I am so scared of spiders that I once genuinely climbed out of a toilet window when the door handle broke to avoid being locked in with one.
However, even I have to admit spiders are pretty cool and interesting. Their intricate, murderous webs, their casual cannibalism, the eerie way they appear on your bedroom wall at 3am out of literally nowhere.
Okay, maybe I’m not the best person to write this article but I will endeavour to keep an open mind about these guys who are – I have been wrongly advised – probably more scared of humans than we are of them.
A video has emerged which shows the incredible molting process of a Mexican Red Knee tarantula, which I cannot stop watching. And yet I also wish I had never seen it in the first place.
Soloria is a big, tough looking tarantula who looks like she can handle herself. But she is also somebody’s fluffy, cuddly pet, which is, y’know, perfectly fine by me and doesn’t cause me to perspire profusely at all.
Her owner filmed and shared the hairy lady’s molting process, which took an intense three hours in real time.
Now although a spider’s exoskeleton is flexible enough to allow them to creep about, it doesn’t grow along with their expanding body size; meaning it needs to be shed.
Younger tarantulas will molt on a regular basis – up to once a month – while older spiders may molt only once every year or two.
In the video, Soloria can be seen contracting her abdomen as she forces blood and other fluids into the top part of her body; twitching and straining with the effort.
Molting is a difficult process for tarantulas, and can take anywhere between fifteen minutes to several hours. According to Tarantula Guide, it is important not to disturb your tarantula while they are molting as this could kill them.
Soloria’s old exoskeleton is visibly stiff and ready for renewal. As she continues to stretch she is able to gradually push herself through ruptured parts of the tight, old skin, wriggling free in what I imagine must be the spider equivalent of a really refreshing shower.
Beneath is a fresh new exoskeleton which will make Soloria’s life much easier. Not only is she looking sharp, she is now very soft and tender; able to grow to an even more imposing size without the constraints of her too-small exo-skeleton.
I get you, Soloria. I know myself how great it can feel when you finally swallow your pride and go for jeans in the next – and correct – size up. No builders bum. No crotch-area splitting. Beautiful.
Following this gruelling ordeal, Soloria will need time and space to recuperate. The Tarantula Guide advises owners to avoid handling their eight-legged baby for around a week as they will be just too vulnerable.
Looking good Solaria! I imagine the rest of the spiders will be extremely jealous of her bang-on-trend exoskeleton, with the fellas going wild to bring her endless romantic presents of flies wrapped in their homemade silk.
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Jules studied English Literature with Creative Writing at Lancaster University before earning her masters in International Relations at Leiden University in The Netherlands (Hoi!). She then trained as a journalist through News Associates in Manchester. Jules has previously worked as a mental health blogger, copywriter and freelancer for various publications.