Can Tarantulas Die while Molting? Molting is a natural process that is tarantulas experience with shedding an exoskeleton. Naturally, tarantulas consist of two layers. The outer, hard, and rigid layer is known as the exoskeleton that protects the inner soft layer from damage.
The inner, soft, and delicate layer is known as the endoskeleton. As the tarantulas grow, the outer layer does not rise and grow with it. So, it may be discarded its outer hard layer in favor of a newer layer, a bigger one layer.
The process of molting involves shedding his exoskeleton, while he sheds his older layer and emerges with a new soft and delicate layer, which will rapidly harden into a new hard exoskeleton.
In this process, they also replace the internal organs, such as the stomach lining, female genitalia, and even grow lost appendages. Both male and female tarantulas molt several times until they attain their full size. Tarantulas molt every six months, and some tarantulas molt continue throughout their life.
When molting begins, the tarantulas secrete specific hormones and fluids. That will help the tarantulas to remove their old exoskeleton. The tarantulas roll over on their back, and you may also see some silk cover around them. A web Cradle they have spun.
When tarantulas are in the molting stage, you do not disturb them as tarantulas are at a very vulnerable stage. They take from 15 minutes to a few hours. You may also understand it is a complicated and dangerous time for tarantulas.
Can Tarantulas Die while Molting / The Science
Science of Molting
Scientifically, the process of molting divides into 4 stages, which kind of overlap each other.
- Intermolting stage
In this stage, the new and old exoskeleton begins to divide as exuvial fluid leaks out from between them and soften the old exoskeleton. During the molting process, the tarantulas lie down on their back. They contract their abdomen which pushes fluid into the upper body. This fluid exerts pressure on the exoskeleton, and tarantulas then breakthrough at their weakest spot.
This process ranges from between 2 to 48 hours. During this molting occur. In this stage, tarantulas are undergoing physical changes. The bald spot on its abdomen becomes large, and the skin becomes just visible underneath t turns from pink to black.
The dark coloring of the skin is the due formation of a new, fresh exoskeleton underneath.
During the molting process, everything from a tarantula’s eyes to their fangs becomes detached from their old skeleton, and they often cease eating in the weeks prior to prevent them from getting stuck in their old shell.
This is the most vulnerable stage. In this stage, the delicate new exoskeleton expands, and as does the lining of the mouth, stomach, and pharynx. The new exoskeleton is larger than the older one.
The soft new exoskeleton is ready to expand. The new, soft, unprotected exoskeleton requires more air to create more room in the exoskeleton. Then, the new exoskeleton becomes hard, and the molting process is complete.
Usually, about a year, is during which the tarantulas do not molt is known as the intermolt period.
What Signs of Molt are Visible?
When your tarantula molts, you may have seen some physical and behavioral changes. The most obvious sign that you have observed the following:
- Decreased in appetite
- Decreased in movement/ activity
- Clear fluid droplets
- Development of a bald spot
- Increase the use of webbing
- Position of tarantulas
- Decreased in appetite
Before molting, tarantulas will stop eating for an extended period ranging from a few weeks to a couple of months. If you have noticed your pet tarantulas stop eating or eating less than usual. It will indicate that your tarantulas molt soon.
Decreased in Movement / Activity
Tarantulas often stop move or decrease their activity to conserve energy before a molt. If your tarantula has not been moving much lately, then this could be a sign that tarantulas are about to molt.
Clear Fluid Droplets
Some tarantulas secrete clear fluid droplets in their joint of legs. It is the indication that your tarantulas molt soon. But keep in mind that not all the tarantulas secrete clear fluid.
Development of a Bald Spot
If, you notice a bald spot grow on the abdomen of tarantulas that is increasingly darker as the molt near. It is a good sign that your tarantula is getting ready to molt.
Thinning of hair on the abdomen
Some tarantulas lose their hair on the abdomen during molting.
Increase use of Webbing
During molting, tarantulas may make a matt of silk. For them to lay on their back while they molt.
Position of Tarantulas.
During molting, most of the tarantulas lies down on their back to remove their old exoskeleton easily.
How to Care for Your Tarantula During Molting?
If you notice these signs then a tarantula will molt soon. You may also sure, the humidity at the molting site is ideal. And the temperatures are right for your specific kind of tarantula. The proper environment is essential for a successful molt. Make sure there is no uneaten prey in the tank that can seriously injure a molting tarantula.
What Happens if you Touch a Tarantula While it is Molting?
When tarantula in the molting stage, they are under stress. You do not disturb them as tarantulas are at a very vulnerable stage. Leave your tarantula alone during this stage. As you know, they remove their own exoskeleton in molting.
During this process, they are more apt to sustained injuries or even die if they are disturbed while they are molting.
You need to plan to leave your tarantula alone while they are showing the signs of molting. Most tarantula will molt while laying on their backs.
Molting usually takes a few hours so keep an eye on your tarantula (remember to not touch it), and within a few hours, you should be able to verify if it was molting by the evidence it has left behind its form in the shape of the molt.
Lying on its Back is Normal / Not Dying
Most people think that their tarantula is on the back, it means they are trying to die. But this is not the case. It is very rare that tarantula dead upside down. It is more likely to found dead with its leg curled under the abdomen than to be laying on its back.
Does Molting Hurt Tarantulas? Not if They Do Not Get Stuck
Molting is a natural process in which the tarantula removes its exoskeleton. It does hurt tarantulas if all the conditions that require molting are present. It just like a person gets a Haircut.
Most of the tarantulas can get stuck inside the old exoskeleton during molting. It may be just a small part of the old skeleton is stuck. But if they do not get free, sometimes the whole tarantulas will remain inside the old exoskeleton, which will lead to a slow death of the tarantulas.
Molting may be painful to the tarantulas, due to lack of sufficient hydration, and humidity. Because tarantula builds space between the skeleton by water pressure to remove old exoskeleton. Molting also requires hydration for lubrication, without of proper level of hydration, most of the tarantulas not complete their molting process.
If you see your tarantula having difficulty in shedding their old skeleton, you should apply moisture to the area where the tarantula stuck by using a paintbrush. This helps the tarantula to separate the old shell from the new exoskeleton.
Malnourishment can also hurt a tarantula during molting. If a tarantula has not had enough nutrition. They also have problems shedding Their old exoskeleton, and may also have a high risk of molting injuries.
Another common problem that can hurt the tarantulas during molting, is to get stuck, one or more legs in the old shell. Then They are not able to extract the old exoskeleton from the legs.
If you see your tarantula is in difficulty, you should gently push the old exoskeleton and free their legs by using a tweezer. But you should keep in mind, you can do this only if you see your tarantula cannot complete their molting process on their own and is having trouble.
Do Tarantula’s Eat Their Molt?
A tarantula can eat its own molt. But most of the time, tarantula does not eat their molt after molting. Some may consume part of its old exoskeleton especially, the lungs and stomach. The question that people mostly ask is, Do tarantula eat their molt? If Yours does, The main reason that tarantula will is because of the expenditure of moisture and nutrients during the shed. The molting is an energy-consuming process. A lot of physical activity is needed.
The tarantula’s heart rate will increase to pump hemolymph from abdomen to cephalothorax. Due to the pressure of hemolymph, the cephalothorax expands and causing the exoskeleton crack. The tarantula also needs to continue its muscle activity until it is free from the old skin layer. All these processes take time, from a few hours even a whole day.
A tarantula goes through an intense energy-burning process, while the new exoskeleton is still soft and flexible. So, for some tarantula to retain their energy level or full fill their nutrients, they will eat their old exoskeleton after molting.
As you know, the exoskeleton consists of layers of the cuticle, that contain various amounts of protein, chitin, and some sugars. That is a great source of energy. If the tarantula is hungry, they may eat their exoskeleton after molting.
I already discussed in this article, the tarantula needs hydration to remove their old exoskeleton, otherwise, they are stuck inside it. After molting, the tarantula feels thirsty. A tarantula also secretes fluid between its old exoskeleton and the new one. This fluid is reabsorbed by the tarantula after molting.
Should I Remove My Tarantulas Molt?
Molting is a very stressful process for tarantulas. They need a comfortable and peaceful environment to complete their molting process. Naturally, a tarantula sits on their back and remove their old skin. You should not disturb your tarantula until the tarantula completes its molting process.
Occasionally the tarantula’s legs may get stuck, inside their old exoskeleton. If you feel your tarantula is in trouble. You should gently push the old exoskeleton and free their legs by using a set of tweezers. But you should keep in mind; you should only do this only if you see your tarantula has not completed their molting process and is in trouble.
Sometimes a tarantula is dehydrated then they are not able to remove their old exoskeleton. If you feel tarantula dehydrated, you should apply moisture to the area where the tarantula stuck gently by using a paintbrush. This will help the tarantula to separate the old shell from the new exoskeleton.
Molting is a process in which tarantula remove their old exoskeleton. The new exoskeleton soft and will become hardened later. Tarantula will continue molting until they are fully grown. The whole molting process can complete within two hours to a day. During molting, the tarantula is very vulnerable, they are more susceptible to injury. To prevent damage, the tarantula forms a layer of the web for protection around their burrow.
Some tarantulas eat their molt after molting to retain energy and nutrient.
Some Tarantula may also die during their molting process if conditions are not suitable. It requires 60 percent humidity to complete its molting process.
Tarantula may also die due to starvation. If a tarantula has not had enough nutrients to complete molting, molting is a very tiring and energy-consuming activity. Sometimes tarantula can get stuck inside its old exoskeleton, which will lead to a slow death.
You should not disturb it, but give the proper care of your pet tarantula during molting. Provide an optimum environment, water, and nutrients. You need to remove any uneaten prey from their tank.
The Prey can become the Predator to the Tarantula in its vulnerable condition.
Keep a close eye on your tarantula from a distance until molting complete successfully.