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Thursday, December 16, 2010

Tarantula I used to own.

    I used to own a tarantula a while back.  She never was named, and eventually had to be re-homed due to an issue with my landlord at the time.

     This is her, in the picture to the right.  It's a shame the picture is as poor a quality as it is, as she's in a really nice looking pose here (There's a better picture at the end of the article).  I apologize for that as the only thing I had at the time to take pictures was my cell phone.  O, and don't let the for fool you, the tarantula is much bigger than the size comparison here shows.  The fork is just magnified due to a
combination of the cage's glass angle and the lighting ( that I look at it, thats a spatula).  The little girl was actually about the size of my hand, minus the fingers.  So not a huge tarantula, but not something I would want to get loose.

    When I first got her the idiot who had her before just threw all the meal worms he had into her cage.  This meant that I had to go in and remove them while little missus (who never was to friendly) was inside the cage.  This meant that my bare hands..and fingers, which to the tarantula we're remarkably similar in appearance to the meal worms, we're rummaging around within less than a foot of those beautiful gleaming fangs of heres.  Needless to say, she made a few attempts to bite me, but for some reason failed to miss the mark, and i successfully removed all the meal worms. I'm told that a bite from a tarantula feels quite similar to a bee sting, which is harmless enough, but I would much rather avoid a bee sting if possible to.  Now, you may be wondering why I had  to get those meal worms out.  Well the reason is that the worms eat anything, and everything, including the little girl with huge fangs that was intended to eat them, if she was ever to say...sleep...or molt.

    Molt she did, much later than the worm incident mind you, but she did molt.  You might be thinking, well...why is she upside down in this next picture? Isn't she dead? Well, no actually, this is how they start a molt, by flipping upside down. It's a good thing I looked it up instead of assuming she died to, because I'm sure I would have disposed of her sooner rather than later, and not had a chance to find out what was really going on!

    Upon closer inspection she was twitching her legs.  this went on for about twenty minutes until the top of her separated (in this case the part currently facing down).  She then slowly pulled her body out of it's former shell, pulling the fangs, and legs with her. As she did this she changed from completely upside down, to facing sideways (as is depicted in the picture to the right). The fangs where the first appendage to be completely removed. After that, she managed to work free her bottom.  At this point about an hour had past. The picture to the right shows the tarantula about half way out of her old exoskeleton.

    In case your wondering; yes, the removal of the legs took approximately another full hour to complete.  Let me tell you, it did not look like a comfortable hour either for the poor girl.  She was basically hog tied and unable to move, her old exoskeleton acting like a harness around her legs. She did of course, manage to get free.  After the molt, she laid there for a good ten minutes upside down, I guess resting.  I didn't get a chance to see her turn upside down, or right herself, so I have no clue how she did it.  I came home to her upside down, and looked away for two seconds after the molt and she had righted herself.  The best part of the whole thing is, that after the molt, instead of being a dull brown, she changed colour to a vibrant navy blue.  I of course tried to take a video, but realized it was going to be incredibly long, and you couldn't make out much of the video anyways.

      The tarantula is now safe at a classmates house, and if anyone is considering getting one as a pet, I strongley suggest it, as they only really require a few crickets a week, and water, and thats it for maintenance besides a yearley change of their substrate.

    O!, and look at what I found on my computer! another picture (courtesy of my fiancées camera).  This time much better one of her. as you can see, she's a rather plain colour of brown.  Like I mentioned earlier though, after the molt she turned a nice navy blue colour.  She was an Nicaragua Zebra Tarantula, and not the more common Costa Rican type.  The difference is that the Costa Rican type is black, while the Nicaragua type is brown.  That begs the question of where the blue came from.  Maybe it was just post molt coloration and would have dissapeared if I was able to keep her longer.

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