Handling your Jumping spider

Probably the best part of the experience of caring for your jumping spider is to observe your spider out of its enclosure.
Once your spider is settled in its new enclosure you might want to take it out “for a walk”. It can be a great way to provide a bond with your jumping spider.

So let’s discuss handling!

How to handle your spider for the first time?

If it is your first experience in handling a jumping spider, best advise is – TAKE IT SLOW! There are no prizes to be won when it comes to bonding with your spider. Let’s go through preparation steps:

  1. Make sure your jumping spider is not in premoult – while the spider is getting ready for moulting it can be dangerous to disturb it. Excessive stress can cause difficult moult. Spider getting ready to moult will most likely spend days in its sack. If your spider is out and about it is a good time to take it out.
  2. Clear up an area around enclosure or take whole enclosure to clean desk.
  3. Have “catching cup” ready – normal clear plastic up should do the job. You will need it to be able to catch the spider in the event something goes wrong.
  4. Gently guide your spider out from enclosure using a paintbrush or plastic straw.
  5. Once the spider is out, close the door of an enclosure and let spider familiarise itself with surroundings. Don’t rush it to walk on your hand straight away, rather spend some time on observing how the spider moves.

What to do when a spider is out…

Hairy Light brown black female jumping spider phidippus genus is shown upside down and staring at you with four black eyes

Jumping spiders will most likely want to take a position on highest place possible. So if you have an enclosure on top of the otherwise empty table it likely spider will prefer staying on top of it. In addition, you can provide another climbing surfaces, plastic bottles work well and if you place them in a row spider will likely jump from one to another while exploring.

Once your spider stops hiding and trying to get away it will begin exploring surroundings. It will walk slowly without sudden movements. Will stop to wave front legs to feel the air around. At some point, it will probably find a comfortable spot and start cleaning itself like a good eight-legged cat should.

Finally is time for handling!

There are two ways you can approach handling. Guiding spider to your hand with brush/straw or tricking spider it into jumping on your hand. Both of the ways will likely to work well when executed with patience.

To guide the spider to your hand you need to place your palm in front of spider, keep an eye on its reactions and gently poke spider abdomen to make it walk onto your hand.

To trick jumping spider into going to your hand, wait until spider gets to the highest spot and starts waving front legs. At this point offer your hand as a place to jump to. Place it on the same elevation as the spider is at this point but about 3cm (1 inch) away. It will interest and trigger spider to jump. Sometimes, once spider is on your hand, it will do a double-take and jump back. Be patient and let spider do it a few times until it is comfortable with unusual smells human hands have.

Once the spider is on your hand, place your other hand in front of the spider, so when it moves it is going from one hand to another. It can take a couple of minutes for a spider to calm down. However once it does, you know it feels safe.
The spider will use to interaction if handled correctly and regularly. If all done right, it will take less and less time for the spider to feel safe when out of its enclosure.

Individual spider personalities can vary. While some of them are predisposed to interactions, others can be less friendly and prefer not to be handled.

Hope you have a great time with your jumping spider pet!

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