TV wildlife presenters from shows such as The One Show and Lost Land of the Volcano have joined with Buglife to Love Spiders! We have amazing spider facts and fantastic spidery children's activities!
Wildlife presenters Steve Backshall, Miranda Krestovnikoff and George McGavin, and writer and broadcaster Germaine Greer, have joined with Buglife this autumn, to spread Spider Love!
Spiders are in many ways the most exciting creatures on earth. Right here in the UK we have spiders that'll dive underwater to catch tadpoles and even small fish, spiders that tend their young in little creches made from silken tents, little wolves that carry their spiderlings around on their backs, even cute jumping spiders that'll bounce around like they're on pogo sticks - and will even show off to you if they think you're a rival! What spiders are NOT is dangerous - I'd love a chance to convince every kid out there that spiders are wonderful before they grow up and inherit their parent's fears!!!
My 2 3/4 year old daughter is now fascinated by spiders... on the walk to nursery, we have discovered an old wall with holes along its length and a number of tube web spiders living in the holes. Now, every day we have to walk with a feather in hand to tickle the end of the tubes and bring out the spiders. They are fast, fascinating and unusual in that the front 3 pairs of legs face forward (other spiders have 2 pairs facing forwards and 2 backwards) and they have large, green iridescent fangs!! Not something to be scared of - more something to marvel at in the brief second that they emerge!
Spiders are supercool creatures - the more you learn about them the more you appreciate just how incredible they are
Photo © Jin Packard/BBC
All my life I've had terrible trouble with eight-leggedness. The first time I saw an octopus, I nearly fainted. I'd cope better with ticks if they had a pair of legs less. When it comes to big spiders I've done my best to get used to them, but my heart beat accelerates and my skin crawls whenever one scuttles into my ken. I can't relax if there's a spider looking at me.
That was before Dymphna. Dymphna was a yellow-kneed huntsman (Holconia sp.) who lived in the kitchen of my old farmhouse in south-east Queensland. She was so big that if she splayed her legs around the rim of the sugar-bowl she could balance in the middle. When she dashed after the flies that bumbled against the wall, you could hear her footsteps. She could hear me too, because when I shouted at her she would flinch. Most times she just stayed high up on the kitchen wall, where her tattered old hammock of a net - you couldn't really call it a web - dredged all kinds of nibbles out of the air. Every now and then she would turn up unexpectedly, under my newspaper or on the toilet roll or in my hat, and make me shriek or drop things. She would even go walkabout and end up in my bedroom, which was strictly off limits. So I decided she would have to be moved.
We didn't simply chuck her over the verandah. Instead she was carefully trapped and taken a hundred yards away and installed in an old fowlhouse. For three weeks all was calm, though I had to admit that I missed her. I felt bad because I remembered afterwards that huntsmen were territorial; I thought, guiltily, that the resident fowlhouse huntsman had probably fought her to the death. Then one morning there she was under her old net, methodically working her way through the hundreds of small buzzy things that had blundered into it while she was away. She looked wizened and scrawny, and utterly worn out by the long struggle to find her way back.
'I guess I'm stuck with you,' I said. Dymphna lifted one of her eight tired feet, brought it to what passed for her mouth and carefully cleaned it. She went on grooming herself for hours, like a cat on her own hearthrug. It takes a very long time and a lot of luck to grow a spider as big and as smart as Dymphna. I never disrespected her again.