Friday, 18 April 2014

Sparkle the Spider

Just before Christmas, a huge house spider jumped out in front of me and scared me half to death. I've never been very keen on spiders, so I called for Bug Mad Girl to rescue me and she scooped it up and put it in a bug pot. Despite my best efforts to persuade her to release it, she insisted on keeping it. She found a home for her and has called her Sparkle.

Sparkle has become part of the family and seems to have settled into captivity very well. She soon made a big web and arranged her den. Bug Mad Girl feeds her an assortment of creepy-crawlies, but her favourites are definitely small spiders, flies and centipedes. She'll eat pretty much anything that moves and is smaller than her though!

Sparkle eating a fly
One day we noticed Sparkle appeared to be dancing. She was actually making a thick sheet of web. Next morning, the sheet was all wrapped up and she'd decorated it with dried grass and flower heads. I suspected that she'd laid an egg case, but assumed the eggs wouldn't hatch as there was no male spider in with her. She laid a second smaller egg case about 2 weeks later.

2 egg cases, beautifully decorated by Sparkle
To my surprise, the eggs hatched a few weeks later and we had a lot of tiny spiders in with Sparkle. I was slightly worried she would eat them all, but she seemed to have some maternal instincts and seemed quite protective of them.

Tiny spider babies

When they has grown a little and changed their skins, we decided to let them go. They had all scattered all over the cage, so seemed quite keen to get going. They are all in the green house now, so we may be able to see them when they have grown even bigger.

Sparkle is still living with us and seems perfectly happy. I've even grown a little bit fond of her, as long as the lid is tightly closed on her house!

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