As unusual pets go, the tarantula is a fascinating species. One of the most common questions many new owners ask is: what happens when they moult? If you?re looking for answers to that question, here?s some tarantula pet care advice that will help you understand what is a crucial part of any tarantula?s life.
Why do tarantulas moult?
As invertebrates, tarantulas have no backbone and, in order to survive and grow, they have to shed their skin regularly. It is completely normal, albeit the process can be alarming for owners.
How often does it happen?
As it grows, a tarantula will moult or ‘shed’ five or six times within the first two years of its life. Thereafter, it?s likely to happen once a year at most.
What are the signs a tarantula is preparing to moult?
A key thing to look for is a change in your tarantula?s behaviour. Signs may include a decrease in eating, refusal to eat or a general sluggishness. Therefore, if you see this, consider it the pre-cursor to the big event! However, be patient, as it may still take a few days or longer for the shedding to happen.
When will I know the moulting phase has started?
Just before the tarantula is about to moult, it will lay on its back. In fact, it may even appear to be dead. Don?t worry – it isn?t! However, make sure that, when this does happen, you do not disturb your spider, as it?s a very crucial time. Moulting is an extremely strenuous experience for your tarantula and requires a lot of effort.
How long does moulting take?
It varies from spider to spider, but the skin will usually be shed within a few hours. Once shedding is complete, the tarantula will flip back on to its front, leaving the cast skin behind. Do not immediately remove it, as the tarantula will be in recovery. If possible, wait a day or two at least and even then, remove it with care.
My tarantula moulted but it?s not eating. Is this normal?
Yes, it is. Once a tarantula has shed its skin, it will not eat for a few days afterwards. Therefore, do not feed it. Just leave it comfortable in its home with fresh water and ensure the heat and humidity levels are stable.
Find out how to house a tarantula properly…