Does this guy stand a chance?

TeaandTs

Arachnopeon
Joined
Dec 1, 2016
Messages
31
Went out to my car in the dark to get something, and nearly stepped on a curled up Dysdera crocata (woodlouse hunter) on my doorstep. I was excited because I have never seen one of these guys outside of pictures. But he did not look good. Temps are freezing at night here; it's the onset of winter. I felt bad leaving him there if he wasn't dead yet, because I didn't want him to freeze. So I went inside, got a catch cup and a paintbrush (hear these guys pack a harmless but painful bite with those sizeable chelicerae). He could barely even move, but he was alive. From his pedipalps, he is a MM. I stuck him in the part of my room where I house my T, because it's dark and warm. I know these guys are nocturnal, and I thought the warmth might do him good. Sure enough, as we speak he has come out of his death curl and is walking around. He's fine other than his right back leg, which is bent inward at the last segment (hope I didn't do that trying to scoop him with my paintbrush). Does anyone know much about these guys? From my research, it seems like they can live a couple of years. Is it possible this specimen was just cold and will have a little time left now?

Also, if this guy is going to make it a little longer, I want him to have good end-of-life care. Has anyone kept these in captivity? How do I make him as comfortable as possible?
 

TeaandTs

Arachnopeon
Joined
Dec 1, 2016
Messages
31
Update: misted one side of the cup. He immediately went towards it and looks really quite good now. I'm becoming hopeful.
 

chanda

Arachnoking
Old Timer
Joined
Jun 27, 2010
Messages
2,059
It sounds like you're doing everything right. I have kept these before, though not long-term. (I eventually released them.) Whenever I've had one, I've kept it in a deli cup with a layer of slightly moist dirt and some bits of bark and leaves to hide underneath. I've caught woodlice underneath the rocks in my garden as food, but have also tossed in the occasional small cricket.
 

TeaandTs

Arachnopeon
Joined
Dec 1, 2016
Messages
31
It sounds like you're doing everything right. I have kept these before, though not long-term. (I eventually released them.) Whenever I've had one, I've kept it in a deli cup with a layer of slightly moist dirt and some bits of bark and leaves to hide underneath. I've caught woodlice underneath the rocks in my garden as food, but have also tossed in the occasional small cricket.
Thanks for replying. Ultimate goal would be to get him strong again and release him (probably I'll wait until spring). I want to move him into a proper enclosure in the morning, so your description of the set up you used is very helpful!!! I'll try to get him some woodlice, but they're a little hard to find this time of year. I've got mealworms for my Phidippus audax and my B. albopilosum sling, do you think he'd eat one of those if I can't find any woodlice? Also, how often did yours eat?

I'm so glad someone has experience with these. Didn't want to let him die out there, but I feel like it would be more cruel to prolong his life while subjecting him to suffering caused by incompetent care if I didn't know what I was doing. So, thank you!
 

chanda

Arachnoking
Old Timer
Joined
Jun 27, 2010
Messages
2,059
Thanks for replying. Ultimate goal would be to get him strong again and release him (probably I'll wait until spring). I want to move him into a proper enclosure in the morning, so your description of the set up you used is very helpful!!! I'll try to get him some woodlice, but they're a little hard to find this time of year. I've got mealworms for my Phidippus audax and my B. albopilosum sling, do you think he'd eat one of those if I can't find any woodlice? Also, how often did yours eat?

I'm so glad someone has experience with these. Didn't want to let him die out there, but I feel like it would be more cruel to prolong his life while subjecting him to suffering caused by incompetent care if I didn't know what I was doing. So, thank you!
I generally just tossed in a handful of woodlice and some leaves and veggies for them to eat and let him grab one whenever he was hungry. When I didn't have woodlice, I tossed in small crickets a couple of times a week. I don't know if they'll eat mealworms or not - I've never had those around to use as feeders, so I never tried it.

In the wild, I usually find the woodlouse hunters living underneath rocks, paving stones, and dead leaves, so don't expect him (or her?) to be out in the open much. Don't stress out if you don't see him often - and try not to succumb to the temptation to go digging around for him every couple of days to check on him. It stresses the spider out and risks injuring him.
 

TeaandTs

Arachnopeon
Joined
Dec 1, 2016
Messages
31
I generally just tossed in a handful of woodlice and some leaves and veggies for them to eat and let him grab one whenever he was hungry. When I didn't have woodlice, I tossed in small crickets a couple of times a week. I don't know if they'll eat mealworms or not - I've never had those around to use as feeders, so I never tried it.

In the wild, I usually find the woodlouse hunters living underneath rocks, paving stones, and dead leaves, so don't expect him (or her?) to be out in the open much. Don't stress out if you don't see him often - and try not to succumb to the temptation to go digging around for him every couple of days to check on him. It stresses the spider out and risks injuring him.
Thank you so much for all the good advice! He survived the night, so I'll be using your excellent suggestions to care for him. Hopefully he'll make it until spring so that I can release him.
 
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