CNN: Meet TikTok's new favorite pet

UC biologist discusses people's love for jumping spiders

CNN turned to a University of Cincinnati biologist to explain the adoration people express for jumping spiders on social media.

Jumping spiders are little darlings on TikTok, where their attentive behavior and big eyes have endeared them to many fans. And some people have turned the little eight-legged predators into beloved pets.

“Maybe it’s because they’re these tiny sentient little creatures existing in this huge world around us, and we don’t even take the time to notice them or how smart they are,” TikTok user Heather Bruen told CNN. “But caring for them has changed my entire life.”

UC College of Arts and Sciences visual ecologist and Associate Professor Nathan Morehouse told CNN that they are objectively cute with oversized eyes like Grogu from Disney's “The Mandalorian.”

“We're suckers for that,” Morehouse said. “There's a cute babyish-ness.”

Morehouse has traveled the world studying the extraordinary vision of jumping spiders. Their color vision, in particular, far surpasses our own.

“When animals can see farther away from their bodies, and they can act right away, that offers the capacity for planning,” Morehouse said. “Lots of animals can only see and sense the world in their immediate surroundings – a lot of what they do is knee-jerk reactions to things.”

Morehouse said spiders deserve good PR. They provide many hidden benefits to people such as pest control.

“Spiders are essential members of the world that we move through,” he said.

Read the CNN story.

Featured image at top: Jumping spiders have become social media stars. Photo/Joseph Fuqua II/UC

Nathan Morehouse,  National Science Foundation grant to study spider vision around the world. 711H Rieveschl

UC Associate Professor Nathan Morehouse studies jumping spiders in his lab. He is director of UC's Institute for Research in Sensing. Photo/Jay Yocis/UC

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