set up, but this is what I did to remove uneaten roaches. I didn't know there were so many in my regalis' enclosure because they hid so well. On feeding day I would assume the regalis had eaten the last one because I couldnt' see it and I would throw in a new one.

Anyway, I put a small piece of fruit on a lid in an area that I could access easily. When the roach was eating the fruit I would take it out.
 

Cerbera

Arachnobaron
Old Timer
Joined
Mar 12, 2005
Messages
540
Thank for the replies, people - but there is an update my end !!

Yep - that was, as it turned out, normal cleaning, but with a bit of extra digestive juices. The roach went and buried itself in the end, and she ignored it all the next day, but whenever she walked over the ground where it was hiding, she would pause, tap on it a bit with her palps, and then walk on. Little did I know she was waiting til darkness...

Suddenly, she'd dug the roach up, and tried to kill it from the other end this time ! And not only that, but it was almost as if she had 'learned' from her experience the day before, as this time, she climbed the glass in a corner, and held that roach completely off the ground until she overcame it, which was still around 2 hours, even with fangs embedded in its shoulders. Maybe Pokie venom isn't quite as potent as we think it is...

I have to say, now she has dealt with it successfully and is none the worse for the experience I have over 90 minutes of spectacular video of the whole 2 day hunt, which I'll be editing and posting soon...

Has the potential to be the most exciting spider vid I've ever made... the speed of those things is never in doubt :) So now its just how to get 90 minutes into 10 !!

Thanks again for the reassurances when I was worried, people... the least I can do is share the vid with you all when done...

J
 

pinkfoot

Arachnolord
Old Timer
Joined
May 9, 2006
Messages
613
All's well that ends well...






(...except for the roach, of course!! {D )
 

_Nagash_

Arachnosquire
Old Timer
Joined
Sep 22, 2005
Messages
57
I have experienced something similar. As you can see in the picture, she has grabed the roach with her fangs, without the posibility to penetrate it :p


After some struggeling, she got a better grip, and the roach ended up as a little bolus :)
 
Top