Sunday, November 28, 2010

Death by Natural Causes

Sam is the Oklahoma Brown that I caught at work (inside the building) and is responsible for setting my husband off, joining me in this hobby. He was an adult male, so we knew he wasn't long for this world. A female was seen in the vicinity, but I couldn't find her to catch her. We hope he got to breed before I caught him. Someone would likely have stomped him if he had been left in the building. In fact, multiple people from work called and texted me when he was found.

Anyway, he passed yesterday. We suspected it was coming, he has been acting... slow and shaky. We considered purchasing a spade and providing a "proper burial" but instead chose for the garbage can. My husband is anxious to purchase a new species or for me to catch another for him.

This makes the 3rd tarantula to die in my care, but it has been a few years. The 2nd was another WC Oklahoma Brown (Special K - also of natural causes). The very 1st was my 1st dear T, Mallory.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Arachnid Family Update

Remember those eggs? Well I probably should have sewn the egg sac back together before returning it to Ghost (Elmo's Grammostola rosea). It tipped some and then she rolled it some more and lost all but a few eggs. Elmo removed the sac, but the eggs still sit in her hide. They are lost, most definitely lost. You know, I recall noticing Ghost sticking her abdomen straight up behind her shortly before she laid eggs. I bet that had something to do with the process!

Then there is SFB (Brachypelma albopilosum). When last I posted about him (?), he had tunneled a very nice burrow against the edge of his cage so we've been able to watch him. He has stopped working on it and the side with the entrance appears to be slowly caving. He did push some dirt up under it and has supported the higher side with more webbing. So we're totally unsure whether it is closed by design or it just happened.

Then today Elmo texted me to let me know SFB was molting! Now I wonder if he just built the burrow for molting. He has shoved the exuvium toward the entrance of his burrow. I want to see how big he is, but haven't seen him stretch out yet.

S.B. (Avicularia versicolor) has continued her high webbing over to the small limb I added to her enclosure.

Anansi (Brachypelma smithi) is faster than ever since she molted!

Sam (Aphonopelma hentzi) is looking nearer and nearer to death every day. Sometimes we think he is dead and then he moves. He curls up a lot.

Our scorpion, Butch (Heterometrus longimanus), has not been nearly as interesting as we expected.

King (Theraphosa blondi) has been placed into a larger enclosure. He(?) now has a 10 gallon aquarium. He moved his nice hide. He has a water dish and a humidity gauge. His new cage also had room to include my old aquarium skull. It doesn't look human, more animal. Either way, it looks pretty cool in there and King hung out by it for a day or so. We figure he likes it, too.

That just leaves Chaos (Grammostola rosea). She hasn't had any interesting developments lately. There's been plenty of other excitement, so no worries. I find myself wondering if she'll molt sometime soon. She hasn't molted since I got her and now Anansi has molted again. I just think Chaos is due.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Rose Hair Laid Eggs! What to do??

My husband and I now have 8 arachnids between us. We considered breeding and discussed it at length before deciding against it. We each have a Rose Hair that we purchased from a pet store. He has had his a couple of months. Then last month we got small clay pots for hides and renovated her habitat. Last week she webbed herself completely into the pot. She hid in there for a couple of days, then the web was GONE and she was hovering over a ball of web.

Grammostola roseaGrammostola rosea with web ball

We figured she had molted and rolled up the old skin in a ball like such garbage to be discarded. But she kept hovering over it! Today my husband spent 20 minutes trying to get the "garbage" out because she finally stepped away from it. She kept coming back when he reached into her cage. He put it in a little jar for me to check out when I got home, because I love to see the old skin!

I poked at the sac. Soft... soft... crunchy. Crazy! It felt kind of creepy. I didn't have an exact-o blade, so I just gripped the sac gently and pulled apart. I got a LOT of web, but it split in two. There was more web under that. I gripped deeper and pulled apart again. Imagine my surprise when I found EGGS!

Grammostola roseaGrammostola rosea egg sac

My husband feels HORRIBLE about fighting her to take her babies away! We've put the damaged sac back and some eggs fell out. I wonder if she'll put it all back together. I have found 1 page that says gestation is 6 weeks. We are totally unprepared for slings! I know there could be 80-1000, but we think it is on the low end.

We have her in a Kritter Keeper and are worried the slings will just get right out through the lid. Can we use cheese cloth between the cage and lid? Anyone have any experience here? Can we send the sac to a breeder? Suggestions, PLEASE??

Friday, November 5, 2010

Great Investment!

My recent investment into 1 Avicularia versicolor (Antilles Pinktoe) and 1 Brachypelma albopilosum (Curly Hair) has really paid off! My A. versicolor (S.B.) is my first arboreal species. She wasted no time in building a tunnel web up the corner and then a hammock type web over from the top. She has been interesting to watch, though not otherwise very active.

Then there is the B. albopilosum (SeƱor Fuzzy Britches)! He originally didn't seem to be changing his new habitat at all. Then he) was slowly moving dirt from one end of his Kritter Keeper to the other. Eventually he had a mound almost to the top of one end of the cage and one opposite corner was dug out all the way to the bottom. Now he has begun to dig a hole in the bottom of the mound and some of that dirt is being carried into the original empty corner. It is fascinating to watch! I love that while he is burrowing, he is doing it where we can still watch! Earlier he was making some sort of squeaking noise... I think it is the sound of his feet sliding against the plastic. It has been cool to watch dirt being carried in the chelicerae!

Note: These babies are all juveniles, so the he/she is really just a guess at this point. We think of S.B. as a girl and SFBritches as a boy.