Whilst caring to your pet spider is certainly going to be a lesser task of caring for your tank of exotic aquarium fish or pair of cocker spaniels there is some work involved in maintaining the health of your pet spider. Most importantly you need to try and replicate the natural environment of the spider.
if your spider is of a type that prefers dark corners is going to need dark corners. If your spider comes from a warm humid climate you’re going to need to keep its container warm and humid. Some types of spiders are extremely specialised in what they hunt – for example there are several species of spider in Australia that mimic leaf Weaver ants which make up the majority of their prey so unless you live in an area that has leaf Weaver ants having this type of spider as a pet is not going to prove particularly successful.
Large orb Weaver spiders require a great deal of room to spin their webs and are usually unsuitable as pet spiders unless your pet is going to remain in the garden. An exception to this rule is juvenile orb Weaver spiders. If you can find these in your garden you can most likely give them enough space to make their web in a medium-sized fish tank or similar enclosure.
Roaming spiders such as Huntsman will typically cover a large area in any given day bus they need a large enclosure such as a meter long fish tank to live happily in. Similarly jumping spiders are roaming spiders and also require a reasonably large enclosure regardless that they are themselves quite small.
Borrowing spiders such as mouse spiders and trapdoor spiders only require enough room to dig their burrow. I am not going to discuss the enclosure requirements of funnel web spiders in this article – if you’re intending to keep such a dangerous spider you need to be reading at a level more expert and provided here.
Small house spiders either of the pea shaped brown, daddy longlegs or fat brown varieties can be happily kept in a large jar as long as the jar is kept in a similar place to where the spider would normally build its web. How spiders of the Peabody variety tend to prefer a darker or protected place of their web was the fat brown variety will commonly build their webs in full light in the corners of rooms or around the eaves outside the house.
Keeping Spidey Clean
Everything that eats – poops. Where there is lots of poop, there is likely to be lots of bacteria. Lots of bacteria is generally not good in the living environment of any animal. Keeping your spider enclosure clean and free of poop will not take as much work as scooping up Fido’s little presents from the back lawn but you will need to clean your spiders enclosure at least monthly.
When cleaning your Spider enclosure the most important thing to avoid of course is getting bitten. The level of care taken to avoid a bite of course should match the aggression level toxicity and mobility of your spider. Some can be moved easily to a backup container with a small butterfly net or even a fish tank net. Others will require more ingenious methods. Be gentle with your spider they are easily hurt.
Feeding your spider.
What you feed your spider is gained to depend on the type and size of the spider. Web building spiders will typically eat flying insects up to 2/3rds their own body size. Personally I prefer to offer Web building spiders insects that are only just big enough to get caught in the Web to prevent the insects hurting the spider is thrashes around. This is especially important if your web building spider is in an enclosed environment as opposed to being suspended between trees.
Roaming spiders such as Huntsman and jumping spiders will typically prey on crawling insects – again they will target insects almost their own size but to their own safety I recommend opting insects no greater than half their own size. Some roaming spiders also drink water so if you have a roaming spider place a lid with water in it in the enclosure.
Of course – don’t offer your spiders bees or wasps. A bee sting in most cases will be fatal to a spider and many wasps in fact prey on spiders, even spiders double or triple their own size.
Indicators of health
though animal can actually tell you if it is unwell but certainly signs that you can look for and recognise when things health wise are not going to plan. A good indicator of an unwell spider is that it will cease eating. It will no longer hunt the food present it and it will reduce its movement around its enclosure. Usually one of two things happens when your spider stops eating. Firstly it dies. Spiders don’t need to ever at some point that life will end. Secondly it sheds its exoskeleton. Just prior to molting a spider. Eating and focus all its energies on ridding itself of its now too small exoskeleton in the building and hardening of the new one.
It is some reason you do have a pet spider pass away don’t despair. A new one is easily accessible either from somewhere in or around your house or from your pet shop. Whilst the loss of any pet brings no joy the death of a pet spider will certainly bring less tears than the death of a puppy.
Spiders as Pets
spiders are a hobby animal as opposed to a pet. They were not barked happily when you return from work. They will not sit on your lap and purr. Most of the time they will do nothing at all. The only real activity is when they are on the hunt wrapping up their prey. Some spiders you will rarely even see as they are either living in their burrow or they are nocturnal and Ali come out when you’re asleep.
Even so that some people are wonderful pets. Easy to look after, fun to watch, and there is no great heartache involved when they go to the great spiderweb in the sky. I personally kept many different types of spiders as pets and must admit the thrill of a Spidey kill was hard to beat.
At one point I had a fat web building brown spider and a large green jumping spider in the same enclosure. I dropped a flying into the enclosure which entangled itself in the fat brown spider’s web. She came rushing out to claim her prize when all of a sudden the large green jumping spider jumped on the fly in the Web, grabbed it and then exited safely. Brown fat web building spider was left to wander her web wondering where her dinner had gone. Very exciting.