There is a time in every spider life when they had enough tasty crickets and start filling tight on their body. It is time to shed old clothes using a fascinating process of shedding its exoskeleton.
So what is going to happen?
Moulting (ecdysis) process can take few minutes for a baby jumping spider and up to three weeks for sub adult!
Once a spider has enough energy stored it will go into a pre-moult stage. It will make a thick web sack in which it will be moulting. This process can take couple hours for a smaller spider or few days for sub-adult. The jumping spider will be eating more often to soak up all nutrition it can get. When it feels it has been enough. Jumping spider will close itself inside the sack at wait until new exoskeleton is growing under the current one.
It can be a stressful period for a new keeper who is not familiar with the process but try to stay calm.
While it is tempting to check on a spider every now and then try not to disturb it too much. Make sure there are no live insects left inside the enclosure, keep misting side of the enclosure as you always do. A good idea is to leave a few water drops near the sack for a spider to drink if it feels like it.
Jumping Spider Moulting
Once new exoskeleton is ready, the spider will excrete special fluid into space between an old and a new exoskeleton in order to separate them. Jumping spider with proceed to crawl from old “skin”. This is a crucial moment for every spider. It has to get out of old exoskeleton while the new one is still flexible. If a spider can’t make it in time new exoskeleton can start hardening while the old one is still on top of it. Dehydration is believed to cause some of “bad moults” in spiders.
Most of the time spider successfully extract itself from old “skin” and is waiting while new exoskeleton is hardening. While it happens spider is very fragile to any external influence and should not be disturbed.
If spider lost his leg before moulting it will grow a new one! It might not be as perfect as old, but no one is complaining when given this kind of superpowers, right?
New shiny exoskeleton!
It is time for our spider for going back into the world. When jumping spider is ready it will open its web sack and go out to look for much needed hydration and will appreciate a feeder insect which will help it in replenishing depleting energy reserves.
If a spider is still juvie, it will keep living its life at it always did, exploring enclosure, interacting with the owner and of course sitting in ambush waiting for juicy cricket to hop by.
If it was a “final moult” for spider its priorities in life will change.
Mature males will be less interested in food and explore more in hopes to find female that is ready to breed.
While mature female with concentrate on building up energy reserves setting up cosy web sack for chill time and growing eggs.
But it is another story!