I walked to church to attend choir practice the other evening and collected a passenger while walking under trees. One of the children pointed out that I'd a spider in my beard which of course was claimed as a pet. It reminded me that due to a warm summer and autumn we in the UK can expect a plague of spiders for a few weeks until winter kicks in.
An orb spider spinning a web outside my kitchen window
These amazing creatures create a reaction in people, usually on the side of the negative, when in fact they are fantastic predators that happily hunt down all the other creepies in your house. In fact their various attributes are worth considering.
1. Spiders' silk is, by weight, stronger than steel.
2. Spiders use a variety of methods of capturing their prey. The methods used vary from ambush and decoys to webs.
3. All but one of the 40,000 varieties are carnivorous.
A wasp is subdued before being liquidised
4. Spiders paralyse their prey, liquidise the creature then suck up their insides.
5. Spiders range in size from the dinner plate Goliath bird eating tarantula to the size of a pinhead.
6. Jumping spiders are found all over the Earth and even up Mt Everest. They can jump 50 times their own length and hunt without the use of webs, instead spring directly on to their prey.
7. Money spiders are tiny and have the reputation of bringing you financial luck if they land in your hair.
8. Black lace-weaver spiders can be found in N America and Europe and are found under logs and stones. Look out in cellars and outbuildings as they can give a painful bite. They look after their eggs and make the ultimate sacrifice when the spiderlings hatch, becoming their offsprings' first meal.
So why do I write about spiders today? Well if you consider the skills and abilities of these creatures they are almost mythical and certainly a resource and inspiration for all types of writing. Whether you produce SF or fantasy stories or the more 'realistic types, considering the style of behaviour of spiders can enliven your prose and perhaps terrify your potential audience.