If you have had spiders or own several species at the moment, you may be looking to add an exotic one to your collection. Well, there are only a handful of arachnids as striking as the Australian Redback Spider. Yet, knowing how similar it is to the deathly Black Widow, you may be wondering if it’s even possible to have one as a pet. Luckily for you, we are here to tell you the truth!
Redback Spiders are NOT recommended pets to people with zero experience with spiders. But, if you know how to take care of tarantulas and other species, you could try housing a Redback Spider. Still, we would suggest you go with caution because their venom CAN harm humans.
But what do you need to keep one as a pet? What happens if a Redback Spider bites you? We have the answers to all your questions below!
Is It Possible to Keep a Redback Spider as a Pet?
As we mentioned earlier, it is possible to have a pet Redback Spider, but it won’t be easy. Their venom CAN be lethal to humans, and you should not handle them at all.
To give you an idea: A tarantula’s bite only has complications if you get an allergic reaction. But a Redback’s bite can cause:
- Pain around the bite’s area
- Redness and inflammation in the area
- Nausea and vomit
In the worst cases, when you don’t treat the bite on time, it can cause death. Luckily, the number of casualties keeps decreasing every year. An antivenom has existed since 1956.
Thus, Redback Spiders are not a good option for people with no experience with spiders. But you must take them with caution even if you have had arachnids in the past.
Likewise, if you have children, you should avoid having Redback Spiders. These spiders’ bites could have severe health consequences on your kids.
If you’ve gotten to this point and still want to have a Redback Spider, you may be wondering what do you need to house one. Well, keep on reading as we go through everything there is to know about Redback Spiders.
Everything You Need to Know About Redback Spiders
1. Housing a Redback Spider
One of the main advantages of having a pet Redback Spider is that they don’t need a big enclosure. So, any terrarium or container with vertical space for them to climb and build their webs will do. But there’s a catch!
Like their relative, the Black Widow, Redback Spiders spend most of their life in high places. Thus, you will have to be careful if you need to open the cage. You could harm the spider or get bitten if, which is why some people choose to place the container upside down.
You’ll also need to add branches, live plants, and other decoration types that the spider can use to climb. Why? Because Redback Spiders can’t climb on plastic or glass surfaces. These things will also recreate nature AND look good.
But please, don’t overdo it with the decoration. You still must see the spider most of the time to make sure the pet’s doing well. Likewise, you could hurt the spider by accident, and it could attack you in self-defense.
Now, you won’t have to spend that much to keep a Redback Spider as a pet when it comes to temperature and lighting. For the most part, room temperature will be enough, as long as it is not too cold.
These spiders are also nocturnal and can thrive on only natural light. Still, please, don’t keep them in a pitch-black room; they still need a regular day and night cycle.
2. Diet of a Redback Spider
Redback Spiders eat smaller insects such as flies, cockroaches, crickets, and worms. They can also go after bigger prey such as small lizards, mice, and other spiders, including their kind.
As such, you can buy live, gut-loaded insects and feed them to your spider. You can also try to catch insects at home and offer them to your pet.
The good thing is that, in the wild, they stay in the same place and wait for prey to fall on their web. Thus, they can spend several days and weeks without eating and still be okay.
So, you can set the alarm to feed your Redback Spider once or twice a month. If you do it more often, there’s a risk of overfeeding your pet.
Also, if the prey is still alive in 24 hours, remove it from the container. A live, uneaten insect could end up harming a Redback spider.
Avoid adding water dishes to a Redback Spider’s container since it could drown. Instead, to keep it hydrated, spray the sides of the cage with water every day. A mixture of food and misting will provide enough moisture for this type of arachnid.
Common Questions About Redback Spiders
1. Do Redback Spiders Attack Humans?
As you may have noticed, humans are not a part of a Redback Spider’s diet. These species will only “attack” you in self-defense if they see you as a threat or if, by accident, you step on their web.
Still, arachnids, including Redback Spiders, will choose to run over attacking most times. Flight over fight!
Also, only female Redback Spiders can cause any harm because they are more prominent. While a female is around 1 centimeter big, males only reach 4 millimeters. As such, a male’s tiny jaw will not break through your tough human skin.
2. How Do I Recognize a Female Redback Spider?
Besides the difference in size, females have the red stripe on their backs that name the species. The red line looks striking in contrast to their black legs and has a shape like an arrow.
Males come in a combination of black, dark, or light brown and white that is not as impressive. Think of it as mother nature’s warning sign: Stay away from red!
3. What Do I Do if a Redback Spider Bites Me?
If you have the certainty that Redback Spider attacked you, try to remain calm and apply ice to the wound. After that, call your doctor. Seeking medical attention is critical if you experience nausea or severe pain.
If a Redback Spider attacks one of your kids or your pet, rush to the nearest hospital or veterinarian.
Treatment for a Redback’s bite includes antivenom and pills for pain or inflammation. In some cases, antibiotic lotions may be necessary to prevent infection. Follow doctor orders at all times!
4. Can I Have Several Redback Spiders in One Container?
No, Redback Spiders, like most arachnids, are very territorial. If you have more than one of these species in the same terrarium, they’ll end up killing each other.
Also, Redback Spiders are notorious for stealing prey from each other. So, one of them could starve to death.
If you’re planning to have more than only one Redback Spider, you’ll need an enclosure for each one of them.
5. Can I Have a Redback Spider with Other Pets?
Spiders, like most cold-blooded pets, don’t mix well with other animals. Redback Spiders are no exception.
As we mentioned earlier, if they bite your dog or cat, they could even kill them.
And you may think the spider’s safe in its container, but what if your other pet reaches it and jump on it? The spider will sense danger and attack in self-defense. Plain and simple: It won’t end well!
Please, if you have other pets and still get a Redback Spider, keep the species apart from each other at all times.
6. How Long Does a Redback Spider Live?
Another inconvenience of having a pet Redback Spider is that they don’t live for long. For example, males are only alive for nine months tops, while females don’t exceed three years. If you have a hard time saying goodbye to animals, this may be a challenge.
Thus, if you want a lifelong pet, we would tell you to get a Tarantula.
But if you want to observe and learn from these species for as long they can be by your side, then go for it.