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Money spider in same enclosure as tiny nymphs


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Hello all, some advice please!

I was just looking for my 4 day old hisser nymphs in the cork bark I have in my enclosure (which has a lot of small hidey holes) and I spotted a small money spider type spider (about 1mm or so in size) in a web in one of the holes. I have no idea where it came from although I do have money spiders in the house which I have previously seen as harmless as they kill the fungus gnats and fruit flies that I get.

However, could a money spider this size kill a tiny (4 day old) hisser nymph? I am not sure I can get all the nymphs out as they are so tiny and the holes in the bark are big enough to hide them well inside, so I don't want to put the bark in the microwave if there could be a nymph still inside that I've missed. What should I do about this spider? Is it safe to leave it there or should I somehow try to get the nymphs out and re-sterilise the bark? Or should I try to get the spider out somehow? I have already poked a small artists' paint brush into the hole and destroyed the web, but the spider retreated inside so I could not get it out. 

If I need to get the nymphs out to sterilise the bark, does anyone have any tips for doing so? Bear in mind these are the only four (that I've seen so far) nymphs from my female that died, so I really don't want to lose any if at all possible!

 

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OK I have got rid of the spider - here's what I did: basically I moved the adults out into a small container to make sure they couldn't escape, and then tried to persuade out the nymphs gently with the artists' paint brush. I managed to get two out this way and put them near the food (which pleasingly I saw them both eating) but the others hunkered down and moved further inside the bark, so I had no choice but to bash the bark until something came out - and in fact eventually it was the spider that fell out onto the substrate, and thankfully I could then remove it from the enclosure. 

Unfortunately the spider scuttled away under my radiator quickly once I'd picked it out of the enclosure so I didn't get a chance to see it properly, but it was a bit bigger than I'd thought at about 1.5-2mm, and very black and shiny, so I am quite concerned that it was big enough to have killed the nymphs if I'd left it there.

However what I don't know is whether there are any more spiders (I don't think I saw more than one) or whether the spider was female and might have laid eggs in the bark. It is going to be nigh on impossible to get the other two nymphs out as they basically scuttled as far into the bark as they could, so I think I am going to have to leave the bark in there and hope that was the only spider.

I've now spider proofed the cage by putting an old pair of tights over the top - the top has metal mesh ventilation which is too small for the nymphs to get out of, but I am not sure if the spider might have been able to get through, so hopefully this will keep it from coming back in, although I will be keeping an eye on the humidity levels to make sure it doesn't make the enclosure too damp.

I just hope I haven't stressed the nymphs or the adults too much in the process - I am trying not to handle the adults (especially as the other female is gravid and I don't want her to suffer any problems in birth like the first one did) or disturb the nymphs too much but in this case I guess it was a case of needs must, so I hope they will all be OK.

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It wouldn't have surprised me too terribly much if the spider got it, since many web builders (especially in the family Theridiidae) have very strong webs and can catch prey much larger than themselves. Not sure if the spider necessarily made it's way into the enclosure on its own or was already in the bark when you got it and you just noticed it now. It'll do better now that it's out and can feed on the various flies and things you mentioned above. I'm sure all your nymphs will be fine. They tend not to stress out too easily and if they went to the food I'd say they're still pretty happy. 

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Thanks pannaking22, yes I was a bit worried as I thought many spiders could probably catch prey much bigger than themselves. However now the spider is out and running round the house rather than my hisser enclosure, I am a lot happier and I will be more than glad if it kills some of the little flies I get in my house! So a win-win situation for me, for the hissers and for the spider! :D

I sterilised the bark when I got it (put it in the microwave for a couple of minutes and poured boiling water over it) so I would be very surprised if a spider that was already there could have survived that, so I am assuming it must have come in from the house somewhere. As I mentioned the perforations in the metal grille over the top of the enclosure are about 1mm or so in size so I would not be surprised if the spider got in through there maybe when it was a bit smaller - it now has to try and get through an old pair of tights if it wants to get back in though, so I doubt it will succeed! The only thing I am a little worried about is if the one that was there was female and had laid eggs which then hatch. I'm not a spider expert by any means so I don't know whether this is likely without the mother spider around, or if they would survive on their own anyway even if they did. 

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Ah yeah, no spider that I know of would survive being microwaved and having boiling water poured on it! There is a chance that she produced a sac (hard to say whether the spider was a mature, mated female or not since I'm not familiar with money spiders) and if it does hatch, you'll notice all the little slings and I doubt they would be able to take down even a newborn hisser unless they clump together with overlapping webs. 

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Every once in awhile I'll have a stray nymph that I missed while taking the food bowls out to clean them. Because I stack all the bowls up together, I can't be sure what species it is so I routinely feed those nymphs to thelittle garden spiders in my house. They can take down a nymph that is surprisingly large for their size!

If you get more spiders or hatchlings and you want to clean the wood again, I recommend canned air. Just a tiny shot of air (hold the bottle several inches away from the bark) tends to disturb them enough to come out of the crevices. I follow up by tapping the bark on the edge of the bin about a dozen times, which dislodges the real stubborn ones. 

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