How to Take Care of a Molting Tarantula?

You must be familiar with the Tarantula molting process, especially if you keep one as a pet. During that time, they are extremely fragile and need special care as compared to other times.

Molting usually takes 15 minutes to 24 hours, depending on the species, age, or other possible factors. As a tarantula owner, you need to know about this process and the dos and don’ts of molting.

We also recommend reading our article on Tarantula Tank to know more about their habitat.

What is Molting?

This is something that every tarantula goes through several times in their life. It’s not just spiders, but every animal or insect with an exoskeleton goes through this process.

As we know, spiders have an exoskeleton.

So, while growing, they need to get rid of that as the exoskeleton does not grow with them. This means that younger spiders molt more frequently than older spiders.

While the younger ones can molt every month, the older ones take at least a year or two.

Molting Tarantula

What are the Signs of Molting?

If you ever find your pet tarantula lying on its back, there are higher chances it is beginning to molt. Tarantulas don’t normally lie on their back, so when they do, do not touch them.

They are extremely fragile during that time and a single touch might disrupt the molting or even injure them.

Although tarantulas can molt sitting uptight, the most common position they have while molting is laying on their backs.

Other than that, the common signs you will see in a tarantula that is about to molt is that it will have a decrease in its appetite, activity, dull coloration, and increased use of webbing.

The most noticeable change you will see in your tarantula would be its abdomen, it will form a dark color and the pointy hair will start to shed.

Things You Need to Look Out for When Your Pet is Molting:

  • Whenever you notice these strange changes, increase the humidity in the tank and set a suitable temperature for the species you are keeping. The humidity of the tank should at least be more than 60 percent. Tarantulas are most comfortable in their natural habitat. So, setting up a proper environment before and during their molting would put your pet at ease.
  • Do not keep live prey inside the tank. As tarantulas are vulnerable during that time, the prey will attack them, causing them to die or become seriously injured. A newly molted tarantula must never be fed for at least a week.
  • However, even if you cannot feed your pet, you should provide it with fresh water daily. A tarantula needs to be extremely hydrated during that time, so simply increasing the humidity would not suffice. It needs to drink lots of water after it is molted.
  • Although the process of molting lasts for a few hours, the tarantula would remain weak for several days. Its body will stay soft and weak until its new exoskeleton hardens. During that time, you must never handle a tarantula and leave them undisturbed.
  • If a tarantula is facing difficulty while molting, spray some lukewarm water on it so that the moisture will soften its skin.
  • Oftentimes, the old skin would not come off properly, so you can use a damp paintbrush or a pair of tweezers to remove it from the tarantula. Remember to do it very gently and slowly, without causing your pet any panic or injury.

Things You Need to Look Out for When Your Pet is Done Molting:

Once the process of molting is over, a tarantula would become extremely vulnerable. It takes a few days for them to harden their skin. So, you should not touch it for at least ten days after it has molted.

You should also avoid feeding it for ten days as well. There is no need to worry about your pet starving since spiders can survive without food for a very long time.

There are a few species that can survive as long as two years without any food as long as they are provided with water.

Tarantula Molt

Spiders can regulate their metabolism in such ways that they don’t suffer any ill effects from starving for long periods of time. However, they cannot live long without water.

Conclusion:

Molting is not a once-in-a-lifetime process for a tarantula. So you need to make the necessary preparations beforehand.

Even a single mistake or mishandling could lead your little pet to lose its life. So, do not take this process lightly.

You may be at a loss about what to do for the first time, but you will quickly get a hang of it. Hence, there is no need to panic when you see your pet in a vulnerable state.

We will be posting more articles like this on OurPetGuide. So keep visiting for all the information on exotic pets and also check our article on Tarantula as Pet.

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