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Novice tarantula owner worried about spider

Zannee2000

New Member
I have a Aphonopelma chalcodes also known as a Arizona blonde and bought her about 10 months ago she is three inches and has never melted since I’ve gotten her. She has had the bald spot indicating a moly for as long as I’ve had her. She seems to eat though not all the time and never in front of me and there’s no indications she’s sick but I just worried that she hasn’t molted
 

WolfSpider

Well-Known Member
3 Year Member
Rest easy, friend. A.. chalcodes are notoriously SLOW growers. An urt patch on one of these species basically means that a molt is imminent within a calendar year. I have had a subadult female for 6 years and she has only molted once.
 

ilovebrachys

Well-Known Member
1,000+ Post Club
I have a Aphonopelma chalcodes also known as a Arizona blonde and bought her about 10 months ago she is three inches and has never melted since I’ve gotten her. She has had the bald spot indicating a moly for as long as I’ve had her. She seems to eat though not all the time and never in front of me and there’s no indications she’s sick but I just worried that she hasn’t molted
As @WolfSpider has said above,
I wouldn't worry about your chalcodes not moulting.. They can keep you waiting a lot longer than that for a moult :) it's perfectly normal and being a slow growing species they are also slow to moult - bald spots can just be where she has kicked hair, the tarantula will do its thing when it's ready to ;)
 
I have a Aphonopelma chalcodes also known as a Arizona blonde and bought her about 10 months ago she is three inches and has never melted since I’ve gotten her. She has had the bald spot indicating a moly for as long as I’ve had her. She seems to eat though not all the time and never in front of me and there’s no indications she’s sick but I just worried that she hasn’t molted
Zannee2000 -

You worry too much. "Everthin's gonna be a'right!"

The bald patch holds very little significance. At best, it indicates that something has rubbed the urticating bristles off. Nothing more profound. Back in the day when Marguerite and I were dealing in tarantulas, we'd often get tarantulas shipped to us that were already half bald, but still had the old exuvium in the shipping cup. (Some animal wholesalers are really bad about keeping their tarantulas clean.)

What's "three inches?" The body length? The Diagonal leg span (DLS)? The length of its longest leg? Something else?

If it has a 3" body length, that means it has a DLS approximating 6". In that case it's pretty much fully grown, and should have molted sometime between last March and the end of June. (But then there's always that one in 10,000 who NEVER, EVER looks at a calendar, and molts whenever they darn well please!)

And there are all kinds of reasons why it didn't molt, few or none of which you have any control over. For instance, very old tarantulas sometimes switch to molting every second year. And, I had a huge Brachypelma emilia (see attachment) that eventually switched to molting every third year when she was an estimated 25 years old. She lived to be an estimated 35 to 40 years old!

If it has a 3" DLS, it's still a "young-un," still growing, and it will molt whenever it gets good and ready to. Newly hatched tarantula spiderlings usually molt every four to eight weeks, but the intermolt period gradually lengthens as the spider ages and grows. By the time they're 2/3 or 3/4 grown (that could be your chalcodes) they begin to switch to molting once a year, almost always during their local Spring.

And then we have to consider that within the last year your little buddy has undergone a traumatic lifestyle change. If it was wild caught (often labelled "WC" on price lists), it had to readjust from a widely and wildly varying, natural climate to one that's maddeningly stable and uniform in your home. If this is the case, it may be reacting like the Chilean roses described in Care and Husbandry of the Chilean Rose...

If yours was cage bred, the transition wasn't so severe, but the light and temperature cycles (for instance) are still markedly different between your bedroom and the breeder's basement or garage. Still a lifestyle change, though. Maybe it just needs time to readjust.

Another thought: Are you keeping this tarantula in a desert-like cage, on bone dry substrate (but hopefully with a water dish)? Or are you still keeping it like a baby on slightly damp substrate?

"Plan A." If the cage is bone dry, try mimicking a short rainy season. Retard cage ventilation a lot (maybe with a layer of Saran wrap) and lightly dampen the substrate at one end of its cage for a month. Mark the date on a calendar, and make notes of any unusual behavior. Especially, did the damper conditions induce a molt? After that month, successful or not, follow the directions in the next paragraph.

"Plan B." If you're keeping it on slightly damp substrate, you're doing it all wrong. THIS IS A DESERT TARANTULA! These evolved to survive in one of the world's harshest deserts. Keeping it even slightly damp is probably, but not absolutely, throwing its whole life plan out of kilter. Increase ventilation and stop whatever you're doing to maintain the dampness and higher humidity. Make sure it has a water dish, and make sure it always has water in it. From now on, Sonora Desert is the status quo.

If there is no success, about next March, go back to "Plan A," above.

Here's my last thought on the topic (Plan "C."). If it doesn't molt after doing the above: This Summer, try to keep the tarantula in a warmer room in your home. Not stiflingly hot, but not in an air conditioned refrigerator at 65 degrees, either. The 80s to low 90s wouldn't be bad. Feed it about as much as it'll eat. MAKE SURE IT ALWAYS HAS A WATER DISH WITH WATER!

About next November or December (don't forget that calendar!), move it to the coolest room in your home, as long as it doesn't freeze. Fifty degrees would be about ideal, but it will tolerate temperatures near freezing for a day or two. (Didn't you know that there are a lot of places in Arizona that get snow in Winter?) Offer it a cricket or a roach once a week. If it doesn't eat, remove the food after 24 hours or so. About next March (keep that calendar going!) move it back to normal room temperatures. And offer it more food.

Stand back. And don't let either the cat or the gerbil into the same room with that tarantula. It's going to be ravenous after its Winter rest period, and I don't want to precipitate a major family disaster!

Whatever happens, get back to us on this forum, hopefully referencing this thread, to tell us how the issues turned out. (Remember that calendar?)

----------------------------------------------------------------
Is it going to die?

"We are going to die. You're going to die, I'm going to die, we're all going to die... just not today."

- - Taylor Kitsch as Lieutenant Alex Hopper in the movie "Battleship," Peter Berg , director. 2012.
----------------------------------------------------------------
 

Attachments

Zannee2000

New Member
Zannee2000 -

You worry too much. "Everthin's gonna be a'right!"

The bald patch holds very little significance. At best, it indicates that something has rubbed the urticating bristles off. Nothing more profound. Back in the day when Marguerite and I were dealing in tarantulas, we'd often get tarantulas shipped to us that were already half bald, but still had the old exuvium in the shipping cup. (Some animal wholesalers are really bad about keeping their tarantulas clean.)

What's "three inches?" The body length? The Diagonal leg span (DLS)? The length of its longest leg? Something else?

If it has a 3" body length, that means it has a DLS approximating 6". In that case it's pretty much fully grown, and should have molted sometime between last March and the end of June. (But then there's always that one in 10,000 who NEVER, EVER looks at a calendar, and molts whenever they darn well please!)

And there are all kinds of reasons why it didn't molt, few or none of which you have any control over. For instance, very old tarantulas sometimes switch to molting every second year. And, I had a huge Brachypelma emilia (see attachment) that eventually switched to molting every third year when she was an estimated 25 years old. She lived to be an estimated 35 to 40 years old!

If it has a 3" DLS, it's still a "young-un," still growing, and it will molt whenever it gets good and ready to. Newly hatched tarantula spiderlings usually molt every four to eight weeks, but the intermolt period gradually lengthens as the spider ages and grows. By the time they're 2/3 or 3/4 grown (that could be your chalcodes) they begin to switch to molting once a year, almost always during their local Spring.

And then we have to consider that within the last year your little buddy has undergone a traumatic lifestyle change. If it was wild caught (often labelled "WC" on price lists), it had to readjust from a widely and wildly varying, natural climate to one that's maddeningly stable and uniform in your home. If this is the case, it may be reacting like the Chilean roses described in Care and Husbandry of the Chilean Rose...

If yours was cage bred, the transition wasn't so severe, but the light and temperature cycles (for instance) are still markedly different between your bedroom and the breeder's basement or garage. Still a lifestyle change, though. Maybe it just needs time to readjust.

Another thought: Are you keeping this tarantula in a desert-like cage, on bone dry substrate (but hopefully with a water dish)? Or are you still keeping it like a baby on slightly damp substrate?

"Plan A." If the cage is bone dry, try mimicking a short rainy season. Retard cage ventilation a lot (maybe with a layer of Saran wrap) and lightly dampen the substrate at one end of its cage for a month. Mark the date on a calendar, and make notes of any unusual behavior. Especially, did the damper conditions induce a molt? After that month, successful or not, follow the directions in the next paragraph.

"Plan B." If you're keeping it on slightly damp substrate, you're doing it all wrong. THIS IS A DESERT TARANTULA! These evolved to survive in one of the world's harshest deserts. Keeping it even slightly damp is probably, but not absolutely, throwing its whole life plan out of kilter. Increase ventilation and stop whatever you're doing to maintain the dampness and higher humidity. Make sure it has a water dish, and make sure it always has water in it. From now on, Sonora Desert is the status quo.

If there is no success, about next March, go back to "Plan A," above.

Here's my last thought on the topic (Plan "C."). If it doesn't molt after doing the above: This Summer, try to keep the tarantula in a warmer room in your home. Not stiflingly hot, but not in an air conditioned refrigerator at 65 degrees, either. The 80s to low 90s wouldn't be bad. Feed it about as much as it'll eat. MAKE SURE IT ALWAYS HAS A WATER DISH WITH WATER!

About next November or December (don't forget that calendar!), move it to the coolest room in your home, as long as it doesn't freeze. Fifty degrees would be about ideal, but it will tolerate temperatures near freezing for a day or two. (Didn't you know that there are a lot of places in Arizona that get snow in Winter?) Offer it a cricket or a roach once a week. If it doesn't eat, remove the food after 24 hours or so. About next March (keep that calendar going!) move it back to normal room temperatures. And offer it more food.

Stand back. And don't let either the cat or the gerbil into the same room with that tarantula. It's going to be ravenous after its Winter rest period, and I don't want to precipitate a major family disaster!

Whatever happens, get back to us on this forum, hopefully referencing this thread, to tell us how the issues turned out. (Remember that calendar?)

----------------------------------------------------------------
Is it going to die?

"We are going to die. You're going to die, I'm going to die, we're all going to die... just not today."

- - Taylor Kitsch as Lieutenant Alex Hopper in the movie "Battleship," Peter Berg , director. 2012.
----------------------------------------------------------------
So I’m using coconut soil which probably is a little too moist for her what kind of soil would you recommend for her
 

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