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Jumping spiders: Why they’re great house guests

Being the daughter of a Biologist we had a revolving door of wild critters living in our house. Reptiles, mammals, birds, and insects of every shape, size, and venomocity.  (yeah, it’s a real word.)  (okay, it’s not, but it should be.) Of course our wild guests typically lived in large glass houses topped with plenty of heavy rocks.  And they usually enjoyed only short stays in our wild animal hotel.  My Mom was grateful.

There were really only two of our pets that I recall my Mom actually enjoying; in fact she even let them sorta go free range around the house. One was a tortoise, the other was a jumping spider.

The jumping spider’s name was Smedly. It enjoyed a status of greatness that Charlotte would probably understand.  I don’t know if Smedly was a boy or a girl.  I never saw offspring or love interests.  I’m not even sure where Smedly lived exactly, but since it was often seen crawling around the kitchen, one can assume ‘home’ was somewhere nearby.  No one was allowed to smash Smedly (like we did the wolf spiders). Smedly was a member of the family.

Because of my Mom I’ve started a similar tradition. We give refuge to several jumping spiders a year, all of which are (of course) named Smedly. When my kids spot one they get excited to show me, and quickly try to usher the newest Smedly into the kitchen.

Why jumping spiders make great house guests:

  1. They’re quiet, harmless to humans and require little TLC. A truly low maintenance pet.
  2. They’ll happily take care of flies and gnats for you at no extra charge.
  3. Guess what else they eat, wolf spiders. My husband got a picture just this week to prove it.
  4. They jump.
  5. They’re beautiful (unlike pretty much every other spider in existence).  Check out the ‘peacock spider‘.
  6. In order to be able to jump so well, they have amazing eyesight, and will actually watch you move around–it gives them the appearance of a level of consciousness that far exceeds their body size.
  7. They’re fuzzy.
  8. They don’t spin webs to catch their food so you need not worry about cobwebs in the corners (they hunt their prey like a cat, prowling then pouncing).
  9. You can definitely use the word ‘cute’ when referring to these Ewoks of the spider world.

If you are bored and feel like wasting some time, look up jumping spiders on youtube and watch the videos of these little guys in action or do an image search in google.  Almost as cute as my kids.  Almost. And I’m pretty sure you’ll want to get a few Smedlys of your own.

13 Comments so far

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  1. I adore jumping spiders. Cora doesn’t love spiders, but has gotten to the point where she’ll ask me to move a jumping spider off the monkey bars rather than just shrieking and demanding that I squish it.

    • Kristal – Which is actually the other cool thing about jumping spiders, they’re easy for kids to ID. All cute and twitchy!

  2. Daktari

    I think you just lost Liv as a blog reader with this post.

    • Daktari – Hahaaa, then you will be shocked to know that #5 was actually added by Olivia! Another testament to their greatness, even Liv likes em.

  3. Claudia

    We love these little guys at our house! Every time our kids find a spider, they ask if it’s a “good spider” (meaning a jumping spider) or a “bad spider” (pretty much everything else).

    • Claudia – A woman after my own heart. Although I’m sorta partial to tarantulas too, too bad they never come wandering through the house though. :)

  4. Marshall

    Loved the article. Smedly would be proud! PS they continue to be welcome in our house/yard. On cold days they are often taken in as house guests.

    • Thanks Dad. Good to know the Smedly population is alive and thriving in the kitchen! :)

  5. Jen

    Lib and I loved watching the peacock spider. Super cool!

  6. ReKo

    I want a pet jumping spider but don’t know where to look.I live in the mobile area of Alabama. Plz help!

    • ReKo – I’m not too familiar with Alabama, but a good place to start would be to check outside on the sunny side of your house in the morning, especially around your windows.

  7. Parker

    I commonly find Jumping Spiders in my house :) It’s a joy. Ever since I was young, I saw these but never knew they were jumping spiders. they’re usually coloured brown with 2 stripes at the back but now I’ve seen more variations around here. I have never ever seen any other insects other than Jumping Spiders here, (only some cockroaches but hardly)

    Wolf spiders are actually considered good spiders as well, yes they don’t look as friendly but they are responsible spiders who take care of their young. And they eat other arachnids too.

  8. Thats a Phidippus Clarus Female in the post’s pic. Is it Smedly or an image you found on the web for illustration purposes?

    BTW, I have a video of one of those beautiful spiders here:
    http://youtu.be/sdtMBwGAzx8

    And some larger photos of jumping spiders here:
    http://micromacrophoto.com/arachnids/jumping-spiders/

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    I'm Lindsey. I'm an environmental educator, my husband's a biologist. The outdoors is infused into everything we do; which explains why I'm better at mud pies than home decorating. More About Me

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