Physically, spiders aren’t what many would consider angelic creatures. It could be the amount of eyes spiders have. It could be the amount of legs. It could be the way that they move, or that, yes, some of them are venomous.
Maybe it’s some awkward amalgamation of the just-mentioned, as well as any other skewed fact floating around out there.
Whatever the exact reason, for years now spiders have been looked at by humans with fear.
Don’t get us wrong: arachnophobia (the fear of spiders) is a very real thing. In no way are we trying to say that it isn’t, or that those that suffer from it should for some reason feel ashamed. In celebration of Save a Spider Day (March 14th), what we hope this list says — what we hope this list proves — is that spiders aren’t just something to be screamed at, or squished beneath boot heels, but something to be respected, and even admired.
1. Spiders Are Ingenious Hunters
Some spiders pounce on their prey. Some ensnare their prey in a web of silk. Some dig trap doors into the dirt and let their prey fall into a very similar ball of silk. And others? There are many others that have their own individual way of hunting — their own techniques, their own schemes, etc. Which is impressive, no?
2. They Call Earth Home
The exact number of spider species is unknown. But, as of 2014, 45,000 different species had been identified. 45,000! And they span across the planet.
The coolest thing though is that each continent, even each region, has spiders specific to it. For example, tarantulas — one of the most versatile spiders when it comes to climate — can be found in all continents, save for Antarctica. Even so, you won’t find them in Canada or the northern continental United States.
3. They Steer Us Clear of Famine
No, seriously. You wouldn’t believe how crucial spiders are to organic farms. Okay, maybe you would, because here’s the truth: THEY EAT BUGS. LOTS OF BUGS. They eat insects and other pests who have been proven to be quite detrimental to crops. In this article by the Washington Post, it’s put quite simply: “If they don’t eat, we don’t eat.” Believe it!
4. The Strength of Silk
Pound for pound — uh, ounce for ounce — silk is actually stronger than steel. And spiders have plenty of it. They also have plenty of uses for it, including prey capture & immobilization, but also for reproduction, dispersal, and also as nourishment on occasion — on slow hunting days, they’ll nibble on their own silk.
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BUT WAIT! There are even more things spiders use their silk for! For example, it can be used as an “alarm line” rather than to capture prey. Or, in the event that a spider wanders too far from its shelter, they could be keeping a line of silk in which they follow back home.
5. They Have Superpowers
Okay, so maybe it isn’t technically a “superpower,” but some jumping spiders have the ability to de-focus their vision. Meaning: they sense distance by comparing a blurry image to a clear image.
How are they able to that? According to this article on livescience.com, it all lies with the color green. The comparison that they’re able to create helps them gauge distances before pouncing on their prey (farther distance = blurry, while nearby = clear, for example). But why green? Well, the why may not be easy to answer. But they noticeably suffer in judgment when under red light.
6. They’ve Worn Gore-tex for Years
Horrible joke aside… Spiders actually have water-repellent hair that not only can keep them dry, but prevents them from drowning. Here’s how: those same hairs, well, they can capture air bubbles that the spider can take beneath the surface of the water. It’s also what allows them to float!
7. Some Species of Spiders Are Deserving of An Oscar
While this piggy-backs off of #1, over 100 species of spiders commit to the craft of acting to catch their prey. Seriously! Through evolution, they’re able to appear like ants, both to evade certain predators, and to help them catch, well, ants (See: Ant Mimic Spider).
Have you ever come across a spider that had more personality than Charlotte? Us either.
8. They Have Personality
The majority of spiders live in solitude. They hunt alone. They eat alone. Heck, some spiders will even try to eat each other if they cross paths. Yet, according to this New York Times article, there are 25 species of spiders that live in a much more social atmosphere, where, as studies have shown, the spiders can take on different sorts of roles.
See? Introverts AND extroverts! Even more, check out the attention hog in this video: