December 12, 2008

Does a watched tarantula still molt?

On Tuesday, I discovered that Sofia was on her back. Squee! This meant that she was going to molt! The poor girl has been looking a little haggard these past few months and she was due for a new wardrobe.

You see, as a spider grows, they become too big for their britches. Literally. Therefore, they grow a new set under the current set. And then? They lay on their back and "push" the old set of threads off. It can take a few days or weeks, for the new skin to completely harden, as well. The entire process is actually very dangerous and is when the T is at its very weakest.

When I saw her on her back, I was concerned because she was near the bowl for the cricket food. I gently pulled the bowl out, but it spooked her and she rolled back and clambered up the side of her enclosure. *sigh* I am not still not sure if she is going to make it - if the new skin underneath hardens, it will stick to the old skin which will kill her. All I can hope for is that the molting process had not actually begun and that she was only in the position for it.

I think what has surprised me most is how stressed I have been about this. I mean, I knew that I liked Sofia and all that, but now I know how much I like her. She is an avicularia avicularia (common name: Common Pink Toe) which is a New World arboreal species that is known to be docile (rarely, rarely bites), but they do tend to be a tad skittish. Sofia? Is so laid back that I swear she is smoking weed when I am not looking. She is the Cheech of the avicularia set. Everyone always thinks their pets are the most special - I am no different, I suppose.

So, there. I admitted it. I like this creepy little monster dwelling on my fireplace and if she dies, I am going to cry.


Chetna said...

I have to admit that I am facsinated!! I jumped right on to wiki to look up pink toed tarantuals right after I read your post - it creeps me out so much that I'm intrigued :)

MLE said...

Reading these posts really makes me want a tarantula for my very own. I have a feeling Loki would figure out how to eat it, though.

Cagey (Kelli Oliver George) said...

Chetna, spiders used to totally creep me out! Having a T got me over that, obviously.

MLE, The cats don't even notice Sofia! She is on our mantle and frankly, she does not run around up there much. The cage is a well-made, safe cage (the brand is an Exo Terra), so if the cats knocked it over, they would seriously hurt her, but still not be able to eat her.

Mamma Sarah said...

Wow, this sounds so fascinating... you need to take a pic/video of this process

meno said...

You have a tarantula? Man, you have nerves of steel. I don't think i could have a LARGE HAIRY spider in my house. Wait! I probably do, but just don't know it.

But i still hope she's okay.

Colleen said...

Hey! Can you post a picture of it? My 6 year old daughter is fascinated by spiders.

Monkey McWearingChaps said...

Hugz to Sofia for a successful molting. From a distance, you understand. So I'm basically standing several feet away making *hugz* motions with my index fingers and thumbs.