Strange post-moult behaviour?

Satu

Arachnopeon
Joined
Jan 2, 2011
Messages
25
Hi all,

I'm very worried about my little A. versicolor sling Merlin. Two mornings ago I discovered he'd moulted overnight; everything seemed fine, he was the right way up and moving around a little. (He was about half an inch before -- difficult to tell how big he is now.)

Later that day when I checked I found him moving very strangely: he'd jolt as though he'd been poked, move a few steps very quickly and stop again, several times in a row. My first thought was DKS, but I've compared it to Youtube videos and it didn't look quite like it; and he's not twitching when sitting still, and seems to have control of his legs. A little later that day he was webbing away and seemed to be moving okay.

But for the last couple of days now he's been all huddled up -- most legs drawn inwards but one or two sticking out at strange angles. (Edited to add: it doesn't look like a death curl, from photos I've seen of that.) He obviously does still move around because he's in slightly different positions whenever I check on him, but I've not actually observed him do it since Friday, so I'm not sure what it looks like. It seems he's done a bit of webbing overnight -- I don't know if that's a good sign.

I'm not quite sure what to do -- I'd rather not disturb him, but if he needs to be in an ICU...

What do people think? Does this sound like normal behaviour?
 
Last edited:

curiousme

Arachnoprince
Old Timer
Joined
Dec 11, 2008
Messages
1,660
Hi all,

I'm very worried about my little A. versicolor sling Merlin. Two mornings ago I discovered he'd moulted overnight; everything seemed fine, he was the right way up and moving around a little. (He was about half an inch before -- difficult to tell how big he is now.)
Congratulations on the molt!

Later that day when I checked I found him moving very strangely: he'd jolt as though he'd been poked, move a few steps very quickly and stop again, several times in a row.
When he was exhibiting this behavior, what were you doing? Were you near the enclosure, touching it or breathing on it? It sounds as if it was getting startled by something.

My first thought was DKS, but I've compared it to Youtube videos and it didn't look quite like it; and he's not twitching when sitting still, and seems to have control of his legs.
DKS should be the last thing your mind jumps to. It isn't terribly common, just the major fear of most new owners.

A little later that day he was webbing away and seemed to be moving okay.
The fact that it was merrily webbing away, makes it sound like it is perfectly fine to me.

But for the last couple of days now he's been all huddled up -- most legs drawn inwards but one or two sticking out at strange angles.
This behavior sounds like post molt stretching to me. Is the enclosure moist enough for it though? At that size you want it to remain quite humid.

(Edited to add: it doesn't look like a death curl, from photos I've seen of that.) He obviously does still move around because he's in slightly different positions whenever I check on him, but I've not actually observed him do it since Friday, so I'm not sure what it looks like. It seems he's done a bit of webbing overnight -- I don't know if that's a good sign.
The behavior you have described does not seem worrisome to me, but continue to observe it and post if things change. It is webbing and moving around, even though you don't get to see it do so, and those are normal behaviors, not ones to worry over. :)

I'm not quite sure what to do -- I'd rather not disturb him, but if he needs to be in an ICU...
ICUs are for dehydrated Ts, so it would be more stressful to put it in one, when it is not needed. Yours is not exhibiting signs of dehydration, by your description.
 

Satu

Arachnopeon
Joined
Jan 2, 2011
Messages
25
Thanks for the quick and reassuring reply, curiousme! As you can probably tell, I'm still quite new to this; Merlin is the second T to moult in my care, and I've only had him for a couple of weeks (and am already in love!).

When he was exhibiting this behavior, what were you doing? Were you near the enclosure, touching it or breathing on it? It sounds as if it was getting startled by something.
That's the strange thing -- I was only watching him, and there was the glass of the cupboard and the wall of his tub between us, so I don't think it was anything I did. Unless he was particularly sensitive to vibrations at that point, I can't think what it would have been.

This behavior sounds like post molt stretching to me. Is the enclosure moist enough for it though? At that size you want it to remain quite humid.
I'm trying to keep it moist in there -- at the moment that involves misting almost every day because it does dry out pretty quickly. I think I may need to block up some of the ventilation holes, but I'll wait until Merlin's recovered a bit more. I've added a bit of moss to hold the moisture a bit better; we'll see if it makes a difference.

Again, thanks for the reassurance. I'll leave him alone and let him do his thing, and keep my fingers crossed.
 

webbedone

Arachnobaron
Joined
Aug 27, 2010
Messages
410
110% molt stretching, i have watched this many times they fold their legs under themselves than repeatedly unfold em and strech as far as they can than for up under again than repeat. I've seen Pulchras fold up like a pokie press up against a tank wall fold its feetunder on one side and extend the other side legs all the way out. My A genic does the opposit it scrunches up almost like in a death curl than unfolds and taps its legs. Have absolutely no worries you T is just fine
 

curiousme

Arachnoprince
Old Timer
Joined
Dec 11, 2008
Messages
1,660
Thanks for the quick and reassuring reply, curiousme! As you can probably tell, I'm still quite new to this; Merlin is the second T to moult in my care, and I've only had him for a couple of weeks (and am already in love!).
I was getting a whiff of newbie off of your post. ;) That's not a bad thing though, we were all one at one point in time. :)

That's the strange thing -- I was only watching him, and there was the glass of the cupboard and the wall of his tub between us, so I don't think it was anything I did. Unless he was particularly sensitive to vibrations at that point, I can't think what it would have been.
Vibrations are a definite possibility. If you were walking heavily as you approached the cupboard, or were speaking to someone/ the T/ yourself, they can at times feel that with their setae. It really sounds like it was a little spooked by something, but it still isn't something to worry about by itself.

I'm trying to keep it moist in there -- at the moment that involves misting almost every day because it does dry out pretty quickly. I think I may need to block up some of the ventilation holes, but I'll wait until Merlin's recovered a bit more. I've added a bit of moss to hold the moisture a bit better; we'll see if it makes a difference.
What are you housing it in and when you say misting, what are you actually doing? Blocking off ventilation is a good start, but that will depend upon how much ventilation you have to start with too.

Glad you are breathing a bit easier, :)
 

Satu

Arachnopeon
Joined
Jan 2, 2011
Messages
25
What are you housing it in and when you say misting, what are you actually doing? Blocking off ventilation is a good start, but that will depend upon how much ventilation you have to start with too.
He's in a plastic cup, about 10 cm tall and 8 cm across at the top; I've poked air holes in around the bottom, the top and in the lid -- from what I've read, versis like it well-ventilated. Merlin has helpfully taken up residence right underneath the lid.

By misting I mean spraying the substrate and one side of the container with a plant mister. I usually check to see if there's any condensation left on the sides, and spray when there isn't.

I'll post some pictures when Merlin's ready to show off his colours!

---------- Post added at 05:15 PM ---------- Previous post was at 05:14 PM ----------

110% molt stretching, i have watched this many times they fold their legs under themselves than repeatedly unfold em and strech as far as they can than for up under again than repeat. I've seen Pulchras fold up like a pokie press up against a tank wall fold its feetunder on one side and extend the other side legs all the way out. My A genic does the opposit it scrunches up almost like in a death curl than unfolds and taps its legs. Have absolutely no worries you T is just fine
Thanks very much -- it is a relief to hear that!
 

curiousme

Arachnoprince
Old Timer
Joined
Dec 11, 2008
Messages
1,660
He's in a plastic cup, about 10 cm tall and 8 cm across at the top; I've poked air holes in around the bottom, the top and in the lid -- from what I've read, versis like it well-ventilated. Merlin has helpfully taken up residence right underneath the lid.
If they are just pinholes in a plastic cup, then I have no experience with blocking off ventilation done like that. Saran wrap, or clear packing tape sticky side not toward the T are the normal methods though.

By misting I mean spraying the substrate and one side of the container with a plant mister. I usually check to see if there's any condensation left on the sides, and spray when there isn't.
If you are moistening the substrate and it is drying out that quickly, moisten more of it/ more completely. Spraying the side isn't going to do much, but provide a spike in humidity and a drink for the T which it can also get from the substrate, so if you want to maintain a more constant, I would moisten the substrate more than you are. I don't mean to make it swampy, or have standing water, but more than just putting a mist on top of the substrate.

I'll post some pictures when Merlin's ready to show off his colours!
I look forward to seeing them. :)
 

Satu

Arachnopeon
Joined
Jan 2, 2011
Messages
25
If they are just pinholes in a plastic cup, then I have no experience with blocking off ventilation done like that. Saran wrap, or clear packing tape sticky side not toward the T are the normal methods though.
Yup, sticky tape from the inside was my plan.

If you are moistening the substrate and it is drying out that quickly, moisten more of it/ more completely. Spraying the side isn't going to do much, but provide a spike in humidity and a drink for the T which it can also get from the substrate, so if you want to maintain a more constant, I would moisten the substrate more than you are. I don't mean to make it swampy, or have standing water, but more than just putting a mist on top of the substrate.
There isn't a lot of substrate (maybe a couple of cm), so it does generally get damp all the way through when I mist, and I don't think it actually dries off entirely between mistings. The moss seems to be helping with keeping the moisture in a bit more; I'll see what it looks like tonight, though, and then think about blocking off some of the vent holes.

I checked on little Merlin before I went to work this morning, and he was all stretched out in his tube web -- so I feel better now. ;)
 

Satu

Arachnopeon
Joined
Jan 2, 2011
Messages
25
Update

As promised, here's Merlin now:



(Those little feet, they just kill me!)

He seems to be doing really well. He's been exploring the tub and expanding his web (and nearly made his escape when I fed him a couple of days ago). Also, I'm not having to mist every day: the moss is actually keeping the moisture up really well, so I haven't bothered blocking off any ventilation holes.

The only problem I have now is getting him to find the crickets that have ended up at the bottom of the tub! But, a search suggests that he will eventually track them down when he gets hungry, so I'll just be patient.

Thanks again for your help!
 

curiousme

Arachnoprince
Old Timer
Joined
Dec 11, 2008
Messages
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As promised, here's Merlin now:

(Those little feet, they just kill me!)

He seems to be doing really well. He's been exploring the tub and expanding his web (and nearly made his escape when I fed him a couple of days ago). Also, I'm not having to mist every day: the moss is actually keeping the moisture up really well, so I haven't bothered blocking off any ventilation holes.

The only problem I have now is getting him to find the crickets that have ended up at the bottom of the tub! But, a search suggests that he will eventually track them down when he gets hungry, so I'll just be patient.

Thanks again for your help!
It is a cutie! It sounds as if you have everything under control, so sit back and enjoy the show, oh yes and be patient! Watch the moss for mold, because it is possible. ;) Thanks for the update!
 
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