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about jumping spiders: the popular new pet

Look out exotic pet world! There’s a new animal in town, and they’re stealing the hearts of lovers of unique pets. It’s easy to see why. With their big eyes, fuzzy bodies, and beautiful color variations, these pets are adorable and low maintenance. We’re talking about jumping spiders of course! These little fellows are so cute even arachnophobes can’t deny their charm.

jumping spider eyes

If you love invertebrates, if you’ve been thinking of getting into spiders, and if you’ve been looking for a very small pet, jumping spiders might be for you. We’ve put together what you need to know so you can decide if you’re ready to jump into keeping jumping spiders around.

what is a jumping spider?

The jumping spider family tree is enormous. There are over 6,000 species, each with distinctive characteristics. These little athletes can jump over 50 times their body length, which is where they got their name. Although they can produce silk (they always spin a safety line before jumping) they are not webspinners. Jumping spiders are visual hunters, which makes them unique in the world of arachnids. 

jumping spider web

Being visual hunters is part of what makes jumping spiders such fun and interactive pets. Their method of hunting comes with extreme intelligence. In fact, the spider genus Portia, one of the 600 genera that include jumping spiders, is the most intelligent spider genus in the world. 

This intelligence makes them extremely curious. Their sharp eyesight means they can visually experience their environment. This means they can see you and size you up as a threat. Their intelligence means they learn to recognize you and can even bond with you. This bonding is a result of the jumping spider’s ability to recognize animate versus inanimate objects. As a group of University of Manchester researchers found out, you can even train a jumping spider! Super cool!

Quick Jumping Spider Fun Facts

  • Jumping spiders are easy to interact with because they keep human hours. They’re diurnal, which means they’re awake during the day. 

  • You can tell males from females, and they can be distinguished by shape and coloration.

  • They are arboreal spiders and live their lives off the ground. 

  • Jumping spiders weave hammocks to rest, hide from predators, and wait for prey. These are usually up high so the spider has a good view of its territory.

  • Some species of jumping spiders nurse their young. 

  • The largest species of jumping spider, Hylleus giganteus, can grow to 2.5 cm in length. It is native to Sumatra and Australia.

  • The jumping spider’s average lifespan is 1 to 3 years in captivity.

keeping jumping spiders as a pet… should you do it?

Jumping spiders are low-maintenance. This makes them excellent for the beginner spider keeper. But like every animal, they do have particular needs that need to be met. Here is what you need to know to be prepared for your first (or 31st!) jumping spider.

  • Jumping spiders are solitary and cannibalistic. Keep one spider per enclosure. 

  • Since jumping spiders are arboreal, the enclosure should be tall, and be sure to give them room to climb. An enclosure with multiple entry points makes it easier for you to spot clean. Jumping spiders love to be warm, around 70-85 degrees F is ideal, so an enclosure with a light at the top is needed. Netherlands-based Eightlegged Fluffs and German company Arachnosys both design and build high-quality enclosures. 

  • Jumping spiders are usually friendly, but some are shy, and if they fear they may be squished, they may bite.


  • To coax your spider into your hand, very carefully use a soft-bristled brush, like a paintbrush, to guide it. Do not handle a spider about to molt. They’re cranky and more inclined to bite. They're also more fragile during this time and more susceptible to injury.

  • Adult jumping spiders don’t need to eat every day. Every 5-10 days is their usual timing. You can tell if your spider is ready for a meal by the shape of their abdomen. Mealworms, flies, crickets, wax worms, and moths are good prey selections for your jumping spider. Always offer your jumping spider live prey. Do not offer food immediately before or after a molt. 

  • Jumping spiders need access to water every day. Since jumping spiders are so small, a water dish can be a risk. Many jumping spider keepers choose to mist a side of their spider’s enclosure with water every morning. If you’re concerned about your spider getting water, you can offer water in a bottle cap or a very small shallow dish with a wet cotton ball. 

jumping spider on finger

  • Spot-clean your spider’s enclosure frequently to prevent the development of mold. Remove uneaten insect bits, old tattered webbing, and spider waste (yes, they poop). 

where can you get a jumping spider?

While many people might get a jumping spider from their yard and call it a pet, this isn’t always the best way to acquire a pet spider. Unless you’re an expert, it can be hard to identify which species you have taken in. There are over 300 species located in the United States. While all of them share characteristics, there are differences you need to be aware of. You also run the risk of capturing a female about to lay eggs (gravid) or an elderly spider. 

Watch out for people trying to sell you wild-caught spiders. You have no idea of their age, or where they came from, and just like with tropical fish, their capture may negatively impact the ecosystem where they came from.

jumping spider

Find a reputable spider breeder. They will know the age of the spiders in their care and will be able to educate you on the food and unique care your spider requires. Some of the most common jumping spider species kept as pets include:

  • The Regal Jumping Spider- Phidippus regius 

  • The Bold Jumping Spider- Phidippus audax

  • The Heavy Jumping Spider- Hyllus diardi

  • White Moustached Jumping Spider- Portia labiata

Considering adding a jumping spider to your exotic pet family? We love these little guys and think they make a lovely, low-maintenance addition to an experienced exotic pet household!


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