Uda Dennie from Batam Island, Indonesia, can prove you that spiders are actually not all as scary as you might be used to thinking. 33-year-old photographer presents a series of macro photos, where he captures tiny jumping spiders, wearing water droplets as fancy hats on their heads. There’s something about this unexpected composition that makes the tiny creatures look pretty silly, and definitely far away from terrifying!
“I was really surprised to get such amazing pictures – it was really wonderful. I have seen anything like this before, it is such an interesting photograph,” says Uda, who finds the spiders in his own backyard. Well, could they ever scare you?
Jumping spiders (Salticidae) can make amazing pets if kept right! I’ve been keeping jumpers for three years, and I absolutely love them. They can be found all over the world, so they’re an option wherever you are.
Types of Jumping Spiders
The spiders shown above are in the genus Phidippus. This genus has some of the largest jumpers, and they make fantastic pets. They are smart, easy to handle, and easy to provide food for. Large jumpers can be fed small crickets, moths, house flies, mosquitoes, and things like that.
There are more common jumpers that are much smaller, such as tan jumpers and zebra spiders. These cuties can be quite fast and a bit more difficult to handle as they’re easy to lose. Smaller jumpers will eat fruit flies, small mosquitoes, leafhoppers, etc.
Please refer here to learn where to find them and how to capture them!
Jumpers need quite a bit of space, as they need to exercise their jumping abilities. Small critter carriers or taller acrylic tanks are ideal. Enclosures should have a good amount of ventilation to prevent mold, but make sure the holes are small enough so that your new friend doesn’t sneak through. If you’re using a different storage container, make a sufficient amount of holes.
They don’t tend to spend too much time on the ground, so a simple substrate like potting soil without fertilizer would work fine. Jumpers like to spend more time on the walls – it gives them a better vantage point when stalking their prey.
Make sure there are a few sticks and leaves for the jumper to make a shelter on or hide under. I’ve always used silk leaves or flowers, as I’ve had problems with decaying plant life in the past. They make little tube- or hammock-shaped shelters to hide out in when they’re not hunting. Make sure there’s enough surface for the jumper to jump around, but not so much that the enclosure is cluttered. Jumpers use their great vision to hunt down prey.
Depending on the size of the food, jumpers should be fed about every 2-4 days. They can go over a week without food, but I never like to push it. Just drop your prey in the enclosure and watch your jumper hunt.
I tend to avoid ants, as they like to fight back. As do grasshopper nymphs. I’d rather not risk injuring my jumpers. Also, it’s best to avoid hard-shell beetles and pill bugs, as they won’t accept those. Most beetles put out a foul-tasting chemical anyway, so that’s not a good idea in the first place. Another thing to keep in mind that each spider is an individual and has individual tastes. I always write down in a journal which spider likes what food so I don’t give them items they won’t eat.
Don’t feed your spider anything larger than 1.5 times its size, as it may have difficulties hunting large prey items.
Pet stores usually cary small crickets and flightless fruit flies, so you can purchase those during the cold seasons when wild prey will be scarce.
Either lightly mist or wipe down the side of the enclosure with a damp paper towel to leave a few droplets on the side for your jumper to drink from. DO NOT GET THE SPIDER WET. Water can leak into their book lungs and drown them. Since they get most of their liquids from their prey, they don’t need to drink water too often. Once or twice a week should be fine.
Jumping spiders like sitting in the sunlight, but make sure to monitor the temperature in the tank. If you leave it in direct sunlight too long, the enclosure may become oven-like and cook your spider.
Like most spiders, jumpers should be kept solitary. Putting two of either sex together may result in a fight to the death. There are other people who may know more about breeding than me, so I’ll leave it at that.
Most jumpers generally live about a year in the wild, though could live longer.
I would take my jumpers out to “play” occasionally to exercise their jumping reflexes.
Here’s a comforting thought. When you arrive home and open the front door or enter your bedroom, the spiders can hear you.
It has long been known that spiders can hear sounds via leg hairs that bend in response to vibrations arriving through the air or through solid objects such as floors or walls. But until now, we thought they could only hear airborne vibrations a few centimetres or “spider lengths” away at most.
It now seems that this same approach actually lets them hear sounds up to 5 metres away.
Gil Menda at Cornell University in Ithaca, New York, and his colleagues were studying a type of jumping spider,Phidippus audax, that they assumed relied almost completely on sight and vibrations they can feel through other objects, such as leaves or floorboards.
But microelectrodes implanted in the spiders’ brains showed that neurons responded to sounds such as chairs scraping and people clapping even when the noises were made 3 to 5 metres away.
“We were very surprised,” says Menda. “Our studies extended the range of auditory sensitivity to more than 3 metres – over 350 body lengths – for our spiders.”
The team established that the spiders freeze when exposed to low-frequency sounds of about 80 to 400 hertz that resemble a low hum, or buzz. They discovered that this overlaps with the wingbeat frequency of predatory insects such as parasitoid wasps and flies, concluding that the hearing abilities they found in jumping spiders have evolved to help them avoid predators.
An extremely tiny jumping spider that hitched a ride on my car! And man, can this guy jump. He kept coming at me enough that I had to give up after these few photos, haha. I think he was trying to pick a fight with my camera (maybe he saw his reflection in the lens?). Jumping spiders are definitely my favorite of all spiders due to their adorably huge eyes and their interesting behavior. This is Hentzia mitrata - I’ve never seen it before today, but apparently they’re common across eastern America.