Have you ever just sat and watched a spider build a web? It’s one of the most mesmerizing experiences. Captivated by this lovely spider outside my window last night, I watched it for over half an hour while it crafted its magnificent silken snare. I have a serious obsession with spiders. I’m not really sure why, but it could have something to do with a childhood fear that I was determined to overcome.
One day when I was a child, I was playing around an old flowerbed that was surrounded by red bricks. I picked up a loose brick and the largest grass spider that I have ever seen jumped out at me. It was as big as my hand! Granted I was small, probably no more than 8 years old; but this spider left quite a lasting impression and certain cautiousness that I still feel is warranted.
Over the years I have seen some pretty amazing spiders from the garden variety of writing spiders to the cane spiders of Hawaii that are 3 to 4 inches wide. Those guys are pretty creepy! Given the relative size of spiders to the size of a human, I wonder why so many of us share this common fear. My guess would be that it has a lot to do with the fact that something so small could be potentially deadly if it is one of the more venomous species.
According to National Geographic News writer, Cameron Walker, “Almost all spiders carry venom, but its purpose is to stun or kill their insect prey, not to attack humans. Of the known spider species, only about 25 are thought to have venom that has an effect on humans. The two best known venomous spiders in the U.S. — the black widow and the brown recluse — have not been proven to have caused any deaths in more than two decades.”
I still wouldn’t handle spiders. I’m just not that brave. However, they do make an excellent subject for photography and research. These fascinating creatures are worth a second glance because without them the insect population would grow exponentially.
In case you’re wondering about those venomous types or how to treat a spider bite, this is a pretty good link to get you started: