Micro Spiders Help CA Woman Remember to Love the Little Things In Life
51. That's the number of jumping spiders Rebecca Regalado gladly shares her San Jose, California, home with. After all, they are her pets!
Thankfully, they are pretty tiny. Picture a grain of rice or a quarter with legs, and that's all the bigger her arachnid kids will get, so it's easy to be a mom to many. Regalado keeps several species of jumping spiders, from Phidippus regius to the lesser-known Phidippus apacheanus and Phidippus carolinsesis.
And what about that jumping part? Yes, they do jump and can catch air up to four or five times their body length, she explained. Of course, they don't jump all the time. Sometimes they walk and climb too.
Discovering a Love for Spiders
Spider phobias are pretty common, but not for Regalado. She's always loved being outdoors and finding insects and bugs. As a child, she dreamed of being an entomologist.
"I remember seeing a very small species jump along the pavement when I was a girl, and they were called Habronattus pyritthrix. Over the years, I forgot all about them. In mid-2021, I saw a video of a jumper on YouTube and thought there was no way that thing was real," she reflected.
Her childhood passion for spiders quickly rekindled. One day while Regalado's husband cleaned out the family SUV, he spotted an eight-legged friend he knew his wife would want to see.
"I ran over to the car, and as soon as I came to the driver's door, I spotted a Phidippus audax that turned around and looked at me directly. I fell in love instantly! I still have this jumper today, and I named her Durango after our SUV," she shared.
Regalado shares this love of jumping spiders on her eye-catching Instagram feed @spoodtherapy. Her amazing macro photography skills highlight the intricate details of the beady-eyed babies she loves so much.
"Caring for jumpers has shown not only my kids that spiders aren't big and scary but also other family members and friends who had arachnophobia," she explained. "To see my friends and family's curiosity spark and to be asked so many questions makes me really happy to educate them."
Pets Are the Best Healers
It's no secret that warm fuzzy nuzzles and wide-eyed attention from a pet can bring us joy. Regalado made that connection with her jumping spiders at the exact perfect moment in her life. Perhaps, spiders do have a spidey sense, after all.
"I was at an all-time low when I started to get into jumpers, and caring for them really put me in such a safe and peaceful place that I feel it was part of my healing," she explained. "I came up with my Instagram handle, SpoodTherapy, after coming out of a very long battle with anxiety and depression."
Note: For those new to spider lingo, "spood" is a term of endearment used by spider lovers for their pets.
Regalado found that her mind would quiet, and she could wind down after a long day while she decorated the spiders' homes and fed them. She says the pets gave her a healthy way to cope, occupy her time, and feed her soul by learning something new.
She also bonds with her pets by performing her daily routine of checking each habitat. And this routine includes more than just spiders! Regalado is also a pet parent to a veiled chameleon named Brodie, a female dalmatian crested gecko named Chedda, and three Alpine newts she shares with her herp-loving daughter.
"My chameleon gets his daily check-ins and food first thing in the morning. The Alpine newts come out to play and swim around, and at this time, our crestie is knocked out sleeping," she shared.
And what about the spiders? How does she connect with such teeny-tiny little friends?
"When I notice some are out and about, I love to take them out and hold them if they're up to it. This is usually when I try to get photos, and I take about an hour just letting them wander around my desk or on my hand and arm," she added. "I look forward to mostly handling my jumpers and getting adorable photos and videos. I also just like to watch them explore and see how curious they are about my kids and me being in the room. Some are super chill and will relax on my hand; others enjoy jumping from hand to hand until they get tired."
So, How Do You Contain a Spider?
If you're intrigued with all things creepy-crawly like Regalado, she says the Zilla® Micro Arboreal Habitats are the way to go.
These homes are ideal for small reptiles, amphibians, invertebrates — and, of course, arachnids. They are easily assembled and break down for storage when not in use. And when you're using them, you can make a beautiful display since they stack. Regalado has created a focal point in her home by arranging her arachnids in a window that receives filtered, indirect sunlight (so it's not too warm for her pets). Talk about a pop of color and a fun way to see your spider pets!
"I remember getting my first Zilla® Micro Habitat for my first jumper, Durango, and she's still living in the same home today. They are perfect for larger sub-adult and adult jumping spider species," she explained.
Regalado also loves that the Zilla® habitats are stackable, offer must-have cross ventilation, and come in a small size to showcase her mini pets. And as you can see, she loves decorating the habitats with beautiful elements from nature to express her creativity. Really, there are no limits to how you accessorize a spider's home.
Watch Regalado deck out a Zilla® Micro Arboreal Habitat for one of her spider babies:
She starts with coconut fiber, cypress mulch, and sphagnum moss as a layered substrate, then gets creative with natural elements for unique decor. Things like tree bark, dried flowers, dried cedar tree clippings, and dried leaves make the spider hangout come to life. She reminds her Instagram followers to only use things found in nature that haven't been exposed to chemicals, such as pesticides or insecticide sprays, to keep pets safe.
"From the clarity of the acrylic to the durability, I always recommend Zilla® Micro Habitats to keepers whose jumping spiders are ready to move up to a bigger home," she shared.
How Spiders Help Regalado #RepYourself
Embracing her childhood passion for running toward — not away — from bugs, spiders, and insects helped Regalado return to her true self as an adult.
"I've been working on doing things that resonate deeply with what I love and things I've always loved to do since I was a child. As you get older and life gets harder, it's easy to get distracted by all the little things and forget who you are and what makes your soul happy," she reflected. "For me, getting to experience my jumping spiders and sit down and put so much detail and love into their enclosures has kept me grounded and at peace."
Regalado says this uncommon hobby has helped her remember a part of her that had once slipped away and, since found again, brightens her days.
"They represent wonder and admiration for all the little things, and this was something I had lost sight of for so long. All of this alone makes me want to share them with whomever I can in hopes that the spiders will bring them the same peace and curiosity they did for me in such a dark time."