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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

52 Comments on How to keep spiders as pets

  1. Keeping Tegenaria duellica that I found at home its quite large been feeding it crickets it loves them, It seems o.k enough in perspects container will it be o.k? And can I just spray water in once and a while?

  2. I have a pet grass spider and his favorite food is crickets, but where can you find food in the winter?

  3. what typeof screen do i use to block the opening?

  4. I have a Daring Jumping Spider. Do the hibernate in the winter?? How and what do I feed him in the winter when bugs are scarous to none???

    • daring spider master // March 13, 2012 at 8:55 am // Reply

      If you can, feed Daring Jumping Spiders flies that you trap with a can, or even easier, catch a smaller normal house spider that lives in your window and other places around your house.

  5. I just caught a sow hunter red with white sacrum for a class pet any advice on habitat. I’m trying to feed it some pill bugs as that is what I assume it eats! Please advise!(: also how large of a terrarium should I create for this girl. I don’t want to crowd her

  6. i wouldn’t keep them as pets—you would be taking it away from its natural habitat,and would be taking it away from its family like any BABIES it is caring for-look but don’t take.

    • It’s not like it’s a cat or something, geez.

    • SpiderPrincess // October 23, 2011 at 5:28 pm // Reply

      JJ, sweety. Don’t worry about spiders being taken from their habitat. Most spiders live in and around human homes already. In fact by humans caring for them they live a much better and often much longer life- being regularly fed and cared for. And no worries about them being taken from “their families”. Female house spiders do not often care for their young and in fact die after laying the egss, but those that do care for them will often carry them with her on her back anyways.

    • geez jj if Boys Life didn’t think it would be good for the spiders they wouldn’t have put it on here

  7. I just caught a brown recluse and two barn spiders. They seem to be doing well all together . Charlotte , wilburn, and munch(brown recluse). We’ve put juicy moths in the cage and they went wild on them! Def a steak dinner! Lol

    • please let them go,wild spiders shouldn’t be kept as pets.

      • If you find a spider in your house why cant you keep it as a pet. jj?

      • cause you would be taking it away from it’s natural habitat & it would be unhappy-what if it has like a family?-It would be better 2 just let them go.

    • Michael Jackson // September 26, 2011 at 6:26 pm // Reply

      Lol Im surprised they havent killed eachother. Make sure they stay well fed or else they’ll start seeing eachother as steak dinners. Ps. Careful with that fiddle back!

  8. this is cool facts!!!!!!!!!!

  9. I want a spider now

  10. i found 2 big wolf spiders and im keeping one.

    • spider lover // March 9, 2012 at 9:41 pm // Reply

      replying to anonymous, good idea wolf spiders make great pets:) I once found a really big forest wolf spider in my house and I gave it to my friend as a birthday present, he was totally psyched:) though sadly that spider (whom he named puffmuffin) passed away about 3 months later:(

  11. We caught a large Wolf Spider in New Mexico and I visited this site to find out how often they eat. We have been putting crickets in the tank but it will not eat it in fact it seems irritated or afraid or it. I wasn’t sure if it needed water, thought it got liquids from the incest will it drink water out of a soaked paper towel or does it need to be a dish?

    • Michael Jackson // September 26, 2011 at 6:31 pm // Reply

      I gave my wolf spider a shallow dish which I filled with water, and put a piece of soaked sponge in the middle, cause Im pretty sure they drink it both ways. also, Make sure the cricket is his size or smaller or else it might be too strong for him. They only eat once or twice a week and can stay alive without food for quite a while so dont feel bad if u forget every once in a while.

    • gceearthgirl // January 15, 2012 at 5:57 pm // Reply

      I feed mine earthworms, cricket legs killed my pet once be carefull :|

  12. I wish I had read this before starting our spider catching with my 6 year son. I found 2 spiders of the seemingly same type-one big and the other small. Last night they were both alive (we’ve been catching flies and feeding them that way) and this morning, not so much. The smaller spider is dead! Thanks for all the information and comments.

  13. i have a lot of jumping spiders out side my apartment

  14. i just cot a grass spider. I gave him a cricket from a pet store but he wont eat it idk if its a male or female how do i tell

  15. Tonight I caught a house spider I named Sam. I just cut off a small peice of sponge and wet it what should I feed him btw he is in a vase with plastic wrap over it with holes

  16. I have about 20 jumping spiders and I’m about to get more

  17. Grass Spiders: hard to capture but cool if you can they can be kind of nice to the same tip of spider just try not to get them real close to each other when feeding

  18. Spiders are the most fascinating of creatures. I could go on forever about how wonderful they are. But as far as keeping them, I want to keep 2-3 spiders in one cage, who don’t search for food the same way, and have them co exist. I do know that spiders aren’t aggressive and back off from fights often so casualties should be low

  19. YEAH they are suppose to keep seperately i tried puting my long leg and a fighting spider together then i went to the toilet and my fighting spider is being wraped into like a cacoon

  20. im now keeping a fighting spider

  21. well not to confuse u but what if they bite you wile catchin it?And they are NOT easy to find.I mean they are in your garage but berely ouside?

    • there really are many outside. Esccpecially brown recluse. They are venomous (as i understand), but are very easy to catch and wouldn’t bite if you are gentle. I have one and am very happy with it so far. If you are planning to catch one, look in your backyard in the evening.

    • how wood u no

  22. Y do people want spiders that bite i mean what if it dies?

  23. i am going to catch a jumping spider and keeping it as a pet

  24. SongBird1320 // June 23, 2011 at 12:44 pm // Reply

    What are some non-biting spiders that are easy to find?

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