That night I went outside to check the spider web.
Much to my surprise Abby was waiting in the
center of it. Unlike most celebrities, she didn't seem to like the
attention and shifted her position a little. This little episode led me
to learn more about these creepy critters.
Spiders are not insects. Insects have three body
parts and six legs. Spiders have eight legs and two body parts, the
abdomen and the thorax. They have silk spinning glands called
spinnerets, at the tip of their abdomen. Not all spiders spin webs.
Spiders belong to the Arachnid family, and there are more than 30,000
species of spiders. They're oviparous, which means their babies
come from eggs. Most spiders have either six or eight eyes. All spiders have fangs, through which venom is ejected. Spider bites can be
quite painful, and a select few can be fatal. Fear of spiders is called Arachniphobia. It is one of the most common fears among humans.
Personally, I don't think anyone feels comfortable around them.
Tarantulas shed their furry skin as they grow,
leaving behind what looks just like another tarantula. I'll never forget
the time my cousin Bill was watching television while relaxing on the
sofa (he bought at a used furniture store). He noticed something moving
nearby. A large hairy tarantula had crawled out of the sofa and was
trying to be friends...Bill wasn't having it! He was always sympathetic
towards all kinds of critters so he got a broom and herded it down the
hall to the back door. It didn't want to go outside. Too bad. Although
big, it wasn't any match for the gentle swish of the broom. Bill figured
it had been someone's pet that got lost in the sofa and hauled off to
While spiders eat many insect
pests, they do make a mess all over the place with their webs and
garbage. Here's one like I photographed
constructing its web. Although ugly, you have to
admit it's building one heck of a web.
One of the more popular stories concerning a
spider is Charlotte's Web, that I mentioned earlier. It's a
children's novel by American author E. B. White. The book begins when
John Arable's sow gives birth to a litter of piglets,
Mr. Arable discovers one of them is a runt and decides to kill it.
However, his eight-year-old daughter Fern begs him to let it live.
Therefore her father gives it to Fern as a pet, and she names the piglet
Wilbur. Wilbur is hyperactive and always exploring new things. He lives
with Fern for a few weeks and then is sold to her uncle, Homer
Zuckerman. Although Fern visits him at the Zuckermans' farm as often as
she can, her visits decrease as she grows older, and Wilbur gets
lonelier day after day. Eventually, a warm and soothing voice tells him
that she is going to be his friend. The next day, he wakes up and meets
his new friend: Charlotte, the grey spider.
Wilbur soon becomes a member of the community of animals who live in the
cellar of Zuckerman's barn. However, he learns from an old sheep that he
is going to be killed and eaten at Christmas, and turns to Charlotte for
help. Charlotte has the idea of writing words in her web extolling
Wilbur's excellence ("some pig," "terrific," "radiant," and eventually
"humble"), reasoning that if she can make Wilbur sufficiently famous, he
will not be killed. Thanks to Charlotte's efforts, and with the
assistance of the gluttonous rat Templeton, Wilbur not only lives, but
goes to the county fair with Charlotte and wins a prize. Having reached
the end of her natural lifespan, Charlotte dies at the fair. Wilbur
repays Charlotte by bringing home with him the sac of eggs (her "magnum
opus") she had laid at the fair before dying. When Charlotte's eggs
hatch at Zuckerman's farm, most of them leave to make their own lives
elsewhere, except for three: Joy, Aranea, and Nellie, who remain there
as friends to Wilbur. Here's a wonderful little video of how
Wilbur meets Charlotte.
Climbed up the water spout
Down came the rain
And washed the spider out
Out came the sun
And dried up all the rain
And the itsy-bitsy spider
Climbed up the spout again