Spider Webs: A Spider's Secrets Exposed
Shhh... As humans, we can see what a spider's victims miss, the gleam of webs waiting to trap and catch any little creature moving by.
These sticky strands may be a part of a spider's home but more importantly, it is a means of getting food, like a trap line that a hunter has set.
All kinds of these traps are made by different spiders:
Sheet Weavers - make a jungle of tangled silk resembling white blankets.
Orb Weavers - make the classic type of netting, a more organized network, that first comes to mind to many people when think of spiders, with a frame and strands spiralling inwards.
Funnel Weavers - make a tornado or cone shaped home, where victims fall into the bottom
Cobweb Weavers - make a mess of threads going in every which direction, no real pattern to it.
Silk from a spider is a protein that is stronger than steel, yet elastic (meaning it can stretch twice it's length before breaking). It is a rather ingenious and perfect material for a spider trap.. to withstand pressures from wind, vibrations, etc. and prevent victims from breaking free.
Once caught in the sticky snare, the spider will go to it, and spray more silk around the victim, so it can bite without dangers of being attacked. The prey is paralyzed from venom in the spiders bite.
Injected as well are digestive enzymes that turn everything inside the prey's exoskeleton to mush. The spider then sucks up it's nice juicy meal.
Some spiders don't build webs to trap their food, instead actively hunt their food, stalking and striking.. such as the tarantula.
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