Blog: Carlita the Croc

Spiders: A Love Story


This week’s blog post is coming to us from Yvette Mendez, Senior Roving Naturalist at Brookfield Zoo.  You may remember Yvette from such previous posts as, Monarch butterflies in May…and March! and Monarch, or not a monarch? Today she is here to talk to us about another spineless, yet noble creature: the spider.

“I love spiders.  I love every single one of their eight little legs.  I love their two, efficient body parts, the cephalothorax and abdomen.  I especially love a fuzzy tarantula butt. 

I didn’t always love spiders.  In fact, I used to be arachnophobic.  I think everyone knows what that means ever since the John Goodman movie came out about it.  Actually, I think everyone became arachnophobic because of that movie.  But some years ago, something happened that made me overcome my fear:  I watched a spider. 

This particular spider was a tarantula. The big, hairy, “scary” ones that “eat birds.”  This tarantula was in her little habitat, perched on top of her hollowed-out half log hide (how’s that for alliteration?)  The two little extra “legs” at the front of her body were moving.  I looked closer and watched patiently.  I had discovered how a tarantula ate!  She was using her pedipalps (the parts that look like extra mini-legs, but are actually mouth parts) to manipulate a cricket between her fangs.  The action was slow, methodical, and hypnotizing.  I wrote a song about it:

Spidey, spidey, spidey,
Can’t you see?
Sometimes your eating habits hypnotize me…

Anyway, what happened next was a cascade of learning that led to my love affair with tarantulas, and eventually, most other spiders.  I even came to own some as pets.  In that time, I have learned some not-so-well known things about spiders. 
I have learned that they clean and redecorate their homes.
And they can recycle their silk by eating it.
I’ve learned that they come in all the colors of the rainbow.
Lulu spider
And some even change colors as they grow from spiderling to adult.
I’ve learned that they can give awesome high fives…
spider high-five
And feel like eight q-tips touching you as they walk across your hand.
I’ve learned that jumping spiders are like the teddy bears of the spider world.
jumping spider
And that they play a really important role in controlling insect populations, by eating them.

I love spiders.”

Yvette can go on and on – and on – for days talking about spiders.  But, we only have so much space here.  Check back for future posts on just how and why spiders are so lovable!

Posted: 5/15/2015 3:42:00 PM by Filed under: spiders

Carlita the Croc

I'm Carlita the Croc, here to deliver my candid views on various topics, articles, news, and stories in conservation. For the latest news follow me on Twitter, for striking photos follow me on Instagram.


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