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Don't Freak Out! Strange Facts About Our Friend The Spider

Updated on September 12, 2015
Spiders are our friends, and they're incredibly delicate. Because of her thin exoskeleton this large tarantula could shatter like glass if dropped - Handle with care!
Spiders are our friends, and they're incredibly delicate. Because of her thin exoskeleton this large tarantula could shatter like glass if dropped - Handle with care!

You’ve see them in the basement; you’ve see them in the attic; you’ve seen them in your garden, your bathroom, your car, and even your bedroom! Gangly, leggy monstrosities with more eyes than you can keep up with—creepy, scuttling vermin that give you the goosebumps whenever they pass. What are these things; have you just stepped into your own personal horror movie?! No! You’ve come across the common spider—those eight-legged, beautiful web-weaving, delicate warriors of the arachnid world who fight the good fight against disgusting insects behind the scenes for us humans every day. But since I know that lots of people find it hard to see them that way, I’ve collected some fun and interesting facts here to help you get to know our friend the spider a little better.

Did you know that one ounce of spider silk can stretch across the Atlantic Ocean! That’s right, just one ounce of spider silk and some innovative, hard-working spider can cross the ocean on an invisible gossamer thread, and start living the American dream.

Spiders' webs are beautiful, and stronger than STEEL!
Spiders' webs are beautiful, and stronger than STEEL!

Believe it or not spider silk is stronger than steel! Some people have suggested using spider silk instead of Kevlar to make bullet proof vests—theoretically a great idea—who wouldn’t want to stand in front of speeding bullet secure in the knowledge that they’re wearing a seemingly mythological stronger-than-steel vest of spider silk? I know I would feel like something right out of World of Warcraft. Alas, spiders only make a small amount of silk during their lifetime, and if you’ve ever tried to wrangle thousands (perhaps even millions) of spiders (believe it or not, I have!) you’d know it can’t possibly be worth it—no one could ever pay enough for that bulletproof vest. Other cultures have had better luck harnessing the power of the spider, though—people in the South Pacific encourage spiders to make webs between bamboo sticks, and then use them as nets in which to catch fish! Talk about a killer web.

Since we’re talking about spider silk, there are seven different kinds of it! That’s right, different spiders spin different kinds of silk for all sorts of purposes: to make the sticky webs with which we’re most familiar, to wrap prey like mummies in tiny cocoons, to make roofs for underground homes, and even to make tiny parachutes to float on air currents just like in Charlotte’s Web.

Spiders are beautiful! If we take the time to look at them, some of them are like works of art.
Spiders are beautiful! If we take the time to look at them, some of them are like works of art.

Before you go squishing every spider you see, remember that you need spiders in your house! A single spider in your home will eat up to 2,000 bugs in a year. Believe me, whether you realize it or not, those 2,000 bugs are in there or else the spider wouldn’t be. Can you imagine what would happen if the spider wasn’t there and all those bugs started piling up?! Yuck, that sounds like a horror story to me.

Spiders taste like…peanut butter! Bet you thought I was going to say “chicken” didn’t you? Seriously, though, in the South Pacific some people cook spiders into their recipes and others deep fry them. Casual diners report that they are sticky and nutty—like peanut butter. In Africa, some people capture large tarantulas, roast them over an open flame, and eat them the same way one would eat shrimp. Who’d have thought? You won’t see me sprinkling spiders on my toast any time soon.

Here is the Black Widow! Her venom -neurotoxin- is the kind meant to paralyze prey.
Here is the Black Widow! Her venom -neurotoxin- is the kind meant to paralyze prey.
Here is the Brown Recluse - more dangerous than the black widow, in my opinion, because it looks so drab. Its venom is the necrotic type: it will cause your flesh to rot, EW! So take note of the violin-shape on her back, and beware.
Here is the Brown Recluse - more dangerous than the black widow, in my opinion, because it looks so drab. Its venom is the necrotic type: it will cause your flesh to rot, EW! So take note of the violin-shape on her back, and beware.

Everyone’s heard of the kinds of spiders who eat their mates once all “the fun” is said and done, but did you know that there are some altruistic spiders out there as well? The mothers in certain spider species, like the Australian Crab Spider, give up their bodies as food for their hundreds of babies. Isn’t that nice, in a creepy-crawly, cannibalistic sort of way?

Spiders may look scary, but they’re incredibly delicate. The spider’s exoskeleton might look like a tough piece of armor, but in fact it’s merely a paper-thin shell. That thin armor is all that stands between the world and a spider’s particularly gooey innards (they have no other skeletal frame). While this keeps them very light and makes it quite easy to walk about on their sticky webs—it also creates a problem. Especially in the cases of the larger tarantulas, a fall from even a short height can cause them to shatter like so much broken glass. If you’ve invested money in that gorgeous, hairy beauty from the pet store, make sure to handle her with care.

Guess what? Spiders are NOT poisonous! “What kind of silly thing is that to say,” you might be thinking, but it’s true. Something is poisonous if it makes you ill when you eat it. They might not be poisonous, but spiders are venomous, which means they can inject you with venom that might have an effect on you. So, you can eat spiders (although I wouldn’t necessarily recommend it), you just don’t want them to bite you.

In fact, don’t freak out, but MOST spiders are venomous—that’s right, almost every single one comes equipped with venom designed to paralyze prey (neurotoxin venom—that of the Black Widow) or to dissolve its flesh (necrotic venom—that of the Brown Recluse); however, most of them are harmless to humans. In fact, out of the 35,000 different species of spiders, only 27 of them are known to have caused human fatalities. That’s right, 34,973 species of spiders are probably your friend…or at least not your enemy.

So, don’t be so afraid of spiders, folks. Most of them can’t hurt you, they’re all performing an absolutely necessary service for the world, and they really are more afraid of us than we are of them (with the possible exception of Wolf Spiders—they don’t seem to be afraid of ANYTHING). That wraps it up for this installment of Amazing Arachnids. Do you have a cool spider fact or a funny, fascinating, or scary spider story? Share it here…you never know, it might just end up in the next article (with credit, of course). Keep a spider nearby and you won’t have to worry about most of the other creepy things in the world!


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    • profile image

      spider friendly 2 years ago

      I have more then I can count inside but I'd had spiders land on my head arms legs and even crawl on my bed and I've been bitten by them the baby spiders are cute sometimes there just trying to get by I feel bad when I accidentally kill them thinking they're ants the only time you should kill them is if they're trying to attack you or if they are getting to big and venomous but other than that they are your friends and just trying to get something to eat that's all I have to say about that

    • profile image

      Heaven 4 years ago

      I like this web it give facts about real stuff

    • profile image

      Mylindaminka 4 years ago

      Вы уверены, что лицо у вас действительно круглое? Это можно проверить, измерив расстояние между скулами и от подбородка до лба. Если значения одинаковы, значит, у вас лицо круглое. Теперь ваша цель – визуально удлинить лицо. Это можно сделать с помощью челки.

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      Trinebeelia 4 years ago

      My spouse and i accustomed to get at the top of living yet as of late I have built up some sort of resistance.

    • profile image

      Anadirunika 4 years ago

      В начале 90-х индустриальные подразделения и подразделение информационных технологий были выделены в отдельные компании, и Nokia сконцентрировалась на своем основном бизнесе — телекоммуникациях.

    • profile image

      victim 5 years ago

      While I learned a lot from this, They still freak me out like crazy. I like that you made pixelated pictures. They were easier to look at. Though, spiders still creep me out like crazy

    • hailei profile image

      hailei 6 years ago from Romania

      Although spiders creep me out, being so small and fast and creepy :)) I have to admit I've loved this hub, so interesting.. They ARE fascinating creatures, just make them keep the distance.

      Loved the hub!

    • profile image

      Clare 6 years ago

      I am most cetanly no lover or friend of spiders but I am most definatly against killing them as I believe that a spider has as much right to live as I do. x

    • profile image

      Henlus 6 years ago

      Have anyone heard of the stone spider?

    • profile image

      zoe 6 years ago

      do they like peanut butter on toast? Cuz there is this masive wall spider glaring at me :/ really good article they dont sound scary at all!

    • nell79 profile image

      nell79 7 years ago from United States

      Like another reader here, I also hate the hobo spider. We have quite of few of them here and I've been bitten more than once. Once the rash I got was so bad it covered my shoulder and scabbed over for what seemed like forever to a teenage girl (at the time).

      I was once so terrified of spiders, that my family wouldn't even let me go to the theatre when the movie "Arachnophobia" came out. I reaffirmed that decision when it came out on video and I was screaming, jumping and crawling up the furniture during the scary parts. During one part I actually ended up accidentally throwing my drink in my dad's face (he was sitting behind and when I threw my arms up and screamed, I forgot I had a drink in my hand). hahaha

      I've come a long way since then (I was 12), but I still don't like them and if I have a nightmare, chances are there's a spider in it ;)

      Very good article though. Thanks for the info!

    • gr82bme profile image

      gr82bme 7 years ago from USA

      Spider. I still hate them. LOL

      I just killed one the other night. It was creeping up to me when I was on the computer. Great hub

    • TheGlassSpider profile image

      TheGlassSpider 7 years ago from On The Web

      Hey Colton,

      Thanks for your comment - I had not heard of the Hobo spider; I'll have to check them out!

      Harley - Thank you for reading. I hope you are not still being held hostage. Keep a glass handy for capturing and releasing spiders - that way you can get them out of your habitat without fear of being bitten - AND you can put them back in their environment where they belong.

      Good luck!

    • profile image

      Colton 7 years ago

      The only real spider I hate is the Hobo Spider, mainly because our state is INFESTED with them, in the millions.

      The rest I do not mind.

    • profile image

      Harley 7 years ago

      haha, the funny thing is that peanut butter makes me sick and I'm terrified of spiders, although this has comforted me slightly by amusing me. I decided to read it because I'm basically being held prisoner by one on the ceiling outside of my room. =(

    • mrpopo profile image

      mrpopo 7 years ago from Canada

      Love the Hub, hopefully it takes away some of the prejudice we tend to have towards them :)

    • LeanMan profile image

      Tony 7 years ago from At the Gemba

      Lovely beasts, I have never had the opportunity to taste one but if I ever do I will give you feed back on the taste.. I think spiders are great, as you say they keep the bugs down and I do try never to kill them..

      However when I was carrying a large bunch of bananas to my car in Kenya whilst there on holiday a few years back, the huge beast that crawled up my arm did make me freak just a little bit.. especially when I was told that it was highly poisonous..

    • Glimmer515 profile image

      Glimmer515 7 years ago from Never Never Land

      I am not gonna lie< i will probably never stop being afraid of them, but at least this hub let me know more about them, so thanks :P

    • profile image

      Previous On Sight Spider Murderer 7 years ago

      I can't believe I was so ignorant about spiders in the past. Fuck me. I've learnt to appreciate them though after doing research on them. I misunderstood them just like how people MISUNDERSTAND Marijuana and Psychedelics


    • lxxy profile image

      lxxy 7 years ago from Beneath, Between, Beyond

      A lot of interesting facts here! I've seen people eat those tarantulas over an open fire...I, however, wouldn't. Not for fear of eating an arachnid, more like I'd rather see the beautiful creature live to eat something else. ;)

      Insects are...different, and like many other species that live among them I do have an inherent fear of them. But once the neocortex stops shrieking, I find my exoskeleton equipped friends simply fascinating.

    • Greek One profile image

      Greek One 7 years ago

      very interesting....

      how about taste?


    • habee profile image

      Holle Abee 7 years ago from Georgia

      I don't mind spiders, but my hubby and my big ole brother are scared of them! Must be a man thang!

    • blake4d profile image

      Blake Ford Hall 7 years ago from Now Rising Out of Phoenix Arizona Earthlings

      I remember long ago as a kid I saw a comic book with the title The Amazing Spider Man...without hesitation I bought it(actually I think I stole it) and ran hope. Eager and excited to read this amazing story about a man who suddenly finds himself with eight legs...

      I will never forgive Stan Lee and his drunken art commune of comic book writers, when all Spider Man turned out to be was a teen age boy with a photographic voyeur fetish for pot smoking red heads...and his main super power is constantly having sticky goo in his palms and sensing when his wimp factor is just about to beg Grandma for more porno money and rent.

      Good looking graphical content, I might have even expanded the topic into a wider article...definitely would be room for a follow up or a continued series into more exotic arachnia. By the way, did u catch David Bowie that tour...

      I should seriously hope so...

      Keep on Hubbing...Blake4d

    • gramarye profile image

      gramarye 7 years ago from Adelaide - Australia

      Great hub - I prefer the jewelery ones the best!

    • mythbuster profile image

      mythbuster 7 years ago from Utopia, Oz, You Decide

      Ohgreat, I read the whole hub and I'm spider-phobic. Now I have to stay up for several more hours and go find funny cartoon hubs to read so I can sleep later. :)

      TheGlassSpider - are you SURE that most spiders are venomous?? I am going to go with the "spiders are delicate" statement you made instead of worrying about the venemous part. lol

    • blondepoet profile image

      blondepoet 7 years ago from australia

      Do you know one night there was this gigantic spider on the ceiling. No idea what it was, never seen anything like it. Do you know it actually charged at me. I have never seen a spider do that. I screamed and ran, never had such a fright LMAO.

    • TheGlassSpider profile image

      TheGlassSpider 7 years ago from On The Web

      Hahaha...No worries. Thank you for all your lovely comments. Know that I can swim through a sea of words, roll along in their waves, and still know the way back to shore (what obfuscating mist?)...In other words, when you remember, I'll be listening ;-)

      Be well.


    • Shadesbreath profile image

      Shadesbreath 7 years ago from California

      I have no idea what you are referring to regarding me thinking things about bartering somethings and can only say, due to my incredible degree of innocence, that I continue, even this late in a sentence that grows increasingly longer with every obfuscating word that I type, that I truly have no idea what you are referring to, which may be considered redundant, but some sentences do go on and, with twists and vicissitudes and other pedantic diction, can actually end up obscuring the original point for which they were intended, unless, of course, that is the original intent, at which point, communication is not lost but merely made more complex (or didactic/pendantic) depending upon how one views such things. But, uh,... what?

    • TheGlassSpider profile image

      TheGlassSpider 7 years ago from On The Web

      Shades, wow, thank you for your kind words; that really means a lot coming from you (you're one of my favorites here on Hubpages-I love your work). I really appreciate that you took the time to read my hubs!

      And don't worry...whatever you learned is safely your secret--and your smarty-pants-ness, I suspect, is no facade ;-)

      Be well, and keep the gears a'turnin' - what WERE you thinking about bartering, by the way, since I owe ya? ;-)


    • Shadesbreath profile image

      Shadesbreath 7 years ago from California

      This is well written. I came here to see if I could chime in with some sort of critique like you suggested you wanted in the forum, and there's nothing I can suggest. The voice is engaging, the pace and rythm are just right. The information is great, delivered with just the right degree of humor to keep it from being dry, but not so much as to detract from the authoritative ethos, and, I'll be honest, I learned two things that I did not know, but I won't say what because I depend upon my facade of smarty-pants-ness for my own stuff. :P This hub is great. I wouldn't change anything. Great job and a great read.

    • profile image

      ralwus 7 years ago

      Full up on my meds and Portia is grand and very intelligent.

    • TheGlassSpider profile image

      TheGlassSpider 7 years ago from On The Web

      Ralwus, it's such a pleasure to see you here. Thank you for stopping by. Have you had your allergy medicine? ;-) I'm glad you enjoyed the Hub. You're right, I'll have to do a hub on the Portia; she may very well be the queen of spiders! Thank you for the wonderful suggestion! I'll get to researching.

    • profile image

      ralwus 7 years ago

      You just can't help your self can you? I wondered when you would do a creepy hub. Well done too. Now explore the wonderful Portia, and amazing gal she is.

    • TheGlassSpider profile image

      TheGlassSpider 7 years ago from On The Web

      Paradise: Thank you so much for your comment and your suggestion. I am currently researching Wolf spiders, and I hope to have a hub out just for you soon!

      Katie: I'm so glad to hear that you're teaching your girls good things! Perhaps future spider hubs will help you reinforce this.

      Jen: Hi! Thanks for stopping by! I'm glad you enjoyed the Hub. I had to correct myself when I learned the actual definitions of "poisonous" and "venomous" as well--Sometimes it's easy to get into the habit of misusing words.

      Donotfear: Immersion is a good way to get over fears...Just keep coming back and looking at the pretty spiders ;-)

      Crazd: Thank you for being so supportive! I'm so glad you liked this Hub. Thanks to you, there should be plenty more to come!!

    • profile image

      Crazdwriter 7 years ago

      GS Loved this hub! And the pictures are fab. This is definitely a two thumbs up kind of hub on spirders. :-)

    • donotfear profile image

      donotfear 7 years ago from The Boondocks

      Gosh Spider, I find your hub so comforting; just getting over aracnaphobial and all! Love it!

    • wyanjen profile image

      Jen King 7 years ago from Wyandotte Michigan

      Neat hub! Lots of great information about spiders.

      You've got me wondering how I've I've used the word "poisonous" instead of "venomous". LOL

    • katiem2 profile image

      katiem2 7 years ago from I'm outta here

      I love this, I tell my girls, "Spiders are our friends." So glad to stumble upon this HUB! Thanks for the info. Peace :)

    • Paradise7 profile image

      Paradise7 7 years ago from Upstate New York

      Interesting hub, thank you! I could hear more about the Wolf Spiders who aren't afraid of anything. I wouldn't mind.

    • TheGlassSpider profile image

      TheGlassSpider 7 years ago from On The Web

      Hi Lynne! I'm so glad you stopped by - I'm still awed and humbled by your hard work and generous nature! Thanks for reading! I hope you're feeling better.


    • profile image

      lynnechandler 7 years ago

      I don't like your little friends hehe but you did a splendid job on this hub.

    • TheGlassSpider profile image

      TheGlassSpider 7 years ago from On The Web

      Hey Sandy, thanks for stopping by. I'm glad you like it. :-)

    • Sandyspider profile image

      Sandy Mertens 7 years ago from Wisconsin, USA

      Great pictures. I like the avatar ones the best.

    • TheGlassSpider profile image

      TheGlassSpider 7 years ago from On The Web

      Hi PrettyPanther! Thanks for stopping by; I'm glad you enjoyed the Hub, and I'm doubly glad to have shared something you didn't know. Perhaps there's something you know that you didn't see here? Keep learning!

    • PrettyPanther profile image

      PrettyPanther 7 years ago from Oregon

      Even though I don't really "like" spiders, I know quite a lot about them, due to reading books about spiders to my two sons, who were and still are fascinated by them. But, I had never heard that they taste like peanut butter! Thanks for teaching me something new. Great hub!