My Tarantula plays dead..... NOT!

All joking aside, the question of tarantulas shedding has plagued the brains of curious kids and herpers alike.  We are here with the answers, DUH. Answer: They shed off their old skin much like snakes, but HOW?  What EXACTLY do they do?  Let us explain…

The shed like process the tarantula endures is called “Molting”.  Noticing your spider is balding or perhaps it has been refusing to eat for a few weeks?  The process has started.  Wake up to find your 8 legged friend playing dead and laying on its back upside down? This is a clear marker for the beginning stages of Molting, however be sure to keep your spider undisturbed while this happens because the molting process can be very stressful to the spider and the sensitive creature needs a calm environment to molt. 

This tarantula is on its back, preparing itself for molting.

Once it has started this molting process, as the old exoskeleton is shed, the tarantula's body will be soft and extremely vulnerable. The tarantula will pump fluid pressure in its body to get the carapace, or upper section, to pop off first.  The abdomen will split along its sides, and the spider will continue to slowly pump fluid in its limbs to ooze the old skin off its legs. Sounds pretty gross huh?!  This can take anywhere from 15 minutes to several hours!  Once it is split, the spider wriggles out of its old skin by pulling itself out of the casing, kind of like pulling yourself out of PJ’s with feeties =P

 Mid Molt.... This specimen is pulling itself out of their old exoskeleton (Like the PJ's with feeties ;D)

Now your tarantula has molted! Once emerged from its old skin, it will be highly soft, tender and sensitive.  Do not handle your tarantula for at least a week after it has molted and make sure the spider has fresh water and do not attempt to feed your spider for at least three days after molting. Their highly sensitive state makes them vulnerable to insect injuries.  One amazing thing associated with the molting process is the regeneration ability.  If the spider is missing a leg it can be restored during the molting process!!  After shedding, the spider will almost shine for a while due to the fluid that was between its old skin and the new exoskeleton.  Its fangs will be white and rubbery; the tarantula won't be able to eat until they harden and it will sit defenseless, until its new exoskeleton dries. The molt looks much like a spidey-clone and is often kept as souvenirs, just like typical snake shed.  Your tarantula is growing and will continue to molt once every 1-2 years.  There you have it Herpers, so next time you think your tarantula is playing dead, just leave it be, he’s growin’ new threads ;D.

Hope all your curiosities and questions have been answered! =D



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