Butter Rum Cartoon

Butter Rum Cartoon
CLICK HERE FOR CONTENTS OF THIS WHOLE BLOG, OR USE THE SEARCH BAR BELOW

Search the Butter Rum Cartoon

Friday, June 27, 2008

HOW TO CARE FOR YOUR PET TARANTULA

All About Tarantulas



THE HOME


The ideal cage should contain a water dish, a "hide-away" where your spider can feel safe, and soil for digging and arranging. A fish tank is the most common "tarantularium." Be sure the cage is escape-proof. Tarantulas can climb glass and scratch through cardboard eventually. Keep the cage out of direct sunlight; and try to maintain the temperature between 65 and 80 degrees Fahrenheit. Most species can tolerate lower temperatures, but this is no reason to cause them the possible discomfort. Other than removing unwanted remains of your spider's prey, cleaning the cage once a year is sufficient. Desert species do not require humidity; however, tropical species generally are used to a warm, humid climate, and their cages may be sprayed with a fine mist of water every two to four days. The tropical spider's cage should be fairly closed to keep humidity high, but open enough to allow adequate ventilation to prevent mold. It would be a good idea to find out what country and climate your spider is from. Never put more than one tarantula in the same cage; they are cannibals.


THE FOOD


Most any living creature smaller than your pet may be used for food. Tarantulas enjoy crickets, grasshoppers, moths, baby mice, small lizards, and other (smaller) spiders. The prey must be in motion before your pet will go after it. Many pet shops sell crickets and mealworms, but if no live food can be found, dead meat jiggled on the end of a thread will sometimes be accepted. One cricket per week is sufficient for most desert species. Larger species may eat more, and some tropical species may happily chow down one cricket per day. But the tarantula is capable of going long periods of time--several months--without food. At times, especially before molting and during the cooler months, it may refuse to eat, but continue to offer it food. Let your spider be the judge of its own appetite.


THE WATER


Fresh water should be available at all times and served in a shallow dish. Damp sponges are used primarily for watering the spider while in transit, but are not practical in a permanent setting.


THE BITE


The tarantula is no more deadly than a bee, and the bite would feel about the same as a bee sting. The venom is intended only for paralyzing small prey. If you are bitten, treat the bite like any other puncture wound; guard against infection. A pet tarantula will seldom try to bite, and ordinarily will warn you beforehand by rearing up with its mouth open.


THE HANDLING


The safest method to use in picking up your pet is to grasp it gently but firmly with your thumb and forefinger between its second and third pairs of legs. Remember, however, that if its feet touch anything while it is in this position, it will try its best to get away. The spider may be placed onto the palm of the hand and will usually remain there as long as it may. Desert species are generally docile; but tropical species tend to be fast and often aggressive, and, if so, should not be handled. If you are afraid to pick up your pet, don't. At best, you will badly frighten it. Do not force the spider to let go of cloth; you must either unhook each foot individually or goad the spider into walking off. Fast movements or blowing on your pet may cause it to run off your palm, and a fall is usually fatal.


AILMENTS AND TREATMENT


Spider is dry and shriveled looking...It is thirsty. Offer it a shallow dish of water. Tarantulas often arrive in this condition after a trip by mail.


Spider is lying on its back, looking dead...This is the most common molting position. Within a few hours, your pet should be standing beside its old exoskeleton. If you have the chance, be sure to watch this incredible process. And afterwards, your pet may be quite thirsty and highly sensitive.


Spider does not eat...From a few days to a few weeks before molting, your pet will refuse to eat--presumably to become lean enough to wiggle out of its old skin. During the cooler months, the spider's lack of appetite is often a form of hibernation. Some tarantula owners will panic if their pet refuses to eat for several days. Dr. William Baerg, in experimenting with Arkansas species, proved that some tarantulas may live up to two years on water alone. To be a gracious host, however, simply continue to offer your pet a variety of live foods.


Baldness on the abdomen...
The upper portion of the abdomen sports a patch of urticating hairs, used in defense against possible predators. These hairs, when kicked into the air, can cause temporary blindness in reptiles or small mammals or even cause a rash or hives on human skin. Because they are fastened to the abdomen by a brittle stalk, it's common for your pet to acquire a bald patch between molts. During the molting process, the supply of hair will be replenished.


Fluid is leaking from joint...
This usually indicates a slight injury has occurred somewhere and it is wise to disturb your pet as little as possible. A molt or two should rectify the situation.


Abdomen is split or cut open...
This is usually fatal and is generally caused by a fall. There are next to no coagulants in a tarantula's blood, and if you cannot stop the flow your pet will probably bleed to death. In some cases Vaseline has been successful in sealing the wound. In one case, even talcum powder followed by Elmer's Glue-All was applied, and the spider survived. It's a "what can I lose?" situation. Don't clean the wound; you would probably damage vital organs; and stitches are useless.


Abdomen is misshapen or bumpy...This could result from an internal injury or a parasite. No treatment is known at this time. In some cases, your pet's body will heal itself. If the spider does die from what you suspect might be a parasite, place the body in an empty, sealed jar and wait to see if anything comes out into view. Little is known about tarantula parasites.


Spider does not move for days...Unless your pet is dry and shriveled looking (indicating dehydration), or has its legs curled beneath the body (a sign of pain), this motionlessness is common. Tarantulas have a lot more patience than we do.


Spider loses a leg...
Lost appendages will grow back in time, revealed during the molting process.


THE CARE


Your pet needs food when it's hungry, water when it's thirsty, and an atmosphere where it feels comfortable and secure. If you provide it with these things, you should enjoy each other for many years to come.




For how I learned about Tarantulas, see the Alice Gray Letters.



For the complete contents of the Butter Rum Cartoon, click here.


261 comments:

  1. Well,
    i got myself a mexican redleg tarantula.
    It's about 2.5 inches big.
    But it's refused to eat any mealworms i put for it.
    And it seems very lazy and don't want to move.
    Even though i touched it, it will only move a bit. But after i caught it out, then it only move around on my palm.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Mealworms are small and not very active. Try feeding your spider crickets, available at most pet shops. If your pet ignores this food, too, it's probably getting ready to molt, which, if you've never witnessed it, is quite a sight. This would also explain its inactivity. Don't worry about it; just keep offering food occasionally; and it will eat when hungry. Soon after a molt, the spider will be delighted to eat.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I just brought my Chilean Rose Haired home from the Pet shop last week, she is healthy and shows no signs of sickness, and eaten once since I got her. However she continues to try and climb the sides of her tank, and only ever moves along the sides of the enclosure. I have her in Coconut fiber substrate that is just damp enough to allow her to burrow (Though she hasn't done that yet either)and she has a hide and water available. I can't seem to figure out why she isn't comfortable in her enclosure. Am I doing something wrong?

      Delete
  3. Well,
    my tarantula flipped over right now.
    And it seems not moving for about 30 mins.
    Why is it so?!
    :(

    ReplyDelete
  4. Well, Calvin, you probably know the answer by now. Your spider is molting, shedding its skin. This is a fascinating thing to watch, not unlike childbirth, and this morning it'll look like you have two tarantulas--one dead, and one beautifully alive. It would be good to feed your pet soon. After molting, it'll be pretty hungry.

    ReplyDelete
  5. Dale,
    My tarantula has just molted the second time last night since i first bought it.
    Haha.
    I decided to change its food from mealworms to crickets.
    Is there any different?
    I heard cricket will brighten the colour of tarantula.
    :)

    ReplyDelete
  6. Isn't the molting process fascinating?! I think your spider would enjoy crickets more than mealworms. I don't know if it affects the color, but it might.

    ReplyDelete
  7. cleaning the cage once a year? ... i don't think so....

    ReplyDelete
  8. That's about how often I've always cleaned the cages. After all, who does it for them in the wild? Of course I remove the unsightly leftovers of crickets, etc. more often than that, but the thick dirt floor stays for about a year. The spiders' excrement is virtually odorless.

    ReplyDelete
  9. is it ok to handle the tarantula when it refuse to eat? i think it will start the molting process soon but i wanna hold him/her again. It`s been 3 weeks that he/she refuses to eat.

    ReplyDelete
  10. It should be okay if you're gentle. If your pet is about to molt, it may be a bit moody and let you know it doesn't want to be held. If it protests, it's best to leave it alone for awhile.

    ReplyDelete
  11. have you ever been bitten? how does it feel? i used to have an Arachnophobia, i was not even able to look at the picture before. Now i'm making it crawl on my hand. But seems like i'm still scared to get bitten. But i like it crawling on my hand. is that normal? LOL sounds silly i know. as you can tell i'm obviously a beginner. i have a Rosehair named Rhed. :)

    ReplyDelete
  12. I've had about 20 tarantulas in all, and have yet to be bitten. I hear it feels more or less like a bee sting. You're not obviously a beginner, because I feel the same way you do. I'm afraid of being bitten, and yet enjoy having the spider walk on my hands. Before handling one, I like to gently tap it first with a pencil to see it's reaction. If the spider attacks the pencil, I let it be. Once the tarantula is on my hand, I feel pretty safe, figuring an animal has to be awfully stupid to bite the hand it's standing on. Somewhere on this site I have a blog entitled "Animals I Have Known," and I think it's there that I tell a funny story about handling my spider while giving a speech.

    ReplyDelete
  13. I have had a my Chilean Rose (Elvira) for 4 years now. She has molted once in that time. After her molt her abdomen is much smaller than it was prior. She also had a bout of dehydration lately, but I put her in "spidey ICU" and she is again moving around her cage. Why is her abdomen still so small? Am I doing something wrong? I feed her crickets, roughly 1-3 a week for 3 weeks then stop for 2 weeks then do it all over again. I've been doing this since I bought her in 2005. Is this bad?

    ReplyDelete
  14. Looks like you're doing just fine in caring for Elvira. Keep fresh water available to her also, in a heavy, shallow dish (I use a glass castor cup--what people used to set their furniture legs into to protect the carpet--now replaced by plastic ones, but the glass ones can still be found in flea shops and eBay). Eventually her abdomen should grow larger again.

    ReplyDelete
  15. my pink toed wont eat, wont make a web and is laying on its side against the glass. everyday she becomes lifeless..is she molting or dying on me?

    ReplyDelete
  16. I'm sorry, I don't know. We'll just have to wait and see. Tarantulas often seem "lifeless" for periods of time. The fact she's not eating would make us suspect an upcoming molt. But all I can do at this point is guess.

    ReplyDelete
  17. I think you were right...her body looks pregnant! Her leg joints are white and she has black fags appearing. How often do the pink toed molt?

    ReplyDelete
  18. That I don't know either. My "specialty" is the desert tarantula, which molts about once a year, but when I wrote my book in the 1970's, only one other book on tarantulas was in print, a children's book, and very little was known about the vast number of species. It was basically desert tarantulas and jungle tarantulas, and the latter were faster in most everything, including life-span. At that time, having a tarantula for a pet was uncommon enough to get me mentioned in Ripley's Believe-It-or-Not. The enthusiasts club I founded in 1978, the American Tarantula Society, was replaced in the 1990's by a more technical organization using the same name. They might be able to answer your question. A lot has been learned in the past thirty years, and my studies have not kept up. But my enthusiasm has.

    ReplyDelete
  19. she molted-but do they eat their body after molting? I cant find her skin anywhere?

    ReplyDelete
  20. I have never heard of one eating its skin after molting. All of mine have always ignored their shed skins. When my first tarantula molted, I was shocked the next morning. It looked like suddenly there were two tarantulas in the cage!

    ReplyDelete
  21. Can I over feed my pink toed tarantula? She comes out of her house when she is hungry. She eats up to 2crickets a day. she is young but will she over feed
    herself and explod?

    ReplyDelete
  22. You can't overfeed your spider. She'll leave what she doesn't want, and extra crickets will die on their own.

    ReplyDelete
  23. hi, i have got a spider. it was lying on its back this morning, and my son noticed it. i thought it was dead so i turned it back onto its front. will it still shed normally?

    Thanks

    ReplyDelete
  24. Let's hope so. The molting process is very delicate, not unlike childbirth. Did the spider turn again onto its back? I have yet to see one molt right side up. But to move it in the molting process may tear its new fragile skin. I guess we wait and see.

    ReplyDelete
  25. hey my chilean rose hair jus lied on its back and i picked it up very gently because i thought it was dying ha, but then i looked it up and its molting go figure, but it hasnt lied on its back yet again?? did i kill my spider? or will it just begin its molting process again?
    pleae get back to me.
    thank u

    ReplyDelete
  26. The molting process is a very delicate procedure and the spider shouldn't be moved during this time. It depends on how far your spider was along in the molting process. All we can do is wait and see. Please let me know how it turns out.

    ReplyDelete
  27. it didnt seem like it was far along in the molting process at all actually i think it was just starting it, now im looking at it and it doesnt seem to be in pain cause its legs arent curled or anything, but its head cap has started to come off and thats the only thing i see thats coming off right now.

    ReplyDelete
  28. wow molting is amazing to watch, my tarantula seems like it is going to be fine, thank u for your help.

    ReplyDelete
  29. i just got a pink toe a few days ago, he/she is still a hatchling, i have her in a glass jar (its relatively tall) with coconut husk, cardboard hut (its little hiding place) and a couple of plastic lego ship masts for him/her to climb on, i was wondering when it will start to spin those elaborate webs i keep hearing about?

    Oh and ive handled her a few times now and he/she seems to be fine with it, it sprayed once the first time i handled her but now all i have to do is put my hand out and he/she just climbs up

    p.s. this site was really helpful :)

    ReplyDelete
  30. I'm sorry to say I'm not that familiar with the pink toe. My tarantulas have always spun silk carpets rather than webs; I've always assumed the pink toes do the same. Also, I don't know what you mean by "spraying." I've watched them draw up and back as if threatening to bite, and kicking urticating hairs off the abdomen, and even drooling venom, but never spraying. Sounds like you can teach me some things. Have fun with your pet; she sounds cool.

    ReplyDelete
  31. By "spraying" the poster may have meant throwing off feces. Aviularia avicularia and other pink toes (maybe all aboreals?) will do that when nervous or frightened. I have a grammostola rosea I've had for about a month now and is my first spider. I've already had her molt!

    ReplyDelete
  32. My Goliath bird eater and my African Horned Baboon have both suffered fall whilst iv'e been carrying out maintenance of they're tanks,
    both have no visible marks or tears but they are excreting a milk substance from somewhere what is it?

    ReplyDelete
  33. Hopefully it's just poop. Tarantula excrement is milky when it comes out (of the rear of their abdomen), but soon dries into a virtually odorless, white, chalky substance.

    ReplyDelete
  34. Do Chilean Rosed Hair Tarantulas Burrow Into The Dirt. Does The Tarantula Only Burrow When Exposed To Inclement Conditions Like Rain,Snow,Wind,Cold Temps. My Tarantula Is Store Bought Will It Still Know How To Burrow. I Am Using Regular Garden Soil And Fine Mulch. Thank You.

    ReplyDelete
  35. Females and immature males will burrow a home for themselves, whether they're store-bought or wild...that is, if they have enough dirt, and it looks like you're a good provider.

    ReplyDelete
  36. Hello I bought a Mexican Redknee about 2-3 weeks ago and im afraid to pick it up I have touched it and it doesnt seem agressive but still i fear it im new to tarantulas and i need some advice:)

    ReplyDelete
  37. There are two basic ways to pick up a tarantula. Either goad it from behind into walking onto your hand, or, use your thumb and forefinger to grasp it between its second and third pairs of legs. But it took me two years to get up the nerve to pick up my first tarantula, and to do it, I set myself up. I prepared a speech for high school on "The Unnecessary Fear of Tarantulas," and during the speech, I would demonstrate the two ways to pick one up. That way, if I didn't, I would be the laughingstock of the class. It worked.

    ReplyDelete
  38. my tarantula molted three weeks ago and lost a leg. i came in from schhol today to find her in the molting position i have a chilean rose whats wrong with it please tell me?

    ReplyDelete
  39. The molting process is very delicate. Although I've never heard of a leg being lost during this ordeal, it surely could happen. The good news is that in future molts this leg should be restored. It may not be up to size in the next molt, but eventually it should be fine. It will be interesting to watch the development.

    ReplyDelete
  40. Can my tarantula eat wasps and bumblebees,because i gave him a bumblebee that i found outside just now. Can it die from it`?

    ReplyDelete
  41. Because a pepsis wasp is a tarantula's worst enemy, the spider seems to dislike buzzing overhead, I've noticed. I have never fed any of my tarantulas bees or wasps for fear of the possibility of the spiders getting stung. I don't know if it would kill them, but it's probably best to stick with crickets and grasshoppers, etc.

    ReplyDelete
  42. Why does my T always lay a web on the ground while it has its cricket in his mouth, then drop it onto the web, then lay a web ontop of the cricket then eat it again?

    ReplyDelete
  43. I always think it's for the same reason we put our food in a pantry. It does seem like "overkill." Perhaps some arachnologist out there will comment here with a better answer.

    ReplyDelete
  44. My tarantula cage is rather tall and bedding is very hard, so im really worried that the spider will fall and rupture any advice on bedding? And my brachypelma Smithi climbs alot, why is that? its a he

    ReplyDelete
  45. If your spider is a male and has the hooks beneath the middle joint of the front legs, then the reason he climbs a lot is because he wants out. A mature male's purpose in life is to find a female and mate with her. He dies soon thereafter. Females live a lot longer than males. It's a good idea to keep the cage small, so if the spider falls it won't be injured. Originally I kept mine in a gallon glass jar, having cut a large hole in the metal lid and a circular piece of screen to fit snuggly inside the lid. I kept the jar on it's side with props to prevent its rolling, and used potting soil for bedding. Nowadays I use those small plastic terrariums commonly seen for sale in pet stores. They provide better access than a gallon jar. Females and immature males are very content with a small cage, since their burrows are small in the wild. But, as I said, mature males want out so you can expect them to be pretty active.

    ReplyDelete
  46. I wish James would have updated his post about his bug bomb situation!! The exact same thing just happened to my rose hair today... I am impatiently waiting for Tonto to turn back over/molt... :(

    ReplyDelete
  47. Please let us know how it turns out. I once raised giant Madagascan hissing cockroaches in an apartment that was periodically sprayed for bugs. The exterminator got a kick out of my pets, and worked with me on keeping them out and safe during the spraying. I'm thinking that if ever we can get rid of clutter, etc., we should let our tarantulas run free in our home to get rid of bugs naturally.

    ReplyDelete
  48. Please help. I appeared to have overfed my tarantula. It's butt part(? Sorry I don't know what it's called. I'm a beginner -___-) is much larger than its body part and I heard that it can make it sick, possibly die and/or complicate molting. What should I do? I also have another tarantula that refuses to eat or move much. Any advice?

    ReplyDelete
  49. I don't know where you heard that you can overfeed a tarantula, but it wasn't in my book. Although one cricket or grasshopper a week is sufficient for most tarantulas, I've often waited a lot longer until finally getting to a pet store where I buy and give my pet about ten crickets at once. The next day there's only one or two crickets left, lucky ones who have found good hiding places. But sometimes my spider won't eat any of them, and this signals an upcoming molt. The tarantula knows best what it needs. Don't worry. (The "butt" part is the abdomen.)

    ReplyDelete
  50. I fed the tarantula too often, I believe. I was told I could feed it as often as I wanted, so I fed it a small meal worm two days in a row and then another one 2 days later. It always eats it and now its abdomen looks disproportional to the rest of its body compared to my other tarantula that hasn't been eating. Its abdomen looks very bloated and is probably 3 times the size of the rest of its body. I have also heard that you cant overfeed a tarantula, but I am just worried it is going to explode or something..It has also been very jittery and active lately compared to when I first got it about a week ago, where it would just stay still all day..What does this mean?

    ReplyDelete
  51. Abdomen sizes vary. There's no need to worry, and believe me, the spider will never eat enough to explode. Females tend to have larger abdomens than males, and it's also possible that your pet may be about to lay eggs. This happened with two of my spiders, to my delight. There was no male about, and the eggs never hatched, but she wrapped them in a large egg sac and protected it like a devoted mother. Whatever the case, your spider sounds just fine, and you're not overfeeding it. Actually it would probably enjoy a few crickets; mealworms are pretty small. I've always preferred the sight of a large abdomen; it indicates to me a healthy, well-fed tarantula.

    ReplyDelete
  52. I only feed it small meal worms at the moment because it is a baby and is only an inch right now, so I thought crickets would be hard for it to eat. At this age and size, would it still be able to lay eggs? Also, it seems to be building a wall or something and hanging its substrate from the wall. What is it doing? It's in a small deli cup right now and I'm afraid to open the lid and ruining it.

    ReplyDelete
  53. I'm sorry, I assumed it was full-grown. You're right, mealworms are the way to go for now. And we can cancel out the egg-laying idea. Still, the large abdomen is no reason to worry. I was given a batch of babies once, and all their abdomens seemed proportionately larger than they would be at maturity. What kind of tarantula is it? I'm familiar mainly with burrowing species, who line their burrows with a sort of fine, silk carpet. Tropical tarantulas may surprise me. If you have a picture of it, feel free to send me a copy via email to butterrumcartoon@gmail.com so I can have a better idea of what I'm talking about.

    ReplyDelete
  54. I got mine few days ago, it was a gift, but I'm way too afraid to touch them and no clue about it at all, and that person whom gave it to me didn't do a well job on the cage, it's filthy, how do I clean it if I'm too afraid to pick up the tarantula? And also, is it true that Tarantula dislike larger cage as it'll make them feel insecure? Then again, I'm not even sure what tarantula mine is, look like red-knee though.

    ReplyDelete
  55. It is best to keep the tarantula in a smaller cage, like a simple plastic terrarium petshops carry for small animals. Cover its floor with a thick layer of potting soil. I've always used a heavy glass castor cup (the kind that protects a carpet from furniture wheels) for a water dish. Until you become confident enough with your spider to pick it up, and need to clean the cage, I recommend putting the cage in the empty bathtub. If tipping the container on its side is too dangerous for the spider, put a toilet paper tube in the cage and use a pencil to goad the spider into the tube. Then carefully pick the tube up out of the cage and put it on the bathtub floor. Then clean the cage. Use the same cardboard tube method to return your spider to its clean cage. The main reason a smaller cage is best is that it keeps the tarantula from being injured if it falls.

    ReplyDelete
  56. From the same anonymous as sept 29 (not the one from the 30th), the baby tarantula that I have is a Mexican Red Rump and the other tarantula I have is a 2 inch Chilean Copper. The Mexican Red Rump has already created a burrow for itself and it started building the wall, but tore it down after a while. Here are some pictures(Sorry about the quality. I was using an old camera phone):

    My Mexican Red Rump
    http://img441.imageshack.us/i/09270020441.jpg/

    Mexican Red Rump and its decorations
    http://img692.imageshack.us/i/09290023131.jpg/

    My Chilean Copper
    http://img521.imageshack.us/i/0922001420.jpg/

    ReplyDelete
  57. That certainly is a big rump on your Mexican Red Rump. I can see why you were concerned, compared to the Copper. In the past forty years, many scores of new tarantula species have been identified, and I'm not familiar with this one. I'd chalk it's abdomen size up to its species and age, rather than worry at this point. It appears healthy and active.

    ReplyDelete
  58. Should I still hold off on feeding it for another while? Also, do you have an explanation as to why it is hanging its substrate off the ceiling and then tearing it down again? I'm worried of taking the lid off and ruining what remains of it.

    ReplyDelete
  59. I don't know what it's trying to do. But if you wreck the work, the spider will remake it. I'd give it a mealworm about once a week. If it does get too big for its exoskeleton, it'll molt.

    ReplyDelete
  60. Hi, Can my brachypelma smithi have Forest Moss as a substrate?. I just changed it and I don't know if it's good or bad. The guy in the pet shop said it was alright, but im not sure.

    ReplyDelete
  61. That should work just fine, but a burrowing tarantula such as this would enjoy soil, too.

    ReplyDelete
  62. Yeah, I was gonna buy unfertilized soil but I couldn't find any. Should I spray the terrarium with water often now that i use Forest Moss or should i let it dry and spray the glass occasionaly?

    ReplyDelete
  63. I use regular potting soil that I bought at Walmart. And I've never sprayed my pet tarantula's environment, although I've heard this recommended by some for more exotic tropical species. I wouldn't bother doing it with a Brachypelma smithi (Mexican Red-leg). Just keep drinking water available (I use a heavy glass castor cup for a water dish).

    ReplyDelete
  64. Thanks. Does the soil have to be unfertilized?

    ReplyDelete
  65. I think we tend to be more careful than we need to be. When I got my first pet tarantula in 1963 or '64, there were no instructions anywhere on caring for it, so I wrote to the American Museum of Natural History and Alice Gray answered all my questions. She suggested "potting soil." Since then, though, I've used regular dirt from my yard, letting it dry well before putting it in the terrarium, covering its floor about two inches in depth. The hardy and adaptable tarantula doesn't seem as picky as we are.

    ReplyDelete
  66. Hello again. I'm happy to say that my Mexican Red Rump molted this morning and is now proportional looking :D Thank you for all the help.

    ReplyDelete
  67. Good news! Thanks for letting us know. When my first tarantula molted (in the mid 1960's when I was a high school student) I woke up to see two full-grown tarantulas in the cage! I suddenly had the science-fiction paranoia that these critters double every so often, and that soon they would overrun the house! :)

    ReplyDelete
  68. Hi my chilean rose is extremely dehydrated. She's been in an 'ICU' for 3 days, and has stood back up on her feet. The book I have says to leave her in for 3 days, take her out to dry her off for a day then put her back in for a few more days but a source on the internet says to leave her in for 6 days and then take her out. I don't want her feet to rot, should I take her out or wait a few more days?
    Thanks

    ReplyDelete
  69. Sounds like you've got a hold of some very complicated instructions on tarantula care. I'm afraid I don't even know what you're talking about, with her having to stay in ICU for days, etc. I'm curious to know what her symptoms of dehydration were/are, and what position she was in before standing back up on her feet. Please explain.

    ReplyDelete
  70. Hi I have a Brachypelma Smithi. It seems aggressive to me because every time I touch it with something, it does a 180 and bites it. Ive held it once but I think I was lucky it didn't bite me. Is it aggressive or is it just me?

    ReplyDelete
  71. More experienced tarantula handlers may laugh at me for this, but before picking one up, I usually take a pencil and touch it on the rear. If the spider just moves forward, I'm encouraged to pick it up. But if it does as you say, I leave it alone. After all, tarantulas don't crave being handled; it's only for our benefit. I let the edgy spiders be. Later your pet may be in a better mood.

    ReplyDelete
  72. Thanks for the help:)

    ReplyDelete
  73. hi just got my first rose haired and its not eating ans stays at the top of the tank is it to warm ? also noticed today a small white trail of something on the soil is there anything wrong

    ReplyDelete
  74. Your spider likes to climb and is exploring its new home. Its not eating may be a sign that it will soon molt (a fascinating process to witness). The white trail is excrement, which soon dries into a chalky substance, thankfully quite odorless. My tarantulas seem to collect their waste along one side of the cage, but each one seems to have its own habits. It sounds like your pet is doing well. We tend to worry so about proper care of our pets, but the tarantula is pretty hardy. My instructions in this site are basic but not set in stone. You'll find more complex instructions elsewhere, but rule number one should be to relax and enjoy this amazing creature.

    ReplyDelete
  75. thank you very much for the advice i will keep you updated as my spider grows thank you again

    ReplyDelete
  76. Hey, my T sometimes tucks a couple of legs beneath it. Does this mean it is in pain?

    ReplyDelete
  77. Nope. My guess is that your pet is cleaning itself. Otherwise probably only the spider knows for sure. Sometimes you find the tarantula stretching itself, preparing for a molt. Or lying on its back, beginning the molting process. After mine eats, she carefully and diligently brushes her fangs. My most famous spider, Alice Brown, after many years, was walking across her cage and stopped, her front leg held high to take the next step, and she died that way. When she didn't change her position for days, we finally checked on her. These amazing, giant spiders never stop being a mystery to me.

    ReplyDelete
  78. Hey it's me again.. My T isn't eating and it's been 2-3 weeks now and she isn't getting a dark spot on the abdomen is she due to a molt?

    ReplyDelete
  79. My guess is that your spider is either preparing for a molt, or simply hibernating now during the winter. Just continue to offer her food occasionally. Eventually she'll eat again.

    ReplyDelete
  80. Hello Mr. Lund,

    I've been in the hobby for nearly 3 years now. I have kept a handful of species like the popular Chilean Rose (G. rosea) and the Mexican Red Knee (B. smithi) plus some less known species like the Mexican Fireleg (B. boehmei), the East African Horned Baboon (C. darlingi) and the Brazilian Red & White (N. chromatus).

    Anyways, in my quest to obtain some "historical" books, I came across yours and found it very entertaining despite the fact that it is fairly dated by now.

    If you still keep tarantulas by now, which would you consider your personal favorite ? Currently, I still have the Fireleg and Redknee and both are proving to be the most beautiful time and time again. Both are confirmed females so that's a big plus too !

    Take care and Happy Holidays !

    ReplyDelete
  81. As you say, my book is dated. When I wrote it, Baerg's pioneering book on the Arkansas tarantulas he was studying was out of print, and the only tarantula book in print in English was a children's picture book. At the time, tarantula species were basically two: Desert and tropical. The desert species were slower and made better pets. The tropical species were fast, climbed adroitly, and so were more difficult to handle. Since then, countless species have been identified. Right now I have two -- a local (Missouri Ozarks) species, and a larger "zebra" tarantula from Chile. Both are good pets. For nostalgia's sake, though, I'm partial to what I always called the "Mexican brown," which I later understood to be an Aphonopelma smithi. My first two tarantulas (Trance and Alice Brown) were of this species, were female and so long-living and easy to handle, and were fun to display and bring to my talks and let others hold. This is just because they were my first; the same attributes can be said of both my pets now. The only tarantula I've had that made a lousy "pet" was a "Haitian black," a tropical species that was too incredibly fast and vicious to be handled. It was fun to show off, though. You might find my post, The American Tarantula Society (http://oldelephantwings.blogspot.com/2008/02/american-tarantula-society.html), interesting. It includes more about datedness, etc.
    Thank you for your comment, and MERRY CHRISTMAS!

    ReplyDelete
  82. I am worried about my mexican red rump! When I received her on Dec. 23, she looked healthy and full of hair. A few days after I got her, she developed a small white bald spot on her abdomen. After a few more days, some more white spots appeared. Now it's the 28th and her once beautiful black with red hairs abdomen is blotched and balding white! She eats one large cricket a day, and she is not jumpy and never has she flicked hairs. She is such a sweet girl, she's about 3 years old. I can't find any info on the internet about growing white abdominal bald spots.

    ReplyDelete
  83. I don't know. I was thinking all along that it was that, in a new home, your spider might be a little agitated and so flicking off urticating hairs; but you said she hasn't been flicking hairs (although being nocturnal she might be doing it in the night) and you say "white" patches, and that baffles me. You might pan further along the tarantula care google search and see if someone else knows. There's the new American Tarantula Society (not my original one, but now more knowledgable than we were then) and also the British Tarantula Society, but perhaps one needs to join them before receiving help. I'm sorry I can't help you on this one, and if you do find the answer and are willing, please share it here.

    ReplyDelete
  84. BlutEngel, my mexican red rump, has dug herself a burrow under her coconut shell and hasn't come out or eaten in almost two days. Before, she ate a cricket every single day. I am not sure what is going on, but I will continue my search and post any findings of her condition on here. Thanks for your suggestions on where to search.

    ReplyDelete
  85. Anxious to hear more about this one. Don't worry if your pet refuses to eat. Mine have gone literally months without food, especially during the winter (hibernation). And a tarantula preparing to molt will leave off of food for awhile. It's the white spots I'm curious about.

    ReplyDelete
  86. Hope this link to the picture of BlutEngel works. http://i649.photobucket.com/albums/uu214/novaleigh/sickspider.jpg

    ReplyDelete
  87. I just took the photo that I linked above tonight. It is how her abdomen looks now. I found one or two things. It is either A: Molting or B: Mold. Not sure which.

    ReplyDelete
  88. Comments are forwarded to my email, and on email the picture comes through just fine. This sure beats me. I've never seen such a thing before. I can tell you it's not to do with molting, although we can hope a molt will remedy it. All I can guess is some sort of fungus, but I don't know. I can sure understand why you asked the question!

    ReplyDelete
  89. Okay, VampiressNova, I've done a little research and it does appear to be fungus. Live and learn, huh? One fellow said that he had success treating it with Isopropyl Alcohol on a Q-tip. It's also important to have plenty of ventilation in the tarantula's home. I hope this helps, because it turns out to indeed be life-threatening for the spider if not remedied. Please keep us posted.

    ReplyDelete
  90. I read that 1% Gentian Violet solution is recommended for tarantulas with fungal infection. I read it from the book "The Tarantula Keepers Guide". I will be buying some of that today. You are right, the fungus occurs when there is too much moisture and not enough ventilation. It turns out, fungus is more common in burrowing tropical tarantulas. Wish BlutEngel and I luck! I will keep you posted on her progress.

    ReplyDelete
  91. Good news! BlutEngel has recovered nicely from the fungal infection! I used the Gentian Violet 1% solution on her once a day. It turned her once white abdomen into a shimmery silverish purple. Pretty! She is back to eating crickets and back to her normal behavior. Thank you for all of your help Dale =)

    ReplyDelete
  92. That's great! Very good news! I sure wish I could have been more help, but hopefully you and I can make things easier for others. Let me know where the best place is to obtain Gentian Violet 1% solution (I had never even heard of it), and how you applied it (medicine-dropper?) and (if more than once) how often, and I'll add it to this main How to Care for Your Pet Tarantula post, under Ailments and Treatment. Thank you so much!

    ReplyDelete
  93. My tarantula has a bump on her Abdomen and im not sure what it is or why its there, its not throbbing or moving either, its been there for a couple of months and she was fine but just yesterday i reached into her cage to pick her up and when i did that she lifted all her legs up and acted like every time i touched her she was in pain. Iv also noticed that when she crawls she doesn't support her whole body weight and drags her Abdomen around she acts like shes a little weak and shes still has crickets in there since two months ago do you know what possibly could be wrong with her?

    ReplyDelete
  94. I wish I were more knowledgeable and encouraging. I can only guess that she might have either an internal injury or a parasite. If there is a cure for either, I don't know it. My hope is that she's not eating because a molt is soon coming, and, if so, that the molting will solve the problem. Maybe a better answer can be found elsewhere, but all I would know to do is wait.

    ReplyDelete
  95. Ok well thanks anyway its possible that she could be dieing because shes about 20 years old, shes a chilean rose haired tarantula and shes usually very active but i guess your right ill just wait and see what happens. Iv heard if she is getting close to molting that its best to take the prey out because they have no way of defending their selves and they are vulnerable while in the process will it hurt to leave the crickets in the aquarium because i have nowhere else to put them?

    ReplyDelete
  96. we have a spider that looks just like the one in the picture at the top of the page but my question is what are we sopossed to do she is just sitting in the cage with her legs curled up an she hasnt moved in 2 days but when we talk to her she moves her legs a little does anyone know what is going on? is she dieing or is she sick? please help!

    ReplyDelete
  97. If all her legs are curled up under her, it doesn't look good. Before getting to your saying that she moves a little, I would have guessed she had died. Let's for now hope she's preparing for a molt, and wait and see. Just let her be, and hope for the best.

    ReplyDelete
  98. thank you for answering me..... we have her in a "icu" with a warm paper towel under her an a little cap of water under her fangs an put her butt up in the air im hopeing she will be okay..... can you think of anything else to do for her or yeah do we keep her in the light or dark right now?

    ReplyDelete
  99. I would advise not disturbing her at all. If she is beginning a molt, moving her could be harmful. Light or dark doesn't matter. If she eventually goes onto her back, you can breathe in relief; it's a molt.

    ReplyDelete
  100. okay thank you..... how long does molting last lol i dont know anything about spiders its my mans spider

    ReplyDelete
  101. Molting takes several hours. The only molt my wife and I ever actually clocked was about six hours. This is why the two days sounds pretty discouraging. But since she's not on her back yet, we can hope.
    The first tarantula I had scared me to death when she molted one night. I got up in the morning to find two full-grown tarantulas in the cage! Freaky! Of course one was the empty skin.
    If you ever have the opportunity to watch a tarantula molt, it's amazing -- much like childbirth.

    ReplyDelete
  102. wow yeah that would scare me too maybe i will you tube it an see if there are any vidoes with spiders molting thanks again i will check on her in the morning :)

    ReplyDelete
  103. If my pink toe is sitting with its legs very close to its body, is it pretty much a goner?

    ReplyDelete
  104. The legs curled close and under the body can be an indication of pain. Be sure your pet has water available and handy. All we can do is wait and see and hope for the best.

    ReplyDelete
  105. I Have a baby Antilles Pink toe and it has white around its mouth it looks dry what does that mean?

    ReplyDelete
  106. The Antilles Pink Toe is a more exotic species than the U.S. species I'm familiar with. I don't know what the white around its mouth might be. I do know that this species needs to be kept warm and moist -- temperature in the 70's, and spraying its home often with a fine water mist. Vermiculite on the bottom of the container has been suggested, to hold moisture.

    ReplyDelete
  107. Dear Mr. Lund,

    I'm the fellow that wrote to you on Dec 19th 2011.

    As things would go, I've only just noticed now that your book All About Tarantulas was the very first pet book on tarantula care. While the data may be outdated, there is definite historical value, since it shows how far the hobby has gone since.

    I still have my Mexican Fireleg (Brachypelma boehmei) and Mexican Redknee (Brachypelma smithi) and I'm expecting a Mexican Redleg (Brachypelma emilia) within the next couple of weeks.

    Let's say I appreciate the Mexican species more. I love the B. smithi especially. It is featured in every tarantula book... including yours !!

    If you are ever to come up to Atlantic Canada for any reason whatsoever, I would love to meet you and talk spiders all day long.

    Please do take care Mr. Lund, and God Bless you.

    -Luc, from Canada

    P.S. : Have you ever met Stanley A. Schultz, author and co-author of the Tarantula Keeper's Guide books ?

    ReplyDelete
  108. Thank you for your kind words. We don't travel much, unfortunately, but if ever we get to your area, I'll keep you in mind. Thanks.
    I've never had the privilege of meeting Mr. Schultz.
    Definitely much has been learned about tarantulas since my book, but I still use and find my book sufficient in caring for any pet tarantula I run across. So many try to make it more complicated than it is. For sure, a tarantula is the easiest pet to care for.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Mr. Lund,

      I haven't gotten the pleasure of meeting Mr. Schultz either, but I hope to someday. The two of you are the first authors to come up with books of this type. I'm not including W. J. Baerg's book since it wasn't a care book to begin with. I have managed to get it through the inter-library loan and found it to be interesting considering what was known about tarantulas back then.

      I'd agree that tarantulas are quite easy to care for, but I'd give that statement mainly for the scrubland species. Pretty much all of the arboreal and those native to tropical rainforst require more humidity, and it's harder to keep track of issues like mold and mites in a damp/humid cage. It's the main reason why I stay away from the non-scrubland species.

      Those I have do well with just a water dish as their only source of humidity. I do not spray nor do I wet the substrate (coconut fiber/eco-earth/etc) and they go through molts just fine from what I've witnessed so far.

      I try to imagine what it must have been like to own a tarantula in the '60s, '70s and early '80s when information on them was scarce. I'm about as old as your book, and did not have the opportunity to live this experience until a couple of years ago. Few would argue that it is definitely a life-changing decision since we don't see spiders the same way we used to.

      I want to add that your cage design for burrowing is perfect for those that have King Baboon (from Kenya) and Cobalt Blue (from Thailand) tarantulas to name a couple. Placing a smaller tank in a larger one forces them to burrow by the glass, so they can usually be seen when they would normally not be seen for months. I don't plan on owning either species since their venom is reputed to be more potent (yet not deadly) than the american species.

      All of this to say that your book was such a pioneering effort. The one I have shows you holding a mexican redknee on the cover. I've seen on your blog a diffrent cover and I'm wondering if my book is a possible reprint or the original print ?

      Anyways, Happy Easter !

      -Luc

      Delete
  109. The only tarantula book in print in the late 1970's was "Tarantula: The Giant Spider" by Gladys Conklin, a children's picture book. William Baerg's book was out of print, and I remember how thrilled I was when I managed to get a copy of it! After writing my book and founding the American Tarantula Society, the Regents Press of Kansas gave me permission to reprint Baerg's book, chapter by chapter, in our ATS newsletter, the "Tarantula Times." And we managed to complete the reprint just before Baerg's death in 1980 when he was 95. By the way, Gladys Conklin was an ATS member, too.
    It was awesomely odd to have a pet tarantula back then, so odd that in 1979 I was in Ripley's Believe-It-Or-Not (see http://oldelephantwings.blogspot.com/2008/08/no-fear.html). I got my first pet tarantula in 1963 or 1964, and this was in Washington State, far from where you find them naturally.
    That's not me on the cover of my book. It's some girl's picture the publisher found. The first edition of "All About Tarantulas" (the title was changed by the publisher, too; I had named it "Tarantulas as Pets") was a soft-cover book with that girl on the front. Later it was published in hard-cover. And then, still later, a nicer-looking edition came out in hard-cover with only a large tarantula on the front. I prefer the looks of this edition, so use it to illustrate my book online. "All About Tarantulas" was in print for about twenty years. It was fun to go in a pet shop and find it on the shelf. Sometimes I would sneak down a copy and autograph it and put it back on the shelf.
    I grant you that tropical species are more difficult to keep. I've had only one mature arboreal species, "Sunspot," from Haiti, and was scared to death of her. Once two TV reporters came to interview me and I showed them Sunspot and told them I don't handle her. They asked why, and I said I'd show them. I slid the cage cover over some, and reached in with a chopstick, expecting Sunspot to strike at it. But when I gently touched her with it on the rear of the abdomen, she whirled around and bit the chopstick three times and had run up the stick almost to my fingers before I had the reflex to let go! When I turned afterwards to look at the reporters, they were huddled across the room!
    I prefer desert species.

    ReplyDelete
  110. Hey again, Mr. Lund

    The Tarantula Times has been mentionned by Schultz's Tarantula Keeper's Guide (1984). That cover picture is misleading. It looks like a man. At any case, it shows the ever popular B. smithi. I'm waiting to receive the Kingdom of The Spiders (1977) DVD.I know better than not to take anything in the film seriously. I'm sure it "helped" to bring the B. smithi to fame... or infamy. Depends on how one looks at it.

    At any case, I value all tarantula care books. It's all great reading material.

    -Luc

    ReplyDelete
  111. You can find all issues of the "Tarantula Times" at https://plus.google.com/photos/105167236036263303222/albums/5543693322976378689?banner=pwa
    There is a contemporary American Tarantula Society that is not the original one that I founded. When I questioned them on using the same name, the present head of the group claimed he had never heard of the original ATS, and very kindly let me write whatever I wanted for their periodical, which was then published verbatim. You can read my article at http://oldelephantwings.blogspot.com/2008/02/american-tarantula-society.html
    Yeah, I think it might have been the fact of the girl on the cover looking so much like a guy that I didn't care for it. They should have put Ivy Reed on the cover. :)

    ReplyDelete
  112. Hello, I have a 1" red knee that I'm wondering if I should be concerned as it finished molting two weeks ago but still hasn't emerged from its burrow to eat. It has never spent longer than a few days inside after a molt, so I'm just looking for reassurance that it is fine.

    ReplyDelete
  113. That is a long time, and life expectancy for such a young tarantula isn't all that secure. Personally speaking, I would be concerned, but wouldn't give up hope. If it were possible to open its burrow somehow, without injuring the spider, I would check on it.

    ReplyDelete
  114. Hi there, I just got a chilean rose yesterday, about 3.5 inches wide and she's doing fine adjusting to her new home and all that, but I couldn't help but notice there's a small white/black hard bump on one of her knees. Could she be approaching a molt? She doesn't appear to be abnormally dark so I can't really tell.

    Any ideas what this bump may be?

    ReplyDelete
  115. I don't know what that could be. My first thought was that you might have seen one of the hooks under the front knees of a male (which would indicate an adult male that naturally won't live much longer), but (at least in the species I'm familiar with) these hooks are black or dark. Otherwise my guess is an injury, which should be fine after the next molt. A tarantula can even lose a leg and get it back through molts. Amazing creature.

    ReplyDelete
  116. Please help! I have recently bought a Brazilian pink salmon birdeater. She is still fairly young. After I got her I purchased a little bit bigger cage to provide more things for her, meal worm dish and a hide. She didn't seem to upset by the change, she was sleeping and lounging everywhere. But she refuses to eat. It's been almost two weeks since she's eaten. Also her abdomen is bare. I have handled her quite a few times which as cause more stress than I realized. She has never raised up at me or kick hairs but while holding her she has scratched her bum on me which I assume was leaving hairs. Why is that? I've also done my best to keep humidity up. It says she needs 65 to 80% but even spraying twice a day it never stays up there but never falls below 40. Is that okay? I've read that most tarantulas, even tropical can adapt. Lately she's been super lazy. Won't come out of her log. I'm super worried and feel like I'm blowing it. Her abdomen has never look so bare before. Please help!!

    ReplyDelete
  117. Since you're feeding your pet mealworms, I'm assuming she's too young to eat crickets, etc. Remember that the spider's food needs to be moving, alive. Drop a wriggling mealworm near her, and if she's hungry, she'll eat it. If not, she may be preparing for a molt, and so refusing food. I would hold off handling her for a time, especially if she's very young. If she kicks off urticating hairs often, it's a sign she's agitated and feeling threatened. Don't worry if your pet goes weeks without eating. Just continue to provide living and moving food for her now and then (ideally once a week). My guess is that she'll be molting soon, and soon after that she'll be very hungry.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I feed her crickets as well I just try to give her a variety. Yesterday I bought her a pinky mouse, the man I bought her from said she loved them, but she wasn't interested at all. She just came up to and checked it out but then just laid back down. I know I shouldn't have held her since she's so young but I couldn't help it! She's so beautiful! Thanks so much for your help.

      Delete
  118. Another question if I may, I was the one with the pink salmon bird eater. Is the mealworm dish alright? I know you said to drop it near her but with meal worms it's a bit difficult. If she doesn't eat them right away they will bury themselves in her substrate. Then I'm in bigger trouble. She will know where to find them won't she? When I first put it in her cage, she went over and checked it out. It had two in there. A few nights later when I came home, only one was in there. I'm hoping she ate it. If not then I got some digging to do.

    ReplyDelete
  119. The mealworm dish is fine, if the mealworms are active and moving. Otherwise the spider will ignore them. If you drop a wriggling worm beside the spider where she can either see or sense it, she will take it before you get tired of watching. If she's not interested, you can return the worm to the dish. I don't know how small your pet is, but if she's large enough (say, two inches in leg span) you might also try a small cricket. Don't worry if she refuses food. Continue to supply a source of water, and offer a morsel now and then.

    ReplyDelete
  120. Ok thanks so much for all your advice! I appreciate it.

    ReplyDelete
  121. Hey it's me again, pink salmon. I woke up this morning to find her in the middle of molting! It was beautiful! She's out now but her legs are all scrunched up close to her, is that normal? Also I'm afraid to take her molt out because it's in her log and so is she. I don't want to disturb her. Should I wait for acouple days to see if she'll leave or just take it out. I don't want to move her cause I've read they're very fragile after a molt. I tried feeding her but no luck. How long after will she want to eat? Sorry so many questions, I've read up on it alot but your answers make me feel alot better.

    ReplyDelete
  122. Ah, good. That's what I was hoping. Molting is a very delicate process, during which the spider should be undisturbed. Afterwards the creature takes time to adjust, and, you're right, is fragile. She won't want to eat immediately, but soon, in a few days, she'll be famished. Legs scrunched up close to her could be a sign of pain, but more likely she's just exercising her "new" body. Removing the shed skin is more for your sake than for hers; she would just leave it there in her natural habitat. Once you know that the molt was successful and she's active again, and when she's away from her log, then take the skin out. I love to watch a tarantula molt; it's almost like childbirth.

    ReplyDelete
  123. Yes it was beautiful! She didn't lay on her back, she was more laying on her side. That's how the molt is sitting. I can't believe I get to watch that a few more times. Hopefully if I can catch it again. She's actually has a few legs on her molt like she's protecting it. I haven't heard anything like that before.

    ReplyDelete
  124. Her abdomen is really little, is that normal after a molt?

    ReplyDelete
  125. Yep, it's common. It'll get bigger.

    ReplyDelete
  126. Man, you are the spider expert! Thanks so much for all your help!

    ReplyDelete
  127. Ugh! How long is a few days?She molted on Friday and it's Sunday. She still won't come out of her log and I'm worried! Her little bum just seems like it's getting more little by the day. I've tried letting the pinky mouse move about in front of her log but no luck.

    ReplyDelete
  128. Hasn't she moved at all since Friday? Can you see her in the log? Tarantulas can remain pretty inactive, but she should have moved some in that time. If you can see her, if she hasn't moved at all since the molt, and if her legs are still scrunched up close to her, I would check to see if she's still alive. If you can persuade her to move at all, even a leg, then let her be and let her rest. Otherwise...

    ReplyDelete
  129. Oh yes she has moved since then just not out of her log. Her abdomen just seems too little. She's not dumb, she will come out eventually to let me know she's hungry right? I've tried persuading her but she won't come out. I just want her to eat. I'm worried.

    ReplyDelete
  130. Okay, good. Just let her be. Just offer her food now and then, and when she's hungry she'll eat it. Above all, don't worry. That's a big reason why tarantulas are such neat pets: They're about the easiest pet to care for. They can go a long time without food. I confess that I've sometimes forgotten all about my tarantula, and don't feed her for weeks. But she's still there, patiently waiting. In the wild they don't have someone to feed them regularly, but sometimes have to wait. If you want to pamper your pet, keep water always available and give her something to eat about once a week. But don't worry. Enjoy.

    ReplyDelete
  131. Okay, thanks for the reassuring words. Sorry so many questions, I guess I've always been a worry wart. Thanks for all the info!

    ReplyDelete
  132. The pinky mouse died. She wouldn't eat it. I wanna try crickets. But if she doesn't eat them, would it be okay to leave them in there? It's been almost a week after her molt and her abdomen isn't getting bigger. I feel like a cricket would seem easier first.

    ReplyDelete
  133. I fed mine a baby mouse once, and it was really sad. I feed my spiders mainly crickets (cheap at the pet shop) unless I find a morsel in the yard for variety (usually grasshoppers). I leave the remains in the "cage" until I get around to cleaning it every few months.

    ReplyDelete
  134. So it's okay to leave the crickets in there if she doesn't eat them right away?

    ReplyDelete
  135. Sure. Keep in mind how they must live in the wild. Who cleans their home? I have had tarantulas, though, who have made an attempt at some housecleaning by piling unwanted things in the corner of the vivarium. But the one I have now - a local species - is pretty messy and doesn't care.

    ReplyDelete
  136. Okay, I just wanted to make sure since she molted recently I didn't know if they could hurt her or not. I've also read that any uneaten food should be removed. Is that true? That's why I asked about the crickets. How long could you keep them in for if a tarantula doesn't eat them right away?

    ReplyDelete
  137. A dead baby mouse I would take out. That would smell. With crickets and other insects I'm not that picky, and just let them die of old age (if not eaten) and dry up and stay in there until I get up the energy to take them out. I normally give the vivarium a complete cleaning, replacing soil, etc., about twice a year, but once a year is fine, too. It's up to you. If I'm showing off my spider, a bunch of dead insects is somewhat of an embarrassment, so I take them out. The tarantula isn't that concerned with impressions.

    ReplyDelete
  138. I hope so. I'm gonna go buy crickets this after noon. May I ask how did become so inlove with Ts?? The fact that you get to go talk to people about them must be wonderful. How did become so knowledgeable about them? I remember you saying when you got one they didn't have care sheets or books. That'd be nerve recking I'd think to hope you're doing the right thing. Man you're cool lol.

    ReplyDelete
  139. When I was a kid, I was walking the four blocks on a dirt road to elementary school, and a bug landed on the back of my hand. I glanced at it and saw that it had two heads! (In retrospect I think it was two insects mating.) Bugs terrified me, and I shook my hand violently to get it off, but it hung on and walked toward my shirt cuff. I screamed and shook my arm, but the thing walked right under my cuff and into my sleeve. I panicked and ran home screaming and took a bath before going to school late. Another day, while in class, I saw a big insect on my arm, and jumped up from my desk screaming and making a fool of myself in front of my classmates. That's how scared I was of bugs...and the tarantula was the king of all "bugs." This was in W. Washington State, where tarantulas don't live in the wild; yet I would have recurring nightmares about tarantulas crawling out of the walls and coming at me. It was horrible!
    In biology class in high school, I found that it's possible to order a live tarantula from the biological supply catalog, and I became obsessed with the idea of having my worst enemy somehow under my control. My teacher ordered one female desert tarantula for me, and one for the school. (If you haven't already, check out my post, "The American Tarantula Society," in this blog.) When my first tarantula stepped high and gracefully out of the mailing tube and onto my teacher's counter, it was awesome! I had no idea yet how to care for a tarantula, so wrote to the American Museum of Natural History in New York in hopes of finding out. The wonderful entomologist, Alice Gray, now deceased, replied, and we ended up practically pen-pals over several years. She was amazing, and knowledgeable, and fun. I kept my spider ("Trance") in a padlocked, thick, wood and glass vivarium for two years without touching her, although I knew from Alice Gray two basic methods of picking up a tarantula. I was ashamed of myself for not having the guts to do it, until finally I set myself up. In high school speech class, I spoke on "The Unnecessary Fear of Tarantulas," and brought my spider. In the speech, I included a demonstration of the two ways to pick one up, and so pressured myself in front of everybody to do it. In other words, in order to deal with my fear of tarantulas, I found something that scared me worse - disgrace in front of my high school class. And it worked. Trance was very patient with me.
    William Baerg's book about mainly Arkansas tarantulas in the wild was out of print when I got my first pet spider, and there was only a children's picture book out there. (A pet tarantula was so unheard of that in 1979 I was in Ripley's Believe-It-Or-Not for having one.) I learned most of my info from Alice Gray at the Museum, and eventually wrote a book about caring for tarantulas. At first the publisher poo-pooed the idea, but after discovering tarantulas starting to be sold in pet shops, he came around, but told me I'd have to expand it five times in length, and so I struggled to find out more - so far as to spend hours in a university library archives, trying to read German. But weeks later, my book was exactly five times in length, and TFH Publications, Inc. published it in 1977, and it remained in print for about twenty years. Much of what I've just told you, and much more, is in my "American Tarantula Society" post here in the Butter Rum Cartoon, and it pretty much covers my love affair with tarantulas.
    Thank you for the compliment. I think anyone fond of a misunderstood creature considered by most to be dangerous is pretty cool.

    ReplyDelete
  140. Wow... That's all I can say! I use to be scared of spiders myself. Until I saw a documentary on TV about black widows and that's when it started. I had to talk my husband into letting me get one, he has a huge fear of spiders. But that's how I know these creatures are magical. Not only does he love Phoebe (my beautiful pink salmon) but he has held her. Your story is amazing! Not everyone can confront their fears head on, nor use another to conquer them. I think anyone who can is pretty cool. That's so awesome you went from scared little boy to lover of Ts who published a book about them. Not only did you conquer your fears, you did it with flying colors! Dang, that takes something awesome.

    ReplyDelete
  141. Great news! She finally ate! Only one cricket though. I thought she would be more hungry like you said. I went and bought another pinky mouse two days after she had the one cricket and it just seems to irritate her more than anything. I was hoping she'd chomp down on it since she hasn't eaten much.

    ReplyDelete
  142. Hello! My boyfriend and I recently bought our first tarantula! (Well, it was probably about 5 months ago that we got him.) He's very docile, and doesn't seem to mind being held. We've been waiting for him to molt for a while, because he was showing signs of it being soon, and he finally did last night! Sadly, we were asleep and didn't get to witness it. :( But anyways, to get to my real question! After molting, is it common for the tip of the tarantula's legs (The feet, I guess?) to look... underdeveloped? The closest thing I can compare it to, is a bone. I know they don't have bones, but that's what a couple of his feet look like! He seems healthy enough, and is moving around alright, but I'm just worried there's something wrong with his feet. :( Oh, and I believe he's a Chilean Rose.

    ReplyDelete
  143. I can't imagine what this looks like. No, it wouldn't be common to have underdeveloped legs, if the legs weren't damaged beforehand. Is there a way you can email me a picture? My address is: butterrumcartoon@gmail.com.

    ReplyDelete
  144. Okay, I sent you a photo from my phone. It may be hard to see, so if you need more pictures, I can provide them. His little foot is right under his abdomen. His legs were totally fine before molting! :(

    ReplyDelete
  145. Got your email and the picture and replied via email, but should also reply here: That does look unusual to me. I've never seen it before. Some sort of deformity. However, another molt should do the trick to correct it. Meanwhile, if your pet is active and seems healthy, I see no need to worry.

    ReplyDelete
  146. My pink toe won't make a web y is that

    ReplyDelete
  147. Pink toes do not spin webs for catching prey. But they do normally spin silk for their homes and for egg sacs. I'm not too familiar with arboreal species like the pink toe. My specialty is the southwest U.S. desert tarantulas. But all species have many things in common. My (desert) tarantulas spin fine carpets lining their homes, but no webs. If your pet isn't spinning at all, bear with her; it'll get around to it.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. She is still tiny and hasn't molten eaither

      Delete
  148. She'll grow, and she'll molt. One of the best things that pet tarantulas teach us is patience.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. How long should I expect for her to make a silk home IV had her for I'd like to say 2 or 3 weeks

      Delete
  149. Once she feels comfortable and content in her new home, she should begin to work on it. But she can answer that question better than I.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You should see her she is the cutest thing ever

      Delete
  150. Please help :( i have had my rose hair for a year now. I have recently been moving and placed my T outside for five minutes , within that time red ants got into her cage. I got her out immediately and have completely restored the cage. She would still move if i force herbut she hasent moved around her cage at all for two days! Her front right leg seems to be injured since its curled up and she wont move it. Any advice on what to do? Do you think she will make it? Im so worried:(

    ReplyDelete
  151. I should think your pet will pull through just fine, especially if she's an adult. All we can do is let her be, and see. Meanwhile don't disturb her. I've never run into this problem before, but tarantulas are pretty hardy. Also, thankfully, I'm not that familiar with red ants. If a leg is injured, the next molt should take care of it. Please let us know how it turns out.

    ReplyDelete
  152. I'm so glad to come across your tarantula info page! My tarantula is an adult female chilean rose hair. She had been orphaned so I took her in. Whole new world for me! Shed her skin 3 months after I got her (don't know how long she fasted prior to this). O boy, that was a cool event! Then, after so long not eating, when she did eat, she POWER GORGED! 28 crickets w/in 31 days! Then none for 2 months, then eat off and on...well, this time it's been over 6 months! I offer her crickets, but she acts like, "EW! Help me! Get away!! Cooties!" and she quickly marches away. -What the heck, She might like a change in her housing. I needed to clean it anyway, and find out where all those disappearing crickets went to. Yep, underneath the butcher paper I used to lined the bottom I found about 13 dead ones and 2 nice fat live ones! I cleaned entire cage and have just replaced her "substrate" to potting soil(I had been using shredded fiberous stuff from petshop). She took to her new "suite" right away, immediately setting up "house-keeping" by adding new carpet and drapery by way of her own "spinerettes". It's a good sized abode, 17"x17"x10" glass w/screened lid, contemperary living at its best. --So, I guess I don't have a major concern here, just curious about the long period of time since she's eaten. It's actually been since last Oct.--Thanks for all your sound and qualified advice!

    ReplyDelete
  153. Tarantulas can go a long time without food. Some desert species have lived more than two years without a bite. And tarantulas will fast prior to molting. But it's rare for one voluntarily to refuse to eat for nine months! I love your description of "Ew...Cooties!" Mine act the same way, when preparing to molt, and that's exactly how it looks. Well, although crickets have always been my pets' chief diet, I suggest trying other live food, to see if she's just really finicky. (I've fed mine even canned dogfood, by squeezing some on the end of a thread and jiggling it by the spider to fool it into thinking it's alive.) Try a grasshopper. Or a baby mouse (which is too sad for me to do again). If she just won't eat, all you can do is always provide fresh water and continue to offer her some tidbit now and then.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks for your reply regarding my Ch Rose Hair. She still hasn't eaten. I've offered her a super meal worm, she doesn't want it. And a moth, nope. A large fly (minus one wing), no. I haven't got around to giving her a grasshopper yet, but I know she more than likely will refuse it. So I'm pretty sure she must be a fully mature adult, maybe even older than 5 yrs. She drinks plenty of water, but otherwise, she just kinda hangs out. Either she is taking her time preparing to molt, or she is like a python and doesn't need sustenance but once in a long while? By the way, I named her "Ovembe" (that's 'November' minus first and last letters). Also, I found out they can and will climb glass! I had left the screen off the top once, no problem; no crickets to jump out right? Upon returning home, she was not in cage! Thank god she was just right next to it, but if she had fallen, or got lost in house, I would have freaked! (I did anyway, AAHH! Where is she?!)I looked at her shed skin under microscope and saw the uniquely velvet hairs on her toes that allowed her to climb glass. Cool. I'm glad for your website here, you have some good advice and info, thanks again.

      Delete
    2. pennysn2rox@yahoo.comAugust 22, 2012 at 7:09 AM

      Hey, me again, regarding "Ovembe", my Ch Rose Hair who hadn't eaten since last Oct. Well, upon returning from a 9 day camp trip, I checked her cage, couldn't find any sign of the 2 crickets that had been in there since sometime before July 10th (the longest any previous crickets had lived). So I began looking for balled-up cricket remains, and yep, I did find one for sure, complete with pieces of antenna, legs and mandibles. Yay! She finally ate! What became of cricket #2 I don't yet know. As I was scanning the substrate, I also found several balls of what looked like the T's hairs. Is that a common thing? Her abdomen doesn't look bald at all, and she's laid down quite a wad of silk. I'm curious about the balls of hair. I'm pretty sure they are her hairs, but as yet, I won't swear to it. Could you please give me your opinion on this?

      Delete
    3. Sounds like you should take more camp trips. :)
      I have no idea about the balls of hair. I don't know where they would come from, if you see no hair missing from your pet, or why the spider would do it. Another mystery.

      Delete
  154. My obt was molting and it stoped moving and its legs a curled but IRS still on his back is her dead

    ReplyDelete
  155. It depends on how long she's been in that position. The molting process takes several hours. It's fascinating to watch; and the spider should not be bothered during this delicate process.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. She's been like this for a cuple of hours her legs were straight now just curled and she won't move

      Delete
  156. She's doing fine. Let her be, and enjoy watching a miracle of nature. What she's doing now is loosening up her new body from the old exoskeleton.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. So its comen for the legs to be like that

      Delete
  157. As far as I know. Let's watch and see.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Its now been 10 he's and no movement and the legs still tucked

      Delete
  158. That is a long time. One of ours once took a day and a half to molt, though. Don't give up yet. Give her a couple days. If no movement, I'd then finally prod her gently to see if she moves. But for now just assume that it's a long molt, and hope for the best.

    ReplyDelete
  159. Hi Dale,
    I just got my first T today and she is absolutely gorgeous. However, while I was watching her, I noticed a clear drop of fluid from underneath her fangs... I was trying to find something on Google about it but all I found was that it sometimes happens after they feed. But Julie (because her back looks like jewels) hadn't eaten since yesterday afternoon... Input? Thank you for your help.

    ReplyDelete
  160. That would be venom. Once while speaking in a gymnasium to scouts and their parents, the tarantula I was holding became irritated enough to drool venom into my palm, so much that when I tipped my hand some poured onto my papers. She was very, very docile, never bit anyone, but drooled venom. Yet after my speech, I let several scouts hold her.
    Cool, huh?

    ReplyDelete
  161. I have had my pink toe tarantula for a year and a half. I've always given her crickets but the last time I went to buy some the store that I got them hadn't had a shipment in so I got her some super meal worms. I put one in her Web with her and she attacked it. Seemed to enjoy it even. She normally stays up in her Web under the red lamp. Never really leaves it our atleast doesn't stray far from it. Even when she molts. Her Web is thick like paper so it holds her well. can't even hardly see through it. The tank I have her in is maybe 4 feet tall but I just have recently sprayed her cage down....well I guess misted is the correct term. And she's building a Web on the ground now. She's never done it before even when I've misted the cage before. Do you know why? Thankyou

    ReplyDelete
  162. No idea. It's good to know she feels secure on the ground, and it's good that she gets a little variety in her food.

    ReplyDelete
  163. This is one of the first times she's been on the ground though. Could she just have been hot?

    ReplyDelete
  164. Hey there, its me with the Brazilian pink salmon bird eater. She's doing great, hungry as a horse. But had a question, she's.been in her hide and attacks the side of the cage. I call it her window cause I put the log up against the cage. Only when shes in there shes in there she attacks the side. Why does she do that? She's never been hostile or angry. No one is close to her window or provoking her. Any ideas why she's doing it?

    ReplyDelete
  165. I just got a rose haired this week and I heard they're supposed to burrow but I haven't seen her try yet. Should I change the cage lining to potting soil? I currently have it as the reptile bark.

    ReplyDelete
  166. I've had my second tarantula now for about 3 years. It used to have a huge abdomen and ate regularly. Now it hasn't eaten for about 6 months!!! It's abdomen is now very small and it is always trying to get out of it's cage. It is even trying to use it's fangs to get out! Ever heard a fang scrape on plastic? VERY CREEPY!!!

    I've tried different substrates thinking it didn't like the dirt I had her in (she'd lay a donut shaped thick web onto the Grape Nuts I was using for her home maybe to make it more secure). Now I have her on lizard dirt and rocks with a coconut shell to hide in. She can go on the dirt or rocks or on top of the shell so she has options. We have been misting her too hoping that might help her molt but nothing.

    It looks like she is desperate to get out and I feel so bad!! What can I do? My last tarantula stopped eating and stopped moving for over a year. It never actually died per se, just stopped moving but if I moved a leg it would move back. I ended up burying it because I thought it was dead but now understanding their slow metabolism I think I killed it! I don't want to do that to this one - she is part of the family (yes she is female - does not have the hooks on the front legs for mating).

    Any advice? Maybe a different type of food like a mealworm?

    ReplyDelete
  167. I don't know what kind of tarantula you have; of course you need to mist its habitat only if it's from a humid climate.
    All I can think of is that your pet is a male who's finally fully matured. Look under the main "knee" joints of its front pair of legs. If you see little hooks there, it's an adult male, with only a year or two to live after his last molt. Meanwhile he would be frantic to get out of the cage to find a female and breed.

    ReplyDelete
  168. Matthew "Surefire" SchorfheideSeptember 16, 2012 at 2:37 PM

    Hey there, I am there, I'm a relatively new owner of Octimus Octavia Prime, a Chilean Rose-hair tarantula. I sent you an email with lots of questions but I figured I'd post a couple here for everyone elses' benefit as well.

    I've read a lot of different sites about the care of this tarantula, including Schultz's guides and it leaves me second guessing everything about her. Maybe I just worry too much. I believe she is preparing for a molt as she has recently become rather lazy and refused a couple of crickets. She killed them but did not eat them. I get pretty worried that her laziness may be sickness and not molting, but I guess all I can do is wait and see.

    She has, so far, been the perfect pet for me. I am in the Infantry so I live in a barracks where she is not allowed. Since she is comfortable with a small enclosure it makes her easy to keep hidden for inspections. I can also leave her for a week or so without feeding if I have to be out in the field training. My only worry is that with a second deployment coming up, I will not be able to find anyone willing to really take care of her while I'm gone.

    Anyway, I know I ramble. I just wanted to thank you for being so helpful (I spent a good hour or so reading all the comments here) and giving out so many helpful hints to all the beginner keepers that stop by your site.

    ReplyDelete
  169. You shouldn't have much trouble finding someone to adopt your pet if need be. If an individual can't be found, a school or library might take her. Just give them the link to this "How to Care for Your Pet Tarantula" post. I can relate to your trying to keep her in the barracks. My Army challenge in 1970 was keeping a pet boa constrictor in the bottom drawer of my barracks locker. That didn't last long.

    ReplyDelete
  170. Matthew "Surefire" SchorfheideSeptember 18, 2012 at 8:01 PM

    Well I'm starting to get pretty worried. She just lays around all day. SHe does walk around the cage occasionally to change spots, but when she gets there, she rests all the way on the ground and doesn't move for several hours at a time. She even appears to be "leaning" up against her log and/or the side of teh cage with some of her legs.

    ReplyDelete
  171. Tarantulas (unless they're mature males) tend to be pretty inactive, until they pounce on prey. As long as you offer yours food now and then, I wouldn't worry. The only concern I might have is that they may periodically spray the barracks to get rid of pests, and of course the poison may not sit well with a tarantula. But I don't remember ever seeing anyone use pest control on my army barracks (if they did, we wouldn't have had sergeants).

    ReplyDelete
  172. my mexican rose hair is sitting in a corner of its cage not eating or drinking from the water bowl if you reach into the cage to touch it, it will move for a split sec and return to the position it was in. it also has very little hair on its abdomen and has faded in color. I'm very concerned that it could be dying. this is my first trantula and i have had it for three years and it has went through the molting process but still not sure whats going on. i'm not sure if it is a male or female and do not want to pick it up just incase it is in the proccess of molting.

    ReplyDelete
  173. All we can do is wait and see. In case it is getting ready to molt (which I would suspect), it's best not to bother it. I wouldn't worry about the inactivity, unless it stays in the exact same position for days. Just keep water in the bowl, but I'd wait a couple weeks before offering it more food, in case it'll be on its back soon, beginning a molt.

    ReplyDelete
  174. This sight was wicked helpful and the questions and answers where amazing thanks so much dale!

    ReplyDelete
  175. hey my Chilean rose hardly moves anymore i had her for about a week, she let me hold her fine and now she doesn't want to move and when i went to pick her up the other day she went into an attic position, any ideas on whats wrong ?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Some of my tarantulas have been moody for some reason. Before handling them, I would touch them gently on the rear with a pencil. If they responded slowly and moved forward, I would handle them. If they whirled around and threatened the pencil, I would leave them alone. And some I never handled. I don't know why the moodiness; it may have to do with hunger, or preparing for, or recovering from, a molt.

      Delete
  176. sir..can i ask why my mexican fire leg's lost leg didn't grew back??
    it was just his/her 1st molt since he/she lost the leg..

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. btw my fire leg is only a 1 1/2 inch sling..
      pls reply..tnx..

      Delete
    2. It's my understanding that complete legs don't grow back with the first molt. It takes more than one.

      Delete
    3. ok tnx..ill just w8 for my fire leg's nxt molt..:)

      Delete
  177. I just brought my Chilean Rose Haired home from the Pet shop last week, she is healthy and shows no signs of sickness, and eaten once since I got her. However she continues to try and climb the sides of her tank, and only ever moves along the sides of the enclosure. I have her in Coconut fiber substrate that is just damp enough to allow her to burrow (Though she hasn't done that yet either)and she has a hide and water available. I can't seem to figure out why she isn't comfortable in her enclosure. Am I doing something wrong?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. If you see hooks under the main "knees" of your pet's front legs, he's a mature male wanting to get out to find a mate. Tarantulas take several years to mature, and while females will live on many more years beyond reaching maturity, males will live only a year or two longer, and their main purpose in life is then to find a female and mate. So a mature male will naturally try to do all he can to escape.
      But, if your pet is not a mature male (no hooks), and since you haven't had it that long, it's normal for her to explore her new home for awhile before she settles down some and accepts her vivarium as her burrow.
      It sounds like you're a very caring tarantula keeper. Have fun with your pet. He/she sounds very healthy.

      Delete
  178. Thank you! I'm not exactly sure whether she is a female/male, but I was waiting for her molt to see.. I'll check for the hooks.

    ReplyDelete
  179. Well I'm probably just being paranoid but I got my pink toe about a week ago. She's only about 2 in long and I gave her a cricket to eat which drowned 2 days later. Then I put in two crickets and one drowned again after a few days. I know they can go a while without food but after my first t died within a month due to my young age at the time and lack of research on their care, I tend to worry. Also is it ok to leave like 5 crickets in the terrarium or should it just be one or two? She has plenty of ground space and I'm currently keeping 90 crickets in a separate dwelling. And I've never witnessed a molt so will I be looking for a pale dry husk or something that looks like her skin fell off lol. And my last question, I noticed that one of her legs is skinnier than the others but normal length. Is that a regenerated leg?

    ReplyDelete
  180. Crickets are really stupid with water. Considering the size of your tarantula, one cricket a week would be plenty. More of them walking around in the vivarium is okay (if they annoy the spider enough, she'll just kill them). The only time I would try to keep the crickets away is when she's molting. The procedure is too delicate to risk it. Imagine stray dogs around a woman giving birth in a field.
    The first time my first tarantula molted, I knew nothing about it, and woke up in the morning to find two adult tarantulas in the cage! My immediate thought was that they somehow can double! Creepy!
    The leg is a regenerating one, and should look much better after the next molt.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Today I noticed that her back right leg was broken and while watching her crawl on my bed her front right leg didn't come 'unhooked' and ripped off! She ran and cowered so I put her back and am waiting for her molt. Will the leg slowly grow back? Around how many molts till it comes back? She's small injured and helpless I feel bad :(

      Delete