These charming little spiders have become very popular as pets recently, and with good reason – they are ridiculously cute! With large, forward facing eyes and fuzzy bodies, fairly short legs and an endearing habit of cocking their head to regard their keeper, they are a long way from the traditional, scary spider type.
Unlike a lot of spiders, these are easy to sex once they become juveniles. Males are black with a pattern of white spots and stripes on their abdomen, and have chelicerae (fangs) of either iridescent green or bluish-purple. Females have a similar pattern of spots and stripes, but are either shades of grey, brown or even vivid orange. Their chelicerae aren’t as obvious, as they have much furrier faces than the males. Adult males are usually between 6 to 18mm, with females usually being slightly larger at between 7 and 22mm. They are not very big!
Housing a Regal Jumping Spider
Any enclosure for Regals should be taller than it is long, and quite dry. They do not like too much humidity, so instead of spraying the whole enclosure it’s a good idea to just lightly mist one side until droplets form, then let them dry completely before spraying again. The spider will drink from the droplets if it’s thirsty, but will not appreciate an all over drenching. Substrate is not strictly necessary, but if you do use it then an arid mix topped with leaf litter works very well and looks natural. They do like bright light, and if it is too shady then they are less likely to feed and thrive. Considering that they are both diurnal and appreciate brightness, it would be very interesting to see if providing UV light would improve the care of this species. If you do use supplemental lighting, be aware of the temperatures in the enclosure. If you do need supplemental heating, then small heat mats mounted on the side of the enclosure will usually give the boost in temperature required.
Your enclosure for your jumping spider can be as simple as a large deli cup, or it can be a larger front opening glass tank with custom lighting – as long as the spider has a range of perches and somewhere to web up a hammock to sleep in and hunt from. If using a deli cup, be careful not to damage this web when lifting the lid to add food or spray water.
You will find that your jumping spider will make a slightly thicker hammock to hide in when they are shedding their skin. Do not disturb them at this point! Lightly mist the enclosure, and be very careful not to tear or otherwise damage the web. After it has shed, your spider will probably rest for a day or two while its new skin hardens up, and then it will be out and about again looking for food. When they are hunting they will attach themselves to the wall or a piece of decor with a dragline of silk, so that if they miss their mark they don’t fall to the ground, potentially hurting themselves.
Feeding a Regal Jumping Spider
Jumping spiders can become surprisingly tame, some being happy to accept being hand fed and others even capable of being trained to jump from hand to hand! They are not fussy about their food, either. Any live invertebrate of a suitable size will be taken, although watching them jump to hunt flies can be quite spectacular. Food items should be no larger than the abdomen of your spider, and a good variety of different foods will be appreciated. There is no need to dust with supplements, but it is always a good idea to gut load your feeder insects in order to maximise their nutritional value.
Like most spiders, jumping spiders should be kept singly. Keeping more than one in an enclosure rarely ends well. The only real downside to keeping this species is that they do not live long; 10 months seems to be the usual lifespan, but some will make it to 12months.