Saturday, 23 April 2011

Big spiders

This is (by UK standards) a big spider, and that's my hand, and I could claim deep, deep respect for massive bravery - if I were an ultra-traditional wimpy girly, that is! But of course being traditional is not on my personal agenda, and my only concession to safety was to reach for some soft tissue, gently envelop this co-operative arachnid in same, and drop it out of a nearby open window. It was amazing how it let me, as if expecting such reasonable treatment, and knowing that I have some regard for these little animals, and won't willingly harm them.

That's not to say that I love spiders, but I don't lump them together with creepy-crawlies like caterpillars and millipedes. And provided they don't come too close, I can be easy in their company in a way that I can't with - for example - insects. I think it's because they seem to have some individual consciousness, and some intelligence, and don't attack. That earns them consideration. I don't run away, I just remove them from my space with care. I don't want Lucyworld and Spiderworld to merge, that's all. I wouldn't like to know what lives within my wall cavities, unseen and out of mind. Several hundred spiders at least, I'd say, plus other assorted little creatures. Best not to think about it! But good luck to them all. They will doubtless inherit the earth one day.

Spiders are badly misunderstood. Very few people know the truth about them. Let me test your knowledge. Which of the following statements is - incredibly - true?

# Spiders have complex eyes, just like fish.
# Their antennae are so sensitive that they can pick up faint radio signals from outer space.
# Spiders have eight legs, seven more than insects.
# Black Widow spiders eat their husbands.
# Spiders invented the World Wide Web, and each one has its own website.
# Spiders know what love is, and mate for life (except Black Widow spiders).
# Spiders entertain flies in their parlours.
# Tarantula spiders are named after a dance called the fandango.
# The huge naughty spider called Shelob in Lord of the Rings was based on a giant fruit-eating spider native to Hisponiola in the Caribbean.
# Following the release of the film Spiderman, spiders have learned to walk sideways up the sides of tall buildings, just like crabs do.
# Spiders can count up to eight.
# There are no known trans spiders.

How did you do?


  1. Living in the woods as I do, my house is crawling with spiders during the warmer months. The web weavers don't bother me. They will spin their silk, then just sit there for days on end, patiently waiting for an unfortunate moth or fly to come along and get stuck. It's the hunters that give me the creeps. They crawl around and get into places where they are not welcome, like your pockets, your pantlegs, or your bedsheets!

    Melissa XX

  2. You might want to edit your list. I'm quite sure that insects don't have seven fewer legs than spiders do. :)

    I like spiders. Just not in the house, and not when they bite. I like them outside where they help keep the fly population under control and also weave beautiful webs.

  3. Tolkien spent some of his childhood in Africa where he was frightened or bitten by a big spider. I'm too lazy to find the biography...

    Please don't lump caterpillars and millipedes together. The millipede is as hard working as the spider when it comes to pest removal.

  4. @Ariel:
    Most of this is a spoof or unprovable! Just my idea of fun.
    My apologies then to millipedes. I'll read them up on Wikipedia. I would still prefer a spider's company, though.



This blog is public, and I expect comments from many sources and points of view. They will be welcome if sincere, well-expressed and add something worthwhile to the post. If not, they face removal.

Ideally I want to hear from bloggers, who, like myself, are knowable as real people and can be contacted. Anyone whose identity is questionable or impossible to verify may have their comments removed. Commercially-inspired comments will certainly be deleted - I do not allow free advertising.

Whoever you are, if you wish to make a private comment, rather than a public one, then do consider emailing me - see my Blogger Profile for the address.

Lucy Melford