Imagine if your cat, dog, bird or fish starts to hide from you whenever you want to interact with them. You will start to reflect on every interaction you had with them to understand what went wrong. But when it comes to a tarantula, should you be concerned? Why is your tarantula always hiding?
Before you shake their tank to find them – stop! Do not do that under any circumstances. Your tarantula can have many reasons to hide that can range from molting to just wanting some privacy. It is simple, if they have put barricades, they do not want to be disturbed – no questions asked!
So how long is too long for a tarantula to be hiding in its spot? When should you be concerned? And what are the things that you should definitely not do when they are hiding? We will get to that and more further in the article.
Reasons Why Your Tarantula Is Hiding
1. Change In Environment
The environment doesn’t mean climate change. If there is a change in climate and it is getting too cold or warm, you should do the needful accordingly.
A change in environment could mean shifting them to a new cage and adding new substrate for them. In order to make it feel like home, your tarantula can start with the home-warming process.
This change can be more apparent if you have been observing them being active and outside more often than digging up and closing in. Sometimes, they really like to dig in and bury themselves because they want to regain their sense of security again.
They roamed around in the previous one because they were familiar with it and they felt secure there. In the new one, they might be feeling a sense of threat and to pacify it, they bury themselves in.
2.They Are Molting
Your tarantula can choose any mode for molting. They might choose to molt right in the open or create a burrow for some privacy.
Young tarantulas will go through molting twice to four times a year. An adult will molt once annually while a senior tarantula will start to molt in lesser frequency, as they start to complete their average lifespan.
A female tarantula can live up to 20 years while a male tarantula’s average lifespan is 7-8 years.
3. They Need Privacy
Now, as we need privacy, they too like to be in their own company. But their need for privacy can range from a few weeks to half a year.
Some are known to be inside their little hole till a little more than a year. Don’t worry, they all are mostly safe and rarely ever in danger.
What is the sign of them needing privacy? If they are not reaching out for food or and aren’t making themselves visible, it is one of the huge signs.
They will also be barricading the entrance of the burrow with substrate or any light decorative material to indicate their unavailability till further notice.
Don’t Confuse Tarantula’s Mode Of Hunting As Hiding
Tarantula’s mode of hunting is ambushing their prey. They will either hide near their burrow or will be alerted of the presence of their prey when they make any movement over their silk thread.
Tarantulas can catch vibrations of movements so they get alerted and get ready to hunt their prey.
However, one thing to note is how flimsy is the depth of the ‘trap door’. A trap door is a temporary barricade or a ruse to make the ambushing easier.
So when you feed them their prey by tossing one into their cage, they can wait for a while. When the prey comes closer to the trap door, they pounce on it.
However, if they are not in the mood to eat or interact with the world, their barricade will be stronger and not a ruse.
This ambushing strategy can be confused with them hiding. But the distinct marker is how long they are hiding and if they are ever re-emerging to hunt their prey.
Do’s And Don’ts When Your Tarantula Is Hiding
Do not shake or investigate their cage when they are hiding. You will spook them and they can hurt themselves and you in the process.
They can go into hiding for a long and unpredictable time period. It is best to leave the timing for re-emergence to their comfort. These are the things you should do.
- Keep water available for them in their dish. Provide them chlorine-free and clean water.
- You can put in dead prey in their bowl at night to see if they are interested to eat. If they don’t eat it in a few hours, remove it.
- Give them their space and feed them whenever they are out and willing.
- If you want to clean the cage because of substrate molding or after 6 months or so, be very careful if your tarantula is already in the hiding. You have to slowly and carefully scrape away the substrate to move your tarantula. It is best not to disturb them but if it is necessary, be very gentle and careful.
Now, let’s focus on the things that you shouldn’t do when they are hiding.
- Do not dig them up. You don’t know what position they are in. This move becomes especially dangerous in their molting or pre-molting stage.
- Do not try to pass any prey inside their burrow. As mentioned earlier, they can be in any position, which can jeopardize their health and safety. Live worms, super worms or any live prey should be avoided. They can harm your tarantula, especially during their molting period.
- Do not decorate your cage with anything heavy. There was a case where a tarantula got crushed under a decorative piece of rock while it was hiding. Make their space safe.
- Do not dig little holes to make their burrow more ‘breathable’. Tarantulas need good enough ventilation, enough that doesn’t cause condensation inside the cage. When they are inside buried, they do not want any kind of extra holes for breathing. They know the best in these matters.
- Digging them up is basically an act of intrusion that can cause them undue stress and they might retaliate. Be very careful about that as well.
Old world tarantulas (mostly originates from Africa and Asia) can bite you whereas new world tarantulas (mostly originates from North, Central, and South America) can throw their urticating (irritating) hair towards you and can cause painful stings.
When Should You Be Worried About Your Tarantula Not Coming Out?
When you have a young tarantula, they shouldn’t be in for more than 3 months or so. It is because their bodies are not big and hardy enough to be burrowed for a long period of time.
So you can check up on them if you find it to be really suspicious. While it is very rare that your tarantula will get buried and trapped under the substrate, young tarantulas are just a tad bit vulnerable to it.
As nature’s rule, the strongest one survives. All of this is a process of making them stronger. And why should you not fret about them being trapped? They are capable of spinning silk around their burrows, which makes for a good safety net and pillar so that the burrow doesn’t cave in.
If a sling cannot produce silk or cannot survive under the substrate, it is best believed that it is weak and may not have survived anyway. But we humans, who have endless compassion for our pets, wouldn’t like to see that happening.
So the best thing you can do is to make their area as safe as possible by following the dos and don’ts when they are hiding.
Your tarantula hiding is not a sign of them not liking you or hiding from you because they don’t like you. It is a totally normal process for them to follow the way their evolutionary minds have paved.
So, whenever in doubt, let the spider come and tell you. Though they are not very demanding of your attention, they will still give you a clue when they are ready to interact with you.
In summary, do not disturb a tarantula, especially when they are an adult. When they finally decide to come out, you can feed them. But make sure to always keep fresh, chlorine-free water for them in the dish bowl.