Mama tarantula cares for her young
Yesterday night when I walked about turning sprinkler levers I also paid a visit to mama tarantula spider (Thai black tarantula, Haplopelma minax, Theraphosidae). To my excitement she was near the opening holding an egg sac the size of a Ping-Pong ball.
I was not sure what was going on. Was she about to leave her burrow, or was she afraid that the adjacent sprinkler (which I had set so that she would not get soaked, just misted) would harm her young?
I turned off the sprinkler to take a picture, and after a while she withdrew with her egg sac back into her burrow.
Earlier this evening we had South African visitors over for dinner. We took the opportunity to pay a visit to mama tarantula. The nearby sprinkler had not been in use for 24 hours. At first we did not see her so I probed the burrow with a thin stick and indeed she attacked it, but no sight of her egg sac. I believe that the previous night she held it high to keep her babies out of an anticipated flooding.
Such motherly instincts must be respected. Normally it does not rain at all this time of the year, and if that is what she and her babies expect, I should adapt to them. I guess the grass will have to suffer a while until the next generation of furry dokmai guardians mature.
Text & Photo: Eric Danell, Dokmai Garden