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How to keep spiders as pets

Spiders can make fascinating pets. Here are a few steps to get you started keeping spiders.

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Step 1: Catch a spider

Spiders are all around us, indoors and out, so they’re not hard to find. Some species can bite and a few are venomous. Learn about dangerous spiders in your area before heading out. It’s easy to safely catch a spider by using a small jar. Gently coax it into the jar using the lid. Spiders will eat each other, so keep only one per jar.

Step 2: Prepare a cage

Large spiders do well in the inexpensive plastic terrariums available from pet stores. Smaller ones can be kept in jars or plastic containers if air holes are drilled into the lid or sides. Be sure the holes are small enough to prevent escape.

Potting soil makes good cover for the cage bottom. Sticks, dead leaves or artificial plants provide structure for hiding, climbing and webbing.

Step 3: Water

Depending on the size of the spider, anything from a plastic bottle cap to a small bowl can serve as a water dish. Spiders also drink water sprayed on webbing, but you should never allow the cage to become damp.

Step 4: Feeding

Offer insect prey once or twice a week. Crickets are available from pet shops, or you can collect insects outdoors if no insecticides have been sprayed in the area.

Step 5: Observing

Watch your spider and take notes on its behavior. You won’t believe what happens in the spider’s web until you’ve visited it yourself!


PREFERRED PETS

Not all spiders do well in captivity. Active hunters are usually easier to keep than web builders. Here are a few that make good pets.

Tarantulas: Some species exceed 10 inches in legspan. They’re by far the most popular pet spiders and can be bought in pet stores.

Wolf Spiders: Some can be more than three inches in legspan. Large specimens do best in terrariums with lots of floor space.

Jumping Spiders: Although small and rarely exceeding half an inch, their jumping ability is amazing. Many species are brightly colored and can easily be kept in jars.

Fishing Spiders: In captivity, these large spiders appreciate vertically arranged pieces of bark for climbing. They’re very fast, so use caution when capturing them.

Grass Spiders: These spiders build funnel-shaped webs in grass, bushes and on buildings. In captivity, they will build extensive webs inside their cage.

LEARN MORE: Click here to see photos of a spider expert’s seven favorite spiders

25 Comments on How to keep spiders as pets

  1. grass spider // June 15, 2009 at 3:59 pm // Reply

    i have two grass spiders their fun to watch and hold but they are extremely hard to catch very easy to keep i use a food container for a cage

  2. fascinated // June 13, 2009 at 4:39 pm // Reply

    i caught a parson spider in my room the other day and finally got a cleaned out glass jar. filled it with some local dirt, a tiny pine cone, some a couple pebbles and leaves, and a piece of semi-soaked sponge. She’s really awesome, though I’m not sure what i should feed her since i want to keep it simple–local bugs.. ants? rollie pollies? suggestions? haha

  3. CHihuahuaspider953:Wolf spiders arent poisonous but can bite. Only when threatened. good pets good luck

  4. Hi i have a wolf spider, how can you tell if its a male or female?

  5. I have 8 grass spiders ,and they like to eat grasshoppers!!!

  6. I have a blak widdo as a pet

  7. can we keep also american hose spiders they look small though.

  8. can you keep a daddy long legs?

  9. I think daddylonglegs are the best species of spider you can have.

  10. ilove spiders . i have 2 spiders .a black widow and a wolf spider .people think im crazy for having a black widow for a pet even for my age [12] but shes better than a dog.

  11. spidercollector32 // March 29, 2009 at 9:32 am // Reply

    I have had jumping spiders my whole life! they are very cool to watch especially when feeding. I’ve kept wolf spiders also but they are still not as cool as jumping spiders. Once I had a daring jumping spider in a 2 gallon tank with a wolf spider…. The wolf spider was 3 inches and got eatin by the 1 inch jumping spider… The jumping spider almost got bit but got away with it. I highly recomend jumping spiders as pets as long as it is in a tank at least 2 gallon depending on the size.

  12. We have five tarantulas. They are fun to watch and easy to take care of. We feed them crickets from the pet store.

  13. I love spiders

  14. garden spider is the best pet i’ve ever had! it has never bitten me and the way it wraps the insects is really interesting to watch! gud luck to spider lover!!!!

  15. Battleaxe dude // March 8, 2009 at 8:00 pm // Reply

    my mother REALLY doesnt want me to get a pet spider. even if i tell her its harmless she is creeped out.PLEASE HELP ME!!!!!!

  16. Just wanted to mention that really, a dish of water is probably a bad idea, particularly for smaller species. Apart from fishing spiders, which live most of their lives near and partially on the water, spiders can easily get ‘sucked in’ to a pool of water by the surface tension, and drown.

    A better water source is a small piece of moist sponge (preferably new, and never one that’s been used with chemicals), a moist cotton ball, or the commercially available ‘water pillows’ used to give water to crickets (you can buy these at petshops, but honestly, sponges are cheaper).

    Spiders make fun and fascinating pets (especially jumping spiders; they’ve got a lot of character), and it’d be a real shame to accidentally drown one =(

  17. chuahuaspider953, wolf spiders are not poisonous but they may bite if you make them feel threatened. It needs a cage about 15×30 cm. Hope this helps!

  18. if anyone has any questions on spiders i can answer it

  19. I caught a black spider yesterday but I dont know what kind it is. It is black and about a centimeter.

  20. I just caught a YELLOW SAC SPIDER. It’s going around and around really fast in its plastic container. I love taking care of spiders!🙂 Thank- you for the information!
    -SPIDERGIRL age 4

  21. i have a wolf spider and she is 6 months old. I have upgraded her enclosure 3 times. First one was little coz I didn’t know it was a wolf spider haha. Sheds skin often. Currently 2.5-3 cms atm. Just started getting really distinguished markings which look really tribal. Eating about a cricket a day ???? Not sure if it’s gonna shed another skin or it’s just a glutton hahaha. currently have an enclosure 20×34 and 28-30cms in height. I’m thinking I need to go larger but not sure what size to go to so I won’t have to do it again. Do they borrow ?? or just like leafage to hide under?

  22. Wolf spiders arnt poisoneus and all the spider needs is a small terrarium no smaller than 15cm by 30cm

  23. daveid gfdacsxdcaxswwq // January 2, 2009 at 5:47 pm // Reply

    i hav a steatoda spider that takes care of her egg sac she lives in a jar but theres nothin wrong because there webs are like the sam as black widows and she eats purfectly well and i have a stratagy wen it comes to spider i colect depending on the seasons

  24. AERFHYT5fgjsxrtopz // December 17, 2008 at 2:22 pm // Reply

    i might get one.

  25. Chihuahuaspider953 // December 16, 2008 at 8:03 pm // Reply

    Okay I just found out what type of spider it is. It is a wolf spider. But I need help still. I still don’t know if it is poisnus, what sized cage it needs, and now I am worried that it will bite me. If you know any of the questions answers that I am asking please type them right away. Thankyou

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