New spider housing!

I got some excellent suggestions from Nicholas DiRienzo for raising spiders, which is why it’s good to get information online, and also why I’m going to the American Arachnology Society conference this weekend. You can get started with reading stuff, but there’s no substitute for hearing it straight from the experts.

We checked out the couples we’d put together in larger spaces yesterday, and sadly, I caught one in the act of cannibalism…poor guy. We separated them. Then I rummaged in my collection of zebrafish containers, and found some 5.7L Sterilyte containers, a bit smaller than Dr DiRienzo recommended, but we’ll give them a try. We moved a few females into them right away so they can start getting used to the expanded digs. We’re going to also add some cardboard liners, once we find a box that fits.

I was initially daunted about the space required — it was appealing to just have oodles of spiders in a small incubator — but once I started stacking these things, I realized I could pack maybe as many as 50 females into the space I’d previously used for my zebrafish setup. Sorry, fishies, it’s now an arachnid facility.

My summer student, Preston Fifarek, has wisely chosen to name the female spiders after characters from Game of Thrones. Males are going to get Lord of the Rings names. I’ll be interested to see how well Cersei takes to Bilbo.


  1. says

    You can see Sansa in the photo. They look lost in these giant spaces, but it is closer to what we see in the natural environment.

  2. blf says

    Someone should tell PEST (People for Ethical Spider Treatment) mad perfresser poopyhead is starving enslaved spiders, depriving them of their munchy male meals.

    (As far as I know, there is no such group as PEST. And no, I do not consider spiders pests, albeit when I lived in areas with Black Widows or Brown Recluses, those got evicted from the house.)

  3. PaulBC says

    No offense, but I’m starting to pick up a Renfield vibe here.

    “1 July. His spiders are now becoming as great a nuisance as his flies, and today I told him that he must get rid of them. He looked very sad at this, so I said that he must get rid of some of them, at all events. He cheerfully acquiesced to this, and I gave him the same time as before for reduction.

    He disgusted me much while with him, for when a horrid blowfly, bloated with some carrion food, buzzed into the room, he caught it, held it exultantly for a few moments between his finger and thumb, and before I knew what he was going to do, put it in his mouth and ate it. I scolded him for it, but he argued quietly that it was very good and very wholesome, that it was life, strong life, and gave life to him. This gave me an idea, or the rudiment of one. I must watch how he gets rid of his spiders.

    He has evidently some deep problem in his mind, for he keeps a little notebook in which he is always jotting down something. Whole pages of it are filled with masses of figures, generally single numbers added up in batches, and then the totals added in batches again, as though he were preparing some account, as the auditors put it.”

  4. blf says

    giggles… I wasn’t familiar with Renfield — perhaps because the “Dracula” I sortof-know is not Bram Stoker’s, but Nosferatu — and rather enjoyed that. Well observed, PaulBC !

    (Apparently, the “Renfield” character in Nosferatu is Herr Knock.)

  5. Reginald Selkirk says

    has wisely chosen to name the female spiders after characters from Game of Thrones.

    Won’t that increase their odds of dying?

  6. ndirienzo says

    Nice! You can even toss in just some cardboard strips or bent up pieces of wire to give them a bit of structure. And yes, you can fit a huge number in a small space given the containers are stackable. I could frequently run 60+ spiders at once in a small lab room.