Should I intervene with the burrowing? Lasiodora parahybana (Brazilian Salmon Pink)

Phases

Arachnoknight
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Alright so this dude, is such a dude. He's just doing his thing in his new home, getting comfortable but I'm wondering if I should do anything or just kinda let him do his thing and jump in only if I need to.

So he's a few days into this setup, 5.5 ish inch little fella (unsure sex, so 'he' for now.) but he immediately took to his rock hideaway and started burrowing. He got to the bottom corner of the terrarium and then started going down the back of it, at the very bottom. He's dug about halfway across the back now.

1. He's about to block himself off from the outside world and have to burrow through his own pile to get out LOL, but my real concern is;

2. I tamped this substrate down real hard, so I'm hoping it holds but, what if it falls in on him? Do I jump in or let him dig his own way out or play it by ear?

I assume, were this a real natural environment he'd be set to figure it all out but this is tamped in substrate that he probably would expect to hold better than it actually could. I'm sure he's fine and I should just leave him alone and, intend to, but though I better ask just in case.

1. Should I spread his huge mound of dirt out, slide it over, or totally leave it alone? I assume leave alone.
2. Should I intervene if it caves in? Give it a day? Leave as long as I can see him (on the glass?) and monitor? Just wondering your thoughts so IF the day comes, I'll already have an idea of what to do.

I love watching him do it, it's hilarous, carrying the dirt, but my goodness!

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You can see his little balding bum in this last one. I took a couple other pictures to try to show the back but it's too difficult at the moment, I don't want to move it, but it goes about halfway across the back of the tank now too. Not the width you see here, more just the width of the spider.

Thoughts? Just leave as is I hope and assume.
 

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MGery92

Arachnosquire
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It is totally a normal behaviour, maybe it is in pre-molt. I'm not an expert, but my opinion is to leave him alone. He knows what he is doing, don't worry about him. But wait for the more experienced people to chime in. :rolleyes:
 

Tomoran

Arachnoknight
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That's totally normal behavior. If your tarantula wants to dig, let it dig. Don't worry about a collapse, as they reinforce their dens with webbing. I have many fossorial species, and I've yet to have a collapse. You'd be amazed at how well that stuff holds the dirt together. Even if you filled the burrow back in, it would only dig it up again (and you'd be causing the animal unnecessary stress). It's making itself comfortable in its new surroundings. A secure tarantula is a happy tarantula. :)

What type of wood chips are those in the substrate?
 

Ellenantula

Arachnoking
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Burrow should hold if substrate was tamped down well. I don't care for the amount of wood chips in it the mix (I'd have sifted that mess out) but it is what it is.
If you witness the burrow collapsing and T is struggling, you could help.
But in general, they know what they're doing and should be left alone.
I would remove those rocks.
 

Phases

Arachnoknight
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Is he fossorial? I thought he was a terrestrial who just liked to burrow sometimes. I see no evidence of webbing anywhere ever, except when he eats he spins in a circle and webs them a little.

I mixed cypress (i think) 'forrest floor' substrate with the usual stuff to try to help it be a little closer to what it might be naturally for him. I think the woodchips are probably good for helping it hold up and help him carry it out easier.

Edit: the rocks are there because I understood they like to move things around. Was just giving him something to mess with. Different texture. I dunno. I assume in the wild they have a few.
 

Phases

Arachnoknight
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Yah I tamped it down real well. Used a slate rock and pushed nearly as hard as I could, ok maybe not but hard enough to wonder if I was about to break the bottom panel of glass. So it's in there good and tight.
 

MGery92

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Tarantulas can make their dens as hard as a stone, it won't collapse easily. Well, the wooden chips is not the best substrate for T's, the dirt would hold without it too. It is a bigger concern then those rocks. The chips are sharp, while the rocks aren't and the height is not too big for a fatal fall.
 

Ellenantula

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I always thought cypress smelled nice -- so based on that alone, I would have placed it in the no-no group like cedar wood chips. But, I have no personal experience with its use around Ts. Of course, I don't use wood chips period....

[edited to add: I mentioned sifting out wood chips because I just assumed you received a bad batch of coco coir or something -- had no idea you'd mixed them in on purpose]
 

Phases

Arachnoknight
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They're super soft chips, I don't think any are too hard or sharp, I felt them good before using it. But, if I notice they are I'll consider changing the ratio or removing. Was just trying to make it more forest floor like for the little fella. :\ I guess we have to find a good balance between safety and naturalness-comfort for these fellas.
 

Tomoran

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Is he fossorial? I thought he was a terrestrial who just liked to burrow sometimes. I see no evidence of webbing anywhere ever, except when he eats he spins in a circle and webs them a little.

I mixed cypress (i think) 'forrest floor' substrate with the usual stuff to try to help it be a little closer to what it might be naturally for him. I think the woodchips are probably good for helping it hold up and help him carry it out easier.

Edit: the rocks are there because I understood they like to move things around. Was just giving him something to mess with. Different texture. I dunno. I assume in the wild they have a few.
All of my LPs burrowed as slings and juveniles, but they usually outgrow it once they put on some size. My largest (about 7" or so now) filled in her burrow and sits right out in the open now.

Your girl has just been rehoused by the sounds of it, and this is her way of creating an environment that feels safe for herself. That den she's made provides her with security. She may also use that burrow to molt when she's ready. I'm sure once she's settled in, you'll see her out and about more.

As for the cypress chips, most of us try to avoid using wood chips. They actually make it more difficult for burrowers, and they can have jagged edges,and there has been discussion that their oils can be poisonous. Some will even sift out large chips and sticks when they use topsoil or peat.
 

Phases

Arachnoknight
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I hope she's a girl! I think she probably is nearing pre-molt, being what she is at the size she is, and I think her butt is starting to get bigger and balder, and not from flicking hairs, but I could be wrong.

Yes, we got her about a week ago, moved her into her terrarium, but then totally redid it after getting some advice on here. So she's a week into this 20 gallon, and coming up on 5 days of being left alone in it due to the do-over.

Edit: That said, she eats like a pig. Do they always fast when molt is coming on?
 

Ellenantula

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Googling places cypress as conifers -- same family as cedars.
Cypress does have oils.
But like others here, I consider the sharp edges the bigger risk.

In the past, Ts have been kept on only wood chips with sponges in their water dishes... and many survived fine. But today we have more information and practices are changing... for the better.
 

Tomoran

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I hope she's a girl! I think she probably is nearing pre-molt, being what she is at the size she is, and I think her butt is starting to get bigger and balder, and not from flicking hairs, but I could be wrong.

Yes, we got her about a week ago, moved her into her terrarium, but then totally redid it after getting some advice on here. So she's a week into this 20 gallon, and coming up on 5 days of being left alone in it due to the do-over.

Edit: That said, she eats like a pig. Do they always fast when molt is coming on?
Is she still eating for you? My LPs will stop eating when they enter premolt (and the larger specimens can spend a decent amount of time in premolt). Fingers crossed that you have a lady! :)
 

Phases

Arachnoknight
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Yeah - I think it's a balance between natural and safe, I think I'm okay, at least at this point that's how I feel. It's 50/50 mix of cypress "forest floor" and the normal coco-fiber stuff. I could add more coco fiber to the top portions..

As for eating - she never turns down a meal. Literally I could feed her every night I'm sure. Right now I do every 5 or so. Just a cricket or two. It's about 78 degrees in this room at all times, sometimes a hair more sometimes a hair less, and he's got a lot of growing to do, so I think I'm doing it right (?) lol.

I'm here to learn. But realize everyone has their own opinions on conclusions they've come to on what to and what not to do, with some things. :)

I am really hoping she molts out in the open so I can use the molt to hopefully find out the sex.
 
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MGery92

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Well, the setup is fine, temps are fine and you feed him/her once a week, so that is also... fine. :) Don't worry, you're doing it great.

I agree with you, all of us can learn something new from each other. But that's the purpose of this forum, right? ;)
 

Ellenantula

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Yes, we got her about a week ago, moved her into her terrarium, but then totally redid it after getting some advice on here. So she's a week into this 20 gallon, and coming up on 5 days of being left alone in it due to the do-over.
I missed that thread.
OP is correct -- he did seek enclosure help and no one mentioned the wood chips -- it went off into a roach discussion. :(
 

Phases

Arachnoknight
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Edit: Just checked them. They have dried out since, when in the bag they were clearly moist-er. So they are less soft now.

Probably should leave well enough alone, but on next full on cleaning I could go all coco..

I assume though, and hope, that they are equipped to deal with sharpish pieces of wood as they dig. I will remove any off the surface (and just did) to protect against injury in case of falls, though, for sure. I will make it a point to ensure none on the surface can hurt him as part of my routine!

Edit again: ooor, I could put a layer of cocofiber across the floor of it. He may not dig in any other areas. Should I do that?

Also, I guess I should leave his pile right where it is so he feels like it's his cage, his area, not getting messed with too much. Right? If he blocks himself in, well, he knows he has to come out to hunt at night..
 
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Ellenantula

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Edit: Just checked them. They have dried out since, when in the bag they were clearly moist-er. So they are less soft now.
Probably should leave well enough alone, but on next full on cleaning I could go all coco.. I assume, and hope though, that they are equipped to deal with sharp pieces of wood. I will remove off surface (and just did) in case of falls, though, for sure. I will make it a point to ensure none on the surface can hurt him on tumbles as part of my routine!
My concern now is that this poor T has been housed and rehoused enough for 1 week. And you did ask for advice before rehousing.

People used to keep Ts on wood chips and many Ts did just fine in spite of it. I consider wood chips a 'risk' for injury, not some definite 'death sentence.'
And your T has worked so hard building his new home.

It's your call. Remove the wood chips and further stress out your guy. Or leave things be. For a tarantula who has been through enough changes in the last week. :eek: I am thinking... 'wait' for now. :stop:
 

Phases

Arachnoknight
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Yes, I agree. I want to just wait. I'm going to let him dig. I'm going to remove surface wood chips, esp sharp ones. I might add coco-fiber on top layer. But I agree. He has been through a lot in 1 weeks time and he may even be coming up on a molt so doubly stressed.

So that's my plan unless convinced otherwise. I appreciate everyone's input!
 

Nixphat

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Sounds like, if you remove the visible chips from the top, put down a nice layer of coco, you should be good for now. If your T digs more wood chips out, you can remove them as needed, but you could probably keep the T in this enclosure and it would be fine. Maybe give it enough time to forget (3 months? 6 months? After it molts, hardens up and eats once?), then rehouse with new substrate. Sounds like you're just over thinking things, which is good! I have done that, still do that, and probably will always be over thinking things when it comes to my Ts comfort, but that's not a bad thing :rolleyes: Just keep an eye out and you should be fine ;)
 
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