Friday, August 25, 2006

Appetite & Killing Bugs

I was wondering if Anansi might be hungry at all due to the way she wanted to attack the water I gave her... or if she was just being defensive. I bought small crickets today (less chance of overpowering her) and dropped a couple of them into her cage. So far, she has just kind of avoided them. She gets defensive or walks away from them if they get near her. I'm going to give her maybe a few hours with them and then take them out if she doesn't eat. She always eats within a few hours (if not within a few minutes). I don't think I need to wait 24 hours.

Babs, on the other hand, was apparently famished. I was also concerned about feeding her. The more I see how tiny she has gotten (after being So huge), the more I think she has little babies waiting to hatch in her nest. It is quite an impressive web. It is very thick and has a very small tube at the bottom through which she can enter / exit. My dozen small crickets turned into about 20 I think (they never do really count them, do they?), so she has a feast in there!

Oh, and I bought these crickets somewhere new... but I don't think I like them as much. I'll stick with petSmart in the future.

I've also called Ortho about their Home Defense Max and how long I should keep pet spiders out of the house. Apparently so long as I wait for it to dry and keep the spiders off of those surfaces, I can bring them back in immediately. I don't think I want to go quite that fast. Better to err on the side of caution, yes? I've read that I should take the spiders away for a few weeks.

So... now to figure out when I can have all of the pets out of the house for a few hours. I'm kind of sad to think that Bunny is in my walls somewhere... and I'm gonna spray for bugs... :-(

My Anansi & Babs will stay at my friend's house while it is too dangerous here... with Anansi about to molt (I'm sure of it), I'm going to want to go visit every day! Argh!

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Let it Rain

When I went to drip some water into Anansi's cage this morning, the first drop fell on her backside. She backed up, turned around... when I dripped the next couple of drops, she attacked them. lol Now I wonder if she's hungry. It looks like her rear end has gotten all black (like she is about to moult... or working up to it at least). I think I might get her some little crickets soon. I don't want to put any big ones in there if she is about to molt.

Meanwhile, Babs has a big thick web with a tube at the bottom to enter / exit. I find myself wondering if it's hiding any egg sacs. And I think I'll let my crab spider loose back into the garden. I've gotten to watch it some and photograph it. I don't need to keep it.

Tuesday, August 15, 2006


I sprinkled some new soil over the hide and along one edge of the cage. I don't know yet what Anansi thinks of it... she seems to be slow to warm up to stuff anyway. So far, I've only seen her in the opposite corner of the cage. I hope she likes it... dirt is a little more difficult to remove than cardboard... and I don't have any other dirt right now.

Monday, August 14, 2006

Hide Update

I was checking on Anansi yesterday and saw some different horizon along the bottom of the cage, so I picked it up (wondering if it could possibly be molt remains). She has been spending a LOT of time on the walls of her cage... I'm not sure why. She hasn't been up at the lid, though, so I don't guess she's trying to get out or anything. Anyway, the difference was that she has kicked up a little bit of dirt on the side of the hide... ok, this looks like progress, perhaps. Then I looked at the end of the tube (which is against the wall) and she has dug all the way down to the bottom of the cage in one spot against the wall! She's actually been IN there now. lol I haven't caught her in there, but I guess maybe she likes it. Yay! I'm still considering sprinkling some of the new dirt over the tube... wonder if that would make her mad or if she'd like it. Seems funny sometimes how we try to estimate what they like and what they don't like.

Tarantula Hunt, Part II

A friend came out and helped me hunt for tarantulas on Saturday morning, before dawn. Once again, we didn't see any out and about, but the one I pestered last week was still there. We also found a new big hole that wasn't there last time, and in a different area. gyrlcentric spotted a black leg, but I never saw it. I just couldn't come home completely empty handed, but the only thing I brought home was a garden spider. I'll probably set it free in my own yard.

It was a fun time, nonetheless... though I'm pretty darned determined to go get one of these beauties. I wish I knew someone local with some experience. Dad even gave me a trowel in case I wanted to dig one out (yes, I'm aware you can't dig directly down the hole)... but I didn't have any time left.

Saturday, August 12, 2006

Last Cricket in Stock

I fed Anansi the last cricket. It was a large one and looking kind of tired. She didn't even pounce on it... didn't have to. She simply walked over to it and took hold. That was earlier today. Now she is back to standing with some of her legs on the hide. She is actually on the other side of it... so maybe she's hiding behind it. Maybe I should open it against the side so she can hide AND I can see her. lol

Tomorrow... Tarantula Hunting, Part II...

Friday, August 11, 2006


Anansi is finally giving some attention to her hide. She has been touching it all day, as far as I can tell. I haven't seen her IN it yet, but she has had a leg or four on it at one angle or another every time I've looked at her today. I swear she was looking at me like "where's my snack?" earlier! lol

Wednesday, August 9, 2006

Newer photo of Anansi! Finally!

I took photos on the 2nd of this month. Here she is with a crumb of dirt on her back. It remained there until she lunged at a cricket. She is 2 inches long now (leg span measurement). I haven't yet held her since her last molt.

Brachypelma smithi spiderlingBrachypelma smithi spiderling

Spider Identification Help... Common Topic

I have a couple of new spiders in my collection. One of them survived. Here are two photos of it...

unidentified white spiderunidentified white spider

unidentified white spiderunidentified white spider
sorry this shot is SO yellow!

It is TINY... the leg-span width (not length) is about as wide as my thumbnail is long... if that helps at all.

So... any idea what it is? I gave it a small cricket... hoping it could manage. It did, the cricket was drained dry by morning! It's a pretty lil thing.

I caught it in our garden in front of the house. (Gosh, do you think it could be a GARDEN spider??) I couldn't find it in my Field Guide.

Here is the other spider...

spiderthe other spider

I can't be confident I've identified it from the field guide or online searches. This one was caught in a web at the top of the inside of a porta-john. My Husband caught it for me, ain't he sweet?! And so I named it Johnny. heh

This one liked to play dead a lot. I'd think it was dead, but when I'd pick up the container, it would start moving around again. It liked to get into this odd position where it would hang with all it's legs forward (or up). Very strange. Any ideas as to the species?

Thanks all!

Substrate & Hide Update

Thanks for all the great advice everyone! I went ahead and used the paper towel roll, but she has pretty much avoided it altogether. I'm considering scattering some new dirt over it before giving up and removing it, though. Today she did touch the TOP of it with one pedipalp while holding her lunch. That's as close to it as I've seen her get. In fact, she's been spending a lot of time on the walls of her new home since I added the hide.

I haven't yet added any of the organic soil I got. Now my paranoia involves the high moisture content in the baggie... and how to get rid of it without just leaving the dirt out in the open (for other bugs or ants).

Food & Water

I fed Anansi another large cricket today, while my best friend was here. Shortly after she snatched the cricket, I dropped some water (I often use a medicine dropper for this) onto her dirt, close to a corner. It puddled up a bit at first, as usual. After holding on to the cricket for a while, she usually lays a very thin web before eating. This time, she let go long enough to take a slow drink, I guess. She left the cricket under her abdomen. It was a little weird, but I guess she was thirsty.

Anyway, there you have it. Update posted.

Sunday, August 6, 2006

More with the Eating

I took Anansi (and a cricket) over to a friend's house with me this evening. So... she ate another large cricket. At this rate... I don't think it will be long before another molt. I had decided not to force feed her... not to make her grow too fast. I just have a lot of crickets right now. Or something.

Tarantula Hunting

My dad started talking about all the tarantulas in his yard. I remember being warned of staying away from a particular area when I was a kid - a pile with wood and other stuff. I just avoided it, so I never saw any of the tarantulas. He gets scorpions, too. So he was talking about stomping on one (ouch!) and that he poured antifreeze down the holes in that area. That seems to have killed them, but he has some in an entirely different area on his property. I get that gleam and say that I want to catch some! I've never done it, it sounds exciting... so he puts off pouring gasoline down the rest of the holes so that I can come catch some.

He exaggerated the size of the holes (he tends to exaggerate), so I suppose he probably exaggerated the size of the Ts, too. All the holes he showed me looked pretty small in comparison, not even measuring an inch across. So Saturday morning I get up and get over there half an hour before sunrise. I sat and watched and fought off mosquitos for a good long while and never saw anything. He had told me that he sees them wandering around in the early morning and late evening.

I walked the perimeter of his property, looking for any other spiders or holes and found two holes that were HUGE in comparison. They were easily two inches across... and one of them had a tent web over it! OMG, I was so excited! I decided, though, that I should really start with something smaller... being my first time and all. I had been studying the chapter in my book about catching your own tarantulas.

I put a stick / twig into the holes... they didn't really seem to be as deep as they ought to have been. Some holes had crickets in them, go figure. I finally started actively hunting for them. I had been there for almost two hours before I tackled the big holes. I finally, after so much time and suspicion of Candid Camera pranks, saw a tarantula! I even managed to get it to come all the way out of the hole... for a second. I had too much trouble trying to man the stick and the bowl and the lid... he got back into his hole too quickly. After 15 minutes, I decided I had pestered this poor baby long enough. I'm pretty certain that I can get dad to grant the spiders a temporary pardon, at least. I've recruited a t-catching buddy / side-kick, but I have to schedule my time with her. I am so excited and anxious to get out there and try again! But with my work schedule... I have to sleep in the late evening and I'm at work when the sun rises. I'm going to ask him to check his clock the next time he sees them out & about... so I can try to better time my approach.

What a long, boring, then exciting morning yesterday had!! Then I came back home and went back to sleep. heh

Saturday, August 5, 2006

Big Eaters

Most of my spiders pigged out the other day, so yesterday I bought 12 large and 12 small crickets. I've never bought so many at once. I went to drop one of the large ones in with Anansi and accidentally dropped two. She snagged the smaller one immediately... as soon as the larger one got close, she snagged it, too! It was the first time I've seen her struggle at all with a catch, but it was a minimal struggle (just enough to be exciting).

I have other big T news, but I don't have time to type it out right now. I just wanted to post that she ate again. Meanwhile, Babs looks like she is so fat she could burst!

Wednesday, August 2, 2006

Substrate & Hide advice, please - Safe Choices?

I am shopping around for substrate and hides for my B. smithi. The guy at the pet store made a recommendation for the substrate, but I'm so paranoid about buying the wrong thing. Here's what he recommended: Bed-A-Beast Litter. I was trying to find some sort of small amount to buy, so this seemed a viable option. I hate that a lot of these things don't tell you the ingredients, though! Today I shopped around the store and also found T-Rex Jungle Bed which looks a lot like what I've got (from the breeder). I know the breeder mixes two things to make his substrate, but I can't recall at the moment what those two things are.

As for the hide... I couldn't find anything small enough for the cage, so I was considering cutting a toilet paper (unscented) roll down and give that to her. Is this safe? I've seen where people use film canisters, but I think she needs something slightly larger. She has never had a hide before, but she doesn't really burrow - she just gets a little dent in the dirt or smooshes as close to a wall as possible. I think she would like a hide.

Thanks for any advice you guys can offer!

Zombie Spiders? I think not.

So... on Sunday the 30th I discovered that Bunny was dead.
  • Sunday, July 30th - Discover Bunny dead... hanging from a web in her cage.
  • Monday, July 31st -
    • Find a huge Daring Jumping Spider
    • Quickly clean out Bunny's cage
    • Catch new spider
    • Pose Bunny's carcass for several photos
    • NOTE: I did consider that he might be molting (though I'd never heard of spiders hanging to do that... and considered putting his carcas back in the cage (with new spider) until I could decide to part with it.
  • Tuesday, August 1st - Find Bunny's EMPTY carcass... He finished molting in the night... and ran off (since he wasn't caged). <pout> I also happened upon a children's book about spiders in which they show a spider molting - in the hanging position! Whey couldn't I have found that a day or two sooner?!

I had Bunny for 9 months. He was my first pet spider. The new resident in his old cage is a much larger female named Babs. I miss Bunny, but perhaps I'll see him around. Babs is much more skittish than Bunny was, so she doesn't make nearly as good a model. Impressively, though, she catches her food then stays up in the corner of her cage to eat it.

Meanwhile, Johnny died before I could even name him. (Johnny is the spider that was caught in a porta-john.) I brought him into the kitchen today (with the rest of the spiders) so I could photograph him. Well he plays possum real well. When I picked up his cage, he moved. He's not dead! He gets into this odd position... I guess when he feels threatened. I can't tell if he ate any of the cricket I gave him. I've put a live one in there now and will check back on them periodically.

And finally - I have not yet named the white spider. I'd love a punny name or something silly... snowball, perhaps. hahaha

I've taken photographs of ALL of the spiders today, but I'm far too tired to edit them all. I was absolutely giddy in the kitchen today, though... surrounded by all my babies and a bag o' treats for them. lol

Oh, and I took Anansi with me on errands today. She doesn't like to travel and I've decided maybe she could use an actual hide. Nothing at the pet store was small enough... I'm considering using a toilet paper roll cut down to size. I think I'll post to one of my spider communities for advice on that.

Also, I fed Anansi... I dropped a couple crickets into her cage and was watching as she snagged first one, then the other... she is eating them both at the same time! She has quite the mouthful! One of them did get away after a few minutes, but it didn't get far at all!

I'm a big dork for my babies. Thanks for reading this hyooj entry!