When I left work at lunchtime, a small spiderling found its way onto my glasses. I just let it be, expecting to drop off at some point. It didn’t, so now I’m the proud adoptive parent of the cutest little eyes I’ve ever seen: https://www.inaturalist.org/observations/171212149
I’m not holding my breath for a precise ID, to be honest, so I’m wondering how to give it the best chance to thrive. The main two points I’m worried about are prey items (I’m thinking aphids, but even then I’m not sure that’s small enough) and humidity (especially with the tiny glass container it’s in right now).
Most of the stuff I find online is about tarantulas, so I’d love any advice or suggestions you might have!
Try to replicate the habitat in which you find the spider and allow it to its natural behavior. Did you find it in a tree (arboreal, needs a taller enclosure), underground (fossorial, needs a deeper enclosure with enough substrate), or simply crawling around on land (terrestrial, needs a flatter enclosure)? Did you find it in an arid habitat or moist habitat? What physical features did you see most in the environment (rocks, logs, plants, etc.). Your enclosure should aim to reflect whatever environment it was originally in. It should be large enough for the spider to move around comfortably but not large enough so that you lose it. You can always increase enclosure size as it grows. Things like a large jar with small holes at the top (not large enough for the spider to fit through) should work fine.
When it comes to substrate, again, what environment did you find it in? A forest (organic, soil-like substrate), desert (sandy/rocky substrate), or something similar. Don’t overwater the substrate. Even if it’s a species that needs the humidity, the substrate should not be water-logged. In this case, it should only be moist to the touch (exceptions being aquatic or riparian species, which need wetter substrate). Plants will help increase humidity if desired.
You should feed your spider things that are smaller than its abdomen. Things such as fruit flies (which are readily available wingless at many pet stores), springtails, gnats, and other small arthropods should be fine. Check to see if your spider has eaten all of the food you’ve provided in case you overfed. Feed when the abdomen looks small, spiders can go quite a long way without food.
A water dish is not necessary, and could provide a drowning hazard. Your spider should get enough moisture from both its food and any water droplets from misting you do.
If you have any questions or if there’s anything I missed, please ask!
Thank you for the comprehensive overview!
The place I found it is an hospital parking lot with a very bare lawn with trees along the paths (which I expect it dropped from). I never paid much attention to what sort, I’ll check tomorrow, but most likely linden trees. As far as environment is concerned, it’s in a fairly heavily urbanised area with IIRC silty soil. It’s in Northern France (Lille), so temperate oceanic climate.
I put a small burdock leaf in the container so that the spider could climb and hide if necessary, it ignored it and built a web across the top of the container. Still working to find an aphid small enough, thank you for suggesting springtails, that might be more fitting!
I’ll try to move it tomorrow to something bigger (right now it’s a glass vial that’s 5cm tall and 3cm across, I have a glass jar of chicory I can empty and wash that 20cm tall and 8cm across, with a plastic lid I can cut and cover with mesh), with some branches/bark to help it build its web. I’ll probably use topsoil as a substrate to help with humidity.
OHMYGOODNESS what a little goober! What is the baby’s size? You could purchase or find springtails if even aphids are too big.
As for a terrarium, make sure it has air holes for breathing, and this YouTube video by SerpaDesign explains how to do a jumping spider enclosure, so while not the exact thing, might be useful.
For humidity, if you really can’t find out species, I’d just keep the enclosure moderately misted. Misting leaves will give him “dewdrops” to drink.
Good luck with that adorable baby!
It’s absolutely adorable, when I was on the train back I noticed it scurrying along on my messenger bag and just fell in love. I’d say it’s around 1mm in size, maybe a bit under that (it’s a bit difficult to measure), hence my worries about food. Springtails do seem like the best bet!
Id be worried too, that is TINY! For the size, you got a really good picture of him. He is an absolute munchkin <3
For a very crude size reference photo (made difficult by the fact I didn’t want to pick it up and destroy its web).
Sounds like a good plan! Enclosure seems fine, though maybe a bit large. Like I mentioned, fruit flies, especially Drosophila melanogaster, are also well suited as good items and are available as ‘wingless.’ They are very nutritious. If you have any small live plants you could plant (whether that be a houseplant or a weed plant you find outside), it’d be very beneficial in providing both humidity and enrichment. If you don’t already own a spray bottle/mister, I suggest you use one.
It is happily nibbling on an aphid as we speak! With that main worry alleviated and thanks to @rinaturalist and @giannamaria 's advice (the link to the video didn’t work, but I got there through the youtube channel), I’ll be working on the living arrangements and looking to source wingless fruit flies in the coming days.
I’ll post captive observations as it grows into something easier to ID and enjoy my time with this new family member. Thank you both for the help!
That’s great to see! Remember that variety is key when it comes to diet. Switch it up everyone in a while.
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