Thursday, October 20, 2011

My Molting Tarantula

Vixin!!!  I didn't know you had a twin sister!
Hey there.  You know what happened last week?  My tarantula, Vixin, molted!  For those of you not in the know, molting is to spiders what shedding is to snakes.  Because a spider's exoskeleton is on the outside of their bodies, they need to break out of it when they get too big for it.  If you didn't know any better, would think that your tarantula split into 2!  Vixen has molted twice before and both times I only saw the aftermath.  Not this time though!  Here's the story.

The family and I took off the market that night and spent a good 2 hours or so.  When we get home, we all scatter and do what needs to be done.  Dogs are fed, groceries are put away, and the spider's bowl is filled with water.  But what's this???  Vixen in laying on her back!  NOOOOOO!!!!  Is she ok?  Is she dead?  She's twitching, does that mean she had a spider seizure?  I've seen plenty of dead spiders and if she's playing she's playing the part very well.  Naturally, I was concerned.

I know that Vixen's life span is anywhere from 7 to 10 years.  We received her as a gift some 5 years or so ago so I figured that maybe she's reaching the end of her time on Earth.  I was beginning to come to grips with the fact that we may have lost her.  Then I thought, maybe she's molting!  I did a quick search online to make sure that all signs were pointing to her starting to molt.  Laying on her back?  Check.  Web mat under her?  Check.  Not eaten in weeks?  Check.  Hmmm... then I looked up how tarantulas die.  Then I read this, "Tarantulas are more likely to die with their legs tucked under them than on their back."  VIXIN is molting!!!!  How exciting!

I whipped out the camera and started snapping pictures.  I was pretty damn excited.  I'll get to see her actually burst out of her old "shell".  So I sat there... and watched... and watched... and watched.  Yeah, I'm a nerd like that.  lol  My wife said to me that it's as if I'm waiting for a baby to be born.  lol  Not so much a baby being born, but more like a rebirth and I wanted to see it.  After a few hours of watching her struggle to break free, she finally emerged from her old self.  Her new exoskeleton is still soft so you should NEVER touch a tarantula after molting.  You need to wait at least a week before you can handle them.  Once I saw that she slowly moved into her log, I reached in and grabbed the "old Vixin".  Light as a feather, yet still intact.  It's amazing how she managed to wriggle her out of this thing and NOT break any part of it.

Here's a few pics that I took.  Everything from her on her back to her breaking free to her old shell of herself on my hand.  Her week long wait will be over this weekend.  I'm sure she'll be hungry.  Time to round up some crickets.  Later!!!
Ahhh!!!  Is she dead?  Wait... is that a bed made out of web?
She's molting!  
Just a little more...
She's free!  She looks pretty frail.
Just like my wife, she covers herself when I try taking a pic of her too!
Out with the old, in with the new.  Vixin is still on her back while her "old self" is standing upright.
I love this pic, by the way.
It simply amazes me how she managed to squeeze out of those small little holes!

4 comments:

Holy Cricket!!! lol...I freak out over spiders cuz they are plotting against me, but to be honest the tarantula looks kinda fluffy and cute o_O That molted...coat?....is immaculate! So I just have a kitty...for now :) I work so much I cant own something like a dog

I was just sitting there, staring at it molt. It took about 3 hours from start to finish and I was like a little kid, sitting near the habitat and just staring. lol

Thats creepy as hell! I am spazzing right now!

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