There comes a time in our fuzzy friends’ life when they have had enough delicious crickets that they start feeling tight on their body. It’s usually a time when jumping spiders shed off old clothes in a fascinating process called molting. This process involves getting rid of their old exoskeleton.
While the molting process can take a few hours for juvenile jumping spiders, it can take nearly three weeks for sub-adult.
Jumping spiders pre-molt process
Once our furry friends have stored up enough energy, they usually go into a pre-molt stage. During this period, jumping spiders are known to spin thick web sacks, to handle the rigours of molting. For juvenile jumping spiders, the process usually takes a couple of hours while for sub-adult spiders, the process can span a few days.
During the pre-molt stage, jumping spiders tend to eat more in an attempt to take in as much nutrition as they can get. And when they think they have had enough, jumping spiders will lock themselves inside the sack and wait until new exoskeletons start growing under the current one.
Although the pre-molt stage can be a really stressful period for new exotic pet keepers who are not very familiar with the process, we urge you not to panic and stay calm.
Sure, you may feel tempted to check on your spider friend every now and then, but try not to disturb it too often. Also, ensure that you don’t leave any live insects inside their tanks during the pre-molting process.
Another thing you want to keep doing is misting the side of the tank as you have always done.
What you should know about a jumping Spider Molting
Once our fuzzy friends have their new exoskeletons ready, they usually secrete special fluids in between the space housing the old and new exoskeletons. This helps make the separation process easy.
Thanks to the special fluid excreted, jumping spiders are able to crawl out of their old skin without any hassle. And just so you know, this moment is very crucial for every spider as they have to crawl out of their old exoskeletons while the new one is still quite fragile.
Should our spider friends fail to crawl out in time, the newly formed exoskeletons could start hardening even while there are yet to make it out of the old one.
According to experts, dehydration is one of the major causes of bad molts in spiders and this is how often spiders molt . That said, most jumping spiders are able to successfully extract themselves from their old skin while their new exoskeletons are still hardening.
Please keep in mind that when jumping spiders molt, they are very fragile to external influences, as such, they should not be disturbed.
Should your spider be missing a leg before molting, it will grow a new one after the process. Sure, it may not be as perfect as the old one, but its cool to know that our furry friends have this superpower.
Life after molting
Once the molting process is complete, jumping spiders are ready to take on the world, so they get out of their sack and roam around to get enough hydration. Also, it wouldn’t be such a bad idea to offer your spider friend feeder insect. This will help replenish lost energy reserves.
If your spider is still juvie, it will go on living as it has always done. From exploring its enclosure to interacting with owners to waiting in ambush for juicy crickets fed to it, a juvenile spider that has just completed its molting process has a take on life that is different from sub-adult spiders.
For sub-adult spiders that have just completed their final molting process, their priorities usually change. For mature spiders, you’ll notice that they show less interest in food and are always open to mating opportunities with their female counterparts.
For adult female jumping spiders who just completed their last molting process, they spend a lot of time building up energy reserves, spinning up cosy web sacks to enjoy some privacy as well as growing eggs.
How long does the molting process take?
How long the molting process takes usually depends on the size of your spider friend and how close it is to maturity. That said, it can take anywhere from 4 days to a month for the molting process to complete.
For young jumping spiders, the pre-molt process usually takes 3-4 days. Plus, their exoskeletons dry up within a couple of hours so they can start eating again.
For jumping spiders close to maturity, the pre-molt stage usually takes much longer. On average, the pre-molt process can last for nearly two weeks. That said, it takes adult spiders about a day or two to crawl out of their old exoskeletons and start eating again. For some species, the process maybe even longer.
Frequently asked questions
Can jumping spiders die from molting?
During molting, jumping spiders shed off old exoskeletons for a new one. However, given the fragile nature of their new soft exoskeletons, jumping spiders are most vulnerable.
According to experts from Cornell University, 85 percent of death among arthropods occur during the molting phase.
For some spiders, they may experience bad molts that make it difficult to extract themselves from their old exoskeletons.
Is molting painful for jumping spiders?
While molting is a natural process for spiders and not painful, they are most vulnerable during this time. To this end, you should avoid disturbing them. Also, you may notice that they no longer feed. Don’t panic as this is relatively normal when spiders molt.
What happens if you touch a jumping during its molting?
Like we earlier mentioned, during molting, jumping spiders are very vulnerable. Touching them will disturb the molting process and result in bad molts, which we are sure you’re not ready for.
Jumping spiders are known to molt at least 5-6 times during their lifespan. During this period, spiders get rid of old bodies to take on new and shiny exoskeletons. While the process lasts a couple of days for young jumping spiders, it can take nearly two weeks or more for adult jumping spiders. During this period, it’s best not to disturb your spider friend and allow the process to play out as it should.