Disaster struck this weekend. I gave my fully-grown, big ol’ adult spiders crickets to eat. Now Vera is a monster: she just ropes ’em up, immobilizes them fully, and then bites them. So I was overconfident and gave crickets of the same size to Amanda and Xena.
The next day, Vera is a huge bloated sack of bug juice and her cricket is in fragments. Amanda and Xena are gone, and their crickets are sitting there smug and happy. Turns out crickets defend themselves by kicking predators, and poor Amanda and Xena were beaten to death and then eaten by the evil Gryllidae. This does not make me happy. I’ve got to find a safer food source. For now, I’m just giving the juveniles and the sole survivor lots of fruit flies. Death to all crickets!
In other spider news, I’ve been frustrated by the fact that none of them are producing eggs right now, and all the wild specimens have vanished from their usual haunts as winter descends upon us. Then, last night, I woke up in the wee hours with a sudden obvious thought.
Remember that movie, Silent Running?
There’s this scene where the space-going ecologist is concerned about how all the trees are losing their leaves, which are turning brown and falling off, and he hits the books trying to figure out what disease is killing his forests. And then he suddenly realizes, oh, autumn, seasons changing, all that, and I’m sitting in the audience thinking, you dope, of course, so he runs around setting up lights to create a growing season in the space domes. Yeah, I’m also a dope who didn’t think of that, and I should have, because I’ve got timers and lights for my fish rigged to put them on a 14/10 light/dark cycle. This is routine lab animal maintenance. D’oh!
So now I’m going into the lab this morning to put up lights and trick the spider colony into thinking it’s Spring, and time for love, by wiring up the incubator.