Wednesday, January 07, 2015

Rosie's Molt

If spiders make you squeamish, this post is probably not for you as it contains some photos of our younger tarantula's recent molt.....

When little man got his first tarantula we knew we would probably get a second sooner or later just because Charlotte is older and will probably not molt again.  Last year we got Rosie - who is also a Chilean Rose Hair Tarantula - but until recently, we were unsure if she was male or female.  She is a female.  How do I know?  She molted so I could check it out officially!!!

Naturally she picked the worst corner of her tank for the occasion (as far as viewing is concerned) so bear with me on the photos. 

She spent the better part of the day like this.
Around dinner time she began to wiggle out of her old exoskeleton.
In case you're not quite sure what you are looking at, here's a brief explanation. Before the molt, the tarantula will grow a new exoskeleton under the existing exoskeleton. When they are ready to shed the old exoskeleton they get the carapace to pop off first and then the abdomen splits so they can start wiggling out of the open space. It's actually a rather stressful time for tarantulas and uses up a lot of there energy. In the above picture, you can see Rosie (darker charcoal color on the right) has wriggled almost all the way out of the old exoskeleton (brown on the left). They come out with new fangs and everything. After the molt they stretch and move around to obtain greater size and eventually things harden again (including the new fangs).
Almost there!
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From this angle you can see Rosie has successfully freed herself from her old exoskeleton. Isn't she pretty? I love that tarantulas can look completely different after a molt!
New and improved Rosie. I mentioned that I figured out if she was a male or female and I did so by looking at a specific area of her molt and found evidence of her being a female.  :)
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This is her molt in my hand. My hands are on the smallish side but this gives you an idea of how big she is. Or was I guess.  She doesn't appear to be much bigger though.

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