Keeping Huntsmans - Sparassidae

The Snark

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Just some thoughts. Comments most welcome.

1. They are fast. In general, the fastest spider likely to be encountered. 2. They can climb just about any surface and 3. They are hyper aware of their surroundings. Sneaking up on them is very difficult.

- The main concern keeping Sparassids is avoiding them getting harmed by the keeper or them harming themselves. Their dashes for the wide open spaces are reckless, it's easy to break their legs trying to catch them and they will jump off surfaces into the air without regard how high up they are.
They will zoom straight at predators that would like to turn them into snacks or toys.


ALWAYS BE AWARE OF THEIR LEGS. They seem to regard them almost like a gecko regards it's tail. The loss of a few legs doesn't seem to shorten their life span if there is abundant food.


- How much room do they need? I suspect females could be content in an enclosure just large enough to spread their legs. As long as they are fed regularly they are content to remain motionless. Males MAY also be content with small enclosures but when they feel romantic a hefty portion of their brain switches off. They can go from reckless to well into suicidal.

- What would be the best containment? IMHO, I visualize an acrylic or glass area 1 foot square by up to 6 feet tall with a branch or stick extending 1 foot below the top. Optimal, say 3 or 4 feet tall. They love to lurk on vertical surfaces and except during mating times will spend their entire lives there. They much prefer to park head down which gives the keeper some breathing room to clean and feed them from above.

- What do they prefer to eat? Depends on the environments the spider calls home. Some, like the 'sewer rat of spiders' Venatoria, are most content with anything that moves about 1/2 their body length.

- Venom. Not medically significant and of all spiders they are down at the bottom of the list of trying to bite people. Even pressed against the skin their big thing in life is escape.

- Other considerations. Environment. Do they need water? No as a general rule. Some come from environments which are very damp but they are also found in arid zones where they never encounter water in any form. Researching your particular spider is in order. Humidity. As needing water. Their preferred locales are the detritus of forest floors where it is usually quite damp. They probably offset being constantly damp by their lurking habits up on tree trunks and branches where they can dry out. Fungal infections are common in damp locations.

A male out prowling during the day means romance is on his mind.



As a general rule, females will stop eating when carrying the sac until some time after the eggs hatch.



They can also be very beautiful

 
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schmiggle

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ALWAYS BE AWARE OF THEIR LEGS. They seem to regard them almost like a gecko regards it's tail. The loss of a few legs doesn't seem to shorten their life span if there is abundant food.
I saw a paper somewhere that was studying web building spiders and basically said that there is no effect on effectiveness or speed when the spiders lose the first two legs. So many spiders are essentially equipped with spares.
 

Venom1080

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cool info. been wanting to pick up a couple Heteropoda slings for awhile now, always nice to learn more about them.
if you want to see a really beautiful huntsman, check out H lunula.
 

The Snark

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Somewhat technical info on why Huntsmans move so fast.
As with nearly all animals, the class 3 lever is used for locomotion. The fulcrum at one end A, the energy applied at the middle through tendons extending from the muscle body to B, and the motion applied at the other end C. A-----B------C.
With most spiders the legs flex at joints so you have a series of A--B--C--A--B--C as in bending your elbow as you swing your arm at the shoulder. Since the distance from the base fulcrum to the end motion is broken up into a series of levers you get more force applied at the end C at the loss of speed.
Compare a Lycosid to a Sparassid.
Lyco: A---B---C---A---B---C---A---B---C. A lot of muscles are involved, more neurons are put to work and a greater amount of blood circulation is required to 'feed' all the muscles.
Sparassid: A--B---------------------------------C. The sparassid running fully tilt keeps the intermediary leg joints locked in full extension. This puts far great load on the muscle bundle in use but the result is similar to rowing a boat. The longer the oar, the harder it is to pull but the tip of the blade moves a greater distance with each stroke.

Now examine a relatively slow moving spider, the Latrodectus. A--B--C--A--B--C--A--B------------C-a-b-c. As with most web spinners the third leg segment, the metatarsus is greatly elongated in order to manipulate webs. It's motion is highly refined but the rest of the leg having relatively short levers limits how fast the spider can move outside a web on open ground.

With nearly all spiders, the foot, the tarsus, is much like the hand. It has motion but it's range of motion is extremely limited and is used only for manipulating or to gain traction on surfaces. Due to it being quite short however, it can have great strength.

Levers. A---------B---------C
Class A: A is the energy source, force, B the Fulcrum and C the motion. Rowing a boat.
Class B: A is the Fulcrum, B is the motion and C the applied force. Lifting the handles of a wheel barrow. The wheel in front is the fulcrum A, the load in the middle B, you lifting the handles at the other end C.
Class C: A is the Fulcrum, B is the applied force and C is the motion. Shoveling dirt. One hand holds the end of the handle still A, the other hand pulls in the middle B and the load out at the other end C.
 
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The Snark

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An example of the unusual stance of the Huntsman spider. This spider is hyped up and ready to blitz. Think of a drag racer at the starting line. Unlike most spiders, the leg joints are in hyper extension. In this position the entire leg is one long rigid piece and the locomotion is the leg swinging forwards and backwards relative to the body. The primary muscle bundle that will be used is roughly the equivalent to the most massive muscle bundle in the human, the gluteus maximus.
 

The Spider Faery

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Very true. The first spider escape I had was a David Bowie. I turned around for a moment when doing cage maintenance and it was gone before I knew it. It was always aware of the opening to the cage too, when I opened it. I think they're naturally inclined to try and break free. Like, "hey, I appreciate the free meals and all, but...:brb:"
 

The Snark

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Juvenile Sparassids are usually very easy to identify. All they do is run it seems. I suspect that their legs don't fully develop until near maturity. They keep the legs joints locked into hyper extension.
 

The Snark

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Hyper extension explained.

Straighten your legs completely. This is hyper extension. Now bend the knees slightly. This is the neutral position. Bending your leg until the heel is as close to the back of the thigh as possible is hyper flexion.
Bend your wrist as far back as it will go: Hyper extension. Bend it forwards trying to touch your wrist with your fingertips: hyper flexion.

Most animals naturally avoid hyper extension. This is the primary cause of tendonitis and an assortment of joint problems. Generally only humans regularly extend into hyper extension. Carpal tunnel syndrome is the commonest result of this. Certain animals have evolved to utilize hyper extension. A camel walking in loose sand as example. The hyper extension momentarily takes the load off the leg muscles and allows them to release more lactic acid. This is a trick some people use when hiking up long steep inclines. That momentary leg locking giving the muscles a chance to 'breathe'.
Or in the case of the Sparassid, in order to better utilize the speed multiplier of the third class lever.
 

Nephila Edulis

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These spiders are built to move with speed. Bit annoying when I had my Banded Huntsman and i had to relocate him (he ended up running across the ceiling)
 

PIaf94

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I always dread feeding my H.Lunula slings. The minute I pop their containers open they dart out. Next minute I know they're on the ceiling or a small nook I can't reach them at. When that happens I just wait till nightfall when they're most active and always find them on my walls
 

Nephila Edulis

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I always dread feeding my H.Lunula slings. The minute I pop their containers open they dart out. Next minute I know they're on the ceiling or a small nook I can't reach them at. When that happens I just wait till nightfall when they're most active and always find them on my walls
Try placing them in a setup (easier said than done) where they have plenty of space to run around the back and walls, but apply fluon in a ring around any exit points so they can't climb out. Should work. Unless they jump over it or build up enough speed to slide over the fluon barrier
 

darkness975

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I always dread feeding my H.Lunula slings. The minute I pop their containers open they dart out. Next minute I know they're on the ceiling or a small nook I can't reach them at. When that happens I just wait till nightfall when they're most active and always find them on my walls
Try placing them in a setup (easier said than done) where they have plenty of space to run around the back and walls, but apply fluon in a ring around any exit points so they can't climb out. Should work. Unless they jump over it or build up enough speed to slide over the fluon barrier
House them in enclosures that have the opening at the bottom of the enclosure where the spider is usually not near. Or make a DIY container with the opening at the bottom.
 

Venom1080

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I always dread feeding my H.Lunula slings. The minute I pop their containers open they dart out. Next minute I know they're on the ceiling or a small nook I can't reach them at. When that happens I just wait till nightfall when they're most active and always find them on my walls
really? they actually escape so commonly like that?
 

schmiggle

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Can I feed them beetles??
With over 350,000 species of beetles, I suspect any generalizations will be hard to come by, but definitely avoid fireflies, because they're usually toxic.
 

Nephila Edulis

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Can I feed them beetles??
If it's your average beetle that buzzes around your lights at night. Yes you can feed them beetles. But try to stay away from anything brightly coloured or anything that digs because most large ground beetles will try take a bite out of your huntsman
 
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