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New Fireleg sling behavior?

Domondios

New Member
Hi All, this is my first post on the Forum.

+-2.5weeks ago I bought my first ever T, which is a 1inch Mexican Fireleg sling. I was set up by the Pet Store with a squared glass enclosure, spider peat for substrate +-2inch deep, a rock for the sling to use to its advantage for burrowing etc. & extra-small crickets.

Upon arriving at home, I put 3 extra-small crickets in the enclosure and one-by-one she slowly consumed them over a few hours. Clearly he/she was really hungry and I don't know when last the T fed. I took it as a good thing that the T settled down immediately and was comfortable enough to eat safely.

Approximately 1 week later I started to notice that the abdomen has swollen up a bit and was shiny with a clear bald spot. I was informed that it was either a sign of premolt or the T had flicked its hairs during its time in the new enclosure with the live crickets running around. The T then created a burrow at the base of the rock feature. Unfortunately, after a few days, the rock tipped over and fell. The T wasn't injured but it required me to redo the enclosure by resetting the substrate and fitting the rock nice and tight to avoid the same issue happening again.

The T proceeded with redoing the burrow and it spent about 2 days until it slowly closed up the entrance about 70% of the way. I haven't seen the T since then (Tue 14 Jan) and after dropping in a single cricket to see if the T was hungry or not, there was no response from the T, even when the cricket ventured down the burrow. When the cricket resurfaced, I ensured to remove it from the enclosure as not to bother the T, especially if it is molting.

I've been told to just leave the T alone and give it time to come out on its own. I was also told that if the T doesn't come out its burrow after 1 month, that I must then make a move and dig up its burrow to see if the T is still alive or not. Some others told me to wait up to 3 months before going on the search for the T.

What advice can anyone here give to me in regards to all of this? I only had the sling for a week before it burrowed, so I'm certain that there wasn't anything wrong with the T over such a short time after purchasing it.

Every 3 days or so, I spray a little bit of water into the enclosure to assist in keeping the substrate hydrated.

Looking forward to feedback here. So far, the forum I signed up with a week ago, have offered very little advice aside from 'That doesn't sound good' and 'Just leave the T until it resurfaces'

Thanks all,
 

Nunua

Well-Known Member
3 Year Member
Hello, welcome to the forum and congrats on your new little T.

Clearly he/she was really hungry and I don't know when last the T fed.
Actually no, you cannot tell if the sling was really hungry or not. Tarantulas are opportunistic eaters and keep eating until they are too full to eat more. This is not a good thing because a fat T is sensitive to get internal and external injuries due to inability to lift their overly stretched abdomen.
Though, I'm sure your sling is just fine but to be honest, after three crickets you probably don't need to feed it until it molts.

Approximately 1 week later I started to notice that the abdomen has swollen up a bit and was shiny with a clear bald spot. I was informed that it was either a sign of premolt or the T had flicked its hairs during its time in the new enclosure with the live crickets running around.
Slings are more or less in premolt all the time because they grow faster than juveniles / adults. I'm pretty sure that you have already heard how slings molt quite frequently so I give you a friendly advice: Don't get stressed if you find out that your sling hasn't molted even after staying hidden for a month. Brachypelma species are slow growing ones already when small. My Brachypelma auratum (in the photo) has always had molt cycle over 70 days, even when it looked the same as your B. boehmei at the moment. Currently I don't even remember when was the last time this has eaten.


Unfortunately, after a few days, the rock tipped over and fell. The T wasn't injured but it required me to redo the enclosure by resetting the substrate and fitting the rock nice and tight to avoid the same issue happening again.
Good thing nothing happened to the T and a lesson was learned.

I haven't seen the T since then (Tue 14 Jan) and after dropping in a single cricket to see if the T was hungry or not, there was no response from the T, even when the cricket ventured down the burrow. When the cricket resurfaced, I ensured to remove it from the enclosure as not to bother the T, especially if it is molting.
When overfed or just full, slings stop eating even if they took a month or two before molting. It's just because that's all they can do when fat - They can't eat more but the new exoskeleton is not ready. They just wait. It's normal for any sling to be burrowed when small because it's their only proper way to be safe.
Also, when trying to feed a burrowed sling, it might be better to kill the cricket and leave it next to the burrow entrance. Slings are scavengers so they eat prekilled prey and this way you won't accidentally give cricket a free meal from molting sling.

I've been told to just leave the T alone and give it time to come out on its own. I was also told that if the T doesn't come out its burrow after 1 month, that I must then make a move and dig up its burrow to see if the T is still alive or not. Some others told me to wait up to 3 months before going on the search for the T.
Well there are as many thoughts as keepers. I have always just left my slings to be without destroying their burrows. :) Usually slings come out when they get ready to eat again.
However, if you start feeling like digging the sling out, before destroying the whole burrow you could first just open the burrow entrance a bit and shine light in. Also, check the bottom and all sides to see if the sling has dug its burrow in a way that you can see in.

Have a nice time with your B. boehmei and let it introduce you to the world of tarantulas. You are going to need a lot of patience in this hobby and a slow growing species will show you why :D
 
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Domondios

New Member
Brilliant. Thanks for all your input. I have all the patience in the world, so the T can grow at whatever pace it needs. As long as it's happy, healthy and comfortable, I'll be content with everything else that takes place.

I will try and kill the crickets but they are so tiny that it takes nothing to squash the buggers. I will endeavor to provide as much dead/legless feeders going forward.
 

FishermanSteve

Well-Known Member
3 Year Member
I've been told to just leave the T alone and give it time to come out on its own.
I agree with this. In 12 years in the hobby I have never had to dig up a sling and I would assume most experienced hobbyists would agree. Your setup looks good, slings require a little more moisture than juveniles and adults because they don’t haven’t developed a waxy layer on their exoskeleton that retains moisture. I keep at least part of the substrate moist in all of my sling enclosures. IMO the fact that it settled in and burrowed means that it feels comfortable. I agree with @Nunua that patience is a big part of this hobby and I can’t wait to see your collection grow!
 

Domondios

New Member
Thanks for the encouraging feedback. I've always been able to just look at the current state of my beardies and their environment, and have gone on my instinct to provide more water, food, heat, light etc. The same applies to my T. I looked at the substrate and it seemed to be drying up, so I rehydrated the enclosure and the substrate last night.

I will now just sit back and wait. If it has molted, I'm going to be so excited to see the changes. I absolutely love my T sling, from within minutes of purchasing him/her. I will keep you all updated on the latest developments. To read/hear that the T is more than likely comfortable and happy, makes me feel more comfortable and happy. I spend time with the T and it's enclosure every day and night. This may sound strange but I speak encouraging words to my T all the time, even since it went into its burrow :)
 

Domondios

New Member
Hi everyone,

This is just an update on my T and nothing much to update on. My T hasn't come out yet and I can confirm that the entrance to her burrow is now only about 30% covered up which allows me to shine a light inside. It's been constructed really nicely and it snakes around the corner, so, unfortunately, I can't see the T, but I get to admire the T's ability to build a great space for it to feel safe and comfortable.

The next post on this thread will be either when the T resurfaces, or if it's been 2 months, and I plan on finding the T myself. I will get all of your advice first before looking for the T. I'd hate to overlook something that could have been prevented. I remain optimistic that nothing is wrong, all thanks to everyone here who has made this easier than it would have been without all of you.

Keep safe, well and I hope all your T's remain strong and healthy. Until then... Cheers
 

Domondios

New Member
I just had to do a welfare check. I've had my sling in its burrow for 85% of the time since I bought it. I was told that it's best to leave it alone but if I'm genuinely concerned about her life, then I should just locate her.

I did locate her under an inch of the substrate, in the far corner of the enclosure. My sling has grown a bit over the past 2 weeks. A nice color has emerged on its legs. This also gave me the chance to repack her enclosure so that I could get the rock repositioned, which offers my sling an ideal spot to get cover and feel safe too. I set up the water cap to be like a built-in pool, to make it easier for the sling to access the water. I've dropped in a legless extra-small cricket to see if it's hungry.

If my sling decides to burrow and stay burrowed again, I will be far more comfortable with the situation and won't ever go hunting for it again. So all in all, I know she is fine and alive and her enclosure is better laid out now too. Pictures to follow soon...
 

Domondios

New Member
Hi everyone. Well, it's now been 4 days since I located my sling and it has been really busy with landscaping. It's now digging up a huge trench behind the rock and it can be seen in its part-burrow at the moment.

Based on some threads I've been reading, I should not provide so much substrate (2") for such a small sling, especially if I don't like having it digging and hiding. I don't have a problem with it, personally. Just as long as it doesn't accidentally have the burrow collapse on it.

I do have two questions to ask, which is bugging me a bit:

Question 1

Is it recommended that I find a permanent spot in the house to keep the enclosure, or is it fine if I move the enclosure to a number of spots during a day?


I'm in the process of getting a digital thermostat to regulate the temperature, but until then, I move the enclosure based on the conditions in each area of the house.

There are 3 spots that it moves between, which are; daughter's room, spare room, and the lounge. At different periods during the day, I would move it from a cold room into a warmer room, or from a stuffy-humid room into a neutral room.

Question 2

Would the sling freak out or hide, in fear, if I placed it opposite my bearded dragon's cage?


My dragons have no idea about the sling, and wouldn't be interested in it anyway, but how would the sling respond to seeing the dragons close-by? I feel that it wouldn't be scared, due to it being in a safe environment, but I can't say for certain whether this is the case or not.

Any advice?
 

Domondios

New Member
Well, my T dug a new burrow directly up against the glass enclosure. This allowed me to always locate it and also offered the best seat in the house to witness it's first molt. Incredible to see it in action and the result is amazing. The colors are now coming through and the whole structure of my T has changed. It looks stunning and now just waiting it out before I try and feed it. I really want to figure out the sex, but not sure if it's too early still. I'll upload some before, during and after pics of the molt. I can't stop admiring my T.
 

Jess S

Well-Known Member
1,000+ Post Club
How on earth did I miss all your updates in this thread? It's great having updates on a slings progress and as you continue to periodically update, we can all watch your sling grow. If you can keep it up until adulthood years down the line, that would be fascinating, even if you just update on growth or particular points of interest.
In answer to your questions above, I don't think your sling would enjoy being carried to location to location around the house, plus there's always the risk of accidentally dropping the enclosure, or disturbing it in moult. It would be easier to keep it in one location and find a way of keeping the temperature within a good range. Anything from high sixties to low 80s fahrenheit.
Your sling wouldn't be bothered by the bearded dragons as their eyesight is extremely poor. So maybe opposite your beadie's enclosure (I presume that's a nice warm spot) would be ideal. As long as it isn't close to any heat mats or hot spots, that is.
 

Domondios

New Member
It's all good. Thanks for your reply.

I held off feeding for a week after the molt and the moment I dropped a cricket into the enclosure my T pounced onto it.

It took my T about 3.5hrs to finish the first cricket and then again with the second cricket. I dropped in a tiny Dubia Roach prior, but it quickly buried itself.

Yesterday I noticed my T was holding something and when I looked closer I noticed legs moving. The Roach clearly came out from hiding and was quickly dispatched. I attached a pic of this.
IMG_20200219_072119.jpg


My T is in pre-molt again. Massive abdomen, black spot with a bald area of hairs. Can't wait to see it transform again.
 

Jess S

Well-Known Member
1,000+ Post Club
Nice! If you're using Dubia's then squishing their heads with your tongs, though gross, will stop the burrowing and they'll still move about enough for your sling to detect. In fact, they can live quite some time without their heads, weird creatures!!
 

Domondios

New Member
Nice! If you're using Dubia's then squishing their heads with your tongs, though gross, will stop the burrowing and they'll still move about enough for your sling to detect. In fact, they can live quite some time without their heads, weird creatures!!
Ok great. I can definitely do that. I think then I don't need to worry about my T getting injured by a frantic roach.
The worst feeder I use is Superworms.
They squirm around so damn much to a point where they are spinning like crazy :) LOL
Especially when using tongs.
Other than that, they are my favorite feeder to keep and raise, after Dubia's.

I will report back after the next feeding session. Hopefully I can sex my T soon, but based on some details I found, I believe that I have a female. I really wanted a female badly, but even if it turns out to be a male, I'm going to obsess about him always.
 

Jess S

Well-Known Member
1,000+ Post Club
Ok great. I can definitely do that. I think then I don't need to worry about my T getting injured by a frantic roach.
The worst feeder I use is Superworms.
They squirm around so damn much to a point where they are spinning like crazy :) LOL
Especially when using tongs.
Other than that, they are my favorite feeder to keep and raise, after Dubia's.

I will report back after the next feeding session. Hopefully I can sex my T soon, but based on some details I found, I believe that I have a female. I really wanted a female badly, but even if it turns out to be a male, I'm going to obsess about him always.
Even if it does turn out to be male it won't mature for around 5-7 years approx and will live quite a nice while after so you'll have it for ages :)

You can also squish superworms (my autocorrect just changed that to superwoman lol) and mealworms heads in exactly the same way. Horrible to do, but as @Phil once said, makes such a satisfying sound....lol
 

Domondios

New Member
Even if it does turn out to be male it won't mature for around 5-7 years approx and will live quite a nice while after so you'll have it for ages :)

You can also squish superworms (my autocorrect just changed that to superwoman lol) and mealworms heads in exactly the same way. Horrible to do, but as @Phil once said, makes such a satisfying sound....lol
Lmfao. I've squeezed a couple worms heads on the past out of frustration. Kept spinning like a crocodile /alligator, along with spraying its liquid all over myself and my bearded dragons.

My T is definitely in pre molt because she bolted away from the Dubia yesterday. She molted 3 weeks ago, so I'm not sure whether she will molt again soon. How long does a fireleg have between molting in general? Thanks for all your input
 

Jess S

Well-Known Member
1,000+ Post Club
Lmfao. I've squeezed a couple worms heads on the past out of frustration. Kept spinning like a crocodile /alligator, along with spraying its liquid all over myself and my bearded dragons.

My T is definitely in pre molt because she bolted away from the Dubia yesterday. She molted 3 weeks ago, so I'm not sure whether she will molt again soon. How long does a fireleg have between molting in general? Thanks for all your input
Haha I hate worms!
I would guess your sling just wasn't hungry or just got startled (was the Dubia too big?) as she will go a lot more time between moults. Even my faster growing slings go 6-8 weeks. Brachys take forever to moult! For instance, I have a 1cm B smithi since September 19 which I presume was 2 instar when I got it. It's moulted 1x. My B. auratum sling bought at the same time has moulted 2x. I'd go with @Nunua that you're looking at a roughly 70 day cycle. But that's just a guess, as although I have an adult female boehmei I've only just bought it. Maybe others can chip in on their boehmei slings moult cycles if they've experienced something different.
 

Nunua

Well-Known Member
3 Year Member
My T is definitely in pre molt because she bolted away from the Dubia yesterday. She molted 3 weeks ago, so I'm not sure whether she will molt again soon. How long does a fireleg have between molting in general? Thanks for all your input
I'd go with @Nunua that you're looking at a roughly 70 day cycle. But that's just a guess, as although I have an adult female boehmei I've only just bought it. Maybe others can chip in on their boehmei slings moult cycles if they've experienced something different.
I'm here to tell that my god damn B. auratum with DLS roughly 2.5 cm molted last time in August 2019 - I know this because its still missing one front leg. My B. boehmei, DLS roughly 5 cm molted last time on June 26, 2019.
They both haven't eaten in a while anymore, so don't get stressed out about long molt cycles :D
 

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