Tibial spurs == mature male?

chocotaco

Arachnopeon
Joined
Oct 25, 2010
Messages
3
Several weeks ago a coworker found a tarantula wandering around in our parking lot (we're in Southern California). At first I wasn't sure what species it was, but after some research I'm pretty sure it's Aphonopelma Pallidum (Mexican Gray/Brown).

Since he was probably going to be run over if we let him wander, we decided to adopt him as an office mascot. We set him up with a 10gal terrarium; at first I had him on bark chips but he hated that so I switched to coir. He didn't seem to like that much either (he is always trying to climb the walls and walk around on the ceiling, which quite often results in a fall although he hasn't been injured yet). So I added some "desert mix" (ground walnut shells) to reduce the floor height of the environment and lessen the problems from a fall. He still tries constantly to climb the walls; it's all we ever see him doing.

Anyway, today I noticed some pronounced tibial spurs although I haven't noticed his pedipalps being particularly swollen. Do the tibial spurs conclusively indicate that he's fully mature and only has a few months left to live? He eats crickets when they're given, and he seems to take water (although he also seems to intentionally splash all the water out of his water bowl every night). He also has a slowly darkening bald spot on his rump which I thought was an indicator that he would molt soon - I guess if he's a MM that means he's not going to molt and will probably just die?

Obviously I'm new to this. If he's a mature male, should I let him go free so he can maybe find a babe to score with?
 

Chris_Skeleton

Arachnoprince
Old Timer
Joined
Jan 31, 2010
Messages
1,310
Several weeks ago a coworker found a tarantula wandering around in our parking lot (we're in Southern California). At first I wasn't sure what species it was, but after some research I'm pretty sure it's Aphonopelma Pallidum (Mexican Gray/Brown).

Since he was probably going to be run over if we let him wander, we decided to adopt him as an office mascot. We set him up with a 10gal terrarium; at first I had him on bark chips but he hated that so I switched to coir. He didn't seem to like that much either (he is always trying to climb the walls and walk around on the ceiling, which quite often results in a fall although he hasn't been injured yet). So I added some "desert mix" (ground walnut shells) to reduce the floor height of the environment and lessen the problems from a fall. He still tries constantly to climb the walls; it's all we ever see him doing.

Anyway, today I noticed some pronounced tibial spurs although I haven't noticed his pedipalps being particularly swollen. Do the tibial spurs conclusively indicate that he's fully mature and only has a few months left to live? He eats crickets when they're given, and he seems to take water (although he also seems to intentionally splash all the water out of his water bowl every night). He also has a slowly darkening bald spot on his rump which I thought was an indicator that he would molt soon - I guess if he's a MM that means he's not going to molt and will probably just die?

Obviously I'm new to this. If he's a mature male, should I let him go free so he can maybe find a babe to score with?
First, yes tibial spurs are an indicator of mature male. Only MMs get them. The reason he is wandering is because he's looking for a female not because he doesn't like the substrate. He might attempt a molt, but most tarantulas don't successfully complete a postultimate molt. As for keeping him or not, you'll have to take the others opinions. If you do keep him, use the coconut fiber and make sure it is high enough so he won't fall and be injured. I can tell you however, you probably will not have him long. Someone on here might have a female and be interested in him though. Whatever you do, this hobby is great, and I would recommend reading up and buying a new tarantula so you can have one that will live for a long time and that you can enjoy. Good luck.
 

chocotaco

Arachnopeon
Joined
Oct 25, 2010
Messages
3
Thanks for the response. In case we do get another tarantula (most likely a G. Rosea because that seems to be the most likely one to find in a pet store), do you think the ground walnut shells are a bad substrate? The problem I have with coir is that it's kind of a pain to use - you have to reconstitute it from that brick and then it never seems to dry out that well and I know the desert guys hate extra humidity. The desert mix seems like a good natural alternative and it comes in a dry bag. Any opinions?

Also, if anyone in the area wants to give our guy a shot at making some heirs, I would be happy to give him that opportunity before he dies. We're in southern Orange County.
 

flamesbane

Arachnobaron
Old Timer
Joined
Dec 10, 2008
Messages
529
Thanks for the response. In case we do get another tarantula (most likely a G. Rosea because that seems to be the most likely one to find in a pet store), do you think the ground walnut shells are a bad substrate? The problem I have with coir is that it's kind of a pain to use - you have to reconstitute it from that brick and then it never seems to dry out that well and I know the desert guys hate extra humidity. The desert mix seems like a good natural alternative and it comes in a dry bag. Any opinions?

Also, if anyone in the area wants to give our guy a shot at making some heirs, I would be happy to give him that opportunity before he dies. We're in southern Orange County.
Dry the coir out in the oven, or use peat. Next time you expand a brick start with about half the recommended water and then add a little more a bit at a time until it is all expanded. Ground wallnut hulls don't make a good substrate. They are rough, abrasive, and don't look natural. You probably aren't going hurt a G. rosea or your little Aphonopelma by keeping it on it, but it isn't the best substrate choice (not even close).
 

Londoner

Arachnoangel
Old Timer
Joined
Mar 21, 2008
Messages
846
Dry the coir out in the oven, or use peat. Next time you expand a brick start with about half the recommended water and then add a little more a bit at a time until it is all expanded. Ground wallnut hulls don't make a good substrate. They are rough, abrasive, and don't look natural. You probably aren't going hurt a G. rosea or your little Aphonopelma by keeping it on it, but it isn't the best substrate choice (not even close).
What flamesbane said.

I spread it quite thinly on baking sheets and whack it in the oven till dry (giving it an occasional stir around). It can be time-consuming but if I've got nothing to do for the day, I'll sometimes make up and dry out a couple of bricks (gives your kitchen an interesting odour {D). That way I've always got a supply of dry sub if needed, though, as you've just got the one T you don't have that issue........yet!

I'd love to see a pic of him if you can post one :).
 

jebbewocky

Arachnoangel
Old Timer
Joined
Oct 1, 2009
Messages
910
Thanks for the response. In case we do get another tarantula (most likely a G. Rosea because that seems to be the most likely one to find in a pet store), do you think the ground walnut shells are a bad substrate? The problem I have with coir is that it's kind of a pain to use - you have to reconstitute it from that brick and then it never seems to dry out that well and I know the desert guys hate extra humidity. The desert mix seems like a good natural alternative and it comes in a dry bag. Any opinions?

Also, if anyone in the area wants to give our guy a shot at making some heirs, I would be happy to give him that opportunity before he dies. We're in southern Orange County.
Ground walnut isn't a good idea.
Coconut coir comes in bags as well, which is ready to use.
 

Poxicator

Arachnobaron
Old Timer
Joined
Nov 16, 2007
Messages
354
Why don't you just grab some substrate from where you found him? surely that's gotta be as natural as possible?
 

chocotaco

Arachnopeon
Joined
Oct 25, 2010
Messages
3
We released him

We decided to release him back into the wild. He seemed pretty stoked to be out and went off searching for his soul mate. We snapped some pics before the "release party" (sorry, software engineering pun).



Bon chance, little buddy. We hope you enjoyed your stay with us. Watch out for those ladies; they're frosty {D
 
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