My Tarantula is in Premolt and I Know How She Feels

A few months ago, I purchased a pet tarantula and within a month picked up a second from a reptile expo. I strangely became interested in keeping one after wondering where my fear of them was coming from. It wasn’t like I was ever bitten by a spider or had some scary encounter when I was a kid. I figured it had to be a combination of something else scary happening at the same time that damn 1990 movie came out. So, in classic all or nothing form I started watching videos to learn about tarantula’s, what I thought was the biggest and scariest of all spiders, the great whites. Regularly I found myself anxiety risen from work already primed to watch one high intense feeding video after another. In a strange way, discovering how fragile they were and not out to hunt and kill humans, was making my anxiety feel better. Almost like the feeling of warm ocean water surrounding you after surviving a scary jump off a cliff. Next thing I knew I was crafting a plan to convince my husband a pet tarantula in the house was a great idea. Thankfully, like all the times I come to him with a crazy idea, he was on board. Just a handshake he never needed to feed them.  

I knew being a new mom was going to be tough, but I was up to take this job seriously just as I do being a dog and plant mom. One positive to keeping a T and a big reason I decided to get a couple is how easy they are to care for. I wasn’t looking to spend more time with other critters as three dogs has been plentiful. They need no lights, warmers, maintenance with food about once a week, sometimes they won’t even eat for weeks and they certainly do not need love and affection. The best part about them is just watching and looking at them. They sleep a lot and can be in the same sleeping position all day. What a life.

I quickly learned not to tell people you keep t’s. Our friends mom jokingly asked if we were eating tarantula for Thanksgiving dinner and I realized I’m still that weird girl. I get it, ask me eight or even five years ago about this and I would have laughed it off as well. Now I find myself fascinated with every step of progress in their little spider life. Everything for me is new with them and since this is their first and only life it’s new for them too!

The patience I have learned from keeping them has been a great reminder of the patience we need with ourselves and in life. Sometimes shifts take longer than our monkey brains deem is tolerable. I’m on my second premolt feeding strike, this time with my bigger tarantula Buffy (Avicularia Avicularia). Today is a month she has not eaten. She seems to be in heavy premolt and for the last week I keep waking up and thinking today is the day I find a molt. She’s cranky and just wants to be left alone. She is dull gray, less vibrant and is just waiting. I wonder if she feels anxious about her own molt as I do for her. Most likely I’m just projecting my human emotions. Little does Buffy know she has a bigger more beautiful enclosure waiting for her once she molts.

Metaphorically, the importance of patience prior to a shift can dictate how big or nice that next ‘enclosure’ is. I can get tired and anxious before the next big thing, it’s easy to these days with the chaos of the World. As an adolescent and well into my thirties I had that shark mentality. Great Whites have always been my favorite animal and I thought of myself a lot like them. Stealth, loner, always hungry, always on the move and mysterious to most. This was helpful for my survival but no longer is needed in my life, I survived now I just need to live. Interestingly, the opposite of the shark or great white can easily be the tarantula, who makes a home, eats when necessary and becomes most vulnerable before a fresh new shift. Grateful for Nature’s lessons.

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