Nephila pilipes – The full story

It has been a dream of mine to have a free-roaming giant Orb Weaver in my spider room. Every time I see them for sale I’ve missed them.
A friend of mine once had one escape and build it’s own web in a window, so he left it and it thrived and it’s been in the back of my mind ever since.
Browsing Facebook I saw that Tony from Venomous Visions had some wild caught Nephila pilipes and I was too broke to buy them.
Now then, these really don’t come up too often so I scraped cash from under the sofa and pulled the trigger.

People have successfully kept these by constructing a frame so that the spider has something sturdy to anchor it’s incredible web. Once the main web is created then the spider will hardly ever leave the centre.

Creating the scene

I had a good idea on how I was going to make a frame but no idea on how to hang it properly – the solution was staring me right in the face THE GREEN SCREEN.
I grabbed four bamboo sticks from the greenhouse and tied them together to make a giant square frame, I then tied the frame to the green screen – it wasn’t right! Something was off!
This first picture shows the bamboo square on the green screen frame and it’s not too bad, it would work.

Bamboo Frame

Something was missing – I had an idea!
Around five years ago I bought a jungle scene from IKEA and because the last spider room was smaller and it wouldn’t fit I packed it away. After grabbing the jungle print I decided that it would be wrong just to place it next to the bamboo, the spider would probably then reject it and move somewhere else. I decided to make a kind of canter lever…. redneck style!
The next picture has the frame construction nearly complete

Full Scene

I’m really liking the finished article, there is a few structural elements to sort but I’m sure this will be good.
I just hope that the spider takes to the frame and this experiment works out.
All that’s left is to wait for the arrival of my first free-roaming Nephila pilipes – it should be here next week depending on the weather (It is February after all)

Update 23/02/2020 – Decided to make some improvements to the frame. I am now building the bamboo frame into a box type frame (pics will follow)
My next problem is to work out how to erect the frame on to some kind of cantilever but one that is strong enough to take the added weight.

Feb 25th 2020 – Full video of the spider arriving and unpacking

25th Feb 2020

After this video was made I kept finding the female looking dehydrated (curling and weak) and numerous mornings I’d have to take emergency action to get some water into her before she would spring back and look great again. It seems that the spider room is very dry if you are not inside one of the glass/plastic enclosures.
I made the decision to move her off the free frame and to house her in the biggest plastic tub I had available.

Over the next month she settled into the RUB (really useful box) created a partial web but never really ate… I was starting to worry that she was extremely thin – I even offered her an injured stick insect, which she took but then discarded. I offered wax moths, dubia roaches, meal worms and anything I could think of – live and pre-killed.
Things were starting to look dire until the night after “The Escape”…

Got her eating

New enclosure for a giant vinegaroon – You DON’T have to play by the RULES!

Description by http://www.thespidershop.co.uk

This MAHOOSIVE species can grow up to 15cm inc. tail. They have six legs used for movement, two long, thin front legs that they use to feel around for prey and detect vibrations, and two large pedipalps modified into claws that they use to crush their prey. They have a long, thin, whip-like tail, the origin of the common name whip scorpion. From the base of this tail, they can spray a substance composed of 85% acetic acid in order to defend themselves. Acetic acid is the main component of vinegar, so the spray smells strongly of vinegar, leading to the common name “vinegarroon”.

Mastigoproctus giganteus have eight eyes: two in a pair on the front of the head and three on each side of the head. These eyes are very weak, so Mastigoproctus giganteus navigates mostly by feeling with its long front legs, tail, and pedipalps.

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Thank you to Jake and The Suns Of Thunder for the use of “Tennesee Smile” https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iD-Ih5SQl4w