The Skill of Slings Burrowing or Not Burrowing

Jeff23

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Is there a learned ability to control whether your slings burrow or don't burrow? In the context of my discussion I am talking about slings that do not require a burrow as adults. I don't think it is bad that a T burrows, but it is always better if you can do the right things to keep them in a visible area for maximum enjoyment and monitoring their health. I guess a few things with consequences might be as follows:

1) A hide that isn't sufficient for giving the T security and protection from light.
2) Opening and closing the container often or having a container lid that disturbs the T in a higher degree when it is opened.
3) Temperatures in the external atmosphere are not optimum so the T burrows to attempt to find better insulation from heat or cold.
4) Humidity can be controlled nicely by burrowing to the sweet spot with respect to the moisture.
5) Too much ventilation occurs so the T burrows to escape the higher air flow.

On a couple of my slings, I have started creating burrows for them next to the container wall. I then place some of that 3M removable painters blue tape on the outside of the container so that I can remove it on occasion under limited lighting to see that my T is okay. This has worked for one Eupalaestrus Campestratus and one Grammostola pulchripes T. I have not attempted this on others but I do plan to use the tape in the future since it works well.

EDIT* I failed to mention that I am wondering whether we can control the burrowing aspect versus it just being part of that slings personality to want to burrow.
EDIT2* Added item 5 in list above.
EDIT3* On the sling in the 5 oz cup I was worried about the removal of the tape disturbing the burrow when the plastic moves. To fix this issue I cut off the top portion of a second 5 oz cup. I wrapped the blue tape around it. Then you can simply remove the outer cup to see your sling in the inner cup. Make sure you don't cover any vent holes with the second cup.
 
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bryverine

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If you want to keep them from burrowing, don't provide sub! :penguin: This of course is a joke.

I think they like the security it provides. Even if the environmental conditions are perfect, I suspect you will still have a sling who is hidden from 'danger' because of that evolved instinct.

Edit:
Love your idea about the second cup to keep from shaking around the enclosure. Have you tried putting a second, smaller piece of tape sticky side to sticky side to reduce the amount you have to pull off?
PicsArt_09-21-08.05.56.jpg
Blue: tape, orange: adhesive
 
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WeightedAbyss75

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Is there a learned ability to control whether your slings burrow or don't burrow? In the context of my discussion I am talking about slings that do not require a burrow as adults. I don't think it is bad that a T burrows, but it is always better if you can do the right things to keep them in a visible area for maximum enjoyment and monitoring their health. I guess a few things with consequences might be as follows:

1) A hide that isn't sufficient for giving the T security and protection from light.
2) Opening and closing the container often or having a container lid that disturbs the T in a higher degree when it is opened.
3) Temperatures in the external atmosphere are not optimum so the T burrows to attempt to find better insulation from heat or cold.
4) Humidity can be controlled nicely by burrowing to the sweet spot with respect to the moisture.
5) Too much ventilation occurs so the T burrows to escape the higher air flow.

On a couple of my slings, I have started creating burrows for them next to the container wall. I then place some of that 3M removable painters blue tape on the outside of the container so that I can remove it on occasion under limited lighting to see that my T is okay. This has worked for one Eupalaestrus Campestratus and one Grammostola pulchripes T. I have not attempted this on others but I do plan to use the tape in the future since it works well.

EDIT* I failed to mention that I am wondering whether we can control the burrowing aspect versus it just being part of that slings personality to want to burrow.
EDIT2* Added item 5 in list above.
EDIT3* On the sling in the 5 oz cup I was worried about the removal of the tape disturbing the burrow when the plastic moves. To fix this issue I cut off the top portion of a second 5 oz cup. I wrapped the blue tape around it. Then you can simply remove the outer cup to see your sling in the inner cup. Make sure you don't cover any vent holes with the second cup.
Some just prefer to burrow, whether for safety, instinct, ot otherwise. I would just let them burrow, since they can't really be trapped and there are multiple ways to provide a burrow you can see into :D Like byverine says, some will burrow regardless of their conditions. It all comes down to the original spider.
 

Jeff23

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I have been buying several slings on every variety so far. My original intention was to increase my chances of having at least on female and one male. I then noticed inconsistencies where part of the same species burrows while other slings don't. Since all of mine are in close vicinity I suppose that rules out temperature on my situation. It is interesting to look at this aspect of T's.

I guess I am also ramping up my understanding T's that burrow and won't come to the surface. As an example, I love the look of the Ephpebopus cyanognathus (Blue Fang). But I see complaints that it is hard to enjoy the beauty of this T.
 

WeightedAbyss75

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I have been buying several slings on every variety so far. My original intention was to increase my chances of having at least on female and one male. I then noticed inconsistencies where part of the same species burrows while other slings don't. Since all of mine are in close vicinity I suppose that rules out temperature on my situation. It is interesting to look at this aspect of T's.

I guess I am also ramping up my understanding T's that burrow and won't come to the surface. As an example, I love the look of the Ephpebopus cyanognathus (Blue Fang). But I see complaints that it is hard to enjoy the beauty of this T.
Yeah, although it makes those moments where you do get a good look at them priceless :D Just part of the give/take. I don't you can do anything to stop E. cyognathus from burrowing without it being stressed regardless of conditions. You could make a starter burrow on the side and hope they don't web it, but that is really the only thing without stressing them sadly.
 

Jeff23

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..... Have you tried putting a second, smaller piece of tape sticky side to sticky side to reduce the amount you have to pull off?
View attachment 220914
Blue: tape, orange: adhesive
I did not in this case, but that is a good idea too. You can then use just enough tape adhesive to hold it to the cup by the four corners which creates less of a disturbance.
 

Jeff23

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Yeah, although it makes those moments where you do get a good look at them priceless :D Just part of the give/take. I don't you can do anything to stop E. cyognathus from burrowing without it being stressed regardless of conditions. You could make a starter burrow on the side and hope they don't web it, but that is really the only thing without stressing them sadly.
I definitely won't force a T to change it's natural desires. I did forget about the webbing though. I guess it may make it hard to see the T. when it adds multiple layers on the wall.
 

Sana

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I offer all of mine enough sub to burrow if they choose. Arboreals a bit less then terrestrials but young arboreals often create their hide starting at a shallow burrow and building upwards with web and dirt in my experience, so still a bit more sub then most folks give their arboreals. I have never attempted to encourage any of mine not to burrow so I don't have any help for that. I have noticed that burrowing or not is entirely individual preference of each tarantula. Most of the time I don't have every individual of most any species all burrow or not burrow. Just one more interesting behavior. I've noticed that my individuals who choose to burrow are frequently easier to work with.
 

Jeff23

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I think I messed up my hide on a Hapolopus Species Colombia Large (pumpkin patch) young female T. This is not a sling so I thought she would act like others that I have seen on YouTube for this same species. I essentially created a shallow burrow in the back end of a half tube of cork bark. I haven't seen this T since the day I received her. I suppose I can slow down feeding to see if that makes a difference on her watching for prey, but essentially she is too shy to come out in the open. Every time I put a cricket in the container (live or pre-kill), the cricket is gone the next morning, but she will not hunt while she knows I am there. I suspect she is very happy with this situation and I definitely won't mess up her hide unless she outgrows the container.
 

viper69

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Is there a learned ability to control whether your slings burrow or don't burrow?
You can't control them.

Don't provide substrate, a bad idea too. Just because you can do something, doesn't mean you should. This is one of those cases.

but it is always better if you can do the right things to keep them in a visible area for maximum enjoyment and monitoring their health
Better for who? Your captive animal or its owner....:rolleyes: This is nothing but a selfish thought that serves only the owner. I have Ts that burrow and I'm able to monitor their health, as best as a human can do, considering we know very little about them to begin with.

I think someone who is TRULY interested in Ts should/would foster/provide as much opportunity to see the T go about its natural behavior and actually ENJOY its natural life cycle (as much as one can in a captive setting) rather than just sit there and stare at their T because they thought it was pretty.

I'll use my I. mira as a perfect example. I find this species to be quite beautiful, golds with some black contrast and bright blue tipped front legs. I could stare at that all day, and certainly could if I provided no sub. This species is an obligate burrower, living its trapdoor life and rarely coming to the surface. I've seen mine come to the surface 2 so far, 1 last night. I love when s/he does of course. However, I find it far more fascinating to observe this animal when it's in its burrow w/its trapdoor. I'm able to watch it stalk prey from below "ground". I can see how sensitive it is to different size prey that are on the surface. I've observed how it makes the trap door quite a few times, and whether it hunts right side up, or upside down while in its tunnels. It's all far more fascinating than just sitting there and watching s/he out in the open.




I love the look of the Ephpebopus cyanognathus (Blue Fang). But I see complaints that it is hard to enjoy the beauty of this T.
I've owned this species and others which burrow, be it these, N. incei, M. balfouri or I. mira. People who truly complain about a Ts natural behavior didn't do the proper research, OR shouldn't own those types of species to begin with. If people find it too hard to enjoy their beauty, then they should get a picture of one so they can stare at the photo anytime they want.
 

viper69

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This is not a sling so I thought she would act like others that I have seen on YouTube for this same species.
One thing to remember, despite what we see on YouTube, in many videos we don't always get the complete picture of the Tuber's husbandry style. And ultimately we have no knowledge of how said person cares for their T. Thus some behaviors may be induced artificially by the owner.

but essentially she is too shy to come out in the open. Every time I put a cricket in the container (live or pre-kill), the cricket is gone the next morning, but she will not hunt while she knows I am there.
Crickets are gone, she can't be too shy ;)

You should be more patient, sit in the dark, use either a red light or a dim blue light for viewing.

My 0.1 below

 

EulersK

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1) A hide that isn't sufficient for giving the T security and protection from light.
Not necessarily. See my example of a pair of B. vagans below. Basically, they'll burrow if they please.

2) Opening and closing the container often or having a container lid that disturbs the T in a higher degree when it is opened.
Also not necessarily, again see my example below. A tarantula will find it's "safe place" no matter what you do - sometimes their safe place is a hide, sometimes not.

3) Temperatures in the external atmosphere are not optimum so the T burrows to attempt to find better insulation from heat or cold.
This is true, but only of something has gone horribly awry with husbandry. Tarantulas burrow to escape excessive heat, which can only really happen in captivity if heat is being provided. Not a single species requires additional heat (outside of winter, and even then a room should be heated rather than the enclosure).

4) Humidity can be controlled nicely by burrowing to the sweet spot with respect to the moisture.
This one is largely speculation. We are keeping these animals in microclimates, so it's unlikely that a sweet spot exists.

5) Too much ventilation occurs so the T burrows to escape the higher air flow.
In the wild, there is unlimited ventilation. So this is not the case.


Here's an anecdote for you. I've had a pair of B. vagans slings for a few months now - they were of the same sac, and always molt within a week of each other. They are fed at the same time, fed the same sized meals, are kept identically (deli cup, plenty of substrate, mildly humid, offered a hide), and behave identically with one exception. One has dug an extensive burrow with two entrances, while the other hasn't moved a single piece of dirt. There is no explanation for this other than individual temperaments. They're both quite skittish, so it's not even that one feels more secure than the other.
 

Jeff23

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You can't control them.

Don't provide substrate, a bad idea too. Just because you can do something, doesn't mean you should. This is one of those cases.

Better for who? Your captive animal or its owner....:rolleyes: This is nothing but a selfish thought that serves only the owner. I have Ts that burrow and I'm able to monitor their health, as best as a human can do, considering we know very little about them to begin with.

I think someone who is TRULY interested in Ts should/would foster/provide as much opportunity to see the T go about its natural behavior and actually ENJOY its natural life cycle (as much as one can in a captive setting)
rather than just sit there and stare at their T because they thought it was pretty......
I don't understand why people think I want to remove substrate (or anything). Me selfish? I am more confused. I listed five items in my original post where I am talking about developing experience in handling these areas right for a newly obtained sling. I was trying to talk about the "Skill" as the title of the thread says. If the environment has optimum conditions the sling will perhaps less of a need to change things. But I realize it may still desire to change it based on its inclinations.

Somehow I feel like I am on trial here. If you provide a really nice hide above the correct amount of substrate, but no pre-made burrow, the chance that the sling will choose your pre-made hide rather than digging a burrow is higher. Likewise if you build a burrow inside your container along with a typical hide, the sling will have a higher chance of using the burrow because it is already there. In both options I am only talking about slings of certain species that will accept either condition (I am not including "burrowing only" or "arboreal" T's). If making one of these choices easier for the sling means I am selfish then I guess so be it. I don't think I am the only one in this forum that hasn't provided burrows for slings that may swing either direction.

I rehoused my first T's (E. Sp. "Reds" and E. Campestratus) because I put them into containers that were too large. In the learning process of going through these mistakes (rehousing, figuring out moisture levels, proper hide, etc.), I feel like I pushed my slings to want to burrow. Mine seemed to change behaviors if I remember correctly, after I rehoused them and struggled for a short time working with a small 5 oz. cup. A T will be attempt to control its situation better by burrowing if the above substrate situation is less than acceptable was my thought when I created this thread. When I got my G. Pulchripes slings I was worried about the spider having enough real estate in a 16 oz cup so I purposely created burrows below hides. Little did I know that two of them would cover the hole and not come out. The third one doesn't use the burrow below the hide except when scared. I know I can't rule out pre-molt for the hidden one that I can't see, but the other one is next to still next to the container wall so I can see it. I just can't feed it because there is no hole for it. So if I had not created a burrow, the million dollar question is whether they would have burrowed at all.

EDIT* I have reread my original comments multiple times. There isn't one line in there that mentions any removal or limiting of substrate. It is entirely about enclosure conditions and type of hide.
 
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Jeff23

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One thing to remember, despite what we see on YouTube, in many videos we don't always get the complete picture of the Tuber's husbandry style. And ultimately we have no knowledge of how said person cares for their T. Thus some behaviors may be induced artificially by the owner.



Crickets are gone, she can't be too shy ;)

You should be more patient, sit in the dark, use either a red light or a dim blue light for viewing.

My 0.1 below

I understand what you are saying and that may be what has to happen. I won't force change. I have other T's in a collection that will expand as well. I have been in the room with red lights on quite a lot already and never see it. The primary YouTube video I saw was on Tom's Big Spiders which has a lot of videos that I have enjoyed and viewed as useful. His is shown right out in the open. It could be a personality difference for mine. But I am wondering if I created the wrong environment in my enclosure to make it more likely that I won't see the T by creating a small burrow.

EDIT* added last few words to end of last sentence
 

Jeff23

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Not necessarily. See my example of a pair of B. vagans below. Basically, they'll burrow if they please.


Also not necessarily, again see my example below. A tarantula will find it's "safe place" no matter what you do - sometimes their safe place is a hide, sometimes not.


This is true, but only of something has gone horribly awry with husbandry. Tarantulas burrow to escape excessive heat, which can only really happen in captivity if heat is being provided. Not a single species requires additional heat (outside of winter, and even then a room should be heated rather than the enclosure).


This one is largely speculation. We are keeping these animals in microclimates, so it's unlikely that a sweet spot exists.


In the wild, there is unlimited ventilation. So this is not the case.


Here's an anecdote for you. I've had a pair of B. vagans slings for a few months now - they were of the same sac, and always molt within a week of each other. They are fed at the same time, fed the same sized meals, are kept identically (deli cup, plenty of substrate, mildly humid, offered a hide), and behave identically with one exception. One has dug an extensive burrow with two entrances, while the other hasn't moved a single piece of dirt. There is no explanation for this other than individual temperaments. They're both quite skittish, so it's not even that one feels more secure than the other.
Thanks. I wrote my other replies before reading yours. I like the example provided.

With respect to humidity I should have said moisture sweet spot (dry zone versus in the middle zone versus very moist zone). If you put the hide on the dry side and no hide is placed closer to the moist side the sling may burrow so that it has a hide closer to the moist side is what I meant. Since warmer air can hold more water vapor than colder air (because it is less dense) the substrate may slightly improve or make worse a situation based on the insulating ability. Of course this would be a bigger impact in the wild since a few inches of substrate is nothing versus a foot or two underground.
 

WeightedAbyss75

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I understand what you are saying and that may be what has to happen. I won't force change. I have other T's in a collection that will expand as well. I have been in the room with red lights on quite a lot already and never see it. The primary YouTube video I saw was on Tom's Big Spiders which has a lot of videos that I have enjoyed and viewed as useful. His is shown right out in the open. It could be a personality difference for mine. But I am wondering if I created the wrong environment in my enclosure to make it more likely that I won't see the T by creating a small burrow.

EDIT* added last few words to end of last sentence
Don't mean to put you on trial, we just tend to get a little defensive when people talk about limiting what the spider wants to do for personal reasons. You should see the thread where a dealer wanted to kill and/or freeze slings to limit the work for a big sac :confused: You can only imagine... btw, my P. cam is the same way. It will not come out unless I am gone or it's a blue moon ;) Should be all good, so I wouldn't worry too much,
 

EulersK

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If you put the hide on the dry side and no hide is placed closer to the moist side the sling may burrow so that it has a hide closer to the moist side is what I meant.
Ah, I misunderstood you. Then yes, I imagine that makes a difference. My humid terrestrials always have a humid side to their enclosure - usually the side with the water dish. In fact, I've taken to always having a depression in the substrate around the water dish. That allows me to massively overfill their water dish without the fear of water rushing into their hide. This creates a sort of water's edge that they'd have in the wild: very damp substrate around the water source, bone dry substrate around their hide. I've noticed some interesting hunting behavior since I've started doing this, as well. They almost all display hunting behaviors where the damp soil starts.
 

Jeff23

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Don't mean to put you on trial, we just tend to get a little defensive when people talk about limiting what the spider wants to do for personal reasons. You should see the thread where a dealer wanted to kill and/or freeze slings to limit the work for a big sac :confused: You can only imagine... btw, my P. cam is the same way. It will not come out unless I am gone or it's a blue moon ;) Should be all good, so I wouldn't worry too much,
Thanks. That sounds pretty bad. While I may one day learn about breeding I have no intentions to do this for profit. My day job takes up far too much time for that. I can't own dogs or cats because I have to travel occasionally on my job, so having T's is pretty fun for me.

There was/is no intention to limit anything. I am just trying to learn the science behind it best and fast as I can to better enjoy the hobby while at the same time providing the T a happy life. If a person can provide it optimum conditions in a way that allows both you and the spider to enjoy it more nobody loses. My theory in this thread is that I have provided small burrows in a couple situations where not providing this burrow might have made things better for me to view the T's But I won't change anything on the current environment since the T's in both cases seem happy.

From another angle, it almost seems like the more you have to mess with their environment (due to mistakes) the more likely the T wants to burrow to take control of its own environment, but I am probably reaching with that comment since my experience is so short.

EDIT* There was no mention from me on limiting substrate. Not sure what people were talking about it.
 
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viper69

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I don't understand why people think I want to remove substrate (or anything). Me selfish? I am more confused. I listed five items in my original post where I am talking about developing experience in handling these areas right for a newly obtained sling. I was trying to talk about the "Skill" as the title of the thread says. If the environment has optimum conditions the sling will perhaps less of a need to change things. But I realize it may still desire to change it based on its inclinations.

Somehow I feel like I am on trial here. If you provide a really nice hide above the correct amount of substrate, but no pre-made burrow, the chance that the sling will choose your pre-made hide rather than digging a burrow is higher. Likewise if you build a burrow inside your container along with a typical hide, the sling will have a higher chance of using the burrow because it is already there. In both options I am only talking about slings of certain species that will accept either condition (I am not including "burrowing only" or "arboreal" T's). If making one of these choices easier for the sling means I am selfish then I guess so be it. I don't think I am the only one in this forum that hasn't provided burrows for slings that may swing either direction.

I rehoused my first T's (E. Sp. "Reds" and E. Campestratus) because I put them into containers that were too large. In the learning process of going through these mistakes (rehousing, figuring out moisture levels, proper hide, etc.), I feel like I pushed my slings to want to burrow. Mine seemed to change behaviors if I remember correctly, after I rehoused them and struggled for a short time working with a small 5 oz. cup. A T will be attempt to control its situation better by burrowing if the above substrate situation is less than acceptable was my thought when I created this thread. When I got my G. Pulchripes slings I was worried about the spider having enough real estate in a 16 oz cup so I purposely created burrows below hides. Little did I know that two of them would cover the hole and not come out. The third one doesn't use the burrow below the hide except when scared. I know I can't rule out pre-molt for the hidden one that I can't see, but the other one is next to still next to the container wall so I can see it. I just can't feed it because there is no hole for it. So if I had not created a burrow, the million dollar question is whether they would have burrowed at all.

EDIT* I have reread my original comments multiple times. There isn't one line in there that mentions any removal or limiting of substrate. It is entirely about enclosure conditions and type of hide.

Trust me Jeff, you aren't on trial, far from it. :D I've read enough of your posts to believe you give careful consideration to your Ts!

I think on my end what made me reply the way I had was the following line you typed "I don't think it is bad that a T burrows, but it is always better if you can do the right things to keep them in a visible area for maximum enjoyment and monitoring their health"

Also regarding the above, I've never been able to predict what burrow a T would take to, a pre-made or one of its own. It's really a losing bet most of the time ;) I've made many burrows for slings and older Ts, for them to only make their own. After all, they know best, and truly we have no idea why they pick spot A over B, esp in captivity.

However, if you can figure out ways to make them choose a pre-made burrow most of the time, keep us posted!
 

viper69

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I understand what you are saying and that may be what has to happen. I won't force change. I have other T's in a collection that will expand as well. I have been in the room with red lights on quite a lot already and never see it. The primary YouTube video I saw was on Tom's Big Spiders which has a lot of videos that I have enjoyed and viewed as useful. His is shown right out in the open. It could be a personality difference for mine. But I am wondering if I created the wrong environment in my enclosure to make it more likely that I won't see the T by creating a small burrow.

EDIT* added last few words to end of last sentence
I doubt you created a "wrong" environment. It's all about the individual T all things being equal.

You haven't sat in the dark enough, because clearly it is eating ;)

I have a specimen that typically comes out at 4am, goes back in by 9am. I only discovered that by accident.
 
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