When I was growing up, any spider in my home was to be killed on sight. I never had a problem with the incredibly helpful little critters, but my mother did. Her arachnophobia was so strong that even seeing a spider web would trouble her. A spider hanging out in her vicinity would result in screams of panic and a murderous broom-aided killing spree. After leaving home, it took me years to get to the point where I didn't feel the need to kill a spider if I saw one in my home. That said, never in all of my spider-smooshing years did I even come close to burning the house down.
From KETV Omaha:
A house caught on fire after a man tried to kill spiders and get rid of webs, according to a fire department.
Fresno firefighters said the man was house sitting for his parents and used a blowtorch against black widows, KFSN-TV reported.
Fire department spokesman Capt. Robert Castillo said the man used the open flame outdoors, starting at a brick veneer section of the approximately 4,000-square-foot home. He eventually noticed smoke coming from the attic.
Fire trucks inundated a street by the home Tuesday night. About 27 firefighters responded.
It caused an estimated $10,000 in damage.
Image via Flickr, courtesy of The U.S. Army Read the rest
Like something out of a 1950s horror film, this giant Texan spider looks like it's about to devour the unsuspecting cop. But in reality, it's just a great optical illusion when the spider crawls right in front of a police car dashcam. Halloween is in the air. Read the rest
This female trapdoor spider, named Number 16, was the world's oldest known spider. A lifelong resident of the Australian outback, she has just died at age 43. From Curtin University:
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The research, published in the Pacific Conservation Biology Journal, suggests the 43-year-old Giaus Villosus trapdoor matriarch, who recently died during a long-term population study, had outlived the previous world record holder, a 28-year old tarantula found in Mexico.
Lead author PhD student Leanda Mason from the School of Molecular and Life Sciences at Curtin University said the ongoing research has led to new discoveries about the longevity of the trapdoor spider.
“To our knowledge this is the oldest spider ever recorded, and her significant life has allowed us to further investigate the trapdoor spider’s behaviour and population dynamics,” Ms Mason said.
“The research project was first initiated by Barbara York Main in 1974, who monitored the long-term spider population for over 42 years in the Central Wheatbelt region of Western Australia.
“Through Barbara’s detailed research, we were able to determine that the extensive life span of the trapdoor spider is due to their life-history traits, including how they live in uncleared, native bushland, their sedentary nature and low metabolisms.”
This isn't suspicious, no, not at all.
On Saturday, David Orr of Bloomington, Indiana posted a photo of his entry in a local pie contest on Twitter and immediately got a big reaction. Why? Because Orr used the words "No Spiders in Here" as his apple pie's crust.
The internet had a few things to say about it:
Orr then posted a photo of another entry in the contest, one with (plastic) spiders on it:
By Sunday evening, his totally spiderless pie was nearly gone.
Oh yeah, he only won SECOND place in the contest. Robbed, I tell you! Read the rest
In elementary school, I knew a boy who would impress us by pulling the legs off a daddy longlegs and popping the body in his mouth. I think he would appreciate this Deep Look video about how daddy longlegs can drop up to three of its limbs when threatened by a predator and still survive.
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Some guys at work have been feeding a huge spider that has been living inside a piece of web-covered equipment for a year.
They shot this video, which reminds me a horror movie. Read the rest
Researchers in a southern Brazil grassland spotted a tarantula munching on a foot-long snake. It's the first time a tarantula having this particularly hearty meal has been documented in the wild. The non-venomous snake is a Erythrolamprus almadensis and the tarantula is a Grammostola quirogai that boasts .8-inch long fangs. Federal University of Santa Maria graduate student Leandro Malta Borges found the dining tarantula under a rock. From National Geographic:
As Borges looked on, the tarantula huddled over the decomposing snake, chowing down on the exposed, liquefied guts.
In their description of the scene, published in Herpetology Notes in December 2016, the researchers chalk up the snake’s demise to an accidental break-in. In Serra do Caverá, many tarantula species, in particular sedentary females, hide in the rocks.
“Most likely, the snake was surprised upon entering the spider’s environment and hence [was] subdued by it,” the researchers write.
(photo by Gabriela Franzoi Dri) Read the rest
Here's a fellow whose been plagued with redback spider infestations in his backyard garden. In this video he shows his arsenal of weapons (such as deodorant can flamethrowers) and how he uses them to get rid of the venomous spiders. Read the rest
Fastbees.net posted video of a large fishing spider hunting bees. As long as it doesn't move too quickly, it can grab the relatively small insects and sneak off with them. But when it gets skittish: game over. [via] Read the rest
My friend Rachel shot this great video of a cute spider making her web. Anyone know what kind it is? Read the rest
We found this little fellow in the garage preparing dinner. Despite a sultry summer, we've been free of flies and I figure it's all thanks to Team Cellar Spider.
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The Critter Catcher is a long rubbery picker-upper gadget, enabling the user to easily pick up and evict spiders without harming them or having to get too close. You can buy one for $17 (a generic clone is $20 on Amazon). I'm buying one to serve hors d'oeuvres at an unpleasant party I intend to host. Read the rest
"Spider in a Bitter 18-day Fight Against Time." This headline reads like Upworthy clickbait, but it's from a 1932 newspaper article about a tiny arachnid in Ohio that became famous for repeatedly attempting to weave a web between the minute hand and the hour hand inside a clock. The web tore every time the hands separated, but the spider would try again. After a little girl named Louise Thompson noticed the Sisyphean spider and told her family about it, word spread around the neighborhood and eventually reached the media.
From Nag on the Lake:
By this time the insect had grown to the size of an ordinary house spider, and the hands of the clock were covered with fine threads. The clock and its eight-legged prisoner were taken to the University of Akron where a biologist attempted to unravel the mystery of how the spider was surviving without a food source.
But there were protests over the fact that the spider was being kept in the clock, instead of being released into the wild, where it could experience its true spider nature. From About:
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Not everyone was taken with the spider in the clock. Some were appalled by the entire spectacle. In particular, the members of the Akron Humane Society deplored what they perceived to be a case of arachnid imprisonment (albeit self-imprisonment).
On December 10, an agent of the Society, G.W. Dilley, issued an announcement to the press, declaring that he would permit Kraatz one week to study the spider, then he would demand its release.
A foolish motorist was lucky to escape unharmed after trying to kill a spider in Center Line, Michigan, with fire. At a gas pump. While pumping gas.
After spotting the terrifying creature and perhaps remembering the Internet's advice on how such things are best disposed of, he whipped out a lighter and promptly set ablaze everything in front of him. He put out the fire himself with a nearby extinguisher, but not before the pump was destroyed.
Fox News Detroit reports that he later came back to say he was sorry.
This charred fuel pump says it all. We are told his car was barely damaged from the flames. But his embarrassing mistake didn't stop the man from coming back the next day as a customer.
"He was sorry," Susan said. "He was sorry, he said he didn't know. It is just one of those things that happen - stupidity."
Adams said this serves as a reminder about being careful around gas pumps. Whether it is using a cell phone or static electricity, the smallest spark can cause a gas station fire.
It is not noted in reports whether the spider escaped immolation. Read the rest
A baboon tarantula loose on a Delta plane caused a three hour flight delay in Baltimore on Wednesday that ended when the airline brought in another aircraft to fly passengers to Atlanta.
According to Delta, the spider had escaped from a cargo container. The spider was eventually found and had never made it into the passenger cabin.
"Safety and security are our top priority," the Delta spokesperson told The Baltimore Sun.
According to Wikipedia, "most baboon spiders are not considered dangerous to humans." Read the rest
A strange phenomenon is happening in Dallas, TX. Drivers commuting through the neighborhood of Lakeside Park have spotted a massive canopy of webs that runs the length of a football field. The canopy is draped over trees and bushes and reaches 40-feet high. Any driver curious enough to step out of their car will see thousands of spiders working together to create this web. Of course this is highly unusual, since spiders are known to normally work alone.
Scientists suggest the webs are strung in cooperation in order to take advantage of rare influxes of insects, a hatch of midges or other water-borne insects from the nearby lake.
Although unusual, it's not the first time spiders have spun a communal web in Texas.
A similar web was found inside Lake Tawakoni State Park in 2007. The appearance of that web surprised many arachnologists, who had never seen or studied such a phenomenon.
The spiders are pretty harmless to humans and should be simply admired for their amazing handiwork. Read the rest
Entomologist/photographer Alex Wild explains in Scientific American how he created this absolutely stunning image of a Sydney funnel-web spider at an Australian venom chemistry laboratory: Read the rest