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Cher, Pet Caregiver 40+yrs
Category: Pet
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Experience:  Specialist in Pet Healthcare and Behavior
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How do you know when your rose tarantula is dead

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How do you know when your rose tarantula is dead?

It's possible that your tarantula IS molting, and this is a very critical time in her life. She will become more sluggish and stop feeding right before molting begins.

Most tarantulas will molt on their back or their sides. It's important to leave your tarantula alone when molting. You mentioned that she is still in an upright position, but if you find your spider on it's back, IT'S NOT DEAD! Dying tarantulas usually curl their legs up underneath them. When you find your tarantula beginning to molt, this can take a few hours, so be patient. You should see the legs pulsating as the spider attemps to slip out of its old skin. Look for these signs of life, before presuming she's dead.

Make sure there are no crickets in the enclosure with your molting spider as it is very vulnerable and even a little cricket could kill your pet. If stressed, a tarantula could have a 'bad molt' and bleed to death. Don't offer food for about a week after a molt, to make sure that the new skin has hardened, as well as its fangs.

It's always possible that the halogen light or exposure to sunlight, has created too much warmth, and/or that the humidity in the enclosure is not at the proper level. These are the guidelines for heat and humidity for Rose Tarantulas: "Most tarantulas should be kept at temperatures between 75-84 degrees F. In the summer I don't worry about heating except for especially cold days. In the winter I use a small space heater to heat my spider room. If you don't need to heat an entire room, heat rocks and heat pads are a way of heating a single enclosure. Don't leave your spider in direct sunlight for any extended period of time. A spider's enclosure can overheat rapidly...Humidity is an important factor in keeping your spider alive and healthy. Air flow plays a factor in keeping down molds and fungus. For most species misting the cage a few times a week will be adequate. Some species from wet tropical regions will require a higher humidity level. Humidity for this species should be kept at 60-70%. If the amount of humidity is too low there is a chance that when the spider molts it could split it's exoskeleton(skin) and bleed to death. Don't keep your cage wet, just humid. Usually misting the cage every few days with a spray bottle will be sufficient. Hydrometers can be used to ensure a more accurate measure of the relative humidity." from:

For the moment, continue to observe her and make sure that the heat/light/humidity are appropriate. Also, if she has no place to burrow or hide, supply that in the enclosure, as
Spiders like to hide in the wild, and leaving them in a bare setup is very unnatural for them. You can provide rigid plastic tubing (PVC) 3" - 5" or pieces of cork bark. A small flower pot on it's side, is also a good idea.

You will know if she is dead if her legs are curled up underneath her.

I hope she is only preparing to molt, and all will be well with your tarantula. If her legs are not curled underneath her and she is still in this position for the next few days, you might want to bring her into a pet store in your area, where tranantulas are sold, she can be checked out in person.

Best of luck with your tarantula!


Edited by Jessesmom on 10/8/2009 at 7:49 PM EST
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