Training a spider is not easy, because spiders cannot learn like other animals such as dogs. They’re not motivated by food, so you don’t have a strong mechanism to teach them how to do things.
Even though training a spider is near impossible, some people have had some success. For example, researchers at the University of Manchester have successfully trained a jumping spider to jump on demand. It was the first time that someone has had success in training spiders.
Can You Train a Spider?
For regular people, training a spider will be near impossible.
Spiders don’t respond to external learning stimuli as well as other pets. The first main reason for this is because they simply can’t do so.
Their brains are tiny, which means that they can’t process commands or interactions with humans very well. That’s mainly because their memory is not the sharpest, which means they have difficulty remembering their owners, let alone remembering some commands for training.
The second main reason why training a spider is not easy is that they’re not easily motivated by food.
Dogs and cats mostly learn by having a motivation – which, in most cases, will be food.
If they complete a certain action, dogs and cats are rewarded with food, which makes them even more motivated to complete similar actions the next time they’re asked to do so. This makes them more accepting of our learning methods, especially dogs.
However, spiders won’t be allured by food, as they only eat once a week. They will not be motivated by food, which makes it slightly tougher to teach them tricks and other things.
Many people have tried and failed in teaching their spiders to do new things. Larger spiders like tarantulas often get startled if you try to teach them new stuff. Bites are rare, but they can happen, especially if your tarantula still hasn’t fully adapted to the surroundings of your home.
Related: Do Spiders Understand Humans?
Can Spiders Learn New Things?
Spiders can learn many things needed for survival, such as hunting, fighting off predators, as well as creating webs.
As for learning directly from humans or other sources, spiders don’t have much learning success. Many people have tried to teach spiders new things, but very few have had success doing it.
Many researchers have tried implementing many different teaching methods, although the vast majority of them had little to no success. This means that many studies that contain teaching spiders and their learning capacity have not even been published.
Despite that, spiders learn through their entire lives, like humans.
When they are born, they have many things to learn. This includes learning how to hunt, how to escape predators, build webs, ambush their prey, and much more. They’ll learn this from their parents and older spiders in their vicinity, and they must learn fast.
They have to learn quickly and adapt to their world because young spiders and spiderlings are most susceptible to getting caught by predators. If they cannot adapt to their surroundings, they can quickly get eaten by predators and even by larger spiders, which amplifies their need for learning.
Spiders learn from their environment, and their parents instead.
Related: Can Tarantulas Climb Walls?
Has Somebody Successfully Trained a Spider Before?
Yes, it has been done by the researchers at the University of Manchester, where they taught a regal jumping spider named Kim to jump on demand.
This was also the first time someone has taught a spider to jump, and other instances of spiders learning from humans are also rare.
Their teaching methods were successful only after a long period of trial and error. The researchers had to be very careful to entice the spider to start learning, which was the hardest thing to figure out.
The learning was done in a controlled environment using high-speed cameras and 3D CT scans, which allowed researchers to analyze the movements of the spider more closely.
After doing this, they physically moved the spider from one platform to another until it was conditioned to make the jump itself. Eventually, the spider learned how to do it on its own. They also used a gentle tool to encourage the spider to make the jump, which proved to be unsuccessful at first.
However, after some time, the spider learned how to jump with the gentle tool. And after a while, the spider started jumping on demand without the tool. Kim, as the jumping spider was called, was now able to jump from one platform to another on-demand.
It is the first recorded learning of a spider to jump.
How Can You Train a Spider?
You can try training a spider using food and determination, but it’s unlikely that you’ll teach a spider without having advanced tools.
Unlike the researchers at the University of Manchester, you probably won’t have the advanced tools at your disposal for teaching your spider how to jump.
This means that your job will be tougher from the start, although many owners have tried teaching their spiders to do different things. Not many people have had success, but there were some rare occasions where owners have been successful in their teaching.
The best thing to do is to try it first with food and then by using other tricks, but you should never force your spider to do things it doesn’t want to do.
It’s always best to go into this not expecting much from your spider. Know that it is very rare for a spider to learn new tricks, and you should not be too disappointed if you don’t succeed. However, if you are successful, that’s great, and you should be proud of yourself for doing so.
Training a spider might prove to be tricky. Spiders aren’t the best of learners, and they also aren’t enticed by food, so it makes it tougher for owners to teach them new things.
You can certainly try to teach your spider something new, but you should not expect too much – don’t be discouraged if you’re not successful. After all, it’s not in their nature!