Keric finally took the initiative to hunt for his meal today and while I am quite excited at having witnessed him take down his first prey, it all happened by accident really. Normally when it is time to feed Keric, I would prepare the worms pretty much in the same way I prepare them to feed Dian Dian (our giant asian mantis), i.e cut, gutted and served! Today, however, I noticed that Keric's cage was a little bit dirty and somewhat messy (he has taken to digging up piles of dirt recently). As such I attempted to do some spot cleaning and remove some of the worm carcasses from his previous meal. Keric was really quite agreeable throughout the entire process and didn't even protest when I used a soft paintbrush to get him out of the way and so I decided to leave the container top open (under my supervision of course!) as I started preparing similar but larger sized worms for Dian Dian. It was when I was doing so that one of the smaller worms began to object violently to being beheaded and attempted to make an escape! Indeed the poor thing wriggled with such intensity that I inadvertently dropped it. Now, if it should have landed on the table I might have been moved by sympathy to return it to my worm cage where it may live to fight another day, but such as it were, where should the poor creature land but smack in the middle of Keric's container. Now I was under the impression really that Keric had finally gone into pre-molt behavior (the signs were all there! Darkening of the toes, inactivity...) but what do you think he did? Well, he quite literally took a second to take stock of the vibration created by the steadily burrowing worm before making a quick dash and catching it with his powerful pedipalps. Slowly, he raised his hangs and delivered two bites, one presumably to paralyze his prey (the worm stopped moving shortly after this first bite) and the other to deliver his digestive fluids into the worm's hard carapace so that he might suck the innards up like a kind of pre-digested soup.
|Keric in hunter mode strikes a fearsome pose! Reminds me of nothing so much as one of those spider monsters from World of Warcraft!|