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Latrodectus behavior

Discussion in 'True Spiders & Other Arachnids' started by akazaran, Sep 11, 2019 at 9:53 AM.

  1. akazaran

    akazaran Arachnopeon Active Member

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    I received my first Latrodectus today: 1 hasselti, 1 Menavedi and 1 mactans. I was surprised by they boldness and agressivity. When I tryed to make retreat toward theyr enclosure with pincers they stood theyr ground and they just attacked the pincers. Is that usual behavior for these species?
    Also I am curious how the experienced keeper handle them (for exemple to pack them for shipping) since they are so stubborn and uncooperative...
     
  2. chanda

    chanda Arachnoprince Active Member

    The only Latrodectus that I've kept are L. geometricus and L. hesperus - and both are normally quite shy and timid. They typically prefer to retreat from a potential threat. The only time they will stand their ground like that is when they feel trapped or cornered, because they do not have a "safe spot" to retreat to - which is probably the case with these spiders. It sounds like you were attempting to transfer them from their (presumably small) shipping container into their new enclosures. That shipping container is currently their "safe space" - but is quite small, without a retreat. Their only options are to remain where they are and defend themselves - or to venture out into the open, while under attack by a large potential predator - which is totally against their instincts. Of course they will respond defensively!

    What I find works best for rehousing Latrodectus from a small container to a larger one is patience. Put the small container inside the larger one, remove the lid of the small container, close the lid/door of the larger enclosure - and wait. They will come out and begin exploring eventually - but will probably wait until after dark. I know waiting is hard because you are excited to see your new pets in their new enclosures, but it is the least stressful way to rehouse them. Once they have found a suitable spot in the new enclosure, then you can reach in with tongs and remove the smaller cup.

    Once they've settled in and made their new webs, you may find them hanging out in the open - but when disturbed, they will likely retreat deeper into their webs. Of course, it is not uncommon for Latrodectus (or other spiders) to learn a "feeding response" where they come to associate certain cues - like the lid being opened - with food. If that happens, you may notice them approaching the opening rather than retreating, because they are anticipating that fat, juicy cricket or cockroach you are about to give them. If that happens, enjoy it! (But also take care to keep your fingers well away from the opening and use tongs to offer the feeder insect, lest they mistake your fingertip for food.)
     
  3. NYAN

    NYAN Arachnoprince Active Member

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    This is called a feeding response. I imagine that you’re touching their web? If so that’s perfectly normal.

    You need to break down their web fortress. Once you start doing that they will retreat into their hide and curl up. Basically your goal is to get them wandering around so that you can get them in the cup.
     
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  4. akazaran

    akazaran Arachnopeon Active Member

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    Yes I did touched their web.
    Thanks for your interesting answer! Now I understand these spiders just a little bit better.

    Chanda: This is the strategy I usualy use when dealing with venomous animals, but in this case I was thinking that I would destroy theyr web when taking the smaller cup out of the enclosure. But I will definitely do that the next time.
    Thanks for the tip about the feeding response… You made my life a little bit safer;)
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Sep 12, 2019 at 8:25 PM
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