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12 Facts you might not know about your Pet Spider

Fun facts about your arachnid friends:

1. Spiders are not insects.

In the Phylum Arthopoda, which contains an astronomical
number of invertebrates (animals having no backbone), there
are million's of species that have three main parts to their
bodies. The heads have eyes, antennae and mouthparts, the
thorax has three pairs of legs, the abdomen contains the
intestines and other organs, and the entire body is
protected by a tough outer covering called an exoskeleton.
Animals that share these characteristics are called insects
and group to which they belong is called the Insecta.

Another smaller group of invertebrates has only two main
body parts. The head and thorax are combined, and called the
cephalothorax, and the second segment is the abdomen. The
cephalothorax has the eyes, mouthparts and four pairs of
legs, and they have no antennae. Animals in this group
include spiders, ticks, mites, and scorpions. This group is
called the Arachnida.

2. There are four main methods that spiders use to capture
prey. a) Some spiders dig burrows and cover the walls with
silk, then leap out to capture passing insects. b) Some
active spiders lie in ambush and wait for their prey to walk
by, then they jump out and grab it. c) Some spiders, like
hunters, go in search of their prey, run it down and
paralyze it with their venom. d) Many spiders spin sticky
webs from spinerets located at the end of their abdomen to
entrap their prey.

3. Spiders produce up to seven types of different spider
silk for different purposes. One to wrap their prey, One to
wrap their eggs, and five for spinning webs. A strand of
spider silk that was long enough to encircle the earth would
weigh less than one pound (454 grams), but spider silk,
pound for pound, is stronger than steel.

4. Spider silk does not stick to spiders. Their bodies
produce an oil that keeps the spider silk from sticking to

5. Spiders have one of the largest families in the animal
kingdom, comprised of over thirty-five thousand species, and
new spiders are being found every day. Spiders are believed
to have existed for more than 300 million years.

6. All spiders produce venom which they inject, usually
through their bite, into their prey. Even Daddy Long Legs
Spiders produce venom, although they and most other spiders
aren't dangerous to humans, apparently because their jaws
aren't strong enough to bite thorough human flesh. The venom
of some spiders can be fatal to humans.

7. Spiders primarily sense their prey and their surroundings
through tiny hairs that cover their bodies rather than
through their many eyes.

8. Most spiders have six to eight simple eyes which don't
work all that well. Although they also have two good eyes,
most spiders are extremely nearsighted.

9. Spiders that spin webs often make a new web everyday to
replace a dirty or torn web. What do they do with the old
web? Roll it up and eat it! How is that for recycling?

10. The female spider is usually bigger than the male

11. The most famous spider in fiction is Charlotte in
"Charlotte's Web," a book for children by E. B. White (1899-

12. The most famous spiders in nursery rhymes are the spider
in "Little Miss Muffet" and "Itsy Bitsy Spider."

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