Your Comprehensive Guide to Owning a Jumping Spider Pet

jumping spider waving hello
Image Credit: Deposit Photos.

Are you intrigued by the quirky and unconventional? Well, you’re about to find that your curiosity collides with eight-legged charm. I have cared for exotic pets such as snakes, lizards, hedgehogs, and even a tarantula, but my current fascination is with the jumping spider.

If you’re like me and have danced on the wild side of pet ownership, you’re in for a treat – or, should I say, a jump! Beyond the usual fluffy and cuddly animals like rabbits, cats, and dogs, there exists an equally enchanting miniature pet world: the world of jumping spider pets. 

As you step into this captivating space, questions may naturally bubble up, especially if you’re new to the world of unique pets. Fret not! This all-encompassing guide is your trusted companion, ready to demystify the intricacies of caring for these petite acrobats.

What Are Jumping Spiders?

Jumping Spider on leaf
Image Credit: Deposit Photos.

Jumping spiders are unique among arachnids due to their exceptional ability to jump and pounce on prey. They belong to the family Salticidae, which includes more than 5,000 species that exhibit this distinctive trait (1). 

Jumping Spider Size

Typically, these spiders vary from 2 to 22 mm or about the size of an adult fingernail. However, some of the most giant jumping spiders in the United States are found in central Florida, where the Regal Jumping Spider reigns supreme and can be the size of an adult’s thumb. They are found worldwide, from the tropics to northern and Arctic regions, indicating their adaptability to different climates. They are known for their impressive vision, agility, and unique hunting strategy. These adaptable creatures thrive in various environments and make great pets with proper care and attention.

Jumping Spider Vision

Jumping spiders have a remarkable visual system that allows them to track and detect small moving objects precisely. They have four pairs of eyes, the two main ones being the largest and most intricate. 

One species, Phintella vittata, can detect ultraviolet light within the UVB band (315–280 nm). It can see a wide range of colors, including UV, blue, green, and red. Its highly developed nervous system enables it to rapidly process visual information and make sophisticated decisions, making it excellent for hunting.

Common Jumping Spider Misconceptions

Not all jumping spiders have hairy bodies. However, while a few species have hair, most have a relatively hair-free exterior. These spiders have brightly colored or strikingly patterned bodies that catch the eye. They are active during daylight hours and have excellent vision, especially when spotting other spiders.

Jumping Spider Habitat

In the wild, the jumping spider prefers sheltered environments and retreats to concealed nests beneath bark, stones, or leaves in the evening. We will try to recreate this environment for our jumping spider pet.

Jumping Spider Mating

Although they are generally solitary, some species mimic ants or cohabit with adult males and females. In some cases, a male might construct a nest near an immature female of the same species and mate with her when she matures. Both males and females have specialized surfaces on their bodies that reflect UVB radiation, making them more attractive to potential mates.

Jumping Spider As A Pet

jumping spider on finger
Image Credit: Deposit Photos.

Jumping spiders are a great choice for hobbyists and pet owners with limited experience. They are easy to care for and showcase unique behaviors and intelligence. They make charismatic companions that fit in small containers. Exploring and studying different species is both entertaining and educational. Plus, some have found solace in this hobby and conquered their fear of spiders.

The Jumping Spider Personality

Jumping spiders aren’t your typical pet, but oh, they’ve got personality! Imagine a tiny, fuzzy acrobat that jumps around like a furry ninja. My first encounter with a jumping spider brought back memories of my acrobatic tarantula, reminding me that each spider has its own unique charm. These little guys are not only curious but surprisingly expressive – you might just catch one doing a little dance if you’re lucky!

We will guide you on how to create a perfect home for your jumping spider, feed them live insects, and maintain the right lighting, temperature, and humidity.

Where To Get Pet Jumping Spider

jumping spider crawling on napkin
Image Credit: Deposit Photos.

If you’re interested in getting a jumping spider, you can either buy one from a breeder or catch one from the wild, but make sure you can properly take care of them. Avoid capturing wild mature females to prevent complications. To catch a spider, use a small clear container and coax it inside. When purchasing from a breeder, research carefully and ask about the spider’s age and origin to ensure it’s captive-bred and the breeder is reputable.

Jumping spiders can be easily found crawling on plants, walls, trees, or sunny indoor windows. To catch them, gently guide them into a small clear container using a small brush or your hand without grabbing them to avoid getting bitten.

When buying a jumping spider from a breeder, research and evaluate them carefully. Choose a young specimen bred in captivity and a reputable breeder with experience in safely shipping spiders. Avoid illegal practices that could harm the environment.

Choosing the Right Species

black and white striped jumping spider
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Just like picking a dog breed that suits your lifestyle, selecting the right jumping spider species matters. Some are more laid-back, while others are bold and adventurous. It’s like choosing between a lazy Sunday cat and an energetic Labrador. Do your research; find a species that matches your vibe and commitment level.

There are two types of jumping spiders commonly kept as pets in North America: Phidippus Audax (Bold Jumping Spider) and Phidippus Regius (Regal Jumping Spider).

The Bold Jumping Spiders have black and white bodies with iridescent green or blue chelicerae. They can be identified by a white triangle in the center of their backs and two smaller spots underneath. 

The Regal Jumping Spiders are famous for being kept as pets because of their large size and attractive coloration in females. The males are black with white patterns consisting of spots and stripes but don’t mistake these for Bold or Audax spiders, which can sometimes look similar.

Setting Up Your Jumping Spider’s Home

Creating a cozy pad for your jumping spider is crucial. Think of it as the penthouse suite for your petite, eight-legged friend. I remember setting up my hedgehog’s enclosure – attention to detail matters. For your jumping spider, opt for a well-ventilated terrarium with secure lids. These critters are excellent escape artists.

Jumping spiders are arboreal species that live in trees and rarely visit the ground. They are adapted for climbing and jumping among branches and leaves. Providing a tall enclosure with climbing surfaces, such as branches and various textures, is essential. A bioactive or inert setup can be used as a substrate. It’s important to house them individually due to their cannibalistic nature. Components of a jumping spider enclosure include climbing structures, heating and lighting control, hiding places, water and feeding dishes, and proper ventilation.

In a nutshell, a typical jumping spider enclosure comprises the following essential components:

  • Optional Substrate Layer: You can choose a thin substrate layer to provide a foundation for your jumping spider’s habitat.
  • Tree-like Structures: Tree-like elements offer climbing surfaces, mimicking the natural environment for the spider.
  • Lighting Control Systems: Implementing systems to regulate lighting, ensuring a suitable environment for your jumping spider.
  • Temperature-Controlled Heating Elements: Integrated heating elements with temperature control, maintaining an optimal temperature within the enclosure.
  • Hides, Shelters, Caves, or Platforms: Providing secluded spots for inhabitants to retreat, promoting privacy and security within the enclosure.
  • Hydration Sources: Water dishes or misters are strategically placed as sources of hydration for your jumping spider.
  • Feeding Dishes: Dedicated areas designed for placing food and facilitating the feeding process.
  • Ventilation Systems: Systems in place to ensure proper airflow, preventing the buildup of stagnant air within the enclosure.
  • Access Points: Convenient entry points like doors, lids, or trap doors, enabling easy maintenance and observation of your jumping spider.

What Size Enclosure Is Necessary?

 When measuring enclosure sizes for jumping spiders, it’s essential to consider their body length and diagonal leg span. Enclosures should be around 10 inches tall at a minimum. However, choosing the right enclosure size is crucial, as spiders may experience stress in large, empty spaces. A well-designed enclosure encourages exploration, mate-finding, and hunting and provides hiding spots and climbing surfaces. 

Adequate surfaces are essential for successful hunting maneuvers, and baby slings or juveniles may struggle to find food in large spaces. Offering food near their resting areas and incorporating various textured surfaces across the empty enclosure space can address this challenge.

Lighting Requirements

Jumping spiders need bright lighting for around 12 hours per day to hunt and stay active. Daylight lamps, like LED lights, are ideal. Using a timer for automated lighting is recommended. Adequate lighting is crucial for finding food, maintaining appetite, and maintaining activity levels. 

In summer, jumping spiders are more active due to more daylight hours. Lighting panels with multiple LEDs or full-spectrum lights can provide uniform illumination. 

Jumping spiders exhibit photoperiodism, allowing them to adapt their development to changes in daylight length. Certain spider species undergo diapause, where metabolism slows, and they may become less active or cease eating. This adaptive mechanism allows spiders to conserve energy until conditions improve.

Ventilation Requirements

Ensuring the health of jumping spiders relies on maintaining effective cross-ventilation within their enclosures. Efficient oxygen exchange through their book lungs necessitates proper ventilation to prevent stagnant air, mold growth, and damp conditions, all of which can be detrimental to these arachnids.

To optimize ventilation, implement openings at opposite ends of the enclosure, promoting cross-ventilation. Strategically position these openings at varying heights, utilizing the “stacking effect” to enhance air circulation.

To achieve cross-ventilation:

  • Identify Air Flow Sides: Choose opposite sides of the enclosure to facilitate free air entry and exit.
  • Install Ventilation Points: Utilize lines, screens, gaps, or holes on the chosen sides, ensuring the openings are appropriately sized for sufficient airflow.
  • Strategic Placement: Position ventilation points at the enclosure’s top, bottom, and sides to promote comprehensive air movement.
  • Utilize Air Buoyancy: Leverage the “stacking effect” by placing air intake and exhaust points higher and lower, respectively, to enhance air circulation.
  • Monitor and Adjust: Regularly monitor the enclosure, adjusting ventilation as needed to maintain proper airflow.
  • Encourage Room Air Movement: Promote overall air movement in the room where the enclosure is located to assist in the circulation of air within.

Enclosure Temperature Requirements

Jumping spiders thrive in temperatures ranging from 70º to 80º degrees. They will exhibit increased activity in warmer conditions. Generally, standard room temperatures suffice unless living in an unheated freezing environment. Additional heat may be unnecessary.

If you do find the need to utilize an external heat source it’s crucial to maintain a proper distance in order to prevent overheating. Lamps should be positioned half a meter or more away, heat mats at 2 to 10 inches, and heat cables at 2 to 5 inches . Using a reliable thermometer helps in adjusting the distance accurately and avoids unintentional temperature spikes due to the greenhouse effect.

Preferably, avoid applying heat inside or directly to the enclosure, and be mindful that temperature changes impact relative humidity. If the house tends to be cold in winter, spiders may become less active, but supplemental heat can easily remedy this.

Feeding and Nutrition

Brown jumping spider, front view
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Feeding time – a familiar ritual for pet owners. Jumping spiders are carnivorous, and their menu consists of insects. It’s like having a live-action pest control squad at home! Remember, portion control is key. 

How Often To Feed Your Jumping Spider

When feeding your jumping spider, consider the size of the prey relative to the spider’s size. Baby spiders will eat multiple fruit flies a day, whereas adult jumping spiders might only eat a few times a week. Gradually reduce the frequency of feedings as they grow. 

The shape of the abdomen is an indicator of hunger. If it’s round and plump, spiders are well-fed and probably won’t eat. If your spider’s abdomen has an oval or elliptical shape, it is ready for food. However, if the abdomen looks plump and round, you can skip feeding it without any worries. If the abdomen seems slightly sunken and flat, it indicates dehydration, and you should provide water to your spider.

Food Choices For Jumping Spiders

Good prey choices include fruit flies, roaches, and mealworms, but you can also get pre-packed bug meals for your spider. Let them eat at their own pace. Keep the enclosure clean and remove old food and waste regularly. Avoid overfeeding and disturbing the spider while eating.

Getting Food Into The Terrarium

When transferring food animals into a terrarium, it’s recommended to use different types of tweezers to catch them by their legs. Be careful when catching insects like crickets and grasshoppers, as they may discard their largest legs to escape. Terfly or Drosophila can be transferred by shaking them into the terrarium or by using tweezers. Maggots are easier to handle and can be directly dosed into the terrarium. This allows the spider to eat them directly or wait until they turn into flies.

Hydration For Your Jumping Spider

Spiders need water and proper humidity levels to stay healthy. You can lightly mist their enclosure with a fine spray bottle or use moistened substrates, absorbent materials, or wet towels. Keep the enclosure’s humidity level at 50-60% for most native species and 75-80% for tropical species. Reliable hygrometers are used to measure humidity levels and maintain them using daily misting, substrate, water jars, and trays. Control the humidity and temperature of the room where the enclosure is located to achieve stable conditions.

Handling Your Jumping Spider

jumping spider close up on human skin
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Now, let’s talk handling. Contrary to what you might think, jumping spiders are not tiny ticking time bombs. It’s akin to my lizard days – respect their space, move slowly, and enjoy the unique bond that forms. I recall the first time I handled my lizard – cautious but thrilled. Approach your jumping spider with the same mix of excitement and care.

Jumping Spider Bites

If you’re handling a jumping spider, you may wonder whether it can bite you and what the consequences of such a bite might be. First of all, it’s essential to understand that all spiders can bite you if they feel threatened. However, just like snakes, spiders need venom to decompose their food, and they don’t want to use it unnecessarily. 

The second part of the concern about spider bites is whether their venom will have adverse effects on you. Unfortunately, the only way to find out is to be bitten. However, the likelihood of a jumping spider breaking through your skin is relatively low. Moreover, in most cases, the bite will result in a red, raised bump that itches a bit, much like a mosquito bite.

Health and Wellness

Like any pet, keeping an eye on your jumping spider’s health is vital. A regular check-up routine is like the routine vet visits for my dogs. Look for any signs of distress or abnormal behavior. I’ve learned that early detection is key to a happy and healthy pet life.

The Joy of Observing

One of the perks of having a jumping spider is the joy of observation. It’s like having a front-row seat to a tiny circus performance. Set up a cozy corner for yourself – it’s a bit like creating a movie night for your favorite arachnid actor. The joy in watching their unique behaviors is akin to the thrill of witnessing a cat conquer a new cardboard box.

Building a Community

Who doesn’t love sharing tales of their pets? Joining the jumping spider community is like attending a pet lovers’ party. Share stories, seek advice, and revel in the camaraderie. I joined forums to discuss my hedgehog’s quirks or my rabbits’ antics. Connecting with other jumping spider enthusiasts adds a new layer of joy to the pet-owning experience.

A Jump into Uncharted Pet Territory

Owning a jumping spider pet is like adding a vibrant, tiny gem to your eclectic pet collection. From setting up their cozy homes to observing their unique behaviors, the journey is as thrilling as watching a playful rabbit or a mischievous cat. So, take the leap, embrace the unconventional, and let the charm of these jumping spiders captivate your heart – after all, every pet, no matter how many legs, brings something special into our lives. Happy jumping!

  1. https://www.britannica.com/animal/jumping-spider
Corey Turner
Corey Turner, owner of FurBallFun.com, draws on a lifelong love for dogs and extensive pet ownership to offer a unique perspective in the pet industry. With a successful background in project management, he excels in critical analysis, precise attention to detail, and quality assurance. This expertise allows him to effectively differentiate true value from marketing hype in the pet sector. Corey’s contributions have been featured in various publications including Rockery Press Guide Books and WealthofGeeks.com. During his free time, he enjoys disc golfing, rock climbing, and bonding with his cherished FurBall friend, Harvey.