It’s hard to resist jumping spiders: when you see how cute they can be, you might immediately want to keep them as exotic pets.
But before you do, you need to ask an important question: can jumping spiders be dangerous to us?
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Are jumping spiders poisonous?
Depending on which genus jumping spiders belong to, they can be poisonous, carrying some venom. But although they are carnivores, they are simply too small to be dangerous to us. They are usually friendly toward human beings and tend to be somewhat bashful around people.
There is little risk that they will bite unless they feel threatened. For example, be extremely careful if you’re considering holding a jumping spider.
If you handle them roughly, such as squeezing them too tightly, this may cause them to sense danger, resulting in a bite that may sting severely.
Jumping spiders are thought to be the largest group of spiders in existence, having more than an estimated 6,200 different species. They live in various habitats around the globe, except for the two poles, but they are found primarily in tropical forests.
They have compact bodies and relatively short legs, and they may be black, brown, gray, or tan with pale white, yellow, red, blue, green, or gray markings. The spiders are usually covered in dense hairs that appear to be brightly colored or iridescent.
Their appearance is particularly striking due to having two sets of two eyes in the center of the head.
Also, if you’re holding a jumping spider and projecting any sense of fear, that could trigger a painful bite. Just use your common sense. For example, don’t ever disturb a female jumping spider’s nest or eggs.
She will become extremely aggressive in protecting her babies, so the reward for not using your common sense will certainly be a bite.
What Does a Jumping Spider Bite Look Like?
The area where the bite was received will sting, appear red, and cause itching or slight swelling, which should begin to subside in a day, with recovery typically occurring within one week.
What Should I Do if I Think I’ve Been Bitten by a Jumping Spider?
Be sure to follow these steps:
- Immediately wash the bite wound with soap to prevent the bite from becoming infected.
- Apply a reusable ice pack to help reduce redness and swelling.
- Elevate the bite wound to further reduce swelling.
- If you’re experience itching of the wound, use an over-the-counter antihistamine.
- Consider using spider bite ointment or cream that is “kid safe” to help reduce stinging.
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A Word of Caution
There is a crucial exception where jumping spiders can truly be dangerous to human beings. People allergic to their spider venom could have a potentially deadly reaction known as “anaphylaxis,” developing swelling of the tongue, lips, and throat that blocks the windpipe, causing choking and possible death.
Should you develop breathing difficulties, increasingly severe swelling, and increased pain, immediately call 911 or go to the nearest hospital.
In addition, should you experience prolonged symptoms and the bite wound has not healed in a few days, bring this to your doctor’s attention immediately.
It’s possible that you may have been bitten by a more dangerous spider or by an insect, requiring prompt medical care.
Therefore, before even considering keeping a jumping spider as a pet, you must tell your physician and ask what steps you should take before bringing that spider home with you.
How Can You Prevent Jumping Spider Bites?
As noted above, jumping spiders will only bite when they sense danger. Therefore, to prevent receiving spider bites, go out of your way to never make a jumping spider feel threatened.
In addition, be sure to check areas of your home that you may not often touch, such as cupboards, cabinets, closets, shoe racks, crawl spaces, basements, and attics. Also, regularly clear away spider webs that may collect in corners and ceilings.
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Another tip: consider spraying peppermint oil and other essential oils around your home since there is anecdotal evidence that spiders do not like the smell.
More Than Just a Cute Face
As you’ve almost certainly figured out, these spiders are named for their spectacular jumping ability. Many find these little spiders adorable, particularly because of their two pairs of eyes, which give them an extremely strong vision.
But they truly are more than just cute faces. They are fascinating creatures that make them truly unique and loved by knowledge seekers and those intrigued by exotic pets.
Fascinating Facts About Jumping Spiders
- Jumping spiders are able to jump up to 50 times their body length. Yet, rather than having extremely muscular legs, they cause a rapid change in their hemolymph pressure by contracting muscles in their upper body region. The result? Blood is forced to rush to and cause rapid extension of their legs, propelling them in the direction they choose.
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- Jumping spiders quickly spin silk, whereby the tension in the silk enables them to adjust their bodies to provide direction and to ensure a smooth landing.
- Unlike many other spider types, jumping spiders do not require webs to capture their prey. They simply extend their legs, jump after their prey, and add venom. They typically feed on small insects.
- To learn more about the spiders’ jumping ability, scientists at the University of Manchester trained a jumping spider to jump on command, with the goal of enhancing the jumping skills of small robots.
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- They have two small eyes that surround two large eyes in the center of their heads. The larger primary eyes enable them to visualize color details and provide impressive spatial resolution, whereas the two smaller eyes provide a sense of motion and a wide-angle view. Their retinas are able to swivel independently, providing the ability to check their surroundings without moving the head.
- Spiders hear via sensory hairs on their bodies that respond to sound wave vibrations.
- Male jumping spiders use unusual courtship dances to woo female jumping spiders. They writhe and wiggle as well as sing their own unique songs by sending taps, scrapes, and clicks to nearby females. The vibrations that comprise the song travel along the ground and are heard via the sensory cells on the females’ bodies.
- If the male is not a particularly talented singer, the female may reward the male for his efforts by cannibalizing him. So perhaps it’s possible that every male jumping spider courtship dance has the potential to be a “Dance to the Death.”
Jumping spiders are quite smart. Portia fimbriata, also known as Fringed Jumping Spider, is the world’s most intelligent spider. These spiders have an abstract working memory and have demonstrated that they can sneak up on prey spiders. They learn from situations that they encounter.
Most species of jumping spiders live in Tropical forests. They can also be found in deserts and mountains but also in yards and parks as they love open sunny areas and plenty of vegetation. Jumping spiders don’t live in webs; they search their
Jumping spiders are carnivores, and they eat insects such as crickets, moths, and flies; the most popular would be flies. They also eat other spiders about their size or smaller. Some species of jumping spiders consume nectar and pollen too.
Jumping spiders have a short lifespan. They usually live for six months to three years, depending on their species and sex. On average most of them would live around one year. Males typically don’t live as long as females.