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Dying of old age?

Discussion in 'Brachypelma' started by Sheisfishing, Feb 16, 2016.

  1. Sheisfishing

    Sheisfishing New Member

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    I have a b smithi that I got as a spiderling in April of 2012.

    I don't handle him at all and he is normally quite active and busy.

    I sexed him a couple years ago and he is a male.

    The past two weeks he has become lethargic, and sits in the corner of his enclosure and doesn't move.

    Today I noticed his abdomen looks like it is deflating.

    He always has a water dish available but on the off chance he was dehydrated I put him in a warm damp ICU container.

    He does not seem to be improving in health.

    If I try and move him he almost tips over and seems very weak with his legs curled underneath him.

    Is he dying of old age?

    I feel terrible that he might be suffering.

    I don't believe he has any parasites and there are no signs that he has injured himself.

    Is there any more I can do for him except keeping him in the ICU box?

    Can you take a tarantula to the vet?

    I am so sad that he isn't recovering. I really love him and hope there is something else I can do to help him.

    Any help at all would be very appreciated.
  2. MassExodus

    MassExodus Well-Known Member 1,000+ Post Club

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    Sounds like a mm ready to go to the web in the sky. I've had a few mm pass on, it's just an unfortunate part of the hobby :( I would put him back, let him pass on in the comfort of his own house. Sorry for your troubles but that's about all you can do..
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  3. Chubbs

    Chubbs Well-Known Member 3 Year Member 1,000+ Post Club

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    We need a picture in order to really be able to help out. There's nothing a veterinarian would be able to do for an invertebrate, especially a tarantula. So little is known about their anatomy, and veterinarians who go to school for exotics aren't trained to work on those types of animals anyway. How large is he? It could definitely be a MM, in which case it's probably just his time. Best of luck with everything.
  4. Sheisfishing

    Sheisfishing New Member

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    Checked on him this morning and he is not doing any better.

    He isn't used to being handled so I don't want to poke or prod him too much.

    I have attached a photo of him to this post but I'm going to take MassExodus' advice and put him back in his regular house.

    I'm guessing he isn't very happy in this little moist container and it doesn't seem to help him.

    I feel so bad for the poor guy. I really do love his company and it's heart breaking to think that he is going to die.

    From what I have read 4 years is the average life span for MM b smithis.

    He had his last molt in July and it had been close to a year since he had mooted before that.

    I don't really know how to tell if he is mature or not.

    Ok photo attached.

    He is probably about 4" across when his legs are spread out normally.

    He has lost a lot of hair on his abdomen and it looks like it's deflating

    :-(

    image.jpeg
    Last edited: Feb 17, 2016
  5. MassExodus

    MassExodus Well-Known Member 1,000+ Post Club

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    Yeah, mm in his last moments. Don't be too sad, he lived in comfort and safety with you. In the wild he may not have made it past his second molt..
  6. Sheisfishing

    Sheisfishing New Member

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    Is there anything I can do to make him more comfortable?

    Is it inhumane to just slowly let him die?

    I tidied up his enclosure before putting him back in there.

    I'm guessing he won't eat anything. Would it be a bad idea to throw some injured crickets in there that he would find easy to eat? I don't want to stress him out anymore than he already likely is. I left a water dish in there for him in case he wants to drink but right now he can't really even walk. When I tried coaxing him back into his home he just tipped over and I had to actually pick him up which is something I rarely do. Maybe 5 times in his life has he been lifted by hand. It's so sad to see him so weak. I want to pet him or comfort him but I feel like he hates to be touched so I've just left him be.

    I don't know why I expected him to live longer but he was so active and vibrant recently and his decline was so fast. I didn't realize that their death could be so sudden.

    He was the busiest little T I have ever seen. He always loved climbing around in his enclosure and digging burrows in there.

    Poor old Charles.

    Thank you both for your replies.

    I really have no idea what to do and just want the best for him.
  7. Kymura

    Kymura Well-Known Member 1,000+ Post Club

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    So sorry hun, thats the bad part of keeping them.
  8. Chubbs

    Chubbs Well-Known Member 3 Year Member 1,000+ Post Club

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    Throwing crickets isn't going to do anything. The crickets might munch on him actually. MM's often don't eat, their entire purpose is to find females to mate with, plus they're always on the move out in the wild, they are short on time, and do not have time to stop and eat all the time. I hope I'm not coming across as harsh here, I'm just saying that this literally is the entire purpose behind a male spiders existence. The reason he was so active was because he was building sperm webs and searching for a mate. Mature males don't normally sit still for very long. There's not really much you can do for one that's dying of old age, I it's just a part of its life cycle. A tarantula that is dying of old age isn't in a constant state of pain either, so suffering isn't really a term I'd use to describe what they go through when they die. Invertebrates aren't believed to feel pain the way most other animals do either. Granted they sense injuries and know when they're dying, but they don't actually feel pain the way a more complex life form would. ICU's are normally meant as a method of euthanasia.
    Last edited: Feb 17, 2016
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  9. Entity

    Entity Well-Known Member 1,000+ Post Club

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    they dont last forever unfortunately sorry to hear it. :( best cure for a dead spider is a new spider! he lived a life free of predators and got to chill in ur care. be glad for that. :)
  10. Sheisfishing

    Sheisfishing New Member

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    Hi Chubbs,

    Thanks so much for your response. It actually helps a lot to know they don't feel pain the way we do.

    I will avoid putting any crickets in his enclosure.

    Now that I have read your post his behaviour makes a lot more sense. After his last molt in July he ate ravenously for about a week. After that he barely ate at all. I just figured it was normal and if he wanted to eat he would but most times he would just let the crickets die on their own.

    He definitely enjoyed laying down web along the floor of his enclosure as well as inside his little hidey holes - I'm guessing this was what you describe as sperm web and hunting for a mate.

    Thanks so much for the info and responding to my posts it honestly makes me feel so much better about everything.

    I don't like the idea of him spending his last days in a tiny ICU box so I think I'm going to leave him be in his home where he is more comfortable. He has crawled into one of his logs and seems content to stay there.

    Definitely going to get a new spiderling in the near future but for now I have moved Charles' enclosure to a warm spot on my desk where we can hang out a bit more before he passes on.

    Seems ridiculous to be so attached to a tarantula but I can't help it! He has been with me since moving out west by myself and it's been cool watching him grow from a tiny spiderling to a big fluffy bright adult.

    Thanks again everyone for their kind and helpful responses.

    Any idea on the timeframe for how long this death period is? Just wondering how much more time I have to spend with him before he is gone.

    Cheers,

    Lizzie
  11. Entity

    Entity Well-Known Member 1,000+ Post Club

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    if i had to guess it isnt going to be very long before he goes by looking at his pic. :( my condolences.
  12. Chubbs

    Chubbs Well-Known Member 3 Year Member 1,000+ Post Club

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    B.smithi slings aren't too pricey here, although adults are a different matter lol. I'm not sure about over there though. There's also a lot of other good Brachypelma species you could look into. I'd be glad to suggest a few species to you if you'd like. I'm guessing you want to stick with terrestrials for now?
  13. Sheisfishing

    Sheisfishing New Member

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    Thanks Chubbs!

    I am definitely thinking that I will end up with another terrestrial. I would love some suggestions. I think I paid around 40 bucks for Charles when he was a baby from http://www.tarantulacanada.ca. He was like a tiny house spider when I got him and it was awesome to watch him grow and sex him after his molted exoskeleton was big enough to handle.

    I chose the b smithi because I initially had plans to handle him and they were described as being more docile than other tarantulas. However I just didn't have the countenance for it and the few times I initially handled him I would panic - when he was small I accidentally tore his leg off when putting him back in his enclosure and I never handled him again after that. I felt horrible and it took two molts for him to completely regenerate it.

    That being said, I thoroughly enjoyed just watching him and would probably maintain that type of interaction with any new T I ended up with.

    I'm not familiar with any other brachypelma species so anything you can suggest would be appreciated.

    I'm open to any type of species as long as they are bred in captivity and not wild caught

    Thanks again for all your help!
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  14. Chubbs

    Chubbs Well-Known Member 3 Year Member 1,000+ Post Club

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    We all make mistakes, so don't beat yourself up over a past incident like that. Even with more docile species, I would hold off on handling slings and smaller juveniles due to their more delicate nature.

    To me, a good beginner species isn't just something that's docile, it also has to do with how easy/difficult the care requirements are to manage, and if the species in question makes any special demands. How comfortable are you as far as speed goes? Obviously since you're still pretty new to the hobby you're gonna wanna stick to NW species. The thing with speed though is that everyone has a different concept on what a fast-moving tarantula is. To someone who has only keep slow-moving species like Brachypelma or Grammastola, a GBB is going to seem insanely fast, when in reality, they are pretty low on the speedometer compared to many others. Green Bottle Blues are an excellent species for those who have kept one or two slow-moving terrestrials. They are rather skittish, especially as slings, but are not normally a defensive species by any means, although they love to kick hairs when bothered. They are capable of some pretty quick bursts of speed, but again nothing like an arboreal or any of the OW species. They do however have a very aggressive feeding response, and much like a lot of the larger South American terrestrials, will often mistake anything that moves for food, therefore tongs are a must have. Slings can be a bit spazzy, but as adults they calm down a lot. Most other Brachypelma species are pretty laid-back, although some, like B.boehmei can be quite skittish and will kick hairs at the slightest disturbance. B.vagans is more prone to moodiness (similar to G.rosea/porteri) and some can be a tad on the defensive side. Again nothing that difficult to manage, just not quite as chill as your typical Brachy. B.albopilosum are one of the most docile species out there (even more so than smithi in my experience), and although less colorful than the other Brachys, have a very unique appearance. I'd also look into some of the Aphonopelma species. Most are rather docile, but they seem to have a wider range of temperaments than many other beginner's species.
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  15. Sheisfishing

    Sheisfishing New Member

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    Charles is still alive though not looking any better than before.

    Have spent the whole morning looking at the species you mentioned as well as many others. There are so many out there!

    The GBBs are gorgeous but I am having a hard time finding a Canadian dealer that offers them.

    I also notice that many of the dealers don't sell really small spiderlings. I would prefer not to purchase a big T because I really enjoy watching them grow and change with each molt.

    Trying to decide which species I like best is really tough. I still find myself partial to all the brachypelmas out there. They are so fluffy looking. I definitely visually prefer a T with dense long hairs on the abdomen and a large carapace.

    Looking for a species that doesn't require super specific humidity because I find it difficult to regulate and maintain. So far I am into yellow looking ones like the Harpactira pulchripes but I can't find a dealer that carries them. Going to keep looking around and see what else is out there. Chances are I will end up with another brachypelma though. They're pretty awesome.

    Thanks so much for all the information! You obviously have been into caring for Ts for a long time. I barely know anything about them and assume I got really lucky with having Charles for so long on my first try.

    I run a fishing lodge 20hrs north for 6 months a year starting in June and I'm about to have a baby in April - normally Charles would travel in a smaller enclosure on the floor of my car and stay in the hotel with me on the way up there but I'm wondering if I should wait until I move to get a new T especially if it's a small one to avoid stressing it out with the long car trip.

    We'll see!! I will definitely keep looking today and see what I like and what's available in a reasonable price range. Some of the ones that I have interest in are more than $150 and that seems like a lot for a pet T. Would love to have a female this time though. Would be nice to have it live longer than 4 years.

    Cheers and thanks again for all the help!!
  16. Phil

    Phil Well-Known Member 1,000+ Post Club

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    It is not rediculous, it shows you care and that you kept Charles in the way he could have only dreamed of in the wild. It is sad, but a sling when you are ready will give you many many more years of enjoying the hobby. We will all be thinking of you and Charles and look forward to some lovely pics of your new addition when you are ready.
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  17. Phil

    Phil Well-Known Member 1,000+ Post Club

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    Congrats on the baby too.....☺
  18. Chubbs

    Chubbs Well-Known Member 3 Year Member 1,000+ Post Club

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    $100-150 is pretty average for most adult female for more common species. I've seen certain species listed as high as $500 sometimes more for sexed females. Price is based on supply and demand for the most part. B.smithi adults and certain others are expensive because you can only purchase captive bred specimens plus there is an extremely high demand for them due to their popularity ,however they are not the easiest to breed or to get a viable sac from.
  19. kormath

    kormath Well-Known Member 1,000+ Post Club

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    Sorry for your loss :( they say the best way to get through the grief of losing a beloved T is by buying a couple more ;)

    For beginners i'd suggest any of the Brachypelma species, or the Grammostola species, GBB i think is a great beginner also, my son got one for his first. My first was the Brachypelma vagans. Any of these species just need substrate moist enough to hold shape for burrowing if you get slings, or dry sub and a water dish as juvies/adults. If you go with the GBB i'd set up the enclosure as a cross between arboreal and terrestrial as they like to web a lot and ours has never used a hide or tried to burrow. In fact the one time we put a hide in there she just webbed it over and ignored it.

    I prefer to purchase slings so if you do happen to get another male you'll get a full 4-6 years with them.

    For the car ride for me it would depend if the shipping charges are more to have them shipped to the fishing camp. If it's a wash toss a coin, heads you order now, tails you wait till you get there. I don't see any issues with the car ride as long as their enclosure is secure and you've removed anything that could shift inside and injure them during the drive.

    Congrats on the new family member! (the baby not the T(s)) and welcome to the forums :)
  20. Timmy G

    Timmy G Member

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    The wife and I are sad to read about Charles. The members of this forum never cease to amaze me when it comes to their knowledge and sympathy. I have learned a lot from these guys (and gals). Bravo everyone.
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