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12 Reviews

Animal Species: Spiders

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    Your dooyooMiles Miles

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      15.10.2009 21:42
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      OK

      At the moment there seems to be a lot of spider about and everywhere I look I see one which encouraged me to write this review. I don`t actually mind spider s that much but I do find them a little annoying and hate cobwebs everywhere!

      One thing I don`t understand is why people are so scared of them - I don`t think I have ever seen or heard of anyone being harmed by a normal spider in the UK!

      I think this might be because they look so ugly and horrible which makes you think they are horrible and the way they hide in dark corners and then come out when you least expect it!

      I personally do not really mind spiders as long as they are not massive, harmful and somewhere horrid like on my head! If I just see one around in my house I will just get a bit of paper and a cup and open the door or window and let it go! I am not sure they could be classed under the pets category though but see more reason for them, to be in pets than flies! One good thing is that they eat flies - GO SPIDERS!

      Overall I think people overreact when they see a spider and start panicking as they have seen other people scared of them. I don`t really mind them as long as they are not TOO BIG! When you think about it there is no reason to be scared of them!

      3/5 Not nice but nothing wrong with them!

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        11.10.2009 00:22
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        You have to admire their skills if nothing else

        ====Introduction====:

        My love-hate relationship with spiders really began in my early youth, when I was a paper girl, delivering newspapers at 6.00 o'clock on dark, wintry mornings.

        Very often I would be one of the first through the gates, getting there before the milkman or postie. In those days, each of us walked the same rounds at approximately the same time. Oh those halcyon days - we shall never see them again - a postman before midday! Youngsters delivering the dailies, or hear the soft, muted hum of the electric milk floats and the chink of bottles against their crates.
        Ooops, I was off on one of my trips down memory lane then.

        As much as I enjoyed the early morning air, I was ever eager to finish the round and return home for breakfast, yet at the same time, would try and slow my pace to allow the postman or milkman break the huge cobwebs strung across the entrances, but there were some places neither would deliver their goods and inevitably, I would be the first to cross the spider's threshold. A sticky web would slam into my face and the resident spider, then hitch a lift upon my shoulder.

        When passing through gates with tall hedges or bushes on either side, I would brandish the newspaper in front of me, like a machete. Many a daily was delivered with its free gift of freshly plucked web, clinging to the front page.

        On frosty, moonlit mornings, however, it was lovely to see those webs in all their glittering glory along hedgerows and dangling from branches or across gaps. Even I was reluctant to destroy one, and on the odd occasion could slip under a cobweb without disturbing the beautiful silken structure; but then would sometimes forget to duck on the return journey.

        =====SPIDERS====

        There are over 80,000 species of spiders in the world, and fortunately, all the ones natural to the UK are harmless.
        Apparently, for the majority, their fangs are not strong enough to penetrate human skin, although I have heard tell of one or two species that can bite, albeit a harmless nip.

        There are far too many species of spiders to describe in any detail, so will just generalise and perhaps detail one or three of the more interesting, non-poisonous ones.

        Spiders are classified as Arachnids. Their bodies have two segments; head and abdomen. Attached to each segment are two pairs of legs, making eight in total. On the head, there are also two pincers and eight , yes, eight simple (not compound) eyes, each giving them incredible eyesight - akin to that of flies.

        All arachnids are carnivorous and consume their victims by injecting poison into their prey. The poison contains digestive enzymes that transform the victim's insides into a soup, which the spider is then able to suck out, leaving a neat, clean, empty shell behind.

        When a spider's body is stretched to its limit, in order to grow, it's skeleton, unlike ours, is on the outside. It has to shed its outer shell, and what we often mistake for a dead spider, is in fact a shed exoskeleton.

        Unlike many insects, spiders do not have antennae; it is the multitude of sensitive, hairy bristles on their legs, which act like antennae picking up signals. Spiders, it is said, can also taste things with their feet.

        Female spiders can live up to 4 years and survive much longer than the males , which die soon after maturing. After death, they are eaten by the females - waste not want not. I believe though, the Black Widow spider, doesn't wait for her mate to die, she kills then eats him, if he doesn't escape quickly enough.

        Their eggs are spherical, and in some species are laid in large numbers; then covered in a sac of silk. The little spiderlings hatch in the sac and are blind, virtually hairless, lack poison and the ability to spin. Soon afterwards they moult into nymphs, resembling the adult form, then leave the sac once they are capable of feeding. Cannibalism can occur when any weak spiderling or nymph may be eaten by their stronger siblings.

        ====COBWEBS====

        Arachnids have three pairs of glands which open out into tubes called spinnerets. The spider begins weaving its web by pressing its spinneret against a solid object and pushes out some silky liquid. The spider, as it moves away, draws a long, fine thread which hardens when exposed to the air.
        I have watched a spider spinning its web, an incredibly fascinating procedure.

        I had always assumed that spiders started, by making long strands radiating from a central position, outwards and anchoring the ends to branches, then to complete the web would make concentric circles around the elongated anchored strands, working from the centre outwards. However, this was not the way my spider spun its web.

        Although I did not witness the start of the build. The incomplete web, already had strands anchored to solid objects and strung out like washing on a line. The spider ran out from the centre, as if climbing the rungs of a ladder (already in place) taking a length of silk to the outer edge. It would then pull a length of silk around the outer perimeter, before returning to the centre. It would then make the same journey at right angles, or thereabouts, to the first journey and repeat the circuit around the outer perimeter. These processes were repeated over and over again. Each time, adding a fine line of silky thread to the web. It was enthralling to watch. Made me feel guilty for ever destroying one.

        The spider is able to do this without becoming stuck to its own web, by coating its legs with an oily substance from its mouth - clever little creatures really, considering their heads and brains are not much larger than a pinhead.

        I have wondered for years how spiders managed to cross gaps to anchor their webs. Well, I wonder no more. It climbs to the highest point, attaches one end of its web to an object, then lets out a long strand of silk, which the breeze catches and lifts into the air, taking the spider with it. Landing, however, is a bit of a hit and miss affair, but they always seem to land safely.

        It is interesting to note that the silk strands are extremely strong and it has been estimated that if each strand were woven into a thread, one inch in diameter, it would be three times stronger than an iron rope and would support many tons in weight.

        There are so many different species, around 600 in Britain alone, so I may be forgiven for not listing or describing them all.
        I have just reduced the list to four of the more interesting types and their methods of catching prey.

        ~~~~The Spitting Spider~~~
        This spider sprays a gum over its prey and cements it to whatever surface it happens to be on. The spider then slowly approaches and injects poison, before consuming the insides.

        ~~~~The Raft Spider~~~
        This species, found on marsh-lands and in swamps, vibrates the water surface with its feet to attract small fish or flies, which it then kills in the usual manner of injecting poison.

        ~~~~The Purseweb Spider~~~
        These little creatures build a silken tube into the ground, with one end protruding at the surface. Both ends are closed with the spider inside.
        It stabs, any prey landing on the tube, through the closed mesh. The prey is then pulled into the tube and consumed once the mesh has been mended.

        ~~~~The Jumping Spider~~~
        These have excellent eyesight and very slowly stalk their prey. When only a few cms away, they pounce and grab the victim with their front legs, before killing and consuming it in the usual spider manner.

        I have hardly touched on the subject of spiders, it is impossible to cover all the aspects of these creatures without spreading it over many more pages. I'm not sure there would be anyone with enough time to read all there is to know about them, in one sitting.

        I must tell you though, of my one resident spider, living in the wing mirror of my car. I discovered it just over a week ago, when getting ready to drive to town.

        The sun was shining (for a change) and as I glanced towards the wing mirror, saw a spider scuttle across a small web it had spun from the door to the mirror. It had emerged from the gap behind the glass, housed in the wing-mirror casing. I suspect my opening the door had vibrated the web and the spider came out to investigate its catch.

        I started the engine and drove off, the web flapping in the wind, and the spider, safely tucked away behind the glass again.
        I did not expect the web or spider to be in situ by the time I got to the shops, but there it was, in all its sturdy glory, completely undamaged. How could I destroy such a well constructed home?
        It is still there, my spider is content to travel with me- I have named him Incy - well, that is the only spider name I know. My car wing mirrors seem to attract spiders and most mornings I find a web across the mirrors.

        I leave you with one of my silly ditties about a noisy spider - a take off of a popular nursery rhyme.

        Incy Wincy spider climbed up the spout.
        He thought he did it quietly, but then he heard a shout.
        "For goodness sake, remove your boots, dear Incy-Wincy, mate.
        It's bad enough to hear just one, but you are wearing eight."

        So with a frown, he clattered down, his hobnails to discard,
        And shuffled up the spout once more, with feet well shod with lard.
        Now Incy-Wincy spider is happy - that's for sure.
        His feet stay dry, are silent too, as he glides across the floor.

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          15.09.2008 09:32
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          Spiders Are Misunderstood And Gorgeous Creatures, Give Them A Chance And You'll Learn To Love Them!.

          Whilst i spent many years as an arachnophobic due to a bad experience with a wolf spider when i was young i have always been fascinated by the mysterious and beautiful member of the arachnid family.
          In recent years in an attempt to cure my fears i invested in a new pet, namely a mexican bloodleg tarantula (aphonopelma bicoloratum) i was fascinated by her and mesmerised by her beauty and calmness, she was so cryptic to me and i found myself wondering what was going through her head as she carried out her meanderings around her enclosure.
          After a while i got brave enough to hold her and realised she was not a monster but instead a complex and delicate creature that was completely misunderstood by most folk i know.
          Since then i have been hooked, i've read up on many species of tarantula and true spiders such as the black widow (latrodectus mactans) and the infamous banana or wandering spider (phonutria nigriventer).
          Regardless of what most think, all spiders are shy and retiring creatures that prefer to run from conflict rather than face it, and it is only after a good few warnings that they will actually bite an attacker.
          I now own 19 tarantulas with various attitudes, some not so docile and some that are even afraid of the crickets they eat!.
          Tarantulas for the most part are non venemous to humans but they can inflict a painful bite (which is really no more painful than a bee or wasp sting), as stated most people wouldn't be effected by the tarantula bite although there is a risk of shock if you are allergic (which to be honest is a risk we take every time we walk in a park where bees and wasps may be).
          I am now a lover of tarantulas and spiders in general, recently i have conquered my biggest fear which was the common house spider (tegenaria domestica), i used to be petrified of the things but have come to understand that their purpose on this planet is for a reason and most of the time you find one wandering about in your house it will be an adult male looking for a mate.
          How anyone can fail to see the beauty in these magnificent creatures is beyond me now, they are a pleasure to watch and there is still so much to learn about them and their habits.
          currently i have two singapore blue tarantulas (cyriopagopus sp "blue) i'm hoping that they will mate succesfully as the singapore is one of the most gorgeous specimens in the hobby today!. (the tarantula on my pic is the adult female)
          Please folks, be kind to spiders when you come across them, they are a wonderful and misunderstood species and if you do fear them feel free to get in touch via message and i'll do my damndest to prove to you that you have nothing to fear and help you overcome it like i did, you can also feel free to get in touch if youd like to know more about the tarantula keeping hobby, i'm glad to help and will happily point you in the direction of some reknowned societies and great places to shop for equipment and live specimens.

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            04.09.2008 08:28
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            I'll get out just as soon as I do all my shoelaces up.

            Man have I got the mother of all hangovers! I was over at Erics Webwarming last night and over indulged in the old dewdrop whisky.

            That Eric is so pretentious, banging on about perfect spiral symmetry and "location, location, location!" Most of us have been spinning webs since we were born. It's not rocket science if you're a spider with a bit of a brain.

            Look, it's easy, you just get the old spinarets going on your tummy, find a nice bit of pelmet that lady human hasn't dusted for a while and off you go. I like pelmets, lots of support and anchor points for the silk. Not too much weather up here and plenty of flys coming up from the window. Stupid things flies, but tasty enough!

            Just a quick word about quality here. I'm an old fashioned spider with traditional ideas about web production. For my money you can't beat the protein value of a good bluebottle. The rump steak of the spider world I say! None of your greenfly rubbish on my designs. I just chuck em off down to Gert' on the spider plant.

            Blooming heck, that reminds me! I've not seen her old man for a while. I wonder if he's gone the way of all the others? I won't let my Missus near me after a bit of hanky Panky! I'm not getting scoffed as a bit of a poist coital snack. The things us blokes have to put up with!

            Where was I? Oh yes! Protein. Did you know we Arachidae, (See! lurking behind man human when the shiny box is on is educational.) make a venom (Poison, to you little spiders, that don't have a shiny box to watch!) that makes other insects turn to mush inside. That's how you get to drink your dinner, fresh from the web is best. Leave the legs and skin though, otherwise you'll get tummy ache and it clogs up your spinarets.

            That lady human would thank me if she knew how many flies I dispatched every week. But does she??? No! She keeps trying to
            get man human to do me in! And she's got this roaring sucky pipe thing that my best webs keep disappearing up! It's a thankless task I tell you. Thankless!

            Last week I'd just finished an extension, with a nice little built in trap door and storm proof anchor points. (Lady human had got a new roaring sucky thing and I was really on my toes.) Next thing I know, this stick with most of a dead bird attached, comes swishing around my head and whooshes it away! A sneak attack!
            It's enough to turn you to the drinks cabinet. The trouble is if you go down that path it takes an awful long time to stop being legless.

            I tell you what! I wouldn't mind having a look at this World Wide Web that Man human keeps talking about. It sounds absolutely mind boggling. That must have been one big spider that built that! Imagine a web that big! You'd never be hungry! It would shut Eric's boasting up for a while anyway!

            I'm a bit down in the mouths at the moment because Angela that lives in the room with the big white well, you know her, the one who always smells of bleach. She fell into the well off the curtains they hide it with. We had a recue party there within an hour but she couldn't reach the lines we threw her and small noisy human got there first and ate her. Blooming savage!
            Lady human regurgitated all over the little white well when she saw what her baby was eating. So she must have some feeling for us.

            Anyway I am off out the vent to see what's happening in the Greenworld.
            Eric might have a drop of dew drop left over or a few overlooked munchy moth bits. God! I hope he doesn't remember what I said about his missus shaving her hairy legs!

            See you all later.

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              02.09.2008 23:19
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              Getting a cat seems to be the best idea.

              It's that time of year again when 'house' spiders start to invade my home. It's raining heavily outside now and I know that something big and hairy is making its way up the driveway in search of shelter. My toes are curling at the thought.

              So, how do I keep them at bay? Well, I've done a quick websearch and here are a few of the ideas available.

              Conkers - Put a few in every room, apparently spiders don't like them (but be careful if you have young children as I think conkers may be poisonous)

              Use yellow lightbulbs, these are less attractive to flying insects and as these attract spiders, the less flying creepies you have, the less spider's (supposedly) you will get.

              Tidy up! Spiders like undisturbed clutter, so tidy up, get rid of wood and rubbish from around the outside of the house, and 'stuff' inside.

              Use an insecticide around doors and other entrances (windows!) to your home. One to avoid however if you have pets or children.

              Keep plugs in baths and sinks. Males come in to houses in the autumn in search of mates and are attracted to water so find their way into baths but cannot get out again.

              Get a cat (spiders = yummy)

              That's about it folks. All this talk of arachnids is making my skin crawl!

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                13.08.2008 15:41
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                Nowhere near as scared of them as I used to be

                Ohhhhhhhhh spiders!

                I actually have mixed feelings about these strange eight-legged creatures. One part of me is terrified of any spider larger than my thumbnail, yet another part of me is fascinated by them.

                When very little my parents used to sing the Incy Wincy Spider song to me, and I found the whole concept of spiders rather cute back in those days, but I believe my inner perception of Incy Wincy himself was one of a lovely, cuddly specimen with a huge smile and massive cow-like eyes shaded by long curly lashes.

                In the ensuing years, I don't recall having too much awareness of spiders other than the medium-sized striped, leggy version that used to weave complex and wondrous webs around our garden gate. Maybe we didn't get too many spiders indoors, for some reason which escapes me; I'm sure if we did, I'd have developed a terror of them at a much earlier age than I did.

                I first cringed back in horror at a spider when I was aged about 18 or so. I'd been out for the evening, and crept into my bedroom quietly so as not to wake up other people in the house. As I slid into my bed and stretched my feet down to the bottom, I felt something furry brushing against my toes. I assumed this was my lovely ginger cat, as he had a habit of getting into my bed and burying himself deep under the covers, so I flung the covers back hoping he'd emerge and sleep on the pillow next to mine. Imagine my horror when, instead of the lovely soft ginger ball of fluff that was my lovely cat, my eyes were treated to this monstrous, eight-legged hairy thing appearing as if it was staring at me.

                Alarmed at being disturbed, this huge hairy monster ran at what seemed to be at a speed which broke the 3-minute mile towards me. I hurtled out of bed, dashed out of the room and bashed hard on my mother and stepfather's bedroom door. Woken up immediately and irritated by my intrusion into her slumber, my mother opened the door and I gabbled out hysterically to her that there was a creature, probably worse than that "something in the woodshed" lurking under my bed sheets. My mum tutted, told me not to be so stupid and to return to bed (she was used to my little neuroses). There was no way I was going back into that room with this thing lurking in there, so I camped out on the settee in the front room for the night.

                Thus begun what has been not a phobia exactly, but a very pronounced fear of those poor little creatures which, at least in this country, are largely harmless.

                My ex-husband shared my fear of spiders, and I can remember one night we were reading in bed. There were quite a few posters on our bedroom walls, and I suddenly became aware of a noise like a slight crackling of paper. I looked around the room and could see nothing, then I spotted it.....walking across the poster on the wall immediately above our heads, was quite likely the largest spider I have ever seen; so large, that its feet were making these little noises on the paper of the poster, as it crawled with slow deliberation across Jimi Hendrix's face. Speechless with horror, I alerted my ex's attention by merely pointing at what was happening above our heads, and he looked up.....leapt out of bed, and hot-footed it into the living room - I followed very close behind. We spent the night in the living room, too terrified to return to the bedroom.

                The following evening we were wary of going to bed. We did somehow manage to find the courage to venture back into the bedroom, armed with all sorts of spider-slaying items (encyclopaedias, heavy shoes, fly swatters etc.), but the creature was nowhere to be found. Either it had been more scared of us than we were of it and made its escape through a crack somewhere, or it continued to lurk, unseen, in some dark corner.

                Eventually we recovered from the experience, and didn't suffer too many experiences with the 8-legged terror after that.

                A lot of years later when my ex and I had parted company, I moved into a semi-rural area and once again the plague descended. Despite having this terrible fear of spiders, I had always felt very guilty about killing them, so decided more humane methods were called for. I would say that during the summer and autumn months, I was treated to at least one dinner-plate spider per evening, and I became very adept at, from arms' length and cringing with distaste, forcing myself to lower a tall glass over the poor little terrified creatures, and slide a piece of card underneath. Pressing the card tightly against the mouth of the upturned glass, I'd dash to the window and empty the spider outside, into its natural habitat where I felt it belonged. No doubt they'd just come back inside again, especially during those cooler autumn evenings or in a summer rainstorm, and gradually, though I could never completely endear myself to their presence, I began to find it easier to live with half the spider population of Essex invading my home.

                I now am in a different rural area, which is largely woodland (where I lived before was farmland), and I am utterly surprised at the lack of spiders I have encountered in the past two years since living here. I would have thought they would be more prolific, but I think I have only seen one. That particular one appeared on my bedroom wall late one night, and instead of panicking or trying to send the spider away using the upturned glass and piece of card method, I actually put my book down, forced myself to move right up close, and watch him or her weaving this wonderful, almost psychedelic web. Though still nervous, I started to feel my fear ebb away when I realised this creature was made of pretty much the same stuff as myself - just that the molecules, cells etc. are arranged in a different order.

                It is difficult for me to understand why a spider running up the wall indoors is something to have a steaming panic attack about, whereas for me, seeing a spider outdoors, say running along the grass or pavement an inch or so from my foot, is nothing to worry about in the slightest.

                As time has elapsed, I can now safely (I think) say that my previous intense fear of spiders has lessened into a mild wariness, and I am thankful for that. I just wish I could find a similar way of coping with my most feared thing of all......thunderstorms!

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                  12.08.2008 22:44
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                  I would rather not have these where I can see them!

                  I always tell myself that I am not afraid of spiders. I don't freak when I see them and I'm quite happy to just ignore them wherever they happen be running around, or resting.

                  This is quite strange because I can't stand the ones that sit in the bottom of the bath. I know these are exactly the same as any other spiders in my house (unless there's a tarantula hiding under the fridge) but I freeze when I see them in the bath.

                  Washing them away by turning on the tap always seems so cruel and I don't want to take something heavy and just 'splat' them, so I'm always at a loss to know what to do.

                  I have tried getting a plastic box and a piece of cardboard and removing them that way but I shake so much that I can't get the spider into the box and hold the card over it.

                  So, I take a garden cane which I keep especially as a spider terrorizer and poke gently at the creature until it gets fed up and hopefully runs away. If it moves towards me I vacate the bathroom very quickly. This usually upsets the spider enough to get it to go somewhere and hide. I have no wish to know where.

                  The strange part about this is that I get a lot of daddy-long-legs in my house in the warm weather and I catch these with my bare hands, cup them gently and deposit them outside. It doesn't bother me at all. So, I don't think it's spider legs that bother me.

                  I did once watch a documentary about spiders and they showed close ups of their multiple eyes and scary, monstrous faces and jaws, and that kind of an image comes into my head when I get close to them.

                  It still doesn't explain why the ones in the bathroom bother me more. Maybe it is has to do with the fact that I am usually about to take off my clothes and shower, or take a bath when I catch sight of a little six legged monster and it makes me feel quite vulnerable.

                  On the other hand perhaps I have a deep seated psychological problem which wouldn't surprise me in the slightest. (I wouldn't be the only Dooyooer affected that way!)

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                    12.08.2008 22:13
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                    Terrifying

                    Apparently we are never more than a couple of feet away from a spider, this I think is true. I hate any that are bigger than a five pence coin and the bigger they are the more they scare me. I particularly dislike the ones that run, they freak me out and have me shrieking at my partner to "get it! Catch it! Don't let it get away!!!!" while he's patiently trying to catch one in a vase. My extreme reaction to spiders does embarrass me as I'm not a daily quivering wreck but I've yet to find a method of deactivating this terror.

                    It all started at the age of 4, I woke up with a spider on my face and after bolting from bed and screaming the house down could not get either parent to accompany me back to bed as they thought I was dreaming. So, hours later (probably minutes but felt like hours) and still shivering on the stairs, my Mum decided to investigate. The spider was still on my pillow so she removed it but I've been terrified of them ever since.

                    I've had countless run-ins with spiders in the meantime, some found under the covers in the night, one in my marigolds that bit me, plenty on the walls and floors of the house, one ran into my hand when I slept on the floor at a friends, dead bodies piled high courtesy of my lads (cats), another fell out of the curtains onto the back of the sofa behind my head and too many to mention. Do they know we're scared or do us arachnophobics just notice them more?

                    They feel exactly how they look, all legs and brittle, I know this from the one that ran into my hand (shudder) and if they bite it stings like crazy and hurts for a few days (shudder again) although most in the UK are not poisonous. Some jump incredible distances which I didn't realise until I saw one do it, great that makes them even harder to kill and according to websites can live a couple of years (not in my house).

                    I've tried a variety of ways to deal with them, if they're huge I can't squash them as I'm too busy trembling, I can't use the hoover anymore as it no longer has a bag but to be fair the thought of them travelling up the pipe past my hand was enough to put me off previously anyway! Yes, I'm a spider wus. I bought a couple of spider catchers that are on the market and one doesn't work at all for that purpose and proved only useful as a cat toy and the other doesn't have a long enough handle for me to confidently use it.

                    I have found a method that helps alot though. Although I feel cruel doing it I'm just too scared of them to do anthing else. I use the household flea treatment Indorex twice a year in my house and if you repeatedly spray (away from your pets and your face) the thresholds and windows you get a whole lot less eight-legged horror in your house. They crawl over it and die. Result! Last year we had no huge beasts in the house except for near the back door and those were dead. I'm planning the same defence tactic this autumn when they start looking for a cosy place to hole up for the winter.

                    I don't like spiders.

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                      25.05.2008 23:28
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                      spiders must be like marmite

                      Over the past few months the weather where i live has been dry and warm and for whatever reason there has been a huge influx of giant garden spiders into my bathroom, kitchen and scuttling across the living room floor.

                      I am just having trouble figuring out where they are coming from and why are they so big? Does the heat encourage them to grow bigger? It is just something i have never seen before and seems a bit strange.

                      Personally i have gotten over my fear of spiders over the past week or so as i had to escort so many of them back out side to the garden were they belong.

                      I have actually started to develop a fascination for them though they are really interesting creatures, but my brother sadly hasn't seen it that way and still runs for miles if he catches one glimpse of those spindly long legs.

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                        22.05.2008 04:45
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                        The Splendid Spider!

                        Winds of Fate blow
                        at their own discretion.
                        Dew hangs from leaf and bough.
                        A small voice raised in thoughtful expression...
                        Who sings now?

                        "Strands of Time,
                        Possibilities,
                        True Dreams,
                        Power and
                        Illusion...
                        The network of Life
                        thrums like a harp
                        beneath my nimble movements.
                        Can you hear my chiming dance?
                        This,
                        my feasting board,
                        my loom...
                        Strung with Doorways like pearls...
                        Shining like the Dawn of Creation
                        across the velvety Void...
                        Dreamweaver, Storyspinner
                        I can reveal Truth or
                        tangle you in lies and confusion.
                        I sing of spinning Worlds,
                        Infinity,
                        Creation,
                        Woven lives and
                        loose ends trimmed in timely fashion.
                        Life is an art
                        and we are all crafters.
                        Each emotion, word and deed
                        is a color in your palette.
                        Behold your handiwork and
                        paint your canvas with passion!"
                        Who sings now?
                        ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
                        ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~


                        "Creativity requires the courage to let go of certainties." ~ Erich Fromm

                        "The world is but a canvas to the imagination." ~ Henry David Thoreau

                        Grandmother Spider is not always a welcome visitor. She is often greeted with fear, loathing, panic, and suspicion, which is actually quite extraordinary considering her small and delicate frame. In fact, most spider bites cannot hurt us in any significant way. I've been bitten on more than one occasion by a brown recluse for example, considered a very poisonous spider. What did I experience?

                        Hot swelling in a large area around the bite, extreme itchiness, and shedding skin during the healing process. Brown recluse venom actually attacks the capillaries, causing them to collapse, so an extreme reaction to a such a bite or multiple bites could cause severe damage or even death. While it certainly wasn't an experience I would like to repeat, it was at most an uncomfortable couple of days with no lasting effects. Although, I was much the wiser for the experience. I now know how to avoid being bitten again and understand the brown recluse much better than I had before.

                        For all the fear they engender in others, spiders are actually quite delicate creatures. If one were to drop a pet tarantula, for example, it would likely die from the impact. In my opinion, one of Spider's most important lessons is to always balance strength with gentleness. It is vital that we, humanity, learn that true strength is not force, violence, or better weapons... it is the courage and confidence to treat everyone and everything we encounter with gentleness. Yet, people the world over will react in a dramatically negative manner to the presence of even a tiny spider. Grandmother Spider certainly knows how to capture our attention and demand our respect, even when we don't understand her! What are we so afraid of?

                        ""Will you walk into my parlor?" said the Spider to the Fly,
                        "'Tis the prettiest little parlor that ever you did spy; The way into my parlor is up a winding stair, And I have many curious things to show you when you are there." ~Mary Howit

                        "Whatever befalls the Earth, befalls the son of the Earth. Man did not weave the web of life; he is merely a strand of it. Whatever he does to the web, he does to himself." ,and

                        "The Indian prefers the soft sound of the wind darting over the face of the pond, the smell of the wind itself cleansed by a midday rain, or scented with pinon pine. The air is precious to the red man, for all things are the same breath - the animals, the trees, the man." ~ Chief Seattle

                        Considered a Trickster by most cultures, nevertheless, Spider has many fine qualities and is most often connected to creativity in all forms, creation, unity, interconnectedness, balance and agility. In some cultures Spider is the Keeper of All Tales, the spinner of creation, the patron of artists and writers, the keeper of ancient languages and the secrets of communicating through writing, a master Storyteller, and the mother of lies and illusions. Being so intimately connected to all of Creation, it is no wonder that Spider knows the difference between Truth and Illusion without a single doubt! It is no surprise then that She can spin the most believable of lies even more easily than her silken threads, and perhaps this explains a large part of why She is greeted regularly with such negative and emotional reactions!

                        Spider can teach us how to navigate our sticky webs freely, but more often than not we get caught up in our own illusions, the comforting lies that we tell ourselves to rationalize the bad choices we make. Sometimes, Spider needs to trick us and lie to us to teach us Truth, and because of her nature, these can be truly profound whoppers that alter our lives in extraordinary ways. Usually, the Truth that Spider is trying so diligently to reveal to us is that the only real lies are those we have been telling ourselves.

                        Many Native American tribes tell stories about how Grandmother Spider spun the web of the physical world, bringing our world and our many people into creation. She knows that while we are each (two-leggeds, four-footeds, winged, scaled, and creepy-crawly peoples, stones and trees) unique beings, we are nevertheless United within Creation, interconnected whether we believe this or not. We are separate strands but we are not alone, together we make the web of life.

                        For whatever reason, most of humanity has yet to accept this simple truth, and struggles to this very day against accepting our fellow men as equals or even our very selves as worthy! We are beginning to feel the repercussions of our insistence on standing apart, living as if superior to all the World around us, and we will not profit by these blind and arrogant attitudes. So, I have to ask you...who is deceiving whom?

                        The spiral within Spider's web is a reminder that all life is connected, all life is a wheel constantly turning and evolving. Grandmother Spider sits in the center of her web to remind us that all things begin with us and radiate outward. We create the world around us through our thoughts, words, and deeds, and to change anything for the better we must truly be the center of that world, stop wandering in illusions, and spin our dreams into realities.

                        "Happiness is not a matter of intensity, but of balance and order and rhythm and harmony." ~ Thomas Merton

                        "A balanced and skillful approach to life, taking care to avoid extremes, becomes a very important factor in conducting one's everyday existence. It is important in all aspects of life." HH the Dalai Lama

                        "Even nectar is poison if taken to excess." ~ Hindu proverb

                        The original tightrope artist, Spider can teach us how to balance all things while moving across the web of creation. This mistress of threads knows better than anyone that a truly fine line exists between most concepts. She will help us not only to see and understand those many fine threads, but to navigate between all things with supreme balance if we only put aside our fear and allow her to teach us... genius and insanity, bravery and foolishness, masculine and feminine (not all things are opposites lol), supporting and enabling, pride and hubris, humility and low self-esteem, strength and violence.

                        Reality and illusion are her specialty. To take control of our lives in a good way, we must first truly see who we are and the world we have built around us. All things must be allowed only within their proper place and measure. Are we giving too much to others and not enough to our selves? Are we thinking too much of our selves and not enough of others?

                        Extremes should always be avoided, as even a good thing becomes bad when in excess. Love is grand but denying who we are, constantly "sacrificing" for others, or allowing ourselves to be used and abused in the name of Love is not only misguided, it is dangerous! Once we have achieved a sense of Balance, we can limber up and begin to move with the grace and agility of Grandmother Spider.

                        "What kind of an acrobat do you think I am? It would take me all night to write a word like that into my web." ~ Charlotte the spider

                        "Wilbur never forgot Charlotte. Although he loved her children and grandchildren dearly, none of the new spiders quite took her place in his heart. She was in a class by herself. It is not often that someone comes along who is a true friend and a good writer. Charlotte was both." ~ E.B. White

                        "Consider the past and you shall know the future." ~Chinese Proverb

                        Just as all things in Life are connected, so too does Infinity stretch in all directions. Spider's eight legs and her body's resemblance to the symbol for infinity is a subtle reminder. The past irrevocably influences the present, which will determine our choices, and thus our future. Who said that those who do not learn from history's mistakes are doomed to repeat them? They were right! Whether speaking individually or collectively, our past is never truly left behind. It will only be a positive influence in our current and future lives if we pay attention and learn from our mistakes. Perhaps this is why the humble Spider has been a symbol of Fate practically since the beginning of history! The three Fates or Norns spin, weave and cut the lifelines of each individual upon the earth, and Spider is their mascot and messenger. We would be wise to heed her!

                        There are many tales of Anansi the trickster spider, one of which tells how he became the Keeper of All Stories. The Seneca also believe that Spider created and taught us the concept of an alphabet so that we might communicate better and keep a written record of our histories and lessons. Even E.B. White's infamous Charlotte is famous not so much for her gentle and generous self, but for all that she communicated to us by writing within her web. In fact, spiders have been connected to lost languages, symbolism, secret alphabets and codes, dreams, and the written word in general over and over again around the globe.

                        Spider people, like Spider herself, can be rather shy and quiet individuals... but they carry a wealth of expression within their souls that must find release through creativity. Artists, crafters, musicians and especially wordsmiths are watched over by this Teacher. It is often beneficial for such people to study languages, numerology or other forms of communication, and the number eight is significant to such people.

                        Whether or not you consider yourself a Spider person, everyone can benefit by becoming friendly with Grandmother Spider and there are many ways you can connect to her. Read about the hundreds of fascinating spiders in the world and their many unique habits. Contemplate the artistic beauty found within a spiderweb. Did you know that there are different types of web designs and that not all spiders spin webs?

                        Keep a journal, especially for your dreams. Explore the written word, the worlds it can create and how it can form a bridge from one being to the next. Express yourself, be creative, and most importantly create! Without this aspect in our lives, we begin to feel drained and lifeless, and will soon be dangerously off balance. And without Balance, we cannot walk the web with ease, remember? How does Spider appear in your life?

                        "Do you realize that if I didn't eat them, bugs would get so numerous, they'd destroy the Earth? Spiders are really VERY useful creatures." ~ Charlotte the spider

                        Wilbur: "Are you writers?"
                        Charlotte's daughters: "No, but we will be when we grow up."
                        Wilbur: "Then write this in your webs, when you learn: This hallowed doorway was once the home of Charlotte. She was brilliant, beautiful, and loyal to the end. Her memory will be treasured forever."
                        Charlotte's daughters: "Ooh, that would take us a lifetime."
                        Wilbur: "A lifetime. That's what we have."

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                          30.10.2006 16:36
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                          They really are facinating, just because things are scary doesn't make them less interesting!!

                          During the time I spent at college studying a variety of animals I decided to research the Black Widow spider. Probably one of the most feared spiders there are. Well. I learnt a lot about them and squashed a few legends about them in the process! They really are quite beautiful I think, although I am rather strange in that aspect and seem to love all creatures great and small! Saying that.. I certainly would not like to be shut in a room with one of these animals. Right, heres my info and if you have any more information to share with me or questions to ask then please e-mail me! Sh02020998@hotmail.co.uk. Thank you! And please keep checking out my reviews even if you don't like animals there are interesting things to learn believe me!

                          Black Widow Welfare

                          The black widow is a carnivore and is known for its ravenous ways. They eat insects, birds, spiders and other widows as well as numerous other things which they can get hold of. It is important that the black widows environment suits the needs of the widow as well as insuring that students and researchers can gain visibility to the spider when looking at it.

                          The enclosure size will ideally be around 1m by 1m and a further 1m high. This should be reinforced glass which should be fully secure and protected to prevent anyone breaking in and gaining access to the spider which could kill the human and cause huge problems if it escaped. It is important that the enclosure is not too large as the students or researchers need to be able to gain visibility to the spider to study it. The most ideal enclosure design will be built into a wall so that ventilation can be provided safely.

                          It IS important that the black widow has a high level of humidity within its environment. This should be done by soaking either spaglum moss or a potted plant which is moist and putting these into the enclosure. The enclosure should also be sprayed daily to continue to keep the moisture levels high. Ideally the enclosure should have no openings at the front and this should be built in glass and there will be a hiding place with a shutter door with CCTV in it and a higher temperature which can be shut when the spider is in it so that cleaning can take place. Food can be placed in through a small hatch in the wall providing you know where the spider is. As the additional section will have CCTV this suits the students and researchers needs as they can watch the black widow when it is out of its larger environment and has less enrichment. A small amount of water should be placed in a small bowl in the enclosure also.

                          The enclosure should provide the black widow with the natural things it would have in the wild. This includes debris such as leaves, hides, branches, twigs, logs, grass and sand. This allows the black widow to express natural behaviour which the students can monitor. Students should also be able to remover certain things from the environment and watch the reactions to this for experimentation and further research if needed although there must always be enough enrichment that the spider is not greatly affected by the removal of anything.

                          In the public perspective of seeing this animal at a zoo the enrichment would be very minimal so that the public get to see as much as possible. This can sometimes make the quality of life for the black widow or any other spider lower than it would be in a different form of captivity.

                          It is very important that the enclosure should be cleaned regularly and water changed daily. This allows the black widow to have a good quality of life as well as promoting good management and animal care to students and allowing research to be undertaken in a clean environment.

                          The black widow must be provided with full medical treatment an be protected against both internal and external parasites as well as against disease to ensure the welfare of the spider itself. If this is not done then the black widow can become ill and the illness may be transmitted to humans through cleaning even when the spider is not present.

                          Black Widow Behaviour

                          The black widow is one of the least sociable arachnids there is and they should not be homed together. If you are stupid enough to home two black widows together then it is completely normal for one of them to eat the other one and this should not be considered as abnormal behaviour at all. The black widow should happily eat anything which comes into its web and so when its live food is put in the black widow should normally be seen to kill and eat this.

                          The black widow naturally spends around 50% of its time creating spiders web and catching prey and the rest of the time sleeping where in captivity the spider can spend around 90% of its time sleeping. This is not normal behaviour for a black widow as they are naturally active, but this is natural for a black widow in captivity and is hard to prevent.

                          The black widow is not made to live in captivity and does not cope with it well. Often the lack of freedom and space to create webs to catch more prey can result in the black widow seeming very lethargic and showing signs of stress or depression by hiding away and sleeping continually and not being active when awake.

                          The black widow is naturally very shy and will not attack a human un-provoked. This is unlike their demonic reputations which seems to instigate that the black widow is an evil animal and will attack anything for no reason and hunt things out to kill.

                          In captivity it is common to see a black widow which dies unexpectedly. This can be a result of the situation within captivity and the lack of energy and stimulation. It is believed that they can literally be bored to death from being in captivity when they have so much in the wild. Sudden deaths have not been seen in the wild and deaths which have been noted have happened for a reason in the wild, where in captivity it can just be a result of the lack of freedom.

                          Lack of or excessive web spinning can occur in the black widow and this is again a lack of stimulus. Different spiders, just like different people react to boredom or the lack of stimulus (from environmental enrichment) in different ways. Some will give up, become very low and sleep, whilst others will keep occupied and do things which don’t seem to make a lot of sense, but they are just trying to do something rather than nothing.

                          Behavioural enrichment should be put into the environment. Ideally a large space should be given, the larger the better if possible so that the spider can practice its natural behaviour within captivity. This is not always practical, but I looked at the idea of a research or educational animal collection as opposed to a commercial one, so CCTV should be able to capture the majority of studies needed.

                          Enrichment such as branches, levels, plants, water pots, sand should all give the spider extra simulation and areas to create webs in. The food which is given should all be live to give the black widow the enrichment of being able to catch and kill the prey.

                          Feeding black widow

                          The black widow eats an entirely carnivorous diet and in the wild will eat things suck as birds, reptiles, small mammals, insects, some amphibians and they will eat quite a lot during a week if they are able to, though they can also go for long periods of time eating nothing at all.

                          The web which the black widow creates is spun to cover a large area and try to surround the black widow so that it is able to get the food from any area in the web which it is caught in. The male creates a web which is similar although it is not made as well and is smaller than the females web. The spider will, like other spiders stay on the web waiting for food to come to it with the feet on the strands of the web. This allows the spider to feel the movement when it passes through the web and find the area which has caught the prey in. The black widow will then bind the prey and form a cocoon around it using sticky silk strands.

                          The black widow has venom in its body which is lethal to any animal and it will use its forceps to inject this into the animals body which causes the animal to become paralyzed and the internal organs to slowly deteriorate until they have become incapable of any function and have broken down to form a liquid. The black widow will then puncture the body of its prey and suck the liquid from the body and then create a hole in the web around the animal so that it falls from the web.

                          It is not ethical in captivity to put live birds into an enclosure with an animal which would kill them so the black widow is unable to have any mammals, birds, reptiles or amphibians put into the enclosure, so will have to live on a variety of insects. Insects such as crickets, locusts, hoverflies and other large flying insects which are not considered precious can be used as food for the black widow.

                          The black widow should be fed at the same time every day as it can take a variable amount of time for the insect in question to fly into the net to become the food for the black widow. For this reason the black widow is usually fed in the mid afternoon to evening and then will eat whatever flies to the web in turn.

                          This is not a balanced diet for the black widow and although the black widow is being provided with food which is variable as there are different insects which it can receive, this does not compare at all the black widows natural diet where it is able to catch birds, flying lizards commonly, as well as rodents and amphibians in low webs. Insects do not seem substantial to me to offer this nutrition. This could be the reason for some of the lethargy commonly shown by the black widow in captivity as the diet is not enough to fulfil its needs.

                          Black Widow Breeding

                          The male black widow is sexually mature at between 2 and 5 months of age, which sounds early, but the majority of spiders only live for a year, so this is normal. The female black widow comes sexually active at between 3 and 8 months of age, slightly later than the male.

                          When the spiders become sexually active both in the wild and in captivity depends on the food, environment, temperature and enrichment which the spider has to hep its body mature properly. The female black widow comes into season at any time once she is sexually active and when the environment is suitable for her to mother. As with many animals she will not come into season if the environment is unsuitable or if she is under nourished.

                          The temperature is usually raised to bring a black widow female into season as they tend to come into it in hotter weather. The female can sometimes live up to two years in captivity and will be available for breeding around 2 or 3 times during this time if conditions are suitable. In the wild the black widow will breed only once as they do not live for longer than a year in the wild as they are under more threats and changeable weather etc.

                          Once the male is sexually mature in the wild he leaves his location and goes in search or a female. This can be noted in captivity a s the black widow will spend months creating an intricate wed design and suddenly abandon it and loose interest in spinning. When the male is coming into contact with a female or has seen her web he vibrates his rear end on the females web which lets the female know he is there.

                          The male remains cautious during this and will run from the female often if he feels there is any chance she may attack him, when assured she is in season and will not attack he will move onto her web towards her. The male will then create a thin layer of silk around the female as used when catching prey and mate with her. The male leaves the sperm on the females body and the female will use this for numerous batches of eggs over a number of months!

                          The male will run away quickly after mating as the female can become aggressive and as the most known fact goes about the black widow, the black widow, on occasion has been known to eat the male after mating. This happens more often in captivity, because the male can not get away and the female feels threatened and will attack him like any other prey which is in her net. This is why breeding programmes are not usually successful for the black widow in captivity and rarely are tried for.

                          After the mating has occurred the female creates a silk cocoon and lays her eggs into this cocoon. She will then fertilize the eggs with the sperm left by the male and begin the creation of an egg sac from the silk around the fertilized eggs to keep them warm. The egg sac will then be placed into the web of the black widow so she knows where it is and can detect if there is an intrusion or anything happening with the eggs.

                          The female will have around 150-500 eggs in every sac and creates between 5 and 20 between May and October in the wild, or the suitable environment and temperature times in captivity. The eggs will remain in the sac for between 10 and 30 days when they will hatch.

                          Once the young have hatched they are very small and have been reported to be opaque. The mother and father do not have any impact on the young and they feed for themselves immediately and kill small prey.

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                            31.08.2001 09:25
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                            As the closest thing to Spiders, the Tarantula section will be the best place to unleash a web of hatred and terror of those things that crawl, and think - and make no mistake, they're thinking, and the scary part is you don't know what they're thinking... >Shudders all round< Spiders have 'issues', not all of which I am pleased about! They eat flies, we all hate flies because they're dirty, annoying, amusingly stupid (hello window 'crash', hello window 'crash') and they eat excrements, so err, and yes Spiders eat them. Good. Spiders are fast; they ought to be with that many legs, why must they have so many legs! Fast means scary, scary means screaming, no matter who's in the house - make sure you marry someone who isn't scared of spiders, if you are. Remember that, you'll thank me for it (visions spring up of terrified couples huddling in a corner of the room as an eight-legged friend struts across the floor, right in the middle of their favourite television show...). Spiders are very, very clever, and that freaks me out big time. It must have a very efficient brain, with a much higher than 10% that humans have...Spiders make webs, but they use their own silk - now that is intelligent, but again, very freaky. Have you seen the size of some webs? Eeek! Spiders are also, strong. Well, the bigger the stronger, as you will find out from my story soon...be warned, it's scary! Spiders are clean! Yep, Spiders are clean non-insects, as part of the arachnid family Spiders, manage to stay clean. I won't go into discussing poisonous Spiders, (I'd be too afraid!)... Ready for a story? Good, me neither, but here goes... "OH MY..." I put the other spider that was in my room into a cup and placed it by the one in the bathroom already, previously captured after it jumped downward at me from the ceili
                            ng – scared the hell out of me… Anyway, I thought it would be interesting to put them in the same cup, don’t ask… Swiftly I removed the beaker that covered the more powerful brute and allowed him into the other one... /nothing much happened/ (Don't ask me why I watched them) (But at this time in the morning it seemed like entertainment, nothing on television, I didn't know what they'd do) Firstly, they both moved around - shifty looking beasts, grown men and women have every reason to be terrified of them, right - both creatures moved around, trying to escape to no avail, like a flies smashing into a windows... Imprisoned until death, the arachnids danced around tapping on the plastic clear blue cup, and suddenly the surrounding area was a sea of disillusion, my vision blurred... "Why am I watching this?" Nothing happened for a while, and then they both stopped, frozen, just like that! "What's going on?" Are they talking? Looking at me? (I looked around, just to make sure no more spiders were present) A shiver crashed down my spine, like a bolt of unexpected lightning... A shudder imminent, (What I am about to say may disturb) The larger spider danced an evil dance... ...And flung itself onto the smaller one and pounded it with its legs... Beating the life out of it. They weren't going to help each other escape, oh no, this was disgusting but quite shocking. (Thoughts of giant 1metre radius Spiders - in a film, a film of Spiders...could be scary...) He kicked him to the side, and then continued walking around the edge tapping against it, the fool. Every time he'd meet up with the now half living smaller spawn of Satan, he'd encroach it, diving on it like it was his last meal. For this spider didn't make friends easily... I watched for around 20 minutes, the floor starting moving like an ocean, swaying, the walls caved in I shock my head and stared once more at the death match massacre. I felt sorry for the little one, and then remembered how he'd decided to make my ceiling his home for a while, so my sympathy - vanished. Again the brutality rose as the 4cm in diameter 8-legged demonic vermin thrust itself onto the puny one, dancing around it, moulding his dinner, it was horrific. 4cm: not that small The weedy spider didn't move too much after that... I wanted a closer look, 2 metres away was fine, but I had to go nearer "Oh my god" The larger spider had picked up the other, and started eating it - just 15minutes after I had taken it upon myself to play Spider God, cannibalism occurred. Spiders are evil Evil I tell you. Is it true they're all female? How would that work? I had to see what it’s doing - Returning to the arena of hell I found a leg, And the live spider wrapped around the smaller one, Sucking the blood from it, possibly... Terrified of spiders? You should be now "The End" Hope that didn't scare you, I certainly learned a lot from what happened. Spiders, and us we're two different species, they're evil, I hate them, and I end this now, thanks for reading. Good Night....

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