Happy October to you!
Are you afraid of spiders? if so, you might have one of the most common fears on the planet! But, before you go running off and getting webs in your hair, check out this spiderific episode and let's see if we can change your mind. Or, at least bust some of the most common myths about spiders!
In this episode, we take a deeper dive into the myths that surround spiders and put them to the test. Some are true and some are not, but they’re all fascinating!
Chuck Darwin gives us a new word that I found hard to say, Tito gives us some spooky spider facts, and Captain Jack tells us why we shouldn’t catch spiders in our house and put them outside. I am totally guilty of that!
There's a project PDF to go along with the episode that involves apps, and you can download the PDF HERE.
If you are an educator and would like the classroom resource packet for this episode, you can get it HERE.
If you want to watch this episode as a video on YouTube, you can do that HERE.
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Are spiders spooky or spectacular? Frightening or fantastic? Let’s find out…..starting….right now!
Hello, Planeteers! Welcome back to another exciting episode of "Nature Just Got Real!" I'm your host, K.B. Carr, and today we're going to be spinning some spider-tastic tales. That's right, we're diving into the world of those eight-legged wonders: SPIDERS! Are they Spooky or spectacular? We are busting some spider myths today and getting down to the spiderific facts. Only the facts, ma’am! ONLY THE FACTS!
But first, I want to say a big hello and thank you to our listeners in Germany, Taiwan, and France who tied for the most downloads from outside the US for the last episode. So cool! Also, for the first time, we had listeners in South Korea. Welcome! I love watching your TV shows on Netflix! I do. They’re so good! And, this time, we also had a tie for the city that had the most downloads between Frankfurt, Germany, and in the US, Westwood, New Jersey, and Plano, Texas! I used to live not too far from Plano. I know right where you are! All of you guys are awesome! Also, if your class is listening to this podcast, have your teacher contact me through weirdandwackyplanet.com or go to the classroom resources page on the website because we have some special resources just for you. That’s a new feature for this season as we go into more and more classrooms. Thank you so much, all of you, for listening!
If you are watching this on video, which you can do on YouTube and possibly other places, there may be pictures inserted here and there of the things we are talking about. But if you are just listening and you’re interested in seeing those pictures, you’ll find a downloadable PDF in the show notes. It may be helpful to have that to look at while listening to the episode so you can see them for yourself as we talk about them if we have that available for this episode.
Let’s get started!
So…what exactly is a spider? That might seem like a dumb question, but I ask that because…hold onto your bug nets….here’s the scoop: Spiders are not insects! Whaaaa??? Nope! They belong to a special group of creatures called “arachnids."
That's like being part of an exclusive club where they all have eight legs, 2 body parts, and no antennae, It's like an Arachnid Dance Party Club!
Party sound effect
So, all spiders are arachnids. But… not all arachnids are spiders. Some other well-known types of arachnids include daddy longlegs or harvestmen, which is their other name, scorpions, mites, and ticks. And, by the way, daddy long legs are NOT spiders at all!
SHOCKING! I always thought they were.
Many times, when humans find a spider in their house, they catch it and put it outside thinking they are doing a good deed, but that’s not the case. Captain Jack will tell us why in a bit.
But first, let's get into the nitty-gritty of the spider life cycle. It all starts with a teeny-tiny spider egg. Mama spider carefully lays her eggs in a cozy silk sac, and guess what? She can lay hundreds of them! Talk about a large family! These eggs hatch into baby spiders, called spiderlings, and they're so cute you'd never guess they'd grow up to be spider superheroes.
As spiderlings grow, they molt or shed their old skin to make room for their bigger bodies. It's like they're wearing a spider onesie that they grow out of! This happens several times until they reach adulthood. Then, they're ready to start spinning their webs and catching tasty meals.
Speaking of webs, did you know that not all spiders spin webs? Nope, some are ambush predators, like the jumping spider. They're like the ninjas of the spider world, leaping on their prey with lightning speed!
Now, here are some fascinating spider facts to amaze your friends with:
The fear of spiders is called Arachnophobia. In fact, it’s the number one most common phobia in the world! So, why are humans often scared of spiders? Well, it's a bit of a mystery, but there are a few reasons. One is that some spiders can be venomous, which means their bites can hurt.
But guess what? Most spiders are harmless to humans. They're like little bug police, keeping your house free of annoying insects.
Another reason is that many people find spiders creepy because of their eight legs and multiple eyes. But, just because they look different doesn't mean they're bad. In fact, spiders are incredibly important to our environment. Remember, they help control the insect population on the planet, which makes our world a better place.
And here's another fun fact: Did you know that spiders are found almost everywhere on Earth? From deep in the rainforests to high up in the mountains, they're like the world's best travelers!
Here’s Dr. Chuck Darwin with the scientific word for this episode.
For this episode, the word is Arachnology-what is it and who does it?
Arachnology is a noun and describes the study of spiders and other arachnids. This differs from entimology, which is the study of insects, and many people confuse the two. Since spiders are not insects, they have their own field of study.
A person who specializes in the study of arachnids is called an Arachnologist, and the word used to describe the observances or behaviors of arachnids is called an arachnological study or observance.
Use the words Arachnology, Arachnologist, or arachnological in a sentence today, and impress someone with your genius!
Until next time, I’m Dr. Chuck Darwin, Cheerio.
Awesome, Dr. Chuck! Thank you for letting us know the difference between those two sciences. I didn’t know that there was a separate one for arachnids, but since they’re not insects, that makes total sense.
Now here’s Tito with some creepy facts about spiders. Take it away, Toto!
Today, I’m gonna bust some spooktacular spider myths, so you can freak your science teacher out with your magnificent knowledge. Here we go:
1. All spiders spin silk.
TRUE. This is unique to spiders and they can all make silk to wrap food, make egg sacs, and other structures. It’s a spider thing and that’s how they roll.
2. All spider spin webs.
FALSE. Some spiders hunt from the ground or from bushes and tall grass. They use their self for the other previously mentioned things.
3. All sliders are carnivores.
TRUE. All spiders prey on other animals to survive.
4. All spiders vomit on their prey.
TRUE. Spiders spray digestive juices onto the prey and then feed on the solid pieces that are softened up. Kinda like marinating your meat before you cook it, am I right?
5. Spiders have oily feet so they don’t get stuck in their own web,
FALSE. They tiptoe carefully around their web and their little hairy feet rarely get stuck, but if they do, it’s kinda like a human stepping on a wad of gum, so it’s no big deal.
6. Some spiders have venom that is dangerous to humans.
TRUE. The Black Widow, Brown Widow, and Brown Recluse have venom that’s toxic to humans, but they’ll only bite if you reach into their webs, so watch where you’re sticking your fingers!
7. People accidentally swallow an average of four spiders a year in their sleep.
FALSE. It’s highly unlikely you will ever swallow a spider while sleeping. As for myself, I may have swallowed one or a hundred while I’m awake, but that was no accident.
So that’s the scary scoop on spiders. Not as scary as you thought, eh? I’m Tito and I’ll see youse all next time.
Thanks, Tito. Some of that…is just disturbing. But, good to know.
Now, remember earlier when I said that catching spiders and taking them outside may not be the best idea?? Well, here’s Captain Jack to tell us why.
Ahoy Mateys! In this episode, today’s Ask the Captain question is When I find a spider in my house, can I just catch it and set it free outside?
Well, some people might think it's a good idea to catch the house spider and take it outside. But, here's the thing: house spiders are used to living indoors. They like the cozy and warm environment, and they might not survive very well outside, because they're not used to the cold and changing weather outdoors.
So, if you catch a house spider and put it outside, it might have a tough time finding food, staying safe, and building a new home. It's like putting your hamster out in your yard. How well and how long do you think it’ll survive?
And while House spiders may seem a little scary, they are actually very helpful to us. They are like nature's little pest controllers! You see, house spiders catch and eat tiny bugs that can be annoying or even carry diseases, like flies and mosquitoes. So, when you find a spider in your house, it's like having a little helper keeping those pesky bugs away.
Instead of catching and releasing house spiders, it's better to let them stay inside. They won't harm you, and they'll keep doing their important job of catching those annoying bugs. So, next time you see a house spider, you can thank it for helping to keep your home bug-free, and just let it be your friendly, eight-legged roommate
And there you have it! Next time you see a spider in your house, give it a one-hand salute, tell it it’s doing a good job, and move on with your life.
And, if YOU have questions for me, just email me at email@example.com. I’m alwayyyys listening. This is Captain Jack signing off till next time. BuByeeee!
Thank you for that important information, Jack. I have to admit, I’ve been guilty of this one many times. I thought I was saving it’s life and getting it out of my house, but it turns out that probably wasn’t good for the spider AT ALL!
Ok, episode recap: What are my takeaways from today?
Arachnids are not OLNY spiders. Who knew scorpions were also arachnids? And the fact that Daddy Longlegs are not spiders blew my mind!
Entomology does NOT include the study of spiders because they aren’t insects! They have their own field of study called Arachnology. Hope I’m saying that right…
Sound of Arachnology
Oh good, sounds right.
Thank goodness I don’t really have to worry about swallowing a spider. Thanks for busting that myth! I love you, Tito!
And, I will leave the spiders alone in my house from now on instead of carrying them outside. My bad. Good to know.
What are some of YOUR takeaways from today’s episode?
Well, that's a wrap for today's creepy-crawly adventure! Remember, spiders might be a little spooky, but they're our eight-legged friends. So, the next time you see a spider, don't scream; say hello! Don’t forget to download the Project PDF so you can identify and study the spiders around you. That would make YOU a junior Aracnologist!
Sound of Aracnologist
Sorry. Such an awkward word to say…
If you enjoyed this episode, be sure to subscribe and share it with your fellow nature enthusiasts. We'll be back next month with another episode from the wild, so until then, go have an eight-legged, silk-spinning adventure… in YOUR neighborhood!