This question flows from a couple of previous questions 1, 2 about pet(s) to control insect pests in the home. One comment in particular caught my attention, and lead to me asking this.

Is there web building spider native to North America (or at least not considered an invasive pest) that can be encouraged to live in a person's home? How can I identify it?

Once in the home, what should I do to support it and let it know it is a welcomed and valued member of the household (i.e. a pet)? What nutritional needs do I need to address in times when natural prey are unavailable?

In short, what is the optimal small spider pet and how do I care for it? Where optimal = pet to control flying pests.

  • This question is on the verge of several scopes areas. Based on responses in the most recent Meta post I believe it is in scope. If you feel differently do not hesitate to open a new question to begin a scope discussion. Jul 24 '14 at 10:59
  • Pro tip: In my house, all spiders, beetles, and other bugs are named "Fred". It keeps things simple. Besides, they don't come when called.
    – mhwombat
    Jul 24 '14 at 11:13
  • I'm almost wondering if this should be broken up into two questions. One about finding a species of spider that can be domesticated, and then another for it's general care.
    – Spidercat
    Jul 24 '14 at 15:29
  • @MattS. If there is more than one or two species, you might have a good point. If there is only one or two, might as well keep it together. I have NO idea how many species might fit the requirement. Jul 24 '14 at 15:52
  • 1
    I think we need to define what "domesticated" means in this context.
    – keshlam
    Oct 12 '15 at 22:28

I have a friend who has transfered a Cross Orbweaver spider [Araneus diadematus] into her house as a pet.

enter image description here

The site http://www.spiders.us/species/araneus-diadematus/ has details on this species. Since this common species is easily found in gardens or grassy areas, not dangerous to humans, and stays put in one location once it has built a web, it might be what you are looking for. The spider seems to be happy building her web inside in semi-shaded upper corners of window frames. A window with a tall plant might make it more attractive to the spider. Except for the occasional misting of the web with water, they take almost no care at all.

Once you locate the spider's web, determine the location of the webs three anchor points. Break the bottom anchor. The spider will start gathering the web material. When she has most of the material gathered into a ball, break both upper web anchors and use one of the anchors to lower the spider into a container with a lid and then close it. Now move the container into your house to the window you wish her to live in, open the container, and leave her alone to climb out and select her new web location. These spiders do not normally live longer than a year or so, since they normally lay eggs and then die over the winter.

Update: My friend kept her spider for four years, so apparently these spiders can last multiple years under optimal conditions (like not having to live through freezing temperatures outside).

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