Keeping up with your Jumper - Enclosures
In our last post for Keeping up with your Jumper, we talked about how to bring your jumper home and introduce him or her into their new enclosure. Well, the big question is what kind of enclosure should you introduce them into? Obviously at BFP we are a little biased since we sell some great enclosures. If you are in a pinch, there are certain things you can do to make your own by re-purposing items you may have around your house.
If you are purchasing an enclosure, or trying your hand at a DIY option, there are a few things to keep in mind; ventilation, size, and molting. Yes, there are temperature, lighting, humidity, and other factors to consider, but this post is specifically about selecting the type of enclosure that will support your jumper.
In most situations, it is really hard to have too much ventilation. Remember that jumping spiders are used to living outdoors where the ventilation is usually not a problem. Ventilation does more than give your jumper oxygen to breathe, it also allows the air to move through their enclosure which takes out smells, potential bacteria growth, and other things.
Put yourself in your spiders' place and imagine living in a single room with no windows. The only fresh air you get is when someone decides to open the door for you. Eventually it will get a bit stuffy right? Now imagine that this single room also happens to be a bathroom and a kitchen.
So, for proper ventilation you will want to make sure there is the ability for a breeze, or cross ventilation. This is easy accomplish, just have multiple locations for your ventilation. In other words, don’t only vent the lid. Put one (or several) on the lid and one (or several) on the sides. One would only be acceptable if the hole is larger. This is like opening the window and letting the breeze through your house.
With large ventilation holes, there is a concern about both the spider and/or their food source escaping. There are numerous options out there that can be used to cover the holes. Just make sure what you use is sturdy, breathable, and non-toxic. Using denim or another thick fabric will just defeat the purpose of adding that much needed ventilation. Certain plastics and screens are not good for your spider. Metal screens can also rust. No one wants that in their enclosures.
At BFP, we prefer a lightweight material with a very small mesh pattern.
Yes, these guys normally live in the great outdoors, but bigger doesn’t always mean better when it comes to jumpers. If you have an enclosure that is too big, finding their food may be a struggle. Too small, and they won’t have room to move around. The ideal situation is to find something big enough for them to explore, and small enough to find their food.
At BFP, we recommend something taller vs. wider because they are arboreal creatures. This gives your jumper room to climb and nest in the top, which is natural to most jumping spiders.
The appropriate size will be different for slings than it will be for adults. For slings, we find that a deli-cup is sufficient. At BFP, we keep them in their deli cups until they are sub-adults, then we move them to a bigger enclosure. Anything larger than a 1-gallon tank is probably too big for an adult to find their food. A deli-cup is also too small for an adult to move comfortably.
If you happen to like the look of a larger enclosure, there is a simple solution. Get a bunch of smaller enclosures and put them side-by-side or stack them.
More spiders to love!
Yes, this sounds like a strange thing to put in information about an enclosure, but this is very important. Remember when we talked about what to do when you bring your little guy home? The first step was to locate the spider before pulling off the lid. This is to reduce the likelihood that you may accidentally mess with their molt sac. The same idea applies in their enclosure.
You will NOT be able to control where they nest, but you CAN encourage them to nest away from the opening of the enclosure. Here are some things to keep in mind. As noted above, they are arboreal. This means they like to climb, which also means they usually like to nest towards the top of the enclosure. Most of the jumpers at BFP will nest in a corner at the top of their enclosure.
Now, if your enclosure has a lid that slides or opens on the top, that can cause a problem with their molt sac. At BFP, we recommend any moving parts or substrate be at least an inch away from the top. This will take advantage of their natural desire to nest up high, and also let you remove the lid so you can mist their enclosure, do some housekeeping, or feed them without disturbing their web.
No, this is not a guarantee that they won’t decide to nest right at the opening, but you can only do what you can do. If your spider is not in molt and has decided to nest right next to the opening, just open it carefully and try not to disturb their nest too much. Hopefully they will decide that fixing the nest repeatedly is not worth it and nest somewhere else.
If they are molting, you don’t need to feed them just yet. You should have already created adequate venting, which will also be very helpful here. Just mist through the vent holes and away from your spiders' nest. When they are out of molt and ready to eat, carefully open the top of the container as mentioned above.
One trick that works if you are temporarily keeping your little one in a deli cup or an enclosure with a shorter lid is to turn the cup upside down. Keep the lid at the bottom and they will most likely nest in the top of the cup.
Sum it up
- Ventilate, ventilate, ventilate
- Size does matter. Not too big, not too small
- Give them space at the top to molt safely