Water got onto my female Red Back (Black Widow) - advice needed

Jimmy Jamblez

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I've been caring for a female Red Back for the past 5 weeks now and she's just had a second batch of slings.
As I was about to lightly mist her home with a bit of water, I carelessly didn't check the nozzle and it shot out a stream of water and wet her and some of the little boogers. Enough that a tear-sized water drop was sitting on her abdomen (which has dried out now).

What concerned me is after this happened, she retracted her legs close to her body and kept them close.
So I decided to very lightly dry the enclosure with a hair dryer on "warm" setting from a distance and got most of the moisture out. She began moving about again and started to relocate some of her egg sacs and <edit> on an ant walking around in her enclosure.

Is there anything else I can do for her? I don't have another container to put them in right now and their current enclosure is almost all dry now.

Any advice would be appreciated.

PS: This is a photo of her in more "dryer" times.
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chanda

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She should be fine. They get wet sometimes in nature, too - rain, lawn sprinklers, the garden hose, etc. - and are typically none the worse for it once they dry off.
 

The Snark

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On numerous occasions they would clear the latros out of the bathrooms in So Cal with a hose or even pressure washer. They would death curl which made them much easier to hose away. Once the critters got over the indignity they would wander off and start a new life. Never found any dead ones. IE Durable and more or less waterproof.
 

Jimmy Jamblez

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On numerous occasions they would clear the latros out of the bathrooms in So Cal with a hose or even pressure washer. They would death curl which made them much easier to hose away. Once the critters got over the indignity they would wander off and start a new life. Never found any dead ones. IE Durable and more or less waterproof.
That's pretty fascinating aye. So the "death curl" was just pretend and they weren't actually dead, right?
Man you look like Willie Nelson!
 
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The Snark

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Hopefully someone knowledgeable will chime in here and explain the fake death curl.
 

pannaking22

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Latros very commonly will death curl when they feel surprised, afraid, stressed, etc. It's basically their way to trying to avoid conflict. They aren't aggressive creatures, so the less conflict they have (which usually means the less precious venom wasted), the better off they'll be. Once they feel comfortable again, they will uncurl and go on their probably somewhat annoyed way.

This behavior is seen pretty commonly in insects (darkling beetles are phenomenal at it), but not as much in spiders, though the process and effect is generally the same.
 

Ungoliant

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Hopefully someone knowledgeable will chime in here and explain the fake death curl.
Many spiders will play dead when threatened (if they can't get away). I see it most often in spitting spiders I'm relocating. I've seen some so committed to their act that they will still be "dead" 20 minutes later when I check on them.

Male southern house spiders (Kukulcania hibernalis) also play dead sometimes.
 

The Snark

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This playing dead thing has often intrigued me but I have never studied or fathomed it. Most of my experience with it has just confused me. Road Runners in the SW find likely holes and burrows. They then peck at the burrow and poke their heads in. They may do this for a minute or two or quite some time. They may even return to do the peck and poke thing day after day. The entire plan is to freak out the residents. Snakes of course and spiders. With the Latros they may eventually freak out and death curl, dropping out of the hide and becoming a bird snack. Always seemed completely counter productive.
 
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Rick McJimsey

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Yes, Latrodectus can be big babies, up and play dead. Steatoda do it, too. I think it's a Theridiidae thing. Going on a tangent here, but I've also had Sicarius play dead...
 

Jimmy Jamblez

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Thanks fellas, this info is great.
I've loved spiders since I was young but I was hella paranoid of Red Backs/Widows as a kid because they looked pretty f*cken mean and we hardly saw any in Sydney back in the 80's so coming across one as a child would fascinate me but gave me the heeby jeebies. Nowdays they are starting to be a bit more common around here and I love them a lot.

Caring for one has made me super interested in them now and they really aren't that bad at all.

Freaked out when I saw mine do the death curl but glad I found this forum haha.

Here's the little bastards trying to take down two ants. But they're struggling.
After 20 minutes of attempting to wrap the ants up they ended up aborting the mission and went back into the enclosure.

Is it best to keep attempting to feed the slings with small ants until they build their skills? Or just leave them to feed off the dead carcasses?
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Rick McJimsey

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I've tried ants for Latrodectus slings, and had 0 luck. I'm willing to bet it has to do with the formic acid or something. Slings will readily accept prekilled prey items, crickets, mealworms etc. Or you can go the fruit fly route.
 

Ungoliant

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Is it best to keep attempting to feed the slings with small ants until they build their skills?
I would not feed them ants, as they can bite, sting, and/or spray formic acid. Ants also contain formic acid, which many spiders seem to find unpalatable.
 

AphonopelmaTX

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Many spiders will play dead when threatened (if they can't get away). I see it most often in spitting spiders I'm relocating. I've seen some so committed to their act that they will still be "dead" 20 minutes later when I check on them.

Male southern house spiders (Kukulcania hibernalis) also play dead sometimes.
Add Araneus diadematus to that list too. Pester those enough they drop to the ground, curl up, and stop moving until the threat is gone. Then they get up and run as fast as they.
 

pannaking22

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Agreed with avoiding ants as food. If you have a large number of slings, you could always let them cannibalize a bit until you have more manageable numbers. Or just release them since they're native to where you are.
 
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