By Kirstie Sutheran
The terrified spider was captured burying itself in the sand – it is a defence mechanism to protect itself from predators.
Alexa Whiteway, 30, a system administrator has had her spider, a Monty, a Sicarius Thomisoides, a six-eyed sand spider, for about three years and filmed it on the 24th of October.
“Unfortunately I do not yet know his gender, I should be able to tell in the near future, however, when he gets a little larger. I have raised him from a ¼ spiderling.
“He will grow to be about 2-3” as an adult, and live up to 15 years.
“This species has what is considered to be the longest lifespan of any ‘true spider’, non-tarantula, araneomorphae species.
“I acquired Monty from a US breeder who specializes in exotic spiders and other invertebrate species.
“Raising a spider-like Monty has been a unique and rewarding experience.
“I have been raising a variety of arachnids for several years now- and it is always a surprise to experience each spider’s personalities and behaviour.
“You really learn to appreciate these little guys.
“It is important to note that this is a species from the Sicariidae family, which possess incredibly potent necrotic venom- some may recognize this as the same family the Brown Recluse is a part of.
“While Monty and his buddies, (I have 4) will play dead when bothered, and prefer to run and hide overbite, I take the upmost care around them.
“These are not spiders for holding or physically interacting with- purely for admiring.
“I cannot stress enough that, despite their adorable behaviour, these should only be kept by very experienced keepers.
“Monty lives on a diet of little dubia roaches- Dubia Blaptica- they are a species of feeder roach that provides great nutrition and are easy and inexpensive to raise.
“Sicarius Thomisoides can go for a year without eating or drinking- Monty gets fed 3-4 times per month, however.
“Sicarius Thomisoides live in the South American deserts, where food is scarce- by burying themselves, they are able to not only hide and keep themselves safe from potential predators but are able to ambush their prey by jumping out and delivering a potent bite before their prey can escape.
“This is why the venom of the species is so concentrated- they need to take down their prey quickly and efficiently.
“As for hiding, Monty has small cuticles on his body which allow particles of sand to stick to his body, providing extra camouflage when hiding in the sand.
“Admittedly, I have been tempted to house him with coloured sand to burrow in, as it would cause him to be whatever colour the sand was.
“It is always a delight to catch them in the action of burrowing- I can’t help but smile when I watch them.
“The adorable digging and burrowing is not usually what you think of when you think of extraordinarily venomous spiders.
“It takes a lot of patience and sitting quiet and still to get the burrowing on camera, I’ve sat for 20-30 minutes holding my camera, trying not to move just to get the burrowing on video, so when I actually catch a great shot of them in action it’s an exciting victory for me.
“They really don’t like to burrow when they know you are watching, and often will stand still in one place until they think it is safe to move and burrow.
“I started raising species of spiders starting with tarantulas about five years ago, to help me get over my arachnophobia.
“It taught me to appreciate all spiders, and realize that they are helpful, beautiful, and incredible creatures to be admired and appreciated.
“They have personalities, even- Of my 4 Sicarius Thomisoides, Monty, Pickles, Gamora, and Skiff, despite them being about the same size, I can tell them apart in an instant, just based on their actions and personality.
“Each exhibits distinct characteristics and mannerisms.
“The tarantulas I have raised are similar, in that even those of the same species are unique to one another-they have really changed my whole view on ‘creepy crawlies’ of all kinds.
” I would like to stress again that while Monty and his burrowing are adorable and fun to watch, these are very venomous spiders, and should not be handled, and should only be kept by experienced keepers”.