The vegetarian jumping spider (Bagheera kiplingi) might just be the ultimate cure for anyone suffering from arachnophobia!
These small and quirky creatures are fascinating to watch, highly intelligent, and have a “mostly” plant-based diet.
In this guide, you’ll learn about the necessary care required to keep this pet jumping spider healthy, hopping, and skipping.
|Common Name||Vegetarian Jumping Spider|
|Scientific Name||Bagheera kiplingi|
|Lifespan||Up to 1 Year|
|Adult Size||0.5 - 0.6 cm|
|Breeding Type||Egg Layer|
|Minimum Tank Size||1 Gallon|
What Are Vegetarian Jumping Spiders?
Bagheera kiplingi is a species of spider from the family Salticidae.
These spiders have distinctively colorful stripes and a small, compact body.
They are diurnal and often seen hunting during the day.
While they usually hunt small insects, they are unusual because they are capable of converting plant matter into protein and nourishment.
This unique ability has earned them the name of ‘vegetarian jumping spider’.
What Do Vegetarian Jumping Spiders Look Like?
Vegetarian Jumping Spiders are small, vibrant creatures that range in size between 0.5 to 0.6 cm, to the tip of their abdomens.
They have a round abdomen that can appear black, green, or brown in color with yellow accents, as well as an oval-shaped cephalothorax.
Males and females can usually be told apart by examining their abdomens.
Males have a distinct shape called the gynandromorph sperm duct that females don’t have.
Additionally, males have longer chelicerae than females.
Bagheera kiplingi have four pairs of legs that help them move quickly and efficiently.
They are equipped with strong leg muscles and have even been known to be able to jump more than 25 times their own body length!
They have big eyes with a strong vision and compound eyes, which they use to detect movement and navigate their environment.
Benefits Of Using Vegetarian Jumping Spiders
Vegetarian jumping spiders are great additions to many vivariums, as they bring a lively presence and are fascinating to observe.
Bagheera kiplingi tend to be active during the evening hours, so they provide hours of entertainment when the lights go out.
They serve an invaluable role in the tank’s ecosystem, helping to reduce the population of small insects.
Adding Bagheera kiplingi to a terrarium also adds an interesting and unique element to its aesthetic.
Vegetarian Jumping Spider Facts
Vegetarian Jumping Spiders are small, intelligent spiders native to Central America.
This species is unique in that they are opportunistic herbivores, relying on pollen, nectar, and flowers for their diet.
They are easy to handle and make great pets, with a lifespan of a year and a placid demeanor.
Breeding is rarely successful in captivity. If you’re looking to expand your family of Bagheera kiplingi, catching a wild spider is likely the only viable option.
Bagheera kiplingi originates from Central and South America.
In its natural habitat, this species can most often be found near freshwater streams in rainforests and semi-arid grassland.
The spiders construct small webs near trees, which are used to catch prey for food.
What makes the Vegetarian Jumping Spider unique is that, unlike other jumping spiders, which feed primarily on other insects, Bagheera kiplingi is mostly vegetarian.
This spider has adapted to its niche by eating plants, specifically, Beltian bodies that ants collect from the tip of leaves growing from acacia trees.
As such, this spider has become more efficient at detecting ants and their movements and stealing their food.
On occasion, they will also consume pollen grains, ripened fruit, and, most distinctively, nectar.
Nectar is a source of carbohydrates and proteins necessary for this species to sustain itself.
On rarer occasions, they will consume ant larvae, other small invertebrates, and even each other.
Vegetarian jumping spiders are generally quite tolerant of human presence and may even come out of their hiding spots if they become interested in noises or movement.
Their curious behavior makes them fascinating pets to observe.
It is important to remember to always handle the spider gently since they are small and delicate.
It is also good to remember that Bagheera kiplingi is a solitary creature.
They do not do well with other animals, especially ones of the same species.
Thus, it is best to keep them away from other spiders, as well as other types of animals such as cats and dogs.
Though this will likely not be an issue since these spiders like to nest in places with little to no human interaction.
Bagheera kiplingi have a lifespan of approximately one year.
During this time, the spider goes through four stages of life: the eggs, larvae, juvenile, and adult stages. Females generally live longer than males.
The females will lay about 100 eggs and wrap them in a silken cocoon before leaving.
It takes about two weeks for the eggs to hatch and the larvae to emerge.
The larvae will then transition to the juvenile stage, where they start to spin webs, hunt, and do other spider-like activities.
This stage usually lasts a few months before they reach adulthood. As adults, they focus on hunting and reproduction.
Vegetarian Jumping Spiders mate seasonally, usually in the spring and summer months.
Males perform dance-like movements and move their legs in circles around the female in order to court them.
If the female finds a male’s display attractive, she will move closer to him and mating will take place.
After the male deposits his sperm, the female will lay her eggs. Young vegetarian jumping spiders can molt up to five times as they grow.
Eventually, they will reach maturity and are ready to reproduce themselves.
Where To Find Vegetarian Jumping Spiders
Finding a vegetarian jumping spider for sale locally can be difficult, as these spiders are not widely bred in captivity.
Therefore, the best method for finding one is to search local classifieds or online forums aimed at enthusiasts.
You may also be able to find a healthy spider in the wild, as these spiders are native to areas of Central America, the Caribbean, and Mexico.
Make sure to understand the laws regarding catching and keeping wild animals, as some jurisdictions may require permits.
It can help to directly contact local experts in a particular area who can help you identify Bagheera kiplingi, as they can be easily mistaken for other types of spiders.
Additionally, never purchase an illegally collected wild animal as this is not only unethical but also illegal in most countries.
Vegetarian Jumping Spider Care
Caring for vegetarian jumping spiders involves providing them with a suitable home, feeding them with the appropriate food, and maintaining cleanliness.
It’s also essential to be aware of any potential toxins, temperature sensitivities, and interactions with other animals.
With the right care, these small spiders can make great pets.
The perfect tank for Bagheera kiplingi should have a sealed terrarium in order to control its environment.
The optimal pH for water given should range between 6.0 – 8.0 and the hardness should be between 4 and 8 dKH.
Temperatures should also be controlled with a preset temperature range of 50-86 degrees Fahrenheit.
Terrarium lighting should be kept to a minimum, with no bright direct lights pointed directly at the spider.
This can cause them to stress and hinder the spider’s ability to hunt and navigate.
What Do Vegetarian Jumping Spiders Eat?
Feeding vegetarian jumping spiders is relatively straightforward.
All spiders need to consume insects, however, as these spiders are vegetarians, you should mainly feed them plant-based options.
Here’s a list of foods that you can cut up into ant-sized pieces and feed your Bagheera kiplingi:
- Fruits: bananas, apples, oranges, strawberries, etc.
- Vegetables: carrots, kale, broccoli, spinach, etc.
- Grains: quinoa, roasted vegetables, legumes, etc.
Make sure to cut up the food into small enough pieces so that your Bagheera kiplingi can eat them easily.
Supplement the spider’s feeding with live ants or fruit flies as well to mimic their natural diet out in the wild.
It’s also important to be mindful of the humidity levels in the tank when you’re feeding your Bagheera kiplingi, as many fruits and vegetables tend to make the tank more humid.
If you’re looking for a more detailed approach to feeding these critters, be sure to check out my ultimate DIY jumping spider food guide. I give a more in-depth explanation of the best foods and my favorite recipe.
Best Tankmates For Vegetarian Jumping Spiders
The tankmates of a Bagheera kiplingi can be quite varied and don’t necessarily need to be spiders.
Other terrestrial invertebrates, such as small millipedes and centipedes, can make great companions.
These invertebrates will occupy different areas of the enclosure, providing added complexity and interest.
These creatures will help keep the substrate clean and can also provide additional food for the Bagheera kiplingi.
When selecting tankmates to be kept with B. kiplingi, it’s vital to keep in mind that they should prefer the same humidity levels as the spider.
It’s also important to look for tankmates that don’t compete for food, thereby ensuring the spider is well-fed.
All the chosen tankmates should be of the same size or smaller than the spider and not overly aggressive.
Thus, with careful selection, there are a number of beneficial tankmates that can be kept with the tiny vegetarian—allowing for a well-rounded and healthy habitat.
To successfully care for a vegetarian jumping spider, it’s important to find a suitable tank, feed the spider, and keep it clean.
Additionally, it’s a good habit to monitor the spider’s environment and handle it safely to avoid any potential toxins or issues with other animals.
With the right kind of care and attention, you can ensure your Bagheera kiplingi leads a happy, potentially meat-free life.