I feel like it’s time to talk about Apollo and her wobble. Take a good look at that damn smiley face on her side and let me tell you why you should never, ever buy a spider morph.
My girlfriend and I started out with one beep, a normal named Cecil. I have leopard geckos and my mom had a beep while i was growing up, so I was pretty comfortable with my care of ball pythons. I’d read online about them for days and I made sure that my animals were happy and well taken care of. We were pretty excited about other morphs, but we hadn’t come across anything about spiders in our research. Or if we did, wobble was never mentioned.
We were in the mall pet store when we saw Apollo; it had been probably the third time we’ve seen her there and her price was marked down significantly. With her was a super pastel that was also marked down quite a bit. She’s a bumblebee, so they had her at a higher price than the super pastel, and excited, we did a bit of research on prices before choosing the super pastel.
The mall pet store workers were not trained in any way on reptiles and the manager was the only one who touched them. We knew their practices were subpar, but we weren’t prepared for how subpar. The manager not only sold us the more expensive morph at the cheaper price, thinking she was the super pastel because she was “lighter”, she also told us that Apollo was “nippy” and proceded to roughly grab her with a towel to get her out of the enclosure and into a box. Which she then taped closed and stabbed a few holes in. We were pretty horrified, but at this point, we weren’t leaving Apollo there and we were getting her at the reduced price of the super pastel, so we thought we were lucky to be able to save her from that awful place.
We realize now that they’ll just keep selling snakes they know nothing about, but we had no idea what we were getting into. We asked what they were feeding her. She was about a foot long. They said live adults. When Apollo yawned, she had trouble closing her mouth because of that for a while. But the messed up jaw wasn’t even the half of it.
We started reading about her morph, curious about the genetics, when we stumbled upon a forum discussing wobble. I stared at that smiley face on her side and my chest ached. Some snakes get it so bad they have to be put down, it said. The thought of my baby corkscrewing on the bottom of her cage, no sign of stopping just broke my heart.
It wasn’t bad at first. It was just a little wobble from side to side when she got excited for food, and sometimes she’d misstrike, but otherwise she was okay. Maybe Apollo wouldn’t be one of those spiders that got bad. Maybe it’d stay like this.
She grew slowly, and her wobble got slowly worse. It was slow, but I watched. She’d wobble a little more, she got a little less coordinated. Sometimes she’d cock her head in odd positions and just sit like that, staring.
Then she shed and started to brown out. We were excited, she was looking so healthy and vibrant. She gave me a full shed. But something was off. A few days later we found her sitting on her driftwood, corkscrewing away against the glass. I took her out and she stopped, and she seemed eager to explore like always. Another day we found her corkscrewing, my girlfriend called her name and she stopped, but she was staring at her upside down.
She only seems to do it when she’s excited or hungry, but it’s really distressing to watch. The change was so sudden that I’m afraid that I won’t be able to keep Apollo much longer. It will crush me if I have to put her down. And I’m not cruel enough to keep her alive when she’s obviously stressed, but we’re going to try to limit her stimuli and add more plant cover to her tank (it’s already pretty covered) and hope for the best.
But I want anyone who thinks it’s okay to breed spiders to look at Apollo’s damned smiley face and consider is it worth it? Is the money worth causing emotional pain and suffering when someone has to put their snake down because it can no longer eat because of it’s wobble? Is it worth it to put an animal into the world that may not live it’s full lifespan or live a life full of constant stress due to something internal and completely incurable?
Don’t buy a spider. They’re beautiful animals, but they should not exist. And they especially should not be bred into existence. Insist on the super pastel.
Truffle Takahashi is just an ordinary girl starting her first year at Orochi High School. Join her as she makes new friends–Marzi-chan, a big girl with big headboobs and an even bigger heart, and Mochi, a mischievous prankster who cares more than she lets on–and meets her first love, the mysterious, venomous Atheris Hispida!