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Greatly Vexed, Is My Rose Hair Dying?

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BlackWidowRose View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Quote BlackWidowRose Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Topic: Greatly Vexed, Is My Rose Hair Dying?
    Posted: November 07 2009 at 1:47pm
I have only just joined your ranks as a fellow arachnid lover. I own a Chilean Rose Hair, and am gravely concerned about odd behaviors I have noticed over the passed month, more to the point, I am worried about her in her current condition. I will explain further.

I purchased her in February of 2007. On October 30, 2007 she molted. I thought she was preparing for the Halloween Holiday, why with all the webbing she had strewn about. This molt came and went so quickly, I wasn't even aware it had happened, until I noticed..."two" of her. That was the last time she molted since being with me.

At the time of purchase, the pet shop owner told me she was female, and very young. I understand that young tarantulas molt several times a year. Since she molted only once, I can only assume the gentleman was mistaken about her age. Clearly, she is quite old.

Typically, Aranaea (I named my Rose Hair :p) exhibits normal Chilean behavior; she sits pretty, and does very little of anything :) As I write this, she has been on her back for 16 hours, is barely moving, nor is she attempting to shed her old skin, nor is there any webbing to speak of, anywhere in her enclosure. It is typical of a tarantula, when in premolt, to make a web bed, is it not? If she were molting, shouldn't she have finished by now?

Allow me to privy you as to the strange behaviors I mentioned. Lately she has been running aimlessly around her enclosure (quickly and without cause), tripping over her own legs, dragging herself about seemingly on her knees, running into the glass walls of her enclosure and is quite easily frightened. I don't handle her, as I respect her autonomy and solitary nature. Once in a while, I will pet her legs, and bubble butt :p Otherwise, she's left to herself. I haven't noticed any missing skin, growths, parasites, etc. on her..., I have changed her diet from crickets to mealworms, since crickets are of no interest to her anymore. Presently, she's just upside down, going on 17 hours now, with no progress toward molting. Is it possible she may be experiencing an unsuccessful molt, and is dying? Is there anything, at all, that I can do?
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Stalker13 View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Quote Stalker13 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: November 07 2009 at 3:52pm
Honestly, it may be quite bad, but it doesn't have to be.  I've never seen a Rose Hair molt, the reason is pretty much, I catch them when they are on their back, and then I don't see the finished product until the next morning.  Its pretty cool that yours molted well last time and so quickly, but 17 hours doesn't mean she's going to die, she may still pull it off yet.  Yes, you should be worried, that's a good amount of time, but I really don't know how long is too long for a Rose Hair.  17 has me worried, but at this point, if she hasn't popped her top and made progress, there isn't a lot you can do other than hope she can pull it off.
So, here is a question for you, is there any way you can take a picture of her?  One thing I'm wondering is if she might actually be a "he".  That would explain a few things with the behavior and long molt sequence.  I'm not sure if it would explain the running into the walls thing, but it would explain some of it. 
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Post Options Post Options   Quote BlackWidowRose Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: November 07 2009 at 11:12pm
Originally posted by Stalker13


So, here is a question for you, is there any way you can take a picture of her?  One thing I'm wondering is if she might actually be a "he".  That would explain a few things with the behavior and long molt sequence.  I'm not sure if it would explain the running into the walls thing, but it would explain some of it. 


Oh, thank you for taking the time to discuss this with me, Stalker13, thank you so much :)

Unfortunately, she is still on her back and it's nearly 24 hours now, with no attempt at molting. She still moves when she hears me speaking softly, not a lot, but just enough to know she's still alive. I fear that she might be too dry, though she doesn't look shriveled, not by any means shriveled or flakey.

It is quite possible that she may be a he lol the gentleman misjudged her age,  why not the sex? I'll take a photo of her posthaste, and figure out how to post photos in this forum. I truly wish I knew the difference (other than obvious size differences), to be honest, I cannot :p

Thank you, once more, for answering my questions...it means so much, to both myself and my silly spider. I will, of course, let you know if anything changes for the better or the worse, and will post a photo of her very soon.

One last question, if she is unable to pull out of her old skin...what should I do if this goes on for too long?
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Stalker13 View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Quote Stalker13 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: November 08 2009 at 2:15pm
Well, if she is still on her back and hasn't even begun to molt, like pop her top or rump, honestly there isn't anything you can do.  If she at least gets a little done and can get her head and rump, or prosoma and opisthosoma semi out, you can grab some pure glycerine from a store such as Wal-Mart and lightly moisten the insides to lubricate the molt so its easier to molt for her.  Not a guarantee, but if you don't try its a guarantee failure. 
24 hours really is pushing it, but it sounds like she's still with us and that means she hasn't given up.  The outside humidity doesn't really mean as much as the inside fluids.  I wouldn't worry too much about the humidity, but if you feel you gotta do something, very very gently place her tank in the bathroom and hit the shower for a while.  The steam will raise the humidity.
Now, if its a mature male, he probably won't make it.  He might, but probably not.  That's just how it is, and it sucks, especially when you get attached to a pet, but that's how it is.  I've dealt with that a few times with a new favorite just to find out it was a male and a year later gone.  Major bummer, trust me.
Now, one of the easiest ways to tell a male from a female is by looking for tibial spurs.  Here is a picture of what one looks like
http://www.bighairyspiders.com/pix/mollicomaspurs1.jpg

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BlackWidowRose View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Quote BlackWidowRose Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: November 09 2009 at 4:09pm
Originally posted by Stalker13


Now, if its a mature male, he probably won't make it.  He might, but probably not.  That's just how it is, and it sucks, especially when you get attached to a pet, but that's how it is.  I've dealt with that a few times with a new favorite just to find out it was a male and a year later gone.  Major bummer, trust me.

Now, one of the easiest ways to tell a male from a female is by looking for tibial spurs.  Here is a picture of what one looks like:

http://www.bighairyspiders.com/pix/mollicomaspurs1.jpg



UPDATE: As of this afternoon, Aranaea has gone onto the Spider's version of Rainbow Bridge. I had no alternative than to place 'him' in the freezer for later burial. After attempting an ICU to humidify his tank, and placing wet sponges in various places around his little body, I could not save him.

I looked at him more closely, and he hadn't popped his head cap at all, nor did he look dry or damaged in any way. His skin was very dark, almost black as if he wanted to molt. Though he was still alive at this time, just barely, I gently outstretched one of his front legs and voila, I found the Tibial Hooks you made reference to. I assume this means he lived a full life, considering the short lifespan of a male tarantula. What a bummer! I told Aranaea this morning, that I wished he could talk and tell me what was wrong. I realized I was only prolonging the inevitable, so I said my good byes, placed him in a little wooden box, and laid him to rest in the freezer, at least until I can bury him in one of the gardens.

You're right, it is so easy to become attached to these beautiful, adorable little beings. For me, I fell for him right when I saw him, and I will never have another spider quite like him (I'll miss his fuzz tuft between his two largest eyes, it gave him such character).

Thank you, still, for your help and advice; it is greatly appreciated.
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