How long do spiders live? And other spider facts
Wait! Before you go any further, there's something you should know. We get up close and personal with our eight-legged friends below. And there are some truly awesome photos. So if spiders give you the heebie jeebies, you have been warned!
As the season changes, you may have noticed some big hairy spiders crawling out of the bath plughole, scuttling across the floor, or dangling from the ceiling. It's because early autumn is the breeding season for spiders and the males are out and about searching for a female to pair up with.
Spiders are a type of arachnid, a minibeast that has eight legs and no antennae. There are around 650 species of spider in the UK, most of which live outdoors.
How long do spiders live?
Most UK spiders live for around a year, but the females of some species can life for up to two or three years, especially if they live indoors. The oldest recorded spider in the world was an Australian trapdoor spider, which lived to the ripe old age of 43 before being killed by a wasp.
How do spiders make webs?
A spider produces strands of sticky silk from glands in its stomach called spinnerets. When the strands come into contact with the air, they harden into strong and stretchy threads called gossamer, which the spider uses to spin its web.
How big can spiders grow?
The giant house spider can have a body up to 1.8cm long, and the daddy long legs can have legs that are as long as 5cm. You may think that's pretty big as spiders go, but the world's largest spider, the giant birdeater tarantula, can be the size of a dinner plate. Don't worry - you won't find one hiding in your cupboard as they live in the rainforests of South America!
How many eyes do spiders have?
Many types of spider have eight eyes - a main pair at the front and three other pairs of secondary eyes. Despite having so many eyes, most spiders don't see that well and rely more on touch and taste to find their way around.
Where do spiders live?
Indoor spiders like to live in dusty corners, cupboards and other hidey holes. Outdoor spiders live in all sorts of places - gardens, woods, holes in walls and fences, even in water.
How do spiders reproduce?
When a male spider finds a female, he gives her a web a little shake to get her attention. If she likes the look of him, she invites him in and they mate. The male spider dies during the winter and, when spring comes, the female produces her eggs, which are contained in silky sacs, or bags. After a month or so, the spiderlings emerge from the eggs. Different spider species mature at different rates, some a few weeks after hatching, and some taking around two years to reach maturity.
Do spiders bite?
Did you know that all spiders have fangs? Not to worry though, the fangs of most UK spiders aren't strong enough to break your skin. A few might bite, but only if they feel threatened. Their bites aren't dangerous and will only be red and itchy for a day or two at most.
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