On September 5 I received a shipment of arthropods from Ken the Bug Guy. The $300 order, purchased entirely using my gift certificate from the American Tarantula Society annual photo competition, was comprised of 4 captive bred Brachypelma smithi, 3 captive bred emperor scorpions, 2 captive bred Syrian black solfugids, and 1 captive bred Grammostola pulchra.
The Brachypelma smithi will be going to local elementary classrooms once it’s clear each is feeding and thriving. That will be soon. They look great. The emperor scorpions will stay with me for a little while before they are placed in classrooms. The Syrian black solfugids were an impulse purchase of sorts. I know it’s difficult to keep solfugids alive in captivity, but these were captive bred, inexpensive, and something new to me. The Grammostola pulchra will stay with me.
The solfugids, as expected, were extremely active. The larger one ate well immediately. The smaller one did not. I transferred each to a 1 oz. condiment cup with a coconut fiber substrate and a slightly moistened hide. Both remained active the first several days. The larger one was frequently seen moving around its enclosure. The smaller one tunneled immediately and was rarely seen. A week later I checked the smaller one’s condiment cup and was unable to find it. I assume that it died and decomposed rapidly. It was really, really small…
The larger one remained active and continued to eat for several days. Its voracious appetite led to it developing a particularly heavy body. At that time its activity level ceased to nearly zero. I assumed a molt was imminent. Several days later there was almost no activity and still no molt. Concerned that the substrate moisture was an issue, I moved it to a larger container using Reptilite, a sandy commercial reptile substrate mixture as its substrate. I laid it on the substrate next to a moistened tissue and placed the container half over the area of the gecko’s tank that is directly over the heating pad. Several hours later I checked the container and saw a nice, clean outlined hole that the solfugid dug itself.
I checked the container this morning and saw that the tunnel had collapsed. I gently dug out the solfugid, who continues to show minimal movement. I removed much of the Reptilite so that another tunnel collapse shouldn’t be catastrophic, and placed the container half over the gecko tank heating pad again. The lack of good solfugid husbandry information has been frustrating, but is understandable. I’ve enjoyed having them for the past two weeks, though I suspect my first attempt at solfugid husbandry, like my solfugids, may be short-lived.