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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.


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!


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

48 Comments on How to keep spiders as pets

  1. X.P.E.R.T On Spiders // June 18, 2011 at 11:59 am // Reply

    Will they live 2x longer in captivity? because I want to catch a giant wolf spider, but I’m afraid when i catch it it will die within a few days because of its age… 😦

  2. i found 2 black spiders 4 daddy long legs and a brown one and keeping them all

  3. i just found a spider that is about a half of a inch long and it has light brown legs and a dark brown body i found it in the grass what is it?

    • X.P.E.R.T On Spiders // June 17, 2011 at 8:46 pm // Reply

      Sounds to me like a jumping spider if its web is wide probably an orb weaver if funnel more like probably jumping spider.

  4. awesome guy // May 26, 2011 at 4:11 pm // Reply

    I would get nonvenomes spiders.

  5. awesome man // May 26, 2011 at 4:08 pm // Reply

    I have tranchalas,blackwidow,brownwidow,wolfspider,brownrecluse and hundred of spiders each feamale and male

  6. shadi1217 // May 18, 2011 at 9:26 am // Reply

    how do i care for my spider

  7. I wish I would of read this information allot earlier, than may be my spider would still be alive today.

  8. Shiny Hydreigon // March 31, 2011 at 8:57 am // Reply

    Bought Red Rose Hair tarantula like 2 or 3 years ago, awesome pet!

  9. by the way i found a spider at the back of my old bag it has only 4 eyes and has red color on legs and brown body what is that??

  10. how do you tell if it`s a boy or a girl

  11. Interesting. Heh heh, my sister would FREAK if I tryed this. P.S. My sister is aracnafobic (that means scared of spiders!)

  12. i can cach daddy longlegs with my hands! 😉

    • hey they’re venomous

      • Dark-Star // January 16, 2011 at 2:42 pm //

        Yeah but their fangs can’t get through human skin, unlike Black Widows or Brown Recluses. Don’t let them walk over an open wound and you’ll be peachy.

      • Shiny Hydreigon // March 31, 2011 at 8:59 am //

        MythBusters tried this Adam was bitten twice with his arm in a large tube of spiders and he was fine the bites were tiny.

  13. i have a spider and i just dicovered this website it has became very helpful.

  14. fishinglover // October 23, 2010 at 9:46 pm // Reply

    i didn’t know you can do that 😮

  15. We have a beautiful stitching spider, aka writer, in front of a window on the south side of the house. Haven’t had a frost yet, we rescued her from the neighbors yard where we know she would have been killed. She has layed 3 egg sacs! We would like to take her inside for the winter, is that possible? Would she live? Please hurry with answer the nights are getting gradually colder.

    • did you ever save it ? and if you did do you feed live or dead prey?

      • nc viking // November 1, 2010 at 1:01 pm //

        No we didn’t. Read up and found out they like natural sunlight and bigger spaces. Decided not to confine her. She did leave us 4 egg sacs before going though. Hopefully will have plenty next year to enjoy in the yard. Neighbors think I’m weird but it’s okay.

  16. i just got a grass spider yesterday and she/he has only built the tunnel part of her web. how long does it take for them to build their webs.

  17. uhm if u have an Orb-Weaver where would you keep it?? i kept it in a box with opn holes And with lock for safety that my Black widow is safe =)

    • Black widows love dark small places so it should be ok but diffrent speders spin defrent sized webbs so if he looked cramp change to summit bigger nd more hostile 😀

  18. I have four jumping spiders, two are small and two are quite big (6mm). Because two of them are bigger, they always eat the flies and moths i put in their container, and the other small ones get hungry. should i let the small spiders go?

  19. i look after and feed a spider on my landing, it lives on its web and just throw in moths or any insects tht fly in when i leave the windo open, i haave had it about 3 months and its getting big, i dont no wat spider it is thoo, it has a massive back compard to its body its brown with white dots on its back, and i live in the uk, any ideas on wat spider it is

    • It’s an ordanary house spider. And try to tear off the moths wings… as it can cause deficiency in some off its sences 😀

  20. I have a male Phidippus apacheanus jumping spider. (red body, black legs) any tips on care?

  21. spidercage45 // September 2, 2010 at 6:27 pm // Reply

    oh yea and are european cross spiders ok to keeep as pet?

  22. how do you tell if a spider is male or female?

  23. iwannaspider // August 21, 2010 at 7:13 pm // Reply

    My mom thinks it would reduce the quality of life if we kept one. So then I ask her for a tarantula and she reminds for the 1 billionth time that she hates spiders! I can’t win!

    • spiderrescue // January 11, 2011 at 6:38 pm // Reply

      tell your mum that in the wild the spider would probably die an extremely painful death from being eaten alive, so that you would be doing it a favour by keeping it in captivity.

  24. I have a jar for bugs to crawl in, and I want to know how I clean it withuot getting the spider out.

    • Jigg-Jiggz // April 3, 2011 at 5:59 pm // Reply

      You’ll need to get a cube-tip and gently rub against all the moist walls… this is evaporation and can get very hot and kill your little spider. What ever you do, DO NOT ever destroy their web because this is their now natural enviroment

  25. i have a grass spider in a jar and its rlly fun to watch it eat 😀

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