New Indian Ornamental Tarantula..Or is it an illusion?

Here at The Reptile Zoo our beautiful Indian Ornamental Tarantula molted yesterday and left visitors wondering if there were actually 2 tarantulas in the exhibit.

Inidian Ornamental Tarantulas live in monsoon forests, where the climate alternates between very wet and very dry. Poecilotheria species should be regarded with caution, beacuse their bites are considered to be much more significant than those of other tarantulas. Their bites are not lethal, but some poeple may be allergic to their bite which can be a big problem.

 

Tarantulas have an exo-skeletal structure which means unlike humans, their bones are on the outside and amazingly, they must molt their exo-skeleton to allow them to grow. This process can happen as little as once per year but may happend more frequently when they are young. Once their molt is complete, it appears that their is 2 tarrantulas in the enclosure, so we have to be careful not to remove the real one, just the molt.

 

These tarantulas are nocturnal, arboreal, and quite ant-social, they like to keep to themsielves and only really come out for food. In the wild they will eat anything, including rodents and insects and even eat things that are the same size as themselves.

 

They are quite slender and in the wild they will stick to the bark of trees and the pattern helps them to blend in.

 

Here are some pictures of the new molt.

 

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Ordering One Molt To-Go

 

Imagine opening a cage and finding this beauty looking at you! At first I wasn't quite sure what I was looking at. I knew what I was supposed to be looking at... an Emperor Scorpion, one of the largest species from Africa, but was the scorpion eating a frog? Was it eating another scorpion? Was it breeding? No it couldn't be. 

 

 

All of these thoughts seemed plausible until I considered the most obvious answer... the scorpion was molting! What's molting? Molting is basically the arachnid version of shedding. Each time a scorpion gets larger it grows out of it's skin and produces a new larger version underneath.

 

 

It then slowly walks, crawls, wiggles and inches it's way out of the outer skin. This process can take from 30 minutes to 3 hours depending on the humidity and animal. HINT: If you have your own creepy crawly scorpion at home you can help this process by adding a little moisture to the surrounding bedding to help increase this humidity.

 

 

As it is coming out the scorpion will usually be discolored, sometimes even white. This is because the outer skeleton has not hardened, immedietly after molting the new skin is soft and susceptible to damage. HINT: If your scorpion is molting be sure not to handle or feed it during this time as it can cause injury. 

 

 

Once fully hardened, taking up to a day, the new exo-skeleton will become shiny and regain it's normal coloration. Once you see this change the molting process is complete and it will look like your scorpion has cloned itself! Don't worry the scorpion is not radioactive (we'll talk more about that later) or part of some crazy science experiment. 

 

 

The scorpion has just left behind it's molt which looks like a transparent clone of itself. The scorpion no longer needs this molt, it does not eat it, so it can now become your trophy or better yet great gag gift to suprise your friends with!

HINT: Both the old molt and new skin glow bright turquoise under a black light which is sure to raise the spooky factor for your arachiphobia friends!

 

 

As you can see the Emperor Scorpion can be a pretty exciting pet... just check out Priscilla's blog about everything you need called  I AM EMPEROR , but if you're not up to that you can enjoy an up-close and personal look at the scorpion along with some of his reptile friends at your next Jurassic Party!

 

 

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