Itsy Bitsy Spider


The other day I went out to the mailbox to get the paper and mail. On the way back I noticed a marvelous spider web suspended in the air attached to a tree and the ground to stabilize it. Although I'm not crazy about spiders I couldn't help admire the expertise that went into the webs construction. It reminded me of Charlotte's Web and the Itsy Bitsy Spider song. This prompted the idea that it might be fun to take some pictures during the day, and later that evening...and maybe write something about Charlotte, or shall we call her Abby. The web, nor the architect didn't show up during the day.

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 the store.

 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, and 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.

Itsy-bitsy spider
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