Care for Latrodectus Hesperus (Western black widow)

Do any of you have any tips on caring for a captivated Western black widow?

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We used to have one at my former workplace, she was very easy to take care of. Put her in a small container (we used a critter carrier), feed her an insect every few days or once a week, and that’s about it. I don’t think our animal care person misted the container at all, but I may be wrong. I’m sure others have more experience.

If/when she lays eggs, though, you’ll have to decide what to do with them. When they hatch, you’ll have dozens of tiny babies that can likely escape the container and set up shop in your house.


Thank you!

It was interesting to watch her when she got fed. She was incredibly tentative with prey in her web, approaching and then moving back quite a few times before she really tried to engage by wrapping and biting. I can’t remember if she wrapped first and then bit, but either way it was clear that biting is not something a black widow does without a lot of caution. I suspect a person would have to give it no other option before it would bite.

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I was bitten by one once. I had just been clearing out an attic, and felt something on the back of my neck. Assuming it was an ant (there were ants on the ceiling of the room I was in) I went to brush it away, and felt like I had been stung on the neck by a wasp. I saw the black widow on the floor and she quickly crawled under a piece of furniture.

I don’t think I grabbed her or squished her, but her perspective on this may have been quite different.


They don’t waste venom on casual targets.

from her perspective a crazy five legged mutant bird was trying to eat her.

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