How Do I Know if My Tarantula Is in Premolt?

Don’t panic…learn to watch for the signs.

Fewer facets of tarantula keeping can cause more excitement and confusion for the novice keeper than premolt. This is the point where the tarantula usually stops eating for a bit and prepares its body for the stresses of molting its exoskeleton. As part of the joy of keeping tarantulas is experiencing their growth, an impending molt should be a joyous occasion.

However, as many newer keepers aren’t familiar with what premolt entails or looks like, it can also be a confusing situation that leads to worry and stress. Couple this with the fact that premolt periods can drag on for weeks, and you have the makings of a concerned keeper.

Part of the issue is because we have all grown up keeping pets that need to be fed daily in order to stay healthy. So, when our beloved little spider suddenly stops eating for several weeks, years of experience preys on our nerves and the worrying begins. Should I try feeding again? Does she need more water? Is the enclosure too large? Is she sick? Should I dig her out of her den? These are the questions that dog the novice keeper as he watches his pet, waiting for some sign that everything is totally normal.

I went through it myself the first time my little L. parahybana sling suddenly closed off the entrance to its den and buried itself for over a month. I worried that the poor little guy was trapped by a cave-in or had died. Luckily, I chose to leave him alone instead of trying to dig him out, as when he finally reappeared it was with a new exoskeleton and an extra 1/4″ of length.  Since then, I’ve learned to observe and recognize the signs of premolt.

Are you thinking that your specimen might be in premolt? Here are some telltale signs to look for…

1. The tarantula stops eating

This is probably the most obvious and common sign. You’ve been feeding your specimen regularly for several weeks, and suddenly it stops eating. Most species will stop feeding during their premolt period (although there are exceptions) as they prepare their bodies for the arduous process.

That is not to say that a tarantula might not stop feeding for other reasons. The G. rosea is known to fast for long periods of time, even when not in premolt. A stressed tarantula may also refuse food. Therefore, consider some of the other signs as well.

2. The tarantula has a fat, shiny abdomen

Most tarantulas ready for premolt will sport nice, plump abdomens up to 1.5 times the size of their carapace (or even larger for an over-stuffed specimen). If your tarantula has a nice, bulbous booty, and she has stopped eating, chances are she’s in premolt. As the flesh around the area stretches, the abdomen may also appear to be shiny.

The shininess is often more evident in slings than their older, much hairier counterparts. My little G. pulchripes, G. rosea, and L. parahybana slings all get “shiny hineys” whenever they are entering premolt. My P. cancerides slings and juveniles look like little grapes ready to pop when they are in premolt.

A female LP in premolt. Notice the shiny abdomen. This is particularly noticeable as she has kicked all the hair off. Also, the abdomen is very dark.

A female LP in premolt. Notice the shiny abdomen. This is particularly noticeable as she has kicked all the hair off. Also, the abdomen is very dark.

3.The tarantula’s abdomen and overall color darkens.

As the new exoskeleton forms under the old one, the spider will often darken up a bit. This is particularly evident on the abdomen where new hairs can be seen through the stretched skin here. Many of my slings will have a dark spot on their abdomens when in premolt, and it will continue to grow the closer they get to the actual molt. For species that do a lot of hair kicking and therefore have a bald spot, this darkening is especially evident.

G. rosea sling in premolt. Notice the large, shiny, and dark abdomen.

G. rosea sling in premolt. Notice the large, shiny, and dark abdomen.

My L. itabunae in premolt. Notice the shiny abdomen and the dark patch forming .

My L. itabunae in premolt. Notice the shiny abdomen and the dark patch forming .

4. The tarantula becomes slower and more lethargic.

Not all of the indicators are physical; an observant keeper should notice some behavioral changes as well. Besides not eating, most of my tarantulas that are in premolt become less active and often more secretive. Keep an eye on your tarantula, and along with the physical signs listed above, look for a change in behavior. Some of my most hyper species become noticeably sluggish when they are in premolt. For example, my GBBs tend to be fast little buggers who are constantly moving around their enclosures. However, when in premolt, they often become much more sedentary, sitting in one spot and often tucking themselves away behind their cork bark. Speaking of secretive…

5. The tarantula has buried itself in its den.

I frequent the Arachnoboards forum, and there is usually at least a post a week by a concerned keeper who wants to know if his/her buried T is okay. Heck, this is the situation that caused me alarm when my LP buried itself during a molt. Many tarantulas will retreat to their burrows and close of the entrances when entering a premolt period. My LP slings, M. balfouri juveniles, and G. pulchripes slings all bury themselves before a molt. Some things to consider if your T buries itself due to premolt.

They are not in danger.

They will not suffocate.

They have not been buried alive.

They do not need to be rescued.

The tarantula is just looking for some privacy and security during this vulnerable period. The tarantula will reopen its den once is has molted and hardened up. DO NOT freak out and try to dig the poor creature out; you only run the risk of distressing the animal and possibly interrupting its molt.

6. The tarantula has constructed a hammock-like web “mat” in its enclosure.

This web is referred to as a “molt mat”, and it is where the tarantula will flip over on its back when it molts. You may catch your premolt T laying layer after layer of web in a small area, and some of the new world species will actually kick hairs on the web as a form of protection. If you see this behavior, it means that your tarantula is about to molt very soon, usually within a day. For arboreal species, they will sometime build elevated “hammocks” off the ground for their molt mats or seal themselves in their funnel webs. This behavior serves the same purpose.

My female LP during a recent molt. Notice the molt mat on the left hand side of the photo.

My female LP during a recent molt. Notice the molt mat on the left hand side of the photo.

One more thing to remember for those who have not witnessed a tarantula molt…

IF IT IS ON ITS BACK, IT IS NOT DEAD!

That’s right, this is normal behavior; this is the position they get in to molt.

DO NOT touch a spider in this position.

DO NOT flip over a spider in this position.

DO NOT throw away, flush, or bury a spider in this position.

DO NOT blow on it.

DO NOT spray it with water.

DO leave it alone and let it complete the exhausting task of molting in peace. Molting is a natural occurrence for a tarantula, but it is also a period where they are quite vulnerable. Any fiddling with the animal could prove deadly to the T.

Hopefully, the photos and explanations above will help other keepers recognize and enjoy their tarantulas’ premolt without worry. Keep in mind, there is no set time for how long a tarantula can be in premolt. For slings, it can take anywhere from couple weeks to a month. Adult species can often spend several months in premolt. My 3.5″ B. smithi stopped eating and secluded herself for two months before finally molting. Conversely, my 3.5″ L. parahybana female molted two weeks after her last meal. Don’t panic if your animal takes a while; it’s a very natural process, and it will molt when it is ready.

And, for anyone curious as to what a tarantula molt looks like, please check out the following video.

230 thoughts on “How Do I Know if My Tarantula Is in Premolt?

  1. So I just got my husband a rose and we have only had it for one day. The day we got it it was staying on the the side of the 5gallon tank we have. Then later in the day it just sat in a corner. Some signs of premolt are there. It hasn’t eaten. It does look as though abdomin is going bald and plump. On the second day less then 24hrs it was a little active. But now still less then 48 hrs of owning it it just sits motionless on the side half on glass half on bedding. No burrows, no webs. Nothing is this normal at all? And it’s right side up not upside down. Age? Sex? No ideas. Sorry

    Like

    • Hi, Jana!

      Do you know how large she is? Do you, perchance, have a photo of her?

      Is the substrate dry or wet?

      What you’ve basically described is pretty typical rose hair behavior. I’ve had mine for 20 years, and she moves maybe once a week. They are a VERY sedentary species, which has earned them the nickname of “pet rock”.

      It can take any spider a few days to a few weeks to settle in, so she might move around a bit more once she has settled. She will most likely not burrow, and they throw down very little web.

      This is a species that’s known to fast, so it’s possible that she’s just not in an eating mood at the moment. As long as her abdomen is plump and she has a bowl of water, she’ll be fine.

      Here is a husbandry article I did on rose hair care, if you’re interested and haven’t seen it already.

      https://tomsbigspiders.wordpress.com/2014/07/20/grammastola-porteri-the-rosie-care/

      Hope that helps!

      Like

  2. This page was such a relief to me! But that’s only for one of my slings. Now I have one that molted just yesterday but it still has a black spot on its abdomen. Do you why that is?

    Like

    • Hi, Johnny!

      What type of sling is it? I’m guessing that you might be seeing a “mirror patch”, or a group of urticating hairs on the abdomen that reflect light differently.

      Can you send me a photo?

      Thanks!

      Tom

      Like

  3. Hi guys,

    Please help! I have my first T (Mexican red knee) can never spell the correct term.
    Anyway I have had her for about 3 months now. I feed her twice a week (one large roach) anything more was dying.
    Tonight doing my routine clean( just picking out any leftover food, and anything that didn’t look to clean) she was off her log so I decided to move it, I found 3 dead uneaten roaches and a sneaky one alive in hiding. So given this it seems she hasn’t ate in likely two weeks.
    I have found since I got her she has always seemed quite lazy and only takes food that is practically handed to her.
    Is this normal? Or should she be able to find any food? Her enclosure is about 3 times her length so not to large. She’s about 1 and a half, and hasn’t molted since I got her.
    Is this pre molt behaviour? I haven’t noticed a large difference with her abdomen.
    How long refusing food for a pre Molt?
    Any advice would be greatly appreciated!
    Can’t find an option to post a picture on here?

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hello! You say she is about 1 1/2, so I’m assuming that she’s still a sling or juvenile? What size is she?

      Two weeks is not a long time for a tarantula not to eat. I have some that will go six months or more without taking a meal. They can go very long periods of time without eating and still be healthy. I definitely wouldn’t worry yet. 🙂

      If she’s in premolt, the length of time she takes to molt will differ depending how large she is.

      If you want to email me a photo, send it to tomsbigspiders@outlook.com .

      Hope that helps!

      Tom

      Like

  4. Striped Knee Tarantula
    -What should I do if the time has come to clean the tank and she is still in its molting or pre molting stage?

    -Besides the legs curling under a tarantula, are there any other signs of a tarantula being dead?

    -Once she has built her mat, should that be a sign to lighten up on feeding or just stop feeding until her molting is completely over?

    I know I shouldn’t worry, but she has been pre molting for 2 months soon to begin 3, and she still hasn’t lost any hair giving her a shiny abdomen.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hi, Cade!

      – Is there mold, mites, or something else that might cause the T immediate harm? If not, I’d definitely wait. Are you just spot-cleaning boluses?
      – Leg curling under and the abdomen becoming deflated are the most common signs.
      – It depends…some tarantulas will build a feeding mat, which they used to detect approaching prey. This is NOT a sign of premolt. If she is laying down a molting mat, then you definitely want to keep prey out of there; it means a molt is coming VERY soon.

      My striped knee (I’m assuming it’s an A. geniculata) goes quite a long time in pre molt with no issues. How large is your T?

      Like

  5. Hello i just bought my first tarantula so happy a mexican red knee tarantula (might be a fireleg ill give you a picture) and she/he is not moving much and her color is dull can u tell me if she is pre molting? id be happy to send u some pictures any help is greatly appreciated as i am new to this hobby

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Thanks for all the info. Ive noticed my T acting very sluggish and not eating like normal so i started worrying. All the premolt signs you mentioned my T is showing. My mind is at ease. I thank you.

    Like

  7. Hey, Tom. I have a huge concern for my tarantula. I believe it’s a female. She is a B. smithi and is 2.25 inches long. I don’t know if she is in fact in premolt or not. She has not eaten for over a month now. I sprinkle one corner of her enclosure where her water bowl is located once a week. She doesn’t react to the crickets and dubia roaches I’ve offered her. Even when the insects were touching her legs, she would stay still. I’ve tried using a grass leaf right outside her burrow to bait her to come out, but almost all the time she would stay still or go deeper in her burrow. It’s hard to determine if her abdomen is changing color for I am a beginner and she is my first T. I have eco earth as my substrate (rehydrated the brick). It’s to note that she has been moving a lot. It is also winter where I am, and the temperature in my house flictuates 68-78 degrees.

    She has molted once back in July. She retreated to her burrow and blocked off the entrance. I was concerned, but I soon found out that she molted after I poked a hole at her entrance. Can I send you pictures of her for your thoughts and suggestions?

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Hey, I just bought a mexican red knee tarantula earlier this week and it hasn’t eaten ever since, I know it has been only 4 days but im still a bit worried. He/she is about 2 inches (1 one year old) but when I took her out of the box I noticed it just had molted so it would be unlikely that it will molt again… I did notice some darker spots on its abdomen. It doesn’t move a lot and as I told you before disn’t eat either. Is it premolding or just getting used to his new home?
    Also, whats the best temperature for a smithi? Some say even 60 degrees is enough for it but others suggest it should be atleast 68…
    Also about the spraying of water does it really haveto be done every day? Isn’t it gonna be fine with just a bowl of water?
    Thxfor responding!

    Like

    • Hello, Thomas!

      Congrats on your red knee! They are a great species!

      If it is about 2″, your spider is probably closer to two or three…these grow VERY slowly. The dark spot you’re seeing might be the urticating hair patch. Is it on the top of the abdomen?

      If it was just rehoused, it can take a few weeks for it to settle in. They often won’t take food until they become accustomed to their new surroundings. Also, if it just molted, it might not be ready to eat yet. I would give it some time. They can go months without eating with no issues.

      These guys can definitely do well in the 60s, but lower temps can make them go off feed for a bit. Lower temps won’t harm it; you’ll just get a slower growth rate.

      I wouldn’t spray it at all. At that size, a water dish should be plenty. If it’s really dry in your house due to the heat running, you can moisten just a corner of the substrate.

      I hope that helps!

      Tom

      Like

      • Ok thanks for answering me so fast! The spots are indeed on top if its abdomen but it still has all his hairs so I think it won’t be molting soon. The temperature is always around 68 so that’s ok too. I was just a bit confused to see a big spider being scared or not wanting to eat a small cricket. I hope he will eat soon.

        Like

      • No problem! It’s probably not that it’s scared but just not hungry or ready to eat yet. I know it can be stressful to get a new pet an not have it eat for a bit, but these animals can go a very long time without food. I have one T at the moment that hasn’t eaten in six months. It’s totally fine. 🙂

        Like

  9. Hi! I got a guyana pink toe on tuesday, my first spider, and so far she hardly moves unless provoked by me via a very soft unused makeup brush so as not to hurt her. I’ve watched a lot of videos on youtube about these spiders and I thought this species would be an active one. I’ve given her two crickets in the past two days because her abdomen looks pretty small and she’s eaten both of them. I try to keep her enclosure moist because I know she’ll need higher humidity and heat. It concerns me that she doesn’t really move around a lot and sits at the bottom of her enclosure, because I know she’s an arboreal species. Does she just need more time to adjust? I think she’s pretty young, less than a year based on her size. I think she’s maybe 1.5″, but she has some pretty vibrant colors. Let me know what you think I should do to ensure she’s not distressed or sick!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hello, Jennifer! Congrats on your first tarantula. 🙂 Be careful: this hobby is ridiculously addictive!

      Could you possibly send me a photo with your setup (tomsbigspiders@outlook.com)? She may just need more adjusting time. Does she have a hide and fake foliage?

      Also, be careful with humidity with the Avicularia species. There are a lot of care sheets out there that say they need moist conditions, and that can actually kill them. I keep mine with a water dish and spray their webs twice a month or so to give them a chance to drink off of them.

      Tom

      Like

  10. Hi, My son has 2 T’s he got for his christmas – a white knee and a GBB – both were ferocious eaters to begin with and now the GBB is not eating anything, we have to remove the crickets the next morning every time we put them in, how long doe they usually go in pre-moult?

    The white knee I am not sure if its in pre-molt, its blocked the entrance to its hide – the front fully and left a little bit at the back – I am not sure if I should keep trying to feed it or just leave until it molts?

    Both are juveniles

    We had a pink toe die this year, it wouldn’t eat anything and then started to shrivel up

    Confused……

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hi, Milo.

      Pink toes can be a bit more “fragile” than other species, so that doesn’t surprise me.

      I’ve raised two GBBs from slings, and generally the only time they don’t eat is when they are in premolt. As slings, mine would fast for a 2-3 week or so before molting. As adults, it can be closer to a couple months. I would stop offering food for a bit. I’m assuming its abdomen is plump?

      As for the white knee, when they block of the entrance, it’s usually a good indication that they are in premolt. When it opens back up, expect a bigger and hungrier spider.

      I hope that helps!

      Tom

      Like

  11. Thanks, yes big help, knowing how long to moult and how long before we should worry about it being something else is the unknown for beginners – the white knee is very big so think this could be ready to moult – will wait another week and see how it is

    The GBB is still moving around but not showing any interest in food, the crickets pass under it and it just stays in position, the abdomen is not massively plump – i could send a photo if that would help?

    Like

    • I’m so sorry for the delay…I just saw this! Please, feel free to email me a photo.

      Generally if they bury themselves, they know what they’re doing. Eventually, it’ll open its den back up, drop the molt outside, and be ready to eat again. 🙂

      Like

  12. Hi, i got a G. Pulchipres as my first Tarantula last week. She is about 5cm (the size of a small water botle cap) in legspan and she doesnt react to roaches even if they touch her… I feel like she might me in premolt but she doesnt have a grape like abdomen but has a darker area with a little shinny place on top of abdomen.. How often does a G. Pulchipres molt in that size? 3-4 months? And how long can a sling go without eating? i may send a photo if needed..

    I hope someone can help, and thanks for your time 🙂

    Greetings from Portugal.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hello, Rodrigo!

      Congratulations on your first tarantula. Be careful…this hobby is VERY addictive. 🙂

      She could very well be in premolt. The dark spot you’re seeing is a “mirror patch”, or a patch of urticating (irritating) hairs a tarantula can kick for defense. When it’s in premolt, the abdomen will usually look stretched and shiny all over.

      I have two G. pulchripes that I got a less than one cm slings. They would both go all winter, five months total, without eating. They seemed to sense when it was colder out, and would fast. Once spring hit, they would pop out again, hungry and ready to eat. They can go long stretches without eating, so I wouldn’t worry there. This is also a slow growing species, so it can be several months between molts.

      You can certainly send me a photo. 🙂

      Hope that helps!

      Tom

      Like

      • Thanks for the fast reply! I just sent you the photo by my gmail reply, maybe its not the best way tell me if you received the photo and if not, how can i send the photo? 🙂

        Like

  13. Thanks for this. It was helpful. I just bought a tarantula last week. It’s a spiderling. I did a lot of reading up on raising them but wasn’t prepared for what just happened. I went out with my son before, and the tarantula was fine when we left. When I returned two hours later, she looked dead, all crumbled up. In a panic, I shook the little container that she is in to see if she moved. She didn’t. I thought she was dead. But moments later, her little legs slightly moved, and within a matter of minutes, I realized she was probably molting. Thank God I didn’t kill her in my panic of shaking her. This is nerve wrecking! It’s like having another baby in the house😁

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hi, Thomas!

      You’re most welcome! I’m glad that this helps folks, as I went through the stress of trying to recognize premolt when I first got into the hobby. And I hear you about thinking she was dead. I almost buried my rosie the first time she molted for me because I thought she had died. That would have been terrible (especially as I still have her 21 years later! ). I know exactly what you’re feeling, bud! I’m so glad to hear that it ended well. 🙂

      All the best!

      Tom

      Like

  14. So I got my very first tarantula a little over a year ago, and I got it as a baby (it was only about a month old when I got it). Also I’m just going to use She since I havent been able to figure iut the sex of it. I have a few questions. She’s a curly hair, and she hasn’t burrowed since moved her from the little container she was in when I bought her, is that a problem? It’s been over a year. Also, I just added some water to her dirt and I checked it and her entire tank looks fuzzy ontop now, could it be mold and should I be concerned? My last question is about molting, she looks like she’s getting close to molting but she hasn’t eaten in somewhere around 3 or 4 months, and she hasn’t started molting. Should I just have more patience with her? Also if anyone has any tips on keeping a curly hair, the advice is much appreciated. Thank you.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hi, Shay!

      I use the pronoun “she” for all of my unsexed ones, so I totally get it. 🙂

      For curly hairs, you really don’t need too keep them too moist, I only dampen a corner of the substrate for mine. If you’re getting fuzzy white mold in the enclosure, it’s definitely too wet. I would rehouse her into something with dry substrate, then just moisten a corner or pour some water down the edge and let it dampen just the bottom layers. This might also encourage her to burrow.

      Could you send me photos of her and her setup? (tomsbigspiders@outlook.com)?

      Is her abdomen nice and plump? If so, she’s probably in premolt. How large is she now?

      Here’s my video guide on this species:

      Hope this helps!

      Tom

      Like

  15. Okay, so I have had a Pink Toe Tarantula since August and have started running into some issues that I’m concerned about, and can’t seen to find anyone to help. My spider molted March 22, and I have the molt still. Unlike most molts, my spider had the legs folded over the carapace, and I couldn’t find anyone who had spiders molt like this. After this I waited about 3 weeks till putting a cockroach in the tank. I later figured that it was to big, and bought some small crickets. I still haven’t seen him eat, and he hasn’t come out of a very tight ball since then. He hasn’t really moved, even when provoked with a soft paintbrush. Iv’e adjusted the temperature, the moisture, and the light exposure, and nothing seems to be working. At this point, the Pink Toe’s abdomen is very very small. I don’t know what is going on and I could really use some help.

    Sincerely,

    Skyler Norquist

    Like

  16. So I caught one little T on my yard and i wanted to know what exactly is it. He is full black but he has a bald spot which is reddish brown on his abdomen, I belive its a male Texas Brown Tarantula, not sure about the age. He does eat well and is very active. I’d like to know what kind of Tarantula it is and if the bald spot is a sign of premolting, and perhaps a guess at his age. Thanks!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hello, Joel!

      What state are you in? 🙂

      Could you send me a photo of it at tomsbigspiders@outlook.com ?

      Is the skin beneath the bald spot pale or dark. If it’s dark and purplish, it’s in premolt. If it’s pale, that’s just a spot where it kicked its hairs off. That species kicks off urticating (irritating) hairs as a defense.

      Send me a pic, and I try to ID it for you!

      All the best!

      Tom

      Like

  17. Hi so my rosed hair is trying to climb the glass, and she has also bunched up her “mat” I have never seen her do this in my two years having her what does this mean?

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hi, Tessa. Did it possibly get really humid there? Just a thought, as mine will get antsy and climb the glass if it suddenly gets humid.

      She hasn’t molted recently?

      Tom

      Like

  18. I just got my first sling not too long ago (A. chalcodes), and this was very much a relief to read, sense I was getting so concerned that she kept getting “trapped” in her burrows! She just turned a silver color all over her body and is in her closed in burrow (I can see her cause she is against the plastic), but now I’m wondering about the water situation. Should I just mist lightly every so often like I’ve been doing (too small for a water dish) or should I just leave her be without any water? I worry about it being too dry for her to molt properly, but I also worry about making it too wet and causing problems @.@

    -That worried new keeper you were talking about

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hello! The burrow thing gets EVERYONE when they first get into the hobby. I freaked out as well. It gets worse when you discover that some will stay buried for MONTHS. haha I have two G. pulchripes that spent almost six months buried.

      As for the water I would heavily mist one corner so that a bit of the water filters down between the enclosure and the substrate and reaches the bottom layers. If your T becomes thirsty, it can drink from there. Just don’t over spray and accidentally flood the burrow (been there, done that, NOT fun). A. chalcodes appreciate a bit of moist sub when they are slings.

      Hope that helps!

      Tom

      Like

  19. Hi

    I got my Mexican Red Knee at the end of January this year, a small little female (or at least that’s what I was told by the shop), who is around 6cm. She hasn’t molted yet, and I’m concerned.

    I just have a few questions about premolt/molt in general:

    – I keep her in an Exo Terra breeding box. When I open and shut the top lid to change her water and offer her food, would the vibrations (however small) interrupt or injure her if she was in premolt, and potentially hurt her?

    – I think the bald spot on her abdomen has gone from tan to black, and I think this means she’s going into premolt. I can’t see that she’s showing any other signs, apart from refusing food. Do you think it’s possible that she’s going into premolt?

    – When I tried to give her a cricket earlier, she flinched back and refused it. If she is in premolt, would this have hurt her?

    – What temperature and humidity is best for a Mexican Red Knee? I’ve currently got her at around 25 degrees (C) and around 60%.

    Thanks in advance and sorry for the essay, I just want everything to be okay for her!!

    Like

    • One more quick question:

      I’ve got her on a heat mat at the moment, simply because the person in the pet shop said that it’s the better thing to do. As I’ve seen a few things that suggest that a heat mat isn’t the best thing for a tarantula, I was going to try and take her off of it. Is it okay to go from having a tarantula on a heat mat to taking them off of it?

      Thanks again!

      Like

      • You have to love pet shop advice! Haha Yeah, you can go ahead and remove the heat mat. As long as your temps are 20 C or higher, she’ll be fine. You can take it out right away.

        I hope that helps!

        Tom

        Like

    • Hi, Zoe!

      Does the shop specialize in tarantulas? If not, they probably don’t know the sex of the T. Most pet stores aren’t very knowledgeable about these animals, and they often guess at the sexes.

      Onto the questions!

      If she’s in premolt, she’s just getting ready for the molting process. Vibrations or bumps caused by moving the enclosure won’t be an issue at all. When she actually begins the molting process (flips on her back and starts to molt), you’ll want to avoid disturbing her if possible until she is done.

      If the bald spot has turned black, she is probably pretty close to molting (the black is the new exoskeleton showing through). A day before she will molt, she will likely web up a molting mat. They basically web up a little area to molt on.

      It won’t hurt her, but if she’s not eating and her abdomen is dark, she’s likely close to molting. She won’t eat until at least a week after she actually molts, so you’ll want to refrain from dropping any prey in until then. Keep in mind that a cricket CAN injure an tarantula that’s actually in the process of molting, so you don’t want to leave one in with her.

      Mexican redknees don’t have any specific humidity requirements once the get out of the sling stage. A water dish and dry substrate is perfect. They also do very well at room temperature. They do fine in temperatures as low as 20 C.

      I hope that helps…sorry for the delay!

      Tom

      Like

      • Hi Tom

        Thanks for your swift reply, and for answering my questions – I’m that anxious keeper you were talking about :p

        Just a few more questions:

        – Our pet shop isn’t specialised in tarantulas, so he said 25-30 degrees was best, and I guess he wasn’t right.

        – would the change in temperature have affected her premolt?

        – she was sat above her heat mat a lot of the time, and I turned it off because I thought it was drying her out. Would I have deprived her of a chance to thermoregulate? Have I shocked her?

        – she’s now gone to hide under one of her caves, is this normal behaviour, and is it okay?

        – as her heat mat has been on ever since I’ve had her, and I’ve never sprayed her substrate or covered the top of her terrarium to regulate humidity, do I need to spray or increase her humidity at all now, generally or for her upcoming moult?

        – As her temperature is now around 21.5 degrees during the day (sometimes nearer 22 degrees), and drops to around 21 at night, is that enough variation between night and day?

        Sorry for the barrage of questions – I really appreciate your help (:

        Zoe

        Like

      • Hi, Zoe!

        So sorry for not being so prompt this time around…I had it in my head that you had emailed me this!

        Okay, here goes!

        – Pet stores are notorious for giving bad information. Not saying that there aren’t some good ones out there, but the majority seem to have little to know understanding of how to keep tarantulas. If they tell you something, always research it and see if it’s correct. They don’t need high temperatures, constant spraying, heat mats/rocks, or sponges in their water dishes (things pet stores love to say. haha).

        – If she’s already in premolt, a drop in temperature won’t affect it. If you keep them cooler, it might slow down her metabolism a little, meaning her growth will slow down a bit. I just means she’ll live longer and is NOT a bad thing (they experience much more severe temp drops in the wild and do fine).

        – They don’t need to thermoregulate like reptiles and they don’t need heat to digest. Unfortunately, tarantulas will naturally gravitate to any heat source and stay there. This is NOT a good thing, because unlike reptiles that know when to move, a tarantula will not and become dehydrated and die. This is why heat sources are not a great idea for them.

        – Hiding is actually VERY normal behavior. The heat source was (unnaturally) drawing her out into the open. Many will hide during the day.

        – Does she have a water dish? If so, that should be enough for her. You could overflow it a bit if your air is really dry.

        – They don’t really need a variation in day/night temperatures, so no worries there. That is perfectly fine.

        I hope that helps!

        Tom

        Like

      • Thanks for your reply Tom (:

        – She does have a water dish. I’ve recently upgraded her to a bigger one as the old one evaporated really quickly. Should I just overflow that occasionally or does it need additional spraying?

        – would the heat mat have done her any harm?
        (I had it on a timer to keep the temperature constant, 1.5/1 hour on, 0.5/1 hour off. In hindsight it should’ve been a thermostat)

        – Recently her temperatures have gone down to 17.4 degrees C. Is this safe? It’s getting warmer here again so that should be the lowest.

        Thanks!!

        Liked by 1 person

      • Man, I’m not getting emails notifying me of comments! So sorry!

        – You can overflow it and that should be fine.

        – No, it won’t have done her any immediate harm. The issue is that a tarantula will hug a heat source and won’t move, even when it is dehydrating. This become a bigger problem when the ambient temperature in the room rises, making the heat source overkill or when a heat source malfunctions.

        -That’s a little on the low end, but it should be fine for a short period. If you get a stretch of weather like that, then it would be okay to kick the heat mat on as long as it’s regulated and you turn it off once the temps climb.

        I hope that helps!

        Tom

        Like

  20. Hi Tom quick question , I just got my tiger rump, she’s showing signs I haven’t seen in any of my other Ts, she can’t climb her enclosure walls and she ran, yes she was chased by a cricket, she seemed scared of it. She’s a juvenile. Abdomen is rather large and she’s now hidden away.
    I’ve done the normal removed the prey to stop her stressing. But she’s moving very slow. No signs of symptoms for DKS , no mould or mites.

    Like

    • Hi, Trev!

      It sounds to me like she’s in premolt. Slipping off the walls, running from food, and secretive behavior would make me think that a molt is coming soon. This could be all normal behavior (although, I definitely get that it could be concerning). How large is she? If a molt doesn’t come in a couple weeks, then it might be something else.

      Tom

      Like

  21. Hello, my Caribena Versicolor has not eaten for just about three weeks now. It has the fat, shiny abdomen and has been hanging out in a little funnel web. Though it’s moved just a bit, it’s hardly moved from its position for three days now. Is this normal? I really thought it would have molted by now. (This is my first T.)

    Liked by 1 person

    • Sorry for the delay…I didn’t see this!

      It sounds to me like she’s probably in premolt. They can become stationary and lethargic during this period, often hanging out and hiding in their webs. Did she molt yet?

      Like

      • It’s all good! She still hasn’t molted…And unfortunately, my enclosure was not set up very well…I ended up having to move her today because there was a lot of mold growing on the old substrate. I feel really bad taking her out of her little web, but I didn’t want her to get sick either! But the new enclosure has lots of cross ventilation and is all around better anyway. Hopefully all will be okay.

        Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s