Observations. Obvious: Tarantulas sit still a lot between motion.
Not as obvious:
Watching them build things, I’m of the opinion that they are working around the small limitations of their brains. As a former IT guy, I understand what caching of data and swapping is, and when a cpu is memory constrained, pauses will occur to swap stuff from active to storage memory and back again depending on the data needing to be operated on.
As I watch my T’s, I cannot shake the idea that this is what is occurring with them.
My arboreals will slowly move through a new enclosure, pausing for minutes, even hours at a time, and then continue the pattern until it appears they have mapped out the living quarters. Then the building of things begins. I’m using an arboreal as an example, but terrestrial and fossorial species exhibit the same pause/work/pause/change up things patterns.
In this case, my P. cambridgei spent the entire evening waltzing about, pausing and moving to the limits of the enclosure.
Then it sat in the den for a bit.
When it came out, it began building a roof, tearing open the den, and moving substrate all over the place, radically changing the layout. Between each section of creation, it will just stop for a period of time before continuing on with the next steps.
Any time someone says “automaton” when speaking about whether or not a tarantula has any intelligence, I just laugh.