Sudden Avicularia Death?

CABIV

Arachnosquire
Joined
Aug 6, 2014
Messages
94
Honestly, this is beginning to get frustrating...

This is my third Avicularia death in a row. All of my other tarantulas and scorpions and anything I've ever owned are all still alive and are apparently healthy and active.

The first two almost certainly died of nematodes. The manner of death and the symptoms were just about textbook. It took them months to waste away and then die, puking up white stuff as they went. They all appeared to be wild caught individuals from the local Petsmart, so perhaps their deaths are unsurprising.

That said, this was different. I got a completely new Juvenal Avic enclosure from Jamies tarantulas and modified it to be more readily accessible. This Avicularia amaonzica was from my trusted pet store (not petsmart), and everything else they've sold me is doing great. Reportedly, it was a captive bred individual, so I figured no nematodes! It was just under an inch in legspan, so perhaps it was on the young side, but it seemed very healthy. I've only had it since the spring, less time than my previous two avics.

A month ago, this little A. amazonica was eating crickets, webbing up its enclosure, doing all the things Avics are expected to do. Two weeks ago, it molted to my surprise! I let it sit a week until it looked like its fangs were hardened, and I tossed in a small cricket. Up until the day before yesterday, it seemed to have spent every day stretched out in weird poses that I'd come to expect from a freshly molted tarantula.

Except that the other night, it seemed awfully curled, and I notices its opisthoma seemed kind of small (even for an avic). I gave it a nudge with a paint brush and it was sluggish. I figured maybe it never left its lair for the water dish, so I put some water up in its lair, and it drank.

The next morning, it was all over the cage, walking around, looking plump. In fact, when I came into the room around 7 PM, or so, it even had a cricket in its mouth, and it looked like it was looking to set down and eat it. It appeared 100% normal and active.

Flash forward to about 1 AM, I start feeding my other tarantulas, and I notice this Avic is in the death curl. In fact, it looks like cloudy watery discharge was spewing from both ends. I tried maneuvering it near its water dish and replaced it with fresh(er) water, but its already looking like a lost cause.

Someone joked I had "SADS", but boy they aren't kidding. This is depressing. I really like Avicularias, they seem very cool, but it seems extreme. Its almost like it picked up tarantula dysentery.

I'll post pictures tomorrow. Its already a late night and understandably, I'm not to enthused about what I'm seeing. Everybody is chewing crickets tonight, business as usual, except the one Pink Toe that I thought might actually make it.

I'm not even sure if I'm really asking what to do about it.
 

magicmed

Arachnobaron
Joined
Jun 4, 2016
Messages
404
That's harsh I'm sorry to hear about that :( you sound like you have other T's so I don't want to insult you by throwing out common avic death causes, but they truly are very sensitive to proper enclosure and husbandry, did the enclosure have good cross ventilation? Sounds like it had a nice full water dish, was the substrate dry? Or do you try to keep moisture on the ground? Stale air is a big killer of avics.

For the white stuff, I've no idea what that could be, but one of the resident genius around here will come by and shed some light on that. There's always the possibility of the kricket damaging the T with a lucky kick, but that's just unlucky.

I recently decided against some under 1" avics I was really looking forward to because of all the dead avics threads I see, so apparently it's not an uncommon problem. I do hope you figure out what went wrong. Have you been using the same enclosure each time? Tried deep cleaning it really well if so? Possible exposure to some toxin? Had the enclosure in the same place in the house each time? (Draft)

Like I said not trying to insult you or anything, just trying to help figure out some kind of cause :(
 
Last edited:

Poec54

Arachnoemperor
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Mar 26, 2013
Messages
4,758
The biggest killer of Avics at all sizes is moist, stuffy cages; caused by misting, moist substrate, and inadequate ventilation. There are many care sheets that have terrible advice.
 

Haksilence

Bad At Titles
Joined
Dec 6, 2015
Messages
405
The biggest killer of Avics at all sizes is moist, stuffy cages; caused by misting, moist substrate, and inadequate ventilation. There are many care sheets that have terrible advice.
This avic care sheets are a "how to kill your avic guide"

"Keep cages at 70-80°, and 80% humidity"
"Mist daily"
"Feed 1-2 medium sized crickets daily"
 

Trenor

Arachnoprince
Joined
Jan 28, 2016
Messages
1,899
Honestly, this is beginning to get frustrating...

This is my third Avicularia death in a row. All of my other tarantulas and scorpions and anything I've ever owned are all still alive and are apparently healthy and active.

The first two almost certainly died of nematodes. The manner of death and the symptoms were just about textbook. It took them months to waste away and then die, puking up white stuff as they went. They all appeared to be wild caught individuals from the local Petsmart, so perhaps their deaths are unsurprising.

That said, this was different. I got a completely new Juvenal Avic enclosure from Jamies tarantulas and modified it to be more readily accessible. This Avicularia amaonzica was from my trusted pet store (not petsmart), and everything else they've sold me is doing great. Reportedly, it was a captive bred individual, so I figured no nematodes! It was just under an inch in legspan, so perhaps it was on the young side, but it seemed very healthy. I've only had it since the spring, less time than my previous two avics.

A month ago, this little A. amazonica was eating crickets, webbing up its enclosure, doing all the things Avics are expected to do. Two weeks ago, it molted to my surprise! I let it sit a week until it looked like its fangs were hardened, and I tossed in a small cricket. Up until the day before yesterday, it seemed to have spent every day stretched out in weird poses that I'd come to expect from a freshly molted tarantula.

Except that the other night, it seemed awfully curled, and I notices its opisthoma seemed kind of small (even for an avic). I gave it a nudge with a paint brush and it was sluggish. I figured maybe it never left its lair for the water dish, so I put some water up in its lair, and it drank.

The next morning, it was all over the cage, walking around, looking plump. In fact, when I came into the room around 7 PM, or so, it even had a cricket in its mouth, and it looked like it was looking to set down and eat it. It appeared 100% normal and active.

Flash forward to about 1 AM, I start feeding my other tarantulas, and I notice this Avic is in the death curl. In fact, it looks like cloudy watery discharge was spewing from both ends. I tried maneuvering it near its water dish and replaced it with fresh(er) water, but its already looking like a lost cause.

Someone joked I had "SADS", but boy they aren't kidding. This is depressing. I really like Avicularias, they seem very cool, but it seems extreme. Its almost like it picked up tarantula dysentery.

I'll post pictures tomorrow. Its already a late night and understandably, I'm not to enthused about what I'm seeing. Everybody is chewing crickets tonight, business as usual, except the one Pink Toe that I thought might actually make it.

I'm not even sure if I'm really asking what to do about it.
Like others have said Avics can be fragile and can go down hill quickly if their environment gets off. Especially when they are that small(less then an inch). I've used some of Jamie's enclosures and I've had good luck with them. Is it possible to get some photos of the setup? Maybe we can see something that can help you in the future.
 

Poec54

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Mar 26, 2013
Messages
4,758
All of my Avic slings (1/2" and up) get a 16 oz deli cup, with 2 or 3 rings of small hole around the upper sides (none on the lid). Inside is an inch of dry substrate, small piece of cork, a piece of plastic plant and a small plastic water bowl (lid from a 16 oz water bottle) that's discarded when it gets fouled. This is what you need to be doing.
 

viper69

ArachnoGod
Old Timer
Joined
Dec 8, 2006
Messages
14,363
Honestly, this is beginning to get frustrating...

This is my third Avicularia death in a row. All of my other tarantulas and scorpions and anything I've ever owned are all still alive and are apparently healthy and active.

The first two almost certainly died of nematodes. The manner of death and the symptoms were just about textbook. It took them months to waste away and then die, puking up white stuff as they went. They all appeared to be wild caught individuals from the local Petsmart, so perhaps their deaths are unsurprising.

That said, this was different. I got a completely new Juvenal Avic enclosure from Jamies tarantulas and modified it to be more readily accessible. This Avicularia amaonzica was from my trusted pet store (not petsmart), and everything else they've sold me is doing great. Reportedly, it was a captive bred individual, so I figured no nematodes! It was just under an inch in legspan, so perhaps it was on the young side, but it seemed very healthy. I've only had it since the spring, less time than my previous two avics.

A month ago, this little A. amazonica was eating crickets, webbing up its enclosure, doing all the things Avics are expected to do. Two weeks ago, it molted to my surprise! I let it sit a week until it looked like its fangs were hardened, and I tossed in a small cricket. Up until the day before yesterday, it seemed to have spent every day stretched out in weird poses that I'd come to expect from a freshly molted tarantula.

Except that the other night, it seemed awfully curled, and I notices its opisthoma seemed kind of small (even for an avic). I gave it a nudge with a paint brush and it was sluggish. I figured maybe it never left its lair for the water dish, so I put some water up in its lair, and it drank.

The next morning, it was all over the cage, walking around, looking plump. In fact, when I came into the room around 7 PM, or so, it even had a cricket in its mouth, and it looked like it was looking to set down and eat it. It appeared 100% normal and active.

Flash forward to about 1 AM, I start feeding my other tarantulas, and I notice this Avic is in the death curl. In fact, it looks like cloudy watery discharge was spewing from both ends. I tried maneuvering it near its water dish and replaced it with fresh(er) water, but its already looking like a lost cause.

Someone joked I had "SADS", but boy they aren't kidding. This is depressing. I really like Avicularias, they seem very cool, but it seems extreme. Its almost like it picked up tarantula dysentery.

I'll post pictures tomorrow. Its already a late night and understandably, I'm not to enthused about what I'm seeing. Everybody is chewing crickets tonight, business as usual, except the one Pink Toe that I thought might actually make it.

I'm not even sure if I'm really asking what to do about it.
1. SADS is an internet MYTH. Not sure if you know or not. Some do, some don't.

2.
amazonica is not a defined species by scientists; its name for now is A. sp. amazonica in case you didn't know.

3. Here's some info I wrote on Avics, these are things that have worked for me quite well, from sling to adulthood, read it, if you have ?s come back here and ask or PM me http://arachnoboards.com/threads/avicularia-husbandry.282549/#post-2461399

 

advan

oOOo
Staff member
Joined
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Messages
2,062
Why is everyone so against a quick mist for drinking? Not all spider's will go to their water dishes.
 

Haksilence

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Joined
Dec 6, 2015
Messages
405
Why is everyone so against a quick mist for drinking? Not all spider's will go to their water dishes.
It's not that anyone is really against it from what I can tell, it's that when care sheets and the like say to do it newer keepers will go overboard. This paired with the usual lack of ventilation in these cases cause a stagnant damp enclosure


Especially for arboreals i usually give a small sprits on the side every 2 or 3 days
 

Poec54

Arachnoemperor
Joined
Mar 26, 2013
Messages
4,758
Why is everyone so against a quick mist for drinking?
Not all spider's will go to their water dishes.

Problem with misting is that inexperienced people sometimes overdo it and wind up with a soggy cage with condensation. What worked one time of year, may not the next due to furnaces, a/c, & fans running, or not running. Plus a rainy few days (or a week) may require backing off on misting, another detail often overlooked by beginners. Things can go wrong with misting, and water bowls make a better hydration source for the average tarantula owner.

They'll all go down to their water bowls if the cage isn't too high.
 

Tarantula20

Arachnosquire
Joined
Oct 19, 2014
Messages
93
If your enclosure did not have good ventilation stagnant air might have been what lead to your avics demise.
 

CABIV

Arachnosquire
Joined
Aug 6, 2014
Messages
94
Whoa, lots of posts to respond to. Rather than directly responding to each, I'll hit the main points.

The Enclosure:

The following photos was from months ago when the enclosure was brand new (the dust is static holding up some substrate). I bought this enclosure specifically for this spider, so it is the "first" resident of it. I did not add moisture to the substrate, but apparently the substrate was moist in the kit. You can see drier substrate I added to prevent crickets from hiding indefinitely. In any event, this dried out quickly. In fact, the water dish was full when I put it in there earlier that day, but it had already evaporated at the time of the photo.

I modified that vent on the front to be a "twist and pull" access hatch, so that I didn't have to break open the whole enclosure for minor things like the water dish or pulling out food boluses. When I first assembled the cage, the parts fit too tightly for me to feel comfortable just opening it up the intended way.

Apart from placing the water dish in a more accessible place in the opposite corner, the cage remained untouched or unmodified from this point out. A silken hammock was built shortly before it molted across the face of the side you can see the spider sitting on.

This doesn't seem very different from the "AMAC" enclosures by Trenor that were linked to in Viper69's post.



The Moisture Issue

This is where I am now growing concerned. As I mentioned, my tarantula enclosures seem to dry quickly. Its fast enough that people have criticized me on these forums for having enclosures that are "too dry" in photos, despite having dumped a good volume of water into some of them earlier that day. As a result, I always check the water dishes every day and night, and refill them as necessary. Water doesn't seem to last long enough to "go bad" in my waterdishes.

In this enclosure, only perhaps the very bottom-most layer of substrate ever retained any kind of moisture (usually from accidental spills of the water dish), but the upper areas were usually bone dry. Even then, this "moist" layer was not moist to the touch, but rather you could tell it held its shape just a little if you clumped it. I'm not really sure it would be enough moisture to create "stuffy" conditions, and it certainly didn't feel or smell that way.

Where I suspect I made a mistake.

The dryness of my room is why on Tuesday night, when the spider didn't look to perky, my first guess was that it probably needed water and hadn't wandered down to its water dish.

Since the tarantula was above the access hatch, I figured I could use a small spray bottle (set to jet) to shoot a few drops of water up to the top where the spider was. I gave it two light pulses, not enough to wet down the enclosure, but enough to land a few droplets up onto the tarantula's hammock. The tarantula seemed to eagerly sip this up. There was some misty drops on the side, but these evaporated quickly as expected, and by morning the enclosure seemed to have dried out. Even the water dish (which I had refilled that night) was almost empty. Curiously, there was water droplet near the bottom of the silken hammock the spider was resting on, but I figured this too would dry out (and it did).

Again, the spider seemed healthy through out the day Wednesday, walking around, catching crickets as late as 7 PM. It was only after midnight that its condition appeared to deteriorate rapidly.

I'm still just blown away that it could die that quickly. There is clearly no margin for error. Even if misting isn't a good thing to do, it was one time, not very much (definitely not a swamp), and it dried quickly. Far from a chronically stagnant condition!

Things to definitely do different next time.

I can see that I probably should have added a few holes near the top, as suggested in Viper's thread. This would have allowed me to use a less risky method to deliver water to the spider. Besides, additional holes for ventilation probably would not hurt.

Things I still don't understand

The only thing I don't get, was the whole "expulsion of fluids" thing. the Spider was drooling cloudy liquid, and its rear was almost literally dripping cloudy clear that was running down the side of the enclosure. Again, it almost seems like Avic equivalent of a horrifying stomach sickness.

While I had seen this before (it almost scared me considering the similarity of the nematode issues), I had more or less ignored it because A.) the spider seemed healthy and was eating, B.) because that "drooling" is sometimes them just "licking" themselves, and C.) the rear could have been just poop.

I decided it would be better to not worry about it and leave the spider alone.

When I saw it a that night, it was to the extreme. If I didn't know better, I'd say someone squished the poor thing and press out its fluids.

Is it possible it just got sick? Maybe it was a perfect storm of issues?

SADS

I am aware its a "myth". When I typed out the title to the thread, I had not intended the "SADS" reference, but that did lead me to read all the subsequent threads that popped up.

My later reference was just a poor attempt at humor, being very "SAD" about my tarantula death.

Species Name

Is it simply not yet defined, or is there a real species name for it but nobody knows/uses it? I tried doing some research before I bought it, and couldn't find anything that seemed solid (like most tarantulas).
 

magicmed

Arachnobaron
Joined
Jun 4, 2016
Messages
404
Once again someone more experienced will come by and possibly correct me but to me personally it looks like the moisture to ventilation ratio was off, if that one vent is all there was on it I would say that's too much moisture in the substrate and that could have been the cause. I've heard members here say there's no such thing as too much ventilation with avics especially when you try to keep the substrate damp. A lot of people just use a lot of cross vent, a few on top, and a full water dish with dry substrate.
 

WeightedAbyss75

Arachnoangel
Joined
Feb 22, 2014
Messages
921
Once again someone more experienced will come by and possibly correct me but to me personally it looks like the moisture to ventilation ratio was off, if that one vent is all there was on it I would say that's too much moisture in the substrate and that could have been the cause. I've heard members here say there's no such thing as too much ventilation with avics especially when you try to keep the substrate damp. A lot of people just use a lot of cross vent, a few on top, and a full water dish with dry substrate.
I hear that's what a lot of people do with most arboreals. I am learning this too. I learned my humidity lesson when I had my roach cage with no vents, big waterdish, and "airtight" container. Not a good time :D Never kept them, but as long as they have a big dish and a wetdown of sub every week give or take, it seems to be working for my P. cam. Hope you can eventually get one to adulthood ;)
 

advan

oOOo
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Messages
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Problem with misting is that inexperienced people sometimes overdo it and wind up with a soggy cage with condensation. What worked one time of year, may not the next due to furnaces, a/c, & fans running, or not running. Plus a rainy few days (or a week) may require backing off on misting, another detail often overlooked by beginners. Things can go wrong with misting, and water bowls make a better hydration source for the average tarantula owner.

They'll all go down to their water bowls if the cage isn't too high.
What is funny about misting that has been parroted for years is it evaporates too quickly and doesn't provide a long term humidity solution. You are saying the exact opposite. So which is it? Nothing wrong with a quick spritz for drinking off leaves, cork, sides and web.

I think you are underestimating people too much. It really is common sense like majority of husbandry. These type posts are really a small minority compared to the people keeping Avicularia without issues.

Avicularia is another genera I have raised from sling to adulthood and successfully bred without ever having a water dish. :)
 

Sana

Arachnoprince
Joined
Oct 26, 2014
Messages
1,141
The only thing that I would have done differently would be to add more ventilation to the sides. I have heard of a lot of folks that use Jamie's enclosures without issue though. The thing that I don't understand with this is the manner of death. Fluid leakage isn't a result that I'm familiar with from lack of ventilation, dehydration, or any other husbandry oddity.

I looked back at the picture again and noticed the sphagnum moss next to the water dish. It's possible that a tiny piece was touching the dish and wicked the water out. The way to check that possibility would be to pick up the moss and see if it's moist at all. Still don't see how that would cause what happened though.
 

Trenor

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The Enclosure:

The following photos was from months ago when the enclosure was brand new (the dust is static holding up some substrate). I bought this enclosure specifically for this spider, so it is the "first" resident of it. I did not add moisture to the substrate, but apparently the substrate was moist in the kit. You can see drier substrate I added to prevent crickets from hiding indefinitely. In any event, this dried out quickly. In fact, the water dish was full when I put it in there earlier that day, but it had already evaporated at the time of the photo.

I modified that vent on the front to be a "twist and pull" access hatch, so that I didn't have to break open the whole enclosure for minor things like the water dish or pulling out food boluses. When I first assembled the cage, the parts fit too tightly for me to feel comfortable just opening it up the intended way.

Apart from placing the water dish in a more accessible place in the opposite corner, the cage remained untouched or unmodified from this point out. A silken hammock was built shortly before it molted across the face of the side you can see the spider sitting on.

This doesn't seem very different from the "AMAC" enclosures by Trenor that were linked to in Viper69's post.
It's most likely the same enclosure as a few of my enclosure photos floating around are Jamie's enclosures as well. They have worked well for me with no modification.

I did note that you had trouble with opening the enclosure. This style enclosure is best utilized by gluing the corkbark/plants to the inside of the big part of the enclosure with hot glue. This way you can open it from the bottom without all the corkbark/plants falling all over the place. It allows you to put a water dish in the bottom part. You can put food in there easily as well. I'd recomend you mod your's to work this way and it'll make you life a lot easier.

Like this(the enclosure is bigger but the idea is the same):

The dryness of my room is why on Tuesday night, when the spider didn't look to perky, my first guess was that it probably needed water and hadn't wandered down to its water dish.
If your dish is drying out too quickly you can move to a bigger/deeper dish. Or add some moisture to your substrate. You mainly just don't want to add so much that condensation builds up on the enclosure which would mean you have too much moisture for the ventilation your enclosure has.

While I had seen this before (it almost scared me considering the similarity of the nematode issues), I had more or less ignored it because A.) the spider seemed healthy and was eating, B.) because that "drooling" is sometimes them just "licking" themselves, and C.) the rear could have been just poop.
The fluid out idf it's mouth is most likely liquid used for grooming. The other end was poop.

if that one vent is all there was on it I would say that's too much moisture in the substrate and that could have been the cause. I've heard members here say there's no such thing as too much ventilation with avics especially when you try to keep the substrate damp. A lot of people just use a lot of cross vent, a few on top, and a full water dish with dry substrate.
I've used 5 or more of these single screen enclosures with my Avics with no trouble. This is one of the reasons I think adequate ventilation is more important then cross ventilation. As long as you have enough ventilation that condensation is not building up you should be fine. You don't want a swamp.

With his statement of the enclosure was drying out too much I'd go with dehydration being the most likely cause of the problem IMO.
 
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