Molting is the method your tarantula uses in order to grow. They are exoskeletal  which means they shed their outer skin in order to become larger or to regenerate body parts. The molting process is very long and at times stressful for your tarantula. In this segment we will explore the signs your tarantula is giving you that it is about to molt and what all you can do to make sure it is a triumphant one.

For those of you who are first time tarantula owners please do not be alarmed when you wake up in the morning or come back home from work or school to see your tarantula on its back not moving. Your tarantula is not dead but has simply started its molting process. There are many horror stories all through the web of people dumping their tarantulas out thinking that the pet passed, if anything a tarantula that passes will never go on its back to die. Your best bet is to simply let it be.

You will find that the younger the tarantula the more it will molt. With slings (spider-lings) molting as much as 4-6 times a year as opposed to an adult tarantula molting maybe 1 to 2 times a year. There is no real way of calculating exactly how fast or how much your tarantula will molt. Of course the more you feed it, the faster it grows, the quicker it molts.


Signs that your tarantula will molt soon:

  • The easiest sign of them all is your tarantula’s abdomen turning very dark in color. You will also notice a bald spot on this abdomen (do not be alarmed this goes away after its molted). It also becomes dull in color.
  • Your tarantula will stop eating. The refusal of food is natural, with some tarantulas going weeks without an appetite before a molt.
  • Your tarantula will be inactive / slow. They become very much sluggish.
  • Your Tarantula will also start spinning a web that it lays on the floor of its enclosure as some sort of bed for it to lay on while going through its molting process.


This is all natural and though you may be worried please know that your pet is perfectly fine.


The Molting begins and what to do after it ends:

The molting itself can take hours and hours, anything from 8 to 24 hours. There is no specific time as to how long this will take for your specific tarantula. The key thing is to not disturb the animal in any way or you might risk it causing harm to itself or even death. You will see that your tarantula will slowly be pushing itself out of its old exoskeleton while flexing and stretching its legs. Once the entire process is done (which as mentioned can take a day or so) it will flip back up on its feet and you will see some slow movements as it gets its new skin stretched out to its new size.

At this point your tarantula is still very fragile and you should leave it alone for at least another week. Make sure you give it plenty of water so it can rehydrate. Please do not try handling your tarantula at all during this time. It’s exoskeleton will slowly start to harden again until its back to normal. The great thing is its beautiful new color(s) and bigger size. After said week you can try feeding it again (we recommend just one cricket at a time to make sure its fangs are hardened enough to feast on prey).


A wet or bad Molt:

Though these are rare and there is still no real explanation for them they do tend to happen. Some speculation is that it could be due to injuries sustained by your tarantula making it leak body fluids during its molt. Your tarantula not receiving insufficient nutrients and enzymes due to a poor diet. Stress due to an interruption during the molting process. And lastly your tarantula simply molting before its new exoskeleton is sufficiently mature.

Your tarantula can also remain stuck in its old exoskeleton. Should you encounter this it is best to try making a homemade ICU for your tarantula with a plastic container and a damp towel to put the tarantula on. Do not leave your tarantula on it for more then 12 hours. It is just temporary. As a last resort for this you can try helping your tarantula shed its skin by slowly and gently with the help of a tweezer and damp Q-tip removing the old carcass slowly from its new skin. We do recommend you doing this ONLY if you have experience with tarantulas before and know somewhat as to what you have to do.


Checking its Gender:

If you did not know your tarantula’s gender yet, post molt would be the best time to find out. Assuming your tarantula is big enough to have a decent size exoskeleton, you can check the abdomen of the old molt which spread open should have 2 white pairs of book lungs (breathing organs), between the first pair of book lungs you should see the epyginal plate, if you do then you have a female tarantula.


We hope that all of this has been helpful for you – If you do have any further questions feel free to drop a comment below even if its just to say hi.