Feeling ‘cornered’ is a lonely and defenseless position one can be in. When we look at our beloved tarantula sitting by itself in the corner of the tank, is it a sad sight to watch or are we overriding on our own interpretation? Why is our tarantula in the corner of the tank?
When your tarantula is sitting/standing in the corner of the tank, it could be showing signs of pre-molt, needing solitude, or showing a sign that the tank needs to be cleaned. If it is coupled with low activity and refusal to eat food, you can rest assured that this is a sign of pre-molt.
Many tarantula owners start to panic when they observe their tarantula sitting in the corner of the tank. We are going to address all the frequently asked questions surrounding this topic and other details in this article.
1. It Could Be Dyskinetic Syndrome
Novice hobbyists may get concerned over their tarantula’s inactivity but is there anything to be worried about? Many times, it is not.
When your tarantula is dying, it will lie on its back and have its limbs curled to its chest\abdomen. The ‘death’ stance is often confused with other stances of a tarantula.
When they feel defenseless, they keep their legs under their body and stand upright. Also, when they molt, they will lie on their back or roll on their side and slither away from their exoskeleton. These stances are nothing to be worried about.
However, there is one case where they might be dying without exhibiting the famous ‘death’ stance – it is when they are diagnosed with Dyskinetic Syndrome. In this syndrome, they will be unable to control their voluntary movement of limbs and body.
It will start with slight tremors and will proceed to increase in due time.
In the beginning, you might notice them shaking even while walking. From the onset of this syndrome, the first symptom will be evident in their limbs and their gait. Unable to control their body the way they want, they may exhibit low-activity.
Since it terrifies them, they will choose to stay low at one corner of the tank. Witnessing your tarantula pass away from this syndrome is heartbreaking to the tarantula owners.
Adding to the heartbreak, there is nothing you can do about this condition. Not enough research has been done on this condition – if it is a symptom of an impending disease or if it is a disease in itself (and how).
2. Is Your Tarantula Molting?
Another reason why your tarantula could be choosing to be in the corner of the tank is that it is in its pre-molting process. When tarantulas enter this phase, they will start to show low activity, refuse to eat, and even decide to rest in their burrow.
They are preparing their body for molting and thus, it justifies their actions.
Their primary aim is to preserve as much energy as possible that they have acquired from their food. However, this doesn’t mean that you should stop providing them with fresh and chlorine-free water.
Tarantulas cannot survive without water but they can survive for months and sometimes a year without food.
Some tarantulas may prefer to molt in their burrow; some will feel comfortable to shed their exoskeleton out in the open. Either way, respect their privacy and space.
Some even go inside their burrows for as long as a year. But they do come out of it every night to take a sip of water.
You don’t need to worry if they exhibit such behavior. Just make sure that you stop feeding them when they are in their pre-molt phase, as it can disturb their process. If you do not observe any ‘death’ stance or Dyskinetic Syndrome in them, they are normal.
3. Do You Need To Clean The Tank?
Another interesting take on why your tarantula is sitting/standing in the corner of the tank could be because the tank needs to be cleaned. It is surprising but true.
Anything ‘foreign’, unclean, or out of place in their substrate can also lead them to stand in a corner, which is much cleaner.
A water spill, a faulty decorative item, and the likes can motivate your tarantula to shift base for a while. The substrate could be developing molds or something in the tank could be rotting.
Your tarantula may like to dig up in ‘dirt’ but it is actually a neat freak. They like to keep their body clean so it is possible that they smell something ‘fishy’.
Have a good look inside your tank, especially when all the other possibilities are canceled out. Since tarantula cannot shout out to you, you need to be a little vigilant about their care and maintenance.
Remove any remains of food they have left, remove their poop balls, change the substrate, and keep the humidity of the tank at an optimal level in accordance with the breed you have.
Observe your tarantula after making the changes to understand their needs better.
4. Could It Be Boredom? Probably Not!
Not doing anything can amount to boredom or at least that’s what we humans feel. So do tarantulas feel bored?
To answer this question, consider this – whenever we try to push the limitations of our basic functions to pursue something more than ‘survival’ instinct, it is called creativity.
This creativity is often found in animals and organisms with complex nervous systems. Common examples include cats, dogs, birds, and others. But when it comes to insects, they have a simple nervous system.
Organisms with a simple nervous system do not often pursue anything creative.
They like to keep everything in a system that they feel secure in. Anything out of place will be dealt with a flight or fight response.
Tarantula owners ponder over this question if they should ‘entertain’ their tarantula and how.
In some discussion forums, tarantula owners have talked about experimenting by placing ping-pong ball, pebbles, piece of tissue paper, chunks of plastic or fiber to ‘play’ with. What they do not perceive is that tarantulas neither have such need nor such want to ‘play’.
They will interact with foreign objects in their enclosure by attacking it, analyzing it, re-arranging it, or even ignoring it. This can be interpreted as them ‘playing’ with it whereas to the tarantula, it is not a leisure activity.
So the next time you see them in the corner of the tank, let them enjoy their solitude. Since tarantulas apply the policy of ‘love me from a distance’, there is pretty much nothing that you can add to entertain them.
Just ensure that they are healthy and living in an environment best matched to their needs.