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Feedback on a loss in my collection.

jenny-o

New Member
I’m looking for help or feedback on my care and husbandry. I came home last night and went through my normal routine of checking on my slings to find my cyriocosmus leetzi wasn’t moving. It molted at the beginning of the month (the 4th I believe) and hasn’t eaten since. I found it sitting in what looked like a stress pose to me. It’s knees were up but it’s toes were not curled under. It didn’t move at all when I moved the enclosure and I knew something was wrong. Also the webbing of its burrow looks damaged completely (I’m not sure if this is significant. I normally get movement from this one. It will travel back and forth in its tunnel it made under the cork hide I gave it. I used a little needle to prod at its webbing and got no reaction and got worried. I dropped a droplet of water near it’s face to see if I would get a reaction and nothing. I prepared a spare enclosure with damp paper towel and waited. I didnt want to jump to move it on the off chance it was molting upright, but like I said it had molted at the beginning of the month so I didn’t think this was likely. After about 10min of watching with no movement I moved it to the paper towel. Flipped it over and put a droplet on its mouth and waited, after an hour with no change and no observed movement I gave into the fact that I lost this little one. I left it on it’s back with the droplet just on the off chance the situation would change overnight but I woke this morning and no change. This is my first loss since joining the hobby last May and I am having a really rough time of it.
A little background I picked this sling up in August. It has molted twice in my care, once in October (around the 14th) and once this month(around the 4th). I do my feedings on Wednesday and Saturday. The vendor I get my crickets from gets fresh shipments every Tuesday. This leetzi went off feed on 12/14. I journal any time one goes off feed and molts, I only own 11 so I’m still able to keep track of this stuff pretty easily. This was a long premolt compared to the first that only lasted 5 days. It went off October 9th and I found the molt on the 14th. It settled in when I first housed it no issue. I did have to rehouse it October 3 because of mold, but it webbed up its new cork right away and then molted 9-11 days later. I rotated the corner of the substrate I would wet down but never saw it lingering over the moisture. It never really looked stressed either, most days I would find it with its legs dangling out of either end of its tunnel or on top of its cork. I house all my slings on a dresser near my door. It’s a corner of the room that doesn’t get direct air from the vent in my room. My router is on the same dresser to keep a little extra warmth near my slings but I don’t believe it’s close enough to be an issue. We have been running the heater, it’s set to 72°f and I check the enclosures every other day. I have two extremely small Homoeomma Chilensis that I have to keep a close eye on so I just check all the slings. The only thing that stands out to me is that it hasn’t eaten. Even after it’s molt it didn’t look too slimmed down but it’s lost quite a bit of size since it’s molt.
I’m going to attach pictures of the tarantula, old and new, the enclosure as I found it yesterday with the damaged webbing and the shelf where I store my slings. I’ll try and put dates and notes so this all makes sense. I’m also going to stretch it’s legs for a size reference, I don’t believe this was a mature spider, it still has a waxy appearance to its carapace.
I’m sorry this is so long but I really am so upset about this and have no clue where I went wrong with my care. I would love to own this species again, I had such a wonderful time watching it, but not at the expense of another death if it’s something in my care I did wrong.
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Jess S

Well-Known Member
Hi Jenny. Really sorry you've had this loss.
Your photos are incredibly helpful as far as ruling stuff out. Which leaves just a couple of possibilities.

You say it went off food approx 7 days after its last moult? I assume that would be the first feed offered? And didn't eat since? A sling/juvie should never go off food like that hand in hand with loss of abdomen size. Makes me wonder if there was some problem with it not shedding it's sucking stomach in that moult.
I couldn't pinpoint where it's enclosure sits in the photo provided, but if it was near both the router and the lamp, and if the lamp is on a lot, that could potentially have caused the enclosure to overheat enough to cause problems.
However, I'm more inclined to feel something went wrong with that moult.
Unfortunately, sometimes slings and juveniles die and we never find out why. I'm sure it's nothing to do with your care, even the most experienced keepers can attest to an approx 10% mortality rate with their slings. Probably slighter lower for juveniles but still can happen.
 

Arachnoclown

Well-Known Member
1,000+ Post Club
Premium Member
@Jess S I was thinking the sucking stomach myself but in my experience they live alot longer and get really skinny. They usually end up drowning in their water bowls trying to drink. Still could be the cause though... if the molt is still available we can check.

Spiders can die many unexplainable ways. More then likely this spiders died from internal injury from molting. Husbandry looked great for this spider so definitely not due to improper care.
Sorry for your loss :confused:
 

Jess S

Well-Known Member
@Jess S I was thinking the sucking stomach myself but in my experience they live alot longer and get really skinny. They usually end up drowning in their water bowls trying to drink. Still could be the cause though... if the molt is still available we can check.

Spiders can die many unexplainable ways. More then likely this spiders died from internal injury from molting. Husbandry looked great for this spider so definitely not due to improper care.
Sorry for your loss :confused:
Thanks that's really informative and thinking about it, it does seem a bit quick to be a unshed sucking stomach.
 

jenny-o

New Member
So it was a lot of info to take in, I’m sorry, the sling stopped eating December 14th. That was the first time it refused food and it hadn’t eaten since. I really do mean refuse too. It would avoid anything I was putting in for it. I tong fed this one plenty of times she was not timid at all. I was hoping it had something to do with the season/weather. The molt happened January 4th which just felt too long to me for a sling. So there was a big gap of time before and after the molt it didn’t eat.
The lamp only comes on for feedings, watering and observation, but doesn’t stay consistently on. The router is approximately 3-4 inches from any of the enclosures. Is this an unnecessary measure? Am I keeping my slings warm for no reason? I can move that router, just figured it would be a way to warm that space without containing the heat. I’m in a master bedroom w/vaulted ceilings so even with the heat on it can feel chilly sometimes.
The area I marked, where I found it, was where I had wet the substrate on Saturday. I had given her a pinhead and left her with it about an hour. She avoided it, when I went back to check she still hasn’t taken it so I pulled it. The last time I put eyes on her was Monday night and I checked to see if that area was still damp. I will check the molt when I get home from work, but she did stop eating before her molt. I can’t promise I can get it flat without damaging it, I will try. It’s abdomen had gotten much smaller then I was used to, I had thought she would snap out of it and eat for me.
I appreciate hearing from you guys, this has been really disheartening. I was worried I should have asked more before getting slings. I spent months on here lurking, and reading through posts and on other blogs. I wanted to be prepared and was proud of how well they are all doing. This was a stark reminder to me of how delicate these beautiful little t’s are. You have been really helpful. Thank you.
 

Jess S

Well-Known Member
It wouldn't be the sucking stomach, as the January moult would have resolved any issue that happened with the December moult.

You have been providing good care. Just been unlucky.

A final thought, some young T's are wussies when it comes to killing their own prey. I have a couple of slings that will only take pre-killed at the moment. If you run into a similar problem in the future, it's worth trying leaving pre-killed (or heavily maimed) prey overnight to see if that tempts it.

Don't let this put you off though. Everyone will have a t that just doesn't respond to their best efforts at some point.
 

Nunua

Well-Known Member
3 Year Member
Sorry to hear about your loss.
@Jess S and @Arachnoclown have told good possible reasons, so I'll just say that don't get discouraged from this. Some individuals are not meant to survive and unfortunately we don't know it until it's too late.
 

Arachnoclown

Well-Known Member
1,000+ Post Club
Premium Member
It wouldn't be the sucking stomach, as the January moult would have resolved any issue that happened with the December moult.

You have been providing good care. Just been unlucky.

A final thought, some young T's are wussies when it comes to killing their own prey. I have a couple of slings that will only take pre-killed at the moment. If you run into a similar problem in the future, it's worth trying leaving pre-killed (or heavily maimed) prey overnight to see if that tempts it.

Don't let this put you off though. Everyone will have a t that just doesn't respond to their best efforts at some point.
That's when it could have lost its sucking stomach, January 4th . They only can lose them during a molt...the previous molt was October 14ish. So it was eating fine till December14th so there was no complications in October. Losing a sucking stomach for a tarantula is a death sentence...chances making it to the next molt is extremely slim.
With the additional heat it may have dehydrated fast after the molt not being able to drink.
The missing webbing is interesting to me. Looks as if it was trying to get some kind of nourishment. I dont think tarantulas eat their web like spiders but I wouldnt say it was far fetched for thinking it. But no one really know and it's really sad. Unless the OP still has the molt...we can see if that was the problem fairly easy. :confused:
 

Jess S

Well-Known Member
That's when it could have lost its sucking stomach, January 4th . They only can lose them during a molt...the previous molt was October 14ish. So it was eating fine till December14th so there was no complications in October. Losing a sucking stomach for a tarantula is a death sentence...chances making it to the next molt is extremely slim.
With the additional heat it may have dehydrated fast after the molt not being able to drink.
The missing webbing is interesting to me. Looks as if it was trying to get some kind of nourishment. I dont think tarantulas eat their web like spiders but I wouldnt say it was far fetched for thinking it. But no one really know and it's really sad. Unless the OP still has the molt...we can see if that was the problem fairly easy. :confused:
Thanks for clearing that up. I thought it had stopped feeding at its first moult and for some reason I typed December, wrong twice there then!!! :D
I found the missing web interesting too but didn't know what to make of it. Your theory is plausible.

Do you have a photo of a moult showing the sucking stomach for Jenny by any chance? I can take a photo of one of mine tomorrow but I'll have to learn how to mark the area!! Duh! @jenny-o you won't need to flatten the moult to see it. But a magnifying glass may help as it's a small moult. We'll try and get a good photo for you.
Edit: actually if the legs are curled up as they usually are, you may need to flatten it. Just soak it in water with a tiny drop of dish soap for a few minutes and you'll find it easy to manipulate. Apologies if you already know how to do this!
 

jenny-o

New Member
I haven’t abandoned this post I promise, I’ve been on call the last few nights and the OR I work at has been busy, sorry. To the blind eye the newest/larger molt doesn’t appear to have the sucking stomach. I don’t believe my iPhone will be able to magnify a good enough photo but my dad says he has a jewelry loop I'm going to see if I can make that work I’m going to soak and pin both molts tonight and see if I’m wrong about the stomach. I need to maneuver the legs to get a better view before I say for sure.
@Arachnoclown I wasn’t aware that spiders ate their own webs. Really cool and amazing thing to learn, but like you said I was reading about it and couldn’t find anything that said tarantulas do this. I was thinking it was more a sign of distress that I should have noticed earlier. This spider ate live food from the first time I fed it, sometimes it would take right from the tongs so I don’t think it was an issue of pre-killed vs. live food.
I was also wondering, if it wasn’t able to eat would the venom still breakdown a prey item? I feel like if it was having an issue eating between October and December when it stopped taking food I would have seen pinhead carcasses left behind that had been tagged but uneaten. Will a tarantula that has lost it’s sucking stomach still tag prey and attempt to eat?
I will get you guys a “for sure” verdict on the sucking stomach. I’m feeling a little less guilty about this whole situation, I’m just aware that I’m still new and had to make sure it’s not something I could have prevented. I will definitely try with this species again. It really is a beautiful species. Not sure if you guys watch Birdspiderch on youtube, but it was totally bittersweet, he posted video of c.leezi in the wild this week. I want to see one through to maturity and I will. Thanks for the information and advice. I’ll do my best to get pictures for you guys.
 

Jess S

Well-Known Member
@Arachnoclown will probably give you an in-depth answer to your questions around venom and interest in tagging prey if issues arise with the sucking stomach. My take on it is, the venom comes from venom glands located near the fangs themselves. Venom primarily incapacitates the prey, but I believe it also contains substances (enzymes?) that help break the prey down. However, the tarantula 'vomits' digestive juices onto the prey and these do a lot of the work in breaking down solids combined with the fangs which mash up the prey.
So yes a t with a sucking stomach problem can still deliver a venomous bite. Typically, it would tag the prey, try to feed but end up leaving it discarded. As it can't drink either, it will become dehydrated and I would expect a dehydrated t to lose all interest in its food.
 

Jess S

Well-Known Member
I was just about to ask if you'd noticed it spending an unusual amount of time in or hovering by its waterdish. I skimmed through your posts and it seems that you didnt use one but wet a corner of substrate instead, but you say that you didn't notice it lingering in that area? Or have I got that wrong? It's been a long day so I'd better check!
 

InternetSwag

Active Member
Beautiful sling and beautiful enclosure. Sorry for your loss. I don't think this has anything causes by something you could have prevented. Looks really well cared for.
 
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