Kids Corner: Spiders!

Welcome to the Fall edition of Kid’s Corner!

Fall is a season of serious change, and many of us start thinking of Halloween and all the creepy creatures that crawl out of the shadows. Spiders and their webs are almost as much a part of Halloween decorations as pumpkins and witches. Ever wonder why? Fall, it turns out, is spider season. Spiderlings (the name for baby spiders), hatch from their eggs in late spring and quickly grow into adulthood over the summer. When Fall arrives, we start seeing the more mature spiders making their webs and feeding on all the different insects who have also matured over the summer months.  Hardly a frightening story, right?

As creepy as spider can be, very few are actually harmful to us. In fact, humans are rarely bitten by spiders and when we are, the bite is usually as bad as a bee sting at worst. Spider bites are most likely to happen when we mishandle them or they are afraid of being hurt by us. Only two spiders, the black widow and the brown recluse, are considered dangerous in Pennsylvania. They are so rarely seen that most people go their entire lives without seeing either spider.

Let’s give something a try, let’s change our view of spiders. I’m not suggesting going and making any our pet or giving any a kiss or a hug, I am suggesting looking at spiders in a different light!

Here’s an activity you can try:

  • Go outside a little earlier one morning and look for some spider webs. This time of year they are easy to spot in the mornings because they are usually covered in glistening droplets of dew. If they aren’t, maybe you find one later in the day, bring along a spray bottle with you.
  • Carefully spray a mist over the spider’s web and you’ll see how the drops of water reveal the webs true beauty.
  • Take a second to carefully touch the web and feel how strong it is. You may even get lucky and have the spider drop in from it’s hiding place.
  • If you do happen to see a spider, examine it! Notice the colors and patterns on it’s body. Is it hairy or smooth?

I bet you’ll find spiders to be a little less scary than before after this!

Marbled Orb Weaver

Marbled Orb Weaver, found at Bucks County Audubon Society. 

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