How Can I Preserve a Tarantula's Molted Shell?


Tarantulas, like other arachnids, are part of the arthropod group of creatures, which must shed an exoskeleton in order to grow. Tarantulas are very vulnerable and weakened just before molting, during, and directly after the process. They do not eat and, in fact, can be eaten by their prey. Any stresses should be removed from an aquarium when a spider is in the molting process. Once complete, the left-over shell can be kept and preserved for its beauty.

Things You'll Need

  • Plastic gloves
  • Garden shovel
  • Ziplock bag
  • Paper towel
  • Pin
  • White board
  • Shadow Box
  • Put on your plastic gloves. Gloves protect your skin from being pricked by the urticating hairs that may still cover the molted shells. Urticating hairs sting and itch your skin.

  • Gently pick up and remove the molted shell from the aquarium. Attempt this only when the tarantula is not on or near the shell. Place the molted shell on a white board for arranging its legs. If it is too dry to arrange, place it in a zip-lock bag with a moistened paper towel. Leave the shell for a few hours so that it can absorb the moisture from the paper towel. Remove the bag and place the shell on the white board.

  • Arrange the legs with your hands in a way you want to display them. Possible arrangements include extending all eight legs outward or four forward and four back.

  • Pin the molted shell to the white board. Pin each leg and the body. Let the molted shell dry again.

  • Gently place the white board in a shadow box. Place the shadow box on a shelf or on the wall to display your preserved tarantula shell.


  • Photo Credit Jupiterimages/liquidlibrary/Getty Images
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