Cave spider

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A cave spider, s, is a type of monster that appears in NetHack. They are tiny oviparous spiders with a bite attack and the ability to hide under items in order to catch you by surprise. Cave spiders have poison resistance.

Eating the corpse or tin of a cave spider has a 7% chance of conveying intrinsic poison resistance.

A player polymorphed into a cave spider can spin a web on their square using the #monster extended command.

The following information pertains to an upcoming version (3.7.0). If this version is now released, please verify that it is still accurate, then update the page to incorporate this information.

Cave spiders will randomly spin webs as they move - this random chance is based on the number of surrounding walls, making a spider more likely to spin a web in enclosed spaces.


Cave spiders are always generated hostile, and often appear in groups. Cave spiders can grow up into giant spiders, and giant spider eggs will hatch into cave spiders.[1]

Like all spiders, cave spiders that are randomly generated on level creation will have a random item placed on their square.[2]


While cave spiders are not particularly dangerous for the first hiding monsters you will likely encounter, their AC that can make hitting them slightly difficult. Due to the spider's hiding habits, a thrown projectile causes them to "stick" in place often, allowing you to freely pick them off or even escape if the situation warrants it. This can also be put to use in some treasure zoos, where a hiding cave spider can block the door and hem in the other monsters; you can then attack them from range at your leisure, e.g. with a polearm or lance.


The cave spider first appears in NetHack 3.0.0.


The name "cave spider" can refer to any number of underground or cavern-dwelling species of spider, with one of the most commonly known species being the European cave spider (Meta menardi), a long-jawed orb-weaver spider. Various types of spiders are also frequently depicted as inhabiting caves in several forms of cultural folklore and other works of fiction, whether they are normally cave-dwellers or otherwise.

European cave spiders have a natural range extending from Scandinavia to North Africa, and from Europe to Korea; there are also transplanted populations as far apart as Japan and Madagascar. Adult cave spiders are photophobic and live in places free from light such as caves, mines and various tunnels, and emerge around dusk to hunt. After mating, female cave spiders produce drop-shaped egg sacs that usually hang from the roof of the habitat by a silk thread near the entrance - the cave spiderlings feed on the yolk of their egg sac until the first molt, and then exit the cave to disperse via ballooning. Spiderlings are strongly attracted to light unlike adult cave spiders, which may be an evolutionary adaptation.



In SLASH'EM, The Spider Caves generates several giant spider eggs on level creation that will generate cave spiders if allowed to hatch.


In dNethack, drow of all roles (except for Noblewomen) will start the game with a tame cave spider.


In xNetHack, cave spiders will occasionally spin webs while moving, with web-spinning being more likely in enclosed spaces.


In notdNetHack, in addition to dNetHack details, Chupoclops will drop several cave spider eggs when killed after being summoned by an Illithanachronounbinder.


In EvilHack, cave spiders also spin webs while moving, with webs being more likely in enclosed spaces. Cave spiders now grow up into large spiders, which can then grow up into giant spiders.

Drow are capable of taming cave spiders and other spiders as domestic animals.

Encyclopedia entry

See the encyclopedia entry for spider.