George RIP

June 29th, 2002. George died today. She was a (roughly) 10 year old Striped Knee Tarantula.

George was a she? Actually, yeah she was. For many years I had a very bad phobia of spiders. Shortly after I graduated high-school I we casually walking through the mall and happened across the pet store. I went in and there this spider was looking at me. Okay, I could not tell if it was looking at me or not, but it was so fascinating. I brought it home and my uncle had come over. He started calling it George, and the name kindav stuck. The first time George molted, I cried my eyes out because I though he was dying (wait a sec, I thought you said George was a she? Hang in there, I’m getting to that…). When I woke up th enext morning there were two of them! Of course one was the empty shell. I noticed that George’s colors were bright and vibrant. About 4 years later (George had molted several times since then), I noticed a small white sac that he seemed to be protecting. At first I thought it was a bunch of cricket guts he had spun up into a web-ball. I removed the sac and when I opened it up, there were tiny little clear eggs inside. It turned out that George was female after all. But after 4 years of calling that spider George, it was hard to refer to her as anything else. I felt really bad for removing the sac from her aquarium.

Well, I sit here now thinking back over the years on how such a simple creature had given me so much joy. When I am working on my computer, I often times would glance over to see how many crickets she was dragging around in her mouth, or how much webbing she was putting down on her substrate. It may seem odd for someone to become so attached to a spider, but to me George was more than “just a spider”. Geroge was that friend you could talk to, and not have to worry about being critisized. I loved that spider.

Late last night I noticed that George was walking funny. I noticed that her front legs were bending under her while she tried to walk, she was walking on her knees. I went to every website I could to see what that could mean. Spiders are hydrolic. That is; they use the water in their systems to make their legs move. When they have no water in their system their legs can bend under their bodies and they are unable to walk. If left like that they can die. I immediatly coaxed her to her water dish (no sponge, sponges are very bad to have in a water dish), and she started drinking up the water.

Without knowing what else to do, I went to sleep. I woke up at 3 in the morning, then again at 5 in the morning to check on her. Both times I coaxed her to her water dish. And both times she started to drink. About 10 this morning I checked on her again, and saw that she was actually walking about with her legs in full movement. I again coaxed her to her water dish, and she drank for just a few moments then walked away from it. I placed a cricet in with her, but she ignored it.

About 4 this afternoon I saw that she was huddled in the corner of her acquarium, with her legs folded under her. The cricket was actully under her fangs, but it was very much alive. I gently pet her back legs and saw that she was moving just a little. I really did not know what else to do, but I was able to get her to move out of the corner and next to her water dish again. At 5:37 I looked in on her and she was back in the corner. Her legs were folded under her again. After being in my care for close to 9 years she simply crawled into the corner of her glass acquarium and silently passed away. Males of the same species can live up to 10 years. Females can live up to 30 years. George died at roughly 10 years of age (I was told “he” was about 1 year old when I bought “him”).

One word of advice to anyone who has a pet spider; Feed it at least 2 times a week and keep plenty of water in with it. Misting the substrate can be a good thing too depending on the species. If you decide to get a pet tarantula, just be sure to research the species first. They need alot of care and alot of love. They are not somthing that can simply sit on a shelf as a conversation piece.

George September 14th 1992 – June 29th 2002

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