This was one of the first photos I snapped of S.B. We tend to assign a sex randomly to new juvenile pets. It makes naming them easier and sometimes it just seems like a certain pet is male or female. Other times, we're just hopeful for a female because they live longer or hopeful for a male for breeding opportunities. While I've been a Tarantula Hobbyist for 5 years, this breed is new to me and it hadn't occurred to me to really check for the sex. "She" had been really active and friendly. She was perfectly happy to walk around on me and would get out of her cage given much of a chance. Once I had just the little door open on the top and she popped out suddenly!
So she would run around in circles in her cage. She would often seem to chase crickets forever and sometimes not catch them at all. Then recently she just... stopped. She looked to be in a death curl. (Tarantulas on their backs are likely molting. Tarantulas upright with legs curled under them are likely dying.) Here is a photo of her from a few days ago:
I had gotten her to eat the week before. I had been giving her water. She would not snap out of it. Then our breeder friend asked me a very thought-provoking question: Are you sure she is a she? Oh! Um, no. I do not know why it had not occurred to me! Considering the behavior... I wrote it off as being an arboreal thing because she had been my first arboreal species. The behavior actually matched Sam's - our only known male tarantula.
I know how to determine the sex, but I'm a bit creeped out by handling dead pets. I was alright to take a few snapshots, but I'm still debating actually poking and prodding to check for tibial spurs and bulbous pedipalps. I'm at peace with she being a he. I'm a little irked that I didn't check when I got him. I'm a bit irked that I spent about $70 on a pet I had for about 6 months. Tarantulas are cheap pets to keep, but not all species are cheap to purchase. I hope to get an Avicularia versicolor sling from our breeder friend soon. He has been promising to cut open a lot of different egg sacs soon, so it is promising!