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Spider's Place In The World

I know. I know. You or someone you know screams when you see a spider and try to find the first thing you have to get rid of him, even if your “weapon” is a shoe. But spiders are pretty cool. And, like every living creature, have a valuable place in our ecosystem.

A Few Facts

  • Spiders are the largest of the air-breathing arthropods. An arthropod is an invertebrate animal having an exoskeleton, a segmented body, and paired jointed appendages. (Crabs, lobster, and shrimp are invertebrates too.)
  • They have eight legs.
  • They can inject venom with their fangs.
  • Their spinnerets extrude silk. A spinneret is the silk-spinning organ of a spider.
  • The brown recluse spider lives 1-2 years but the Goliath birdeater – also known as the King of Spiders – lives 15-25 years.

Their Benefits

There are so many good things about spiders. For one, they help keep things in smooth running order by their lifestyle and habits. They eat a lot of insects, mostly those smaller than themselves. In fact, spiders’ primary role in nearly every ecosystem is controlling insect populations. They like to eat pesky insects like roaches, aphids, moths, and earwigs, helping keep their population in check. Eating insects help alleviate the spread of diseases that destroy our farmland crops because some of these pests can cause disease. Fleas, for example, can spread bubonic plague or typhus. Other disease-carrying critters they eat include mosquitoes, flies, and cockroaches.

Since spiders are so good at getting rid of insects, they can help the plants, fruits, and vegetables that you are growing. They’re especially helpful in killing insects that may attack your tomato plants. You do want a juicy tomato for that salad or sauce, right?


Although many spiders produce venom for use in capturing prey, few species are toxic to humans. In fact, their venom is being used in inventive ways in medicine. And there’s no reason for spiders to attacks humans unless they feel threatened. We aren’t a food source to them – they don’t suck our blood. Even the deadliest spiders are non-aggressive. The National Geographic says that the black widow spider will only bite in self-defense. Like if you sit on them.

The Money Spider

The money spider has its name for a reason – they were meant to bring good fortune. In Ancient Chinese culture, spiders were called happy insects. It was believed to be particularly lucky if they dropped down from the ceiling as if they were dropping down from heaven.

Spider's Inside The House?

Spiders are helpful and usually can’t hurt you, but suppose you don’t want to share your home with them? It’s possible to escort them out in a humane way. Just use two postcards, greeting cards, or any stiff pieces of paper to gently usher them from one piece to the next so you can transfer them outside and release them into the natural environment.

Have you got children? Maybe show them how to move spiders out of your home safely. There are worse lessons to teach them than how to share the world with our many-legged friends.

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