TARANTULA BREEDING :
- How to Breed Tarantulas
1- Get a mature pair of tarantulas. This can be a tricky part unless they are all mature. Males that are mature will have mating hooks on their first pair of legs and females have a flap of skin (spermacae) between their book lungs.
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courtesy to : www.wikihow.com/Breed-Tarantulas
Have you ever thought about breeding your own tarantulas? Well if in doubt on how to breed them you should check out this article.
2-Have the female in a larger cage than usual and leave her to settle down
3-Once she has settled down feed her a little bit more often.
4- About a week before the pairing, put the male in a smaller container and make sure it is concealed.
5- Put the container the male is into the female's tank.
6- Feed her 2 days before the day you let the male out. And again just before the pairing.
7-When you see them drumming before you plan to put him in her tank, it is a sign they are ready however still feed the female before the meeting.
8-Let the male out slowly.
9-Get a paintbrush in case a fight breaks out.
10-If there is a fight separate them slowly with the paintbrush.(NB: the goal is to breed tarantulas, so if the male is killed deal with it and don't kill the female.)
For the next three to six months, the female continues life as usual, though she should be fed more heavily if possible to help her build up food reserves before laying. Eventually she will construct a loose web in her burrow and either molt or lay eggs. If she molts, the sperm are cast aside with her old exoskeleton, and she can no longer lay fertile eggs. If instead she comes out without molting and rolls the web into a stiff (usually oval) case then she has laid her eggs.
Tarantulas may lay from less than a hundred (Theraphosa spp.) to more than a thousand (Citharischius spp.) eggs in a clutch, with no obvious correlation between clutch size and age of the female.
11-Pair them up again a week later(if the male is still alive).
It is best you watch them in case of fights.
Feed the mom well when she is gravid.
Don't interfere with them in the process, it will make them stop.
The female can eat the male if she is not well fed.
Breeding Videos :
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My first tarantula breeding project (Mexican redknee)
How to Take Care of Tarantula Eggs:
Normally, females guard their egg cases by hovering over them, protecting them from attacks by ants, other spiders, predatory insects, and possibly fungus. If stressed, the female may rip open the case and eat her eggs (which admittedly are a good food but certainly not the result you are looking for), so, leave her alone as much as possible. A guarding female usually continues to eat (some keepers withhold food to prevent insects disturbing the case) and otherwise behaves fairly normally. If the egg case is hung in a dense web placed within the burrow and not protected under the body of the mother, the female may become even more aggressive than normal. Each day the mother rotates the egg case several times, equivalent to a hen turning her eggs.
If you leave the egg case with the female, you will notice after about six weeks that the case has been torn apart and the eggs are missing. If you look carefully, you should notice at least some spiderlings in tiny burrows scattered over the cage bottom, where they probably will die because you will not be able to feed them or even separate them from the mother. For this reason, most breeders corner the female after she has cared for the case for a month and remove the egg case to a separate container, where it can be watched and the young rescued immediately. Remember that mother tarantulas may be exceptionally aggressive.
Generally the egg case is placed in a small plastic cup (such as a cup used for delicatessen salads) with a cover to keep the humidity at 65 percent. Roll the case at least three or four times a day. In about two weeks, the eggs should be six weeks old and, for most species, near hatching. Carefully slit the case open with small scissors and pour the contents into a shallow covered dish (such as a petri dish) with a circle of laboratory filter paper on the bottom. The eggs may be in any of three or four stages of development. Some will be simply round cream to brown eggs that are still far from hatching. Others (perhaps the great majority) will be postembryos, which look like an unmoving hump holding on to the egg with partially developed legs. The postembryo cannot move and is still using the yolk of the egg to continue development. If kept clean and at about 65 percent humidity, these will continue to develop into spiderlings.
Ecdysis (moulting) problems
In many cases, most of what is released from the egg case will be first instars, which look like pale, often transparent, little spiders that can move around and feed. These generally molt within a few days into second instars, which have more substance and often the beginnings of a color pattern (which seldom comes close to that of the adult). At this point, the yolk sac has been absorbed and the spiderlings are distinct little individuals.
TARANTULA Breeding :
How to Determine the Sex of Your Tarantula
Obviously, before you can breed your tarantulas, you need to have a male and a female. Getting a pair together can be tough with most tarantulas for several reasons. One problem is that males are relatively short lived compared to females, and they tend to mature before females in the same clutch mature. This is because males require fewer molts before maturity.
Thus, even if the eggs of a clutch produce half males and half females, all those males probably will die long before their sisters mature. Assuming inbreeding is harmless in tarantulas (which probably is the case, as it must happen many times in burrowers with restricted distributions in small areas of habitable land), trying to raise both sexes from one egg sac seldom works. Generally, the hobby breeder tries to start out with a mature female (either raised from a spiderling or purchased as a juvenile or an adult) and buys, rents, or borrows a mature male of the right species when the owner feels the female is ready to mate.
The other problem is that sexing tarantulas is difficult. As a rule, males are recognizable only once they go through their last molt and suddenly develop visible secondary sex organs on the pedipalps (and sometimes the first legs). Females gradually become mature, and there is no true way of determining just when a female moves from immature to mature, so a lot of guesswork is involved.
Let’s start with males. Males as a rule are a bit smaller than females of the same species and population, and they tend to have longer, thinner legs and a smaller, sometimes almost shrunken-looking abdomen. Occasionally, their colors and patterns are slightly different in details, and possibly the details of some areas of climbing bristles on the legs (the scopulae) may differ between sexes. When the male makes its molt to the sexually mature form—usually sometime between one and three years of age—this is the end of its growth, and the spider will not successfully molt again. With this molt, it develops fairly obvious external characters that allow it to be sexed.
First, the tarsus of each pedipalp becomes strongly modified. The segment generally becomes widened or twisted into a clawless structure called the cymbium that is scooped out underneath to hide an oval sperm bulb that ends in a hollow process called the embolus. When not in use, the sperm bulb is held in a horizontal position against the cymbium and may not be easily visible, but you should be able to detect that the segment itself is not normal and then notice the swollen bulb. In the majority of common tarantulas, the mature male also develops a large blackish hook or spine at the end of the tibia of each first walking leg. This is known as the tibial apophysis (plural, apophyses). Though sometimes partially hidden under long bristles under the legs, if you look closely, you can see the apophyses.
Additionally, in many male tarantulas, you can see a shallow, straight epigastric furrow running between the two anterior book lungs. Running from the furrow forward toward the pedicel is a pair of nearly parallel indented lines, usually with a slightly raised, whitish oval area between them. This is the ventral spinning field of the male, from which it spins some of its sperm web.
Mature females tend to be a bit larger than mature males, with thicker legs and larger abdomens. Maturity is gradual in females, and it may take three to six years for some larger tarantulas to mature. To determine the sex of a living tarantula that lacks obvious sperm bulbs, you must turn it over (carefully) and observe the base of the abdomen under magnification and good light. As in the male, the epigastric furrow runs between the two anterior book lungs, but in a mature female it is a raised, clifflike area that often is obvious in lateral view. As a rule, the higher the cliff, the more likely that the tarantula is mature. There generally is a trapezoidal area (not a square as in males) lacking a pale spot in the center in front of the epigastric furrow.
Sexing a Tarantula from Molted Skins
Handling a tarantula always is problematic, and holding it upside down can be stressful to both you and the spider. Instead, many breeders prefer to determine sex, especially of females, by examining cast skins under a microscope.
The procedure is moderately complicated and requires both experience with a variety of species at different ages and a reference collection of shed skins, preferably of spiders followed through to their maturity molts (males) or to the laying of eggs (females). In basic terms, the skin is soaked in soapy water to make it flexible, and then the underside of the anterior abdomen is examined. Remember that you are looking at the skin from the inside out, preferably with a bright light shining through the skin toward the observer.
(At least a 10 x loupe is required, and a stereomicroscope is much better.) Find the four book lungs, which appear as two pairs of whitish squares. Between the generally smaller front pair will be the epigastric furrow, and in the center of this will be a pore that is the primary opening to the internal sexual organs. In a male, the furrow is simple and low, without projections.
In a female, even an immature one, there should be small tubes or pockets to the front of the furrow; these are the spermathecae (singular, spermatheca), which are sacs in which the female stores sperm inserted by the male to fertilize the eggs at a later date. As a rule, the tubes are narrow, are widely separated along the furrow, and end in rounded bulbs, but they also may end in a pair of bulbs (as in king baboons) or have very wide bases that together cover much of the length of the furrow and are much wider than the bulbs at their ends (Costa Rican striped-knee).
In most of the common Brachypelma species (including the red-knee and painted red-leg), the spermathecae are fused into a single oval pocket the width of the furrow and lack distinct external bulbs. Regardless of shape, the shed skin of a female tarantula more than about six months to a year old should show the spermathecae.Some tarantula clubs and experts offer to sex your tarantula from a shed skin. The price is low and the degree of accuracy is high, so if the service is available, utilize it.
- When you reach this articles and after some long experinces with tarantulas and tarantula breeding we need to know sime information about tarantula anatomy:
Tarantula anatomy :
1. EXTERNAL ANATOMY:
Tarantula’s have a hard cuticle or body shell called an exoskeleton. The exoskeleton covers the cephalothorax and legs and prevents the spider from losing moisture and drying out. The exoskeleton also provides the tarantula with structural support. The exoskeleton is shed as the tarantula grows.
Tarantulas can sense their environment to a degree through their eyes. Tarantula’s have 8 eyes and can detect polarised light which helps them to orientate themselves. The eyes of a tarantula are simple eyes, meaning there is just a single lens to each eye. Tarantula eyes are arranged in two rows of four, just back from the chelicerae.
Another way that they sense their environment is through touch. This is achieved through a number of modified hairs covering the entire body, all with specific functions. These hairs are connected to nerves internally.
Hairs on the lower limbs called trichobothria help with orientation, detecting the faintest of air currents.
Hairs on the feet called scopulae help to hold on to a surfaces like glass.
New-world tarantulas (found in North and South America) are equipped with urticating hairs on their abdomen. Tarantulas throw these hairs, which are barbed, as a first line of defence. They do this by rubbing their legs against their abdomen. These hairs irritate sensitive areas of the body, such as the mucous membrane if inhaled. Some species have urticating hairs that can penetrate surfaces such as the cornea of the eye. Care needs to be taken when dealing with these tarantulas.
A tarantula’s body is divided into two parts:
Externally the prosoma is comprised of the eight legs, the two chelicerae with their hollow fangs, the eyes and the pedipalps. Internally the prosoma is comprised of the nervous centre and venom glands.
The opisthosoma or abdomen internally contains the respiratory organs (book lungs), reproductive organs, silk glands, the heart and part of the digestive tract. The abdomen is also covered externally by urticating hairs.
Tarantulas have two appendages near their mouths called pedipalps which are used to manipulate their prey while feeding. The pedipalps of immature males are expanded and look like boxing gloves. As the male matures the pedipalps are transformed into highly complex organs that are used to inseminate females. The female’s pedipalps are slender.
We all know that spiders have 8 legs. Each leg is divided into 7 segments. The seven segments of a tarantula’s leg make them very flexible. Tarantulas have muscles that bend the legs closer to the body but not away from the body. Each time a tarantula needs to stretch a leg back out it must pump fluid into that leg.
To bend the leg back, pressure is relaxed and the fluid flows out of the leg as the muscles do their work. This resembles a hose getting stiff as it fills with water and the pressure builds; going limp when the pressure drops and water is released.
So spiders extend their legs by changes in body fluid pressures. This is why when a spider doesn’t receive enough fluid that its legs fold in toward the body.
The chelicerae are two single segment appendages that are located just below the eyes and directly forward of the mouth. The chelicerae contain the venom glands that vent through the fangs. The chelicerae of tarantulas completely contain the venom glands and the muscles that surround them.
The fangs are hollow extensions of the chelicerae that inject venom into prey that the tarantula bites. The fangs are also used to masticate (chew). The fangs are positioned so that they can extend downward and outward in preparation to bite. They can also fold back toward the chelicerae.
2. INTERNAL ANATOMY
Tarantulas also have an internal skeleton that is actually an extension of the external exoskeleton. This internal skeleton serves as a surface for muscle attachment.
The Tarantula’s nervous centre is found in the prosoma or cephalorthorax. It essentially is made up of two collections of nerve cell bodies (ganglia). Nerve fibres branch off from these ganglia and connect to the various organs internally. The ganglia act as relay message centres between the organs and the body.
Respiration in tarantulas is achieved through book lungs. Tarantulas have 4 book lungs. Each lung consists of 15 or more thin sheets of folded tissue arranged like the pages of a book in a cavity. These sheets of tissue are supplied by blood vessels. Air enters the cavity through a tiny slit on each side of and near the front of the abdomen. As air enters each lung, oxygen is taken into the blood stream through the blood vessels in the lungs. Much needed moisture may also be absorbed from humid air in the same fashion.
Circulatory system :
A tarantula’s circulatory system is very different to that of a human. Tarantula’s blood is also very different. A tarantula’s blood is a liquid called hemolymph. The tarantula’s heart is a long slender tube that is located along the top of the opisthosoma or abdomen. The heart is neurogenic and so nerve cells initiate and coordinate the heart. The heart pumps hemolymph to all parts of the body through open passages called sinuses. If the exoskeleton is damaged, loss of hemolymph will kill the tarantula unless the wound is small enough that the hemolymph can dry and close the wound.
Digestive system :
The mouth is located on the under part of the prosoma, under the chelicerae. The mouth is a small straw-shaped opening that can only suck. This means that any food taken in needs to be in liquid form. The chelicerae secrete digestive juices through openings that aid in the break down (pre-digestion) of the prey.
The stomach of a tarantula runs the entire length of the body, however, what is called the sucking stomach is located in the prosoma. Muscles surround the sucking stomach and when these muscles contract they cause a sucking action and the tarantula is able to ingest the liquefied prey which enters through the mouth and then moves to the intestines. The liquefied prey is further broken down in the intestines and passed into the hemolymph where it is distributed to the entire body. The remains of the liquefied prey are formed into a little ball which the tarantula will discard in a particular area. This should be removed regularly to prevent mould and fungus forming. Excrement is voided through the anus.
At least three different silk glands can be found in the tarantula's abdomen. The silk is liquid inside the gland. When the silk is excreted through the spinnerets, it changes into a solid. Tarantulas typically have 2 or 4 spinnerets.
Reproductive system :
Both testes and ovaries are paired organs found in the abdomen of the tarantula. Male tarantulas have testes and female tarantulas have ovaries. The external opening that leads to and from the testes and ovaries is called the genital opening or epigastric furrow. Females receive sperm from the male through the epigastric furrow.
How to sex a tarantula
Egg Sacs pulling and opening :
Tarantula egg incubator
Hi. I saw somewhere on here where they had a T egg incubator but it was over $100. When you guys pull the eggs sacs from the mother, what do you do? I know they have to be turned every so often but do you do this manually or is there a cheaper alternative that does it for you? Thanks. Craig.
This is what I do, the setup costs about 6 bucks and is re useable. And I take the eggs earlier then most people, but if you wait 35 days or so you can use this setup.
One more thing, if you take the sac and open it and find eggs with legs you do not need to rotate them anymore, rotating is only needed for eggs. If eggs are found just pick up the containers two times a day and give them a gentle circle motion and they all will rotate.
I would say this sac is good!!
opening and incubating a tarantula egg sac
The Green Bottle Blue (GBB) Egg Sac Experience
ROSE HAIRED TARANTULA EGG SACK
And Much More You Can Find it Here :
Good websites for breeding :
Tarantula health problems :
- Common Ailments :
1- Dehydration :
For tarantulas kept under the wrong conditions, dehydration is the most common problem. Signs of dehydration are a shrunken abdomen with a wrinkled appearance and obviously undersized. The cause of dehydration is firstly, lack of water and secondly, lack of food (essential moisture can be obtained through prey). Too much ventilation in the spiders enclosure and not providing a water dish are the other causes. Spiders can survive surprisingly long periods without food (laboratory tests in the past relate observations of up to two years) but die quickly without water. Spiders kept in poor pet shops often display signs of dehydration but with a little attention, most spiders survive and go onto thrive.
Offer water in a large, shallow open dish immediately. This spider will eagerly lower it's 'chest' area into the water and drink slowly for many minutes (even hours) to replace the lost moisture from its body. The abdomen will start to show improvement after only a few hours and the spiders activity level should increase over night. Reducing ventilation in the spiders container and regular spraying to keep the substrate moist will prevent any problems in the future as well as the presence of a open water dish.
Another common problem for tarantulas is trauma caused during ecdysis (moulting). In most cases, the tarantula simply gets stuck in its old skin (exuvium). It is thought that low humidity levels can cause problems but as long as the RH is above 60%, everything should be fine. Mortality rates are higher for older specimens and if an adult spider moults irregularly then this is a sign of old age. More often than not, the spider fails to remove part or all of its appendages and becomes immobile and slowly dies. Another common problem is when uneaten prey items such as crickets are left in the cage with the moulting spider. Crickets will readily attack and bite a helpless tarantula during moulting and the result is usually death from loss of haemolymph. Most of the time treatment is impossible as when the spider is found to be having problems, the old skin is too dry to remove without damage to the spiders appendages (a normal moult should last no longer that 12 hours from the time it rolls onto its back). Nevertheless, an attempt should be made using a soft, damp paintbrush to try and gently ease away the old skin. If only one or two legs are affected then it is sometimes beneficial to remove these as they will be replaced over the next few moults. An appendage that dries deformed will almost certainly cause the spider problems with the following moult and removal prevents this. Using a pair of forceps, simply grasp the spiders trochanter as close to the body as possible and using a swift upward twist, the spider should autotomise the leg. The stump will seal itself to prevent blood loss and the new, much smaller leg will begin to form inside the coxa. Spiders that lose appendages (even fangs can be lost) will sometimes force an early moult to regain them (for example, a spider that normally moults annually will moult at around 6 months). Sometimes the old skin sticks to the abdomen and this can be removed again, by using a damp brush. Spiders that are totally stuck and beyond help should be euthenised by placing them in the freezer until dead. It is thought that sometimes a spider will moult prematurely and this is also fatal. For some reason the area around the carapace splits prematurely and the spider slowly dies as it has not made adequate preparation for the upcoming moult. Sign of a premature moult are the carapace has lifted while the spider is in the upright position (see photo below). There is usually no moulting pad present either. Premature moult spiders almost always die.
B. auratum showing premature moult problems
Mould and fungal problems :
In the hot and humid environment of the typical tarantula cage, mould can and does become a common problem. Detected early enough treatment can be successful but once the mould spreads to the internal organs, it is usually fatal. Symptoms are a white or sometimes yellow plume on the spider, usually on the carapace, underside of the abdomen or at the tips of the legs. Without treatment this can spread rapidly to the internal organs, causing serious damage. Often it is more common with burrowing species from Asia (Haplopelma spp. etc) that spend most of their lives hidden from view. Kept too damp and without adequate ventilation, mould can infect the lung openings and goes unnoticed until it's too late (see photo below). Often spiders will autotomate (remove) affected appendages in an attempt to stop the spread and if this happens it may be worth inspecting the spider for further areas of infection.
caught early enough, some mould problems can be treated successfully. First of all it is recommended that the spider is re-housed in a clean, well ventilated, dry container that contains a water dish at all times. This reduces the risk of the mould spreading and removes it from the environment where the spores are present. Recommended treatment includes applying Betadine antiseptic solution to the affected area. Betadine is readily available over the counter at most pharmacists and is a solution containing 10% iodine. Any solution used must be water based and it may take several applications for any significant results to appear. For extreme cases, some recommend immersing the whole spider in a 10% solution of alcohol but this should always be considered as a last resort. Like all tarantula ailments, mould is usually fatal as once the problem is noticed, it is usually too late for successful treatment. Prevention is always better so try and provide the ideal conditions for the species being housed. Remember that just because a certain species comes from Asia or South America that it should be kept in swamp-like conditions. Adequate ventilation is essential with all species but more so with species that require higher humidity.
Haplopelma sp. with severe book lung mould infection and after treatment with Betadine solution.
Nematode worms are microscopic non-segmented worms that occur naturally in soil all around the world. Most are harmless to your tarantula but there are some species (Steinernema sp.) that are major parasites in invertebrates. They transmit bacteria that is lethal to it's host and for this reason they are often used for biological insect pest control. Wild caught spiders are sometimes imported carrying these worms and if not properly dealt with, they can spread throughout a collection with devastating effects. Nematode worms penetrate their host through any small opening (usually via the book lungs or the anus. The mouth has a very efficient filter system that prevents the worms entering here). They then spread throughout the entire spider to eventually emerge through the mouth. Up until the final stages of infection, the spiders behaviour is quite normal and, unfortunately, when the symptoms are noticed, it is usually too late. Although devastating when present, nematode worms are relatively rare in collections and by taking the right precautions and procedures, you can at least limit the amount of damage they do.
Typical symptoms to watch out for are; restlessness, spinning unusual amounts of silk, spending long periods around the water dish, any unusual sweet odour coming from the container, a very wet sternum caused by the spider drooling (not to be confused with normal cleaning behaviour) and, most importantly, a white sticky mass around the mouth and holding the palps permanently under the chelicerae. For some reason the chelicerae become paralysed, making it impossible for the spider to clean itself and making feeding impossible. A quick test is to gently shake the spiders' container. Under normal circumstances, the spider will steady itself with all the legs and this includes placing the palps on the floor also. Infected spiders won't do this. You can also try feeding, as affected spiders cannot attack prey. If your spider accepts prey, chances are worms aren't present. Inspect new spiders carefully especially wild caught ones; paying particular attention to the underside and to be safe, any new additions should be quarantined for at least three months away from the rest of your collection (ideally in a different room). Use separate tools for these in quarantine and, if found to be infected, it is recommended that the spider be disposed of as quickly as possible by placing it into the freezer overnight. At the time of writing there is no known successful treatment for these worms but in recent years, research into this unknown area of science has increased. For example, RIESM (Research Institute for Exotic Species Microbiology) has been set up to "enumerate the normal bacterial, fungal and protozoan populations residing in and on the more popular species of Tarantulas. Incidental to this process will be the beginnings of an investigation of Tarantula infectious disease".
B. vagans with major nematode worm infection.
Mites will always be present in the hot and humid environment of the typical tarantula set-up. It is only when their numbers become excessive that they can become a problem. Good ventilation and good cage maintenance is essential to keep mite numbers down as they thrive on any decaying matter such as discarded prey remains. These should be removed as soon as possible to prevent build up. Eggsacs can also fall victim to mites so you have to be extra vigilant during this time, keeping the cage as clean as possible. Mites will gather around the mouth of the spider when the environment is too humid so drying out the cage for several days is recommended. The key is a good balance between required humidity and good ventilation. Spray the tarantulas cage regularly but allow it to dry out in between but be careful to provide extra humidity during pre moult. Sometimes mites can attach themselves to the spider (see photo below) and these are best removed using a cotton bud coated with petroleum jelly. Gently swab the affected areas and the mites should become attached to the cotton bud, removing them. Mites are not a major problem and with a few simple steps, you can reduce their numbers to acceptable levels. The spider in the photo below recovered fully without much intervention but, in ideal conditions, this wouldn't have happened.
Do Tarantulas Make Good Pets? | Pet Tarantulas
More information about the tarantula health problem you can check these websites and also the books in the first part of this article : Click here
How to Identify, Treat & Prevent Illness | Pet Tarantulas
Tarantulas: Odd Illness