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A B.C. garden keeper at the Victoria Butterfly Gardens managed to film a 20-centimetre tarantula shedding its armour-like exoskeleton.
The creepy yet fascinating video was posted to the insectarium’s Facebook page. Justin Dunning, living collections manager at Victoria Butterfly Gardens, says after four years of trying he was able to capture the 10-hour moulting process of his Burgundy goliath bird eater tarantula.
The video footage was reduced into a 2 minute time lapse video. Dunning says that the first eight of nine hours of the footage was nothing but the spider lying on her back.
“As a tarantula gets larger she gets tighter in her exoskeleton. She’ll make a sort of web hammock and then she flips on her back and she actually sheds her exoskeleton,” he explains.
Dunning says that the tarantula crawls out of its shell, discards it and is left as a soft, jelly-like being.
“That’s the most vulnerable time for a tarantula’s life,” he added.
This tarantula, named Stirmi after her scientific name, Theraphosa stirmi, lives at the gardens and is about nine years old. She has been dunning’s pet for the past six years.
Stirmi is reported to be in perfect health after the lengthy process.
Female tarantulas go through the moulting process about once every 10 months until they fully mature. They can live to be 25 years old.
-With files from The Canadian Press.