Posted Aug 13, 2014
As part of a study, I owned a very large black widow procured in an Oklahoma storm cellar a couple years back. I have always loved spiders and used this one as a point of reference for a college paper. I kept her in a super large bulk pickle jar and dressed it up according to her needs.
During the months that she was with me, she was always docile, rarely excitable, and only really moved to eat or do a web repair. If you want a spider with a pretty web or creative skills, this one is not a good choice at all. Her house is a mess and she weaves it haphazardly. Remnants stay in it after she eats and, unlike many other spiders, she doesn't always care to untether and drop her past meals.
Despite being a bad housekeeper, she is a lethal killer. When food is placed in her web and she is actually interested in it (this is hit or miss) she will weave a thick web-spray onto her prey from her bulbous abdomen and then hit them with a shot of that famous deadly venom. Watching her is admittedly intriguing when this occurs. Her shiny black and spindly legs moving so gracefully is a neat sight to behold. I, of course, only watched. I never came close to handling her with my hands, but the swiftness at which her prey died was rather remarkable.
In the end, owning a black widow is a practice in patience. She is dirty, quiet, slow, and really doesn't care about anything but a decent meal every once in a while. If you like your spiders with practically no maintenance and locked away in the dark, then she is your girl. If you want one you can handle, then consider practically anything else but her.