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40d:Giant cave spider

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Giant cave spider




Building destroyer: Level 1

· No Stun · No Pain · Webs

Tamed Attributes
Pet value 2,500

· Exotic pet · Non-Breeding

Not hunting/war trainable

Adult at: Birth
Max age: 20-30
Butchering returns

(Value multiplier ×10)

Bones None
Chunks 10
Meat 10
Fat 1
Skulls None
Skin Chitin
This article is about an older version of DF.
Web in the open
Web inside a pit

These eight-legged beasts are not your ordinary harmless cave spider (those were just treats for your cat). Giant cave spiders are bigger than horses and will make treats of cats, other dwarf pets and the average careless adventurer. It would be rather easy to know when a giant spider roams in the area, for they usually build a huge spider web, sometime spanning several screens wide (pictures to the right), except these webs (as well as the spider) are not actually visible until a hapless creature becomes ensnared in one (at least in Fortress Mode).

Unlike most monsters in the world, giant spiders rely on more than just brute force. Using sticky web projectiles, paralyzing venom and powerful jaws, the giant cave spider has multiple methods of incapacitating its prey before going in for the kill. They do not feel pain or remorse or fear and cannot be stopped unless killed. For this reason, it's suggested that you engage them at a distance, bring plenty of drunks to distract it in adventure mode or simply try to overwhelm it with a high number of attackers. Cases of non-legendary adventurers fighting giant cave spiders at close combat and winning the fight without sustaining major injuries have been reported, but it seems to be very rare.

Most giant spiders build their web over cliffs of some sort so caution should be taken against dwarves or the spider itself falling down to their death or into a big chasm.

When a dwarf comes into contact with a giant cave spider web, he becomes stuck and unable to move (effectively paralyzed) for a given amount of time, after the duration of which he becomes unstuck and is free to move again.

If you manage to collect a giant cave spider's webbing and use it to produce silk, the resulting thread is worth ten times the value of cave spider silk, making it far more valuable than any other in the game.

Farming Silk[edit]

Several setups have been devised to harvest giant cave spider silk in large quantities. Working silk farms have a few traits in common:

  1. The spider must be aggressive towards its bait. Tame spiders are aggressive toward invaders, while wild spiders are aggressive toward tame animals.
  2. The spider must not be able to reach its bait - if it can, the bait (or spider) will die and no further silk will be generated. Spiders can destroy wooden doors but not stone or metal doors. They cannot pass through forbidden doors or doors that have been "tightly closed".
  3. The spider must be able to path to its bait - they can path through non-forbidden doors but not through raised bridges or fortifications. If no path is available, the spider will only shoot webs very infrequently. Spiders will attempt to path through doors which are "tightly closed" but not forbidden, making them one of the key elements of an efficient silk farm.
  4. Web collection cannot occur in sight of wild animals or invaders; either the spider or its bait will interrupt collection. Drawbridges work well to block line of sight in either case, as webs will not prevent them from raising.

One proven design is as follows:

+ + + + + + + + + + +
+ + + + + + + + + + +
+ + + + + +
+ + + + + + +
+ + + + + + +
+ + + + + + g S
+ + + + + + +
+ + + + + + +
+ + + + + +
+ + + + + + + + + + +
+ + + + + + + + + + +
  1. Dig out (and optionally smooth) a sufficiently large room (example shown is 11x11).
  2. Construct all of the light gray walls and red fortifications.
  3. Build the 3 green bridges, all raising lengthwise to form long walls.
  4. Construct a lever somewhere convenient in your fortress and link it to the 3 bridges.
  5. Build 2 non-wooden doors above and below the gray "S". Mark both doors as pet-inaccessible but leave them unlocked. This allows the spider to path to the bait (due to a long-standing pathfinding bug); without that path, the spider will only attempt to web it extremely infrequently.
  6. Build a restraint underneath the gray "g". Assign a disarmed captured goblin soldier to the restraint (do not try to use a thief or a wild animal, as it will almost certainly escape before it reaches the restraint).
  7. Pull the lever to raise the bridges (and hide the goblin from your mason), then construct the blue wall to seal the chamber.
  8. Build the 2 floodgates and link them to the lever, then pull the lever again.
  9. Using a pit/pond activity zone on the Z-level above, drop a tamed giant cave spider into the gray "S" square. Place a 1-tile meeting zone on this tile so the spider will be content to stand still while webs are being collected, reducing lag.

At this point, the spider will begin blasting the goblin with webs, and most of the webs will fly through the fortifications and land on the floor to the left. Once enough webs have accumulated, pull the lever to open the chamber for collection and raise the 3 bridges - the bridge on the left will prevent the goblin from scaring your weavers away, and the 2 bridges on the right will block the path between the goblin and the spider, causing it to calm down and stop trying to shoot webs (in order to reduce lag). Once all of the webs have been collected, simply pull the lever again to reseal the chamber and start the spider webbing again.


Because giant cave spiders must be captured from a chasm or bottomless pit, they remain permanently associated with their home map feature. If you perform enough actions to irritate that map feature (such as dumping garbage into it), any inhabitants of that map feature may get angry and decide to launch an attack against your fortress. Due to a bug, this also includes creatures which have been tamed, which can cause your tamed spider to suddenly become flagged as "Hostile".

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