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Jumping Spider General Care Guide
Welcome to the World of Jumping Spiders! Jumping spiders are a unique and charming family of spiders known for their adorable appearances and playful behavior. If you’re intrigued by these fascinating creatures and thinking of keeping one as a pet, you’re in for an exciting adventure. This guide is here to help you navigate the ins and outs of caring for jumping spiders, with a focus on Australian species.
Table of Contents:
- The Appeal of Jumping Spiders
- The Growing Hobby of Keeping Jumpers
- Understanding Instars and Developmental Stages
- Ideal Beginner Species
- Recommended Species for First-Time Owners
- Realistic Lifespan Expectations for Australian Jumping Spiders
- Creating a Comfortable Home for Your Jumper
- Orientation and Ventilation Considerations
- Choosing the Right Size Enclosure
- Decorations and Furnishings
- Settling In
- Helping Your Jumper Adjust to Its New Environment
- Providing Nutritious Meals for Your Jumping Spider
- Appropriate Prey and Feeding Schedule
- Avoiding Wild Insects Due to Pesticide Risks
- Maintaining Proper Humidity through Light Misting
- Creating a Safe and Stimulating Habitat
- Understanding the Moulting Process
- Providing a Safe Space for Moulting
- Tips for Safe and Limited Handling of Your Spider
- Sick Spider
- Identifying and Addressing Health Issues
- Lost Spider
- What to Do If Your Spider Escapes
- Determining Age and Gender
- How to Estimate the Age of Your Spider
- Identifying Male and Female Spiders
- Female Jumping Spiders and Eggs
- Recognizing Gravid Females
- Differentiating Between Infertile and Fertile Eggs
- Caring for Spiderlings
- Housing and Feeding Baby Jumping Spiders
- Releasing Spiders
- Ethical Considerations for Releasing Captive Spiders
- Choosing Ethical Breeders and Sellers
- Ensuring Responsible Sourcing of Jumping Spiders
- Packaging and Transporting Spiders
- Safely Sending and Receiving Jumping Spiders
This guide is your go-to resource for keeping your jumping spider happy and healthy. Whether you’re a beginner or an experienced arachnid enthusiast, these tips and insights will help you create a thriving environment for your furry, eight-legged friend. Enjoy the journey into the captivating world of jumping spiders!
- Bioactive setups create a self-sustaining ecosystem.
- Include live or fake plants; small terrarium plants like Begonia or ferns work well.
- Key feature: Clean-up crew – springtails, isopods, or millipedes.
- Crew helps break down waste and organic material, providing essential nutrients.
- Also aids in controlling mold.
- Decaying leaf litter serves as food for the clean-up crew.
- Specialized substrate blend: potting mix, sand, coco fiber, peat moss in specific ratios.
- Enclosure redecoration is possible in a bioactive setup.
- Consider keeping some familiar decorations after redecorating.
- Jumping spiders may need time to readjust to the new environment.
- Spot-clean every couple of weeks or as needed.
- Use a damp cotton tip to clean sides and decorations.
- Do not remove webbing trails or hammocks; they assist in movement.
- Jumping spiders have varying settling-in periods.
- Signs of settling: Hammock construction and eating prey.
- If not settled, consider adjusting enclosure conditions.
- Feed baby crickets or flightless fruit flies.
- Prey should be smaller than the spider.
- Be cautious with crickets’ powerful jaws.
- Avoid feeding wild-caught prey due to disease and pesticide risks.
- Do not feed daily; consider abdomen size for feeding frequency.
- Reasons for not eating include prey size, pre-moult, fussiness, enclosure size, age, or hunger strike.
- Flightless fruit flies and crickets are available from various sources.
- Use a fine mist spray bottle to maintain humidity.
- Mist one or two sides of the enclosure every few days.
- Avoid over-saturation and large droplets.
- No need for a water bowl; jumping spiders can drown.
- Damp cotton or paper towels are unnecessary and can harbor bacteria.
Creating the Right Environment
- Avoid direct sunlight for the enclosure; use indirect sunlight or LED lights.
- Well-lit space is ideal as jumping spiders rely on sight for hunting.
- LED lights are safe; avoid night-time light exposure.
- Heat mats are unnecessary and potentially dangerous.
- Avoid aerosols, perfumes, and other chemicals near the spider.
- Wash hands after handling pets with topical treatments to prevent harm.
- Keep jumping spider enclosure safe from other pets.
- Jumping spiders moult until maturity; thicker hammock is created.
- Moulting process is quick, but overall process can take days to a month.
- Post-moult period is crucial; offer food 24-48 hours after moulting.
- Moulting frequency decreases with age; juveniles moult more frequently.
- Handling is optional and more for your enjoyment.
- Not all jumpers like being handled; individual personality matters.
- Handle over a large, uncluttered space with a catch-cup nearby.
- Wash hands and move slowly when handling.
- Gradually introduce finger, use a brush to coax if needed.
- Bonding takes time; not all jumpers will be comfortable with handling.
Sick Spider and Lost Spider
- Sick spider: Place in an ICU enclosure, offer water and food.
- Lost spider: Thoroughly search enclosure and surrounding areas.
- Keep an eye on walls and high spots if spider escapes.
- Lost jumpers can be found even months later.
Determining Spider Age and Sex
- Breeders can provide age info for captive-born or bred spiders.
- Wild-caught spider age is harder to determine, usually categorized by growth stage.
- Sexing: Sub-adult males have swollen pedipalps.
- Mature males have obviously swollen pedipalps.
- Sub-adult females resemble mature females but smaller.
- Mature females have an epigynum (dark belly button) on their underside.
Determining Gravid Female Jumping Spider
- Only mature females can be gravid (carrying eggs).
- Gravid females will have a noticeably rounded and large abdomen.
- The abdomen can appear huge if carrying many eggs.
- Infertile eggs may not be as obvious in appearance.
Infertile vs. Fertile Eggs:
- Mature females, whether mated or not, can lay eggs.
- Infertile eggs: From females that have not mated, usually after molting.
- Fertile eggs: From females that have mated, especially if intentionally paired.
Mating and Eggs:
- If mated, eggs are likely fertile.
- Wild-caught females may lay eggs from previous matings.
- Eggs will be in a neat clump if fertile, often with visible leg development.
- Eggs hatch into “eggs with legs,” develop, then leave the nest.
Caring for Baby Jumping Spiders:
- Babies leave the nest by themselves; may be guarded by mother.
- Be cautious of gaps; cover with breathable fabric to prevent escapes.
- Provide housing in deli cups with something for them to climb.
- Use fine mesh or pantyhose for ventilation; avoid water puddles.
- Feed babies flightless fruit flies or springtails; watch for signs of feeding.
Options if You Don’t Want to Raise Babies:
- Release them if native to your area, following ethical guidelines.
- Send babies to an experienced hobbyist for raising.
- Consider euthanasia if it aligns with your ethics and is done quickly.
Releasing Jumping Spiders:
- Release only native spiders in appropriate areas.
- Captive-born/bred spiders should not be released into the wild.
- Be ethical and responsible with wild-caught spiders.
Captive-Born vs. Captive-Bred:
- Captive-born: Born in captivity, mother not paired in captivity.
- Captive-bred: Born and raised in captivity with intentional pairings.
Criteria for Ethical and Reputable Breeders/Sellers:
- Don’t rehome spiders at very young instars; i4/i5 minimum.
- Honest about spider’s origin (captive-born, captive-bred, wild-caught).
- Transparent about spider’s age and sex (except juveniles).
- Knowledgeable about species, encourages updates and questions.
- Reflective pricing based on species.
- Supports feedback and suggestions.
Packaging Jumping Spiders for Postage:
- Use Express Post and avoid hot weather for postage.
- Label the box to avoid direct sunlight.
- Well-fed spiders prior to postage; no need for food during transit.
- Individual deli cups with ventilation holes.
- Provide grip material and hydration.
- Use cushioning material in the box to secure cups.