Tuesday, January 31, 2006

Hiding Out

Mallory hasn't been seen out of her burrow allll day. I'm trying to keep myself from freaking out and digging her out to make sure she's alright. I'm waiting it out and reading other T journals and communities.

Today I learned that "sling" is slang for spiderling. I also read in my big T book that too much humidity is very bad. Ugh. Wiping the lid out often seems to be cutting down on the humidity pretty well, I think.

I bought a dozen small crickets today. I squished the heads of two of them and put one in with Mallory (though it was still just barely kicking for a long while) and one in with the spider I caught the other night. I should be posting pics of that one soon. The rest of them went in with Bunny. Bunny & the other spider were feasting soon after.

Monday, January 30, 2006

4th Instar & New Burrow!

Through email with the breeder, I've learned that Mallory hatched on May 11, 2005. She is a 4th Instar, which means she has molted 4 times.

I also found out that her cage is too humid, but I haven't added any water since I got her. I've asked for advice on drying the cage out some. I also asked for better ways to heat her jar.

Mallory really likes the new warmness I've provided! I'll leave her cool in the night again, but I'm formulating some ideas on how to warm her with something less disposable. Do they make hand warmers that can be reused?

Anyway, I saw her working on her first burrow today! I probably should have photographed that, but I'm not feeling well. I did get a photo of the completed (I think) project...

tarantula spiderling burrow and dimeMallory's New Burrow

Yes, that is the same dime.

Sunday, January 29, 2006

Mallory Photo Shoot

I dug out the lamp, took the lid off, and had a photo shoot with my new little model. She is quite well-behaved and photogenic, if I do say so myself. I can set the dime right behind her, moving the dirt around her, and she just stands there for me. Now if I could just get her to come up out of the burrow to higher (and flatter) ground, perhaps I could get a nice shot of her right next to or on top of the dime. She didn't eat the cricket I gave her yesterday, but I had given her one on Thursday. I took it out, since it had been over 24 hours. You don't want to leave dead prey in the "cage" as it will attract mites and possibly start mold. These are not good for the baby.

Ah yes, the photo. I picked out what I think was probably the best photo of this evening's set and I think this may be the best photo of her yet.

Brachypelma smithi spiderlingMallory
Brachypelma smithi

I love my new baby. I'm a big dork.

Today I got worried because it had been sooo long since she had moved. I finally dug her out a bit and touched her with a paintbrush (don't want to squish her!!). She moved just enough for me to know she was alive. Whew! Now her burrow is more like a valley. :P

I also started a little hand warmer and put it up against one side of the jar. She likes it. :-D It's still plenty humid in there. In fact, the heat causes some condensation in the jar... which makes trying to see her a bit of an issue.

Dime & Cuddles

I soon got another photo of Mallory, posing near a dime. I'd like to get her to pose on the dime, but that will probably take some doing.

Brachypelma smithi spiderlingBrachypelma smithi spiderling

Isn't she just adorable?!

I was holding Mallory (in her container) in the living room this morning when my husband asked if I was cuddling her. Yes!

I worry that she isn't warm enough so I was trying to warm up her house. I probably ought to get a heating system and a thermometer setup.

Tarantula Fascination

On Friday, January 6, 2006, I noticed my husband looking at a Reptile auction site. There were snakes, turtles, lizards, and spiders! After pulling it up on my computer, I then searched out other sites. For the next 48 hours every spare moment spent at the computer was spent reading about tarantulas and looking at photos of them. That night my husband brought home a second kitten so I asked if I could have a tarantula. He said maybe.

I had already figured out which species I wanted, but I wanted to be sure that I was ready for a 30-year pet commitment before actually getting one. I started checking around for tarantula availability in our area. I called every pet store in every surrounding town. I found a few other species, but only one Brachypelma smithi (Mexican Red Knee), which is the species on which my heart was set. I had decided I wanted a spiderling, the younger the better. I took the kids to see it and it was larger than I really wanted... and much more expensive than I was prepared to spend.

Nearly three weeks had gone by when an opportunity to go to OKC arose. The closest tarantula breeder happens to be based in OKC. My dear friend Lisa took me, even though she has a spider phobia. I got the spiderling I wanted and she was even smaller than I had imagined.

Brachypelma smithi spiderlingBrachypelma smithi spiderling
4th instar

She'll be my new model. I won't actually know the sex of the tarantula for 2-3 years, but on the advice of the breeder I've given her a girl name in hopes of her actually being female. Females of this species live three times as long as males and are also worth three times as much.


I got into photography as a hobby last summer when a close friend gave me a really great camera. I was especially interested in macro photography. That lead to bugs which lead to spiders and I found myself fascinated with them. If I spotted a spider, I had to photograph it! On October 18, 2005, my best friend Becca spotted a jumping spider on my front porch. I, of course, went to take photos! Then I decided to catch it so I could take all the photos I wanted. I wound up purchasing a small Kritter Keeper and he is now my pet.

bold jumping spiderBecca helped me name him: Bunny