Animal Kingdom

Meet death on eight legs – the fierce and awesome Camel Spider was born to give people nightmares

Large, hairy, and growing to 6-inches long, they are also called “wind scorpions” for their amazing speed. The many legends surrounding the Camel Spider will give you nightmares. It has been told that they eat camel stomachs – from the inside out - and are said to scream as they speed across the desert floor, leap incredible distances to chase fleeing humans, and kill people by injecting them with venom then feeding on their bodies as they sleep. Of course, none of this is true but with jaws about a third of their body length, they can shred prey as big as rodents.  I would say that's enough to give pause when you run across one. Camel spiders are arachnids but belong to a different order than most other spiders. Despite…
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Animal Kingdom

Giant spider web covers over 4 acres of space in water treatment facility

Before we begin, let’s get this out of the way: AyeeeeEEEEEEeeeeeee!!! Back in 2009, the Baltimore Wastewater Treatment Plant put in a call of the most unusual nature when they reported a giant spider web that covered almost 4 acres of their huge indoor water treatment facility. Scientists estimated the giant spider web contained well over 107 million spiders!  See the 4-acre spider web in the picture above. The culprits were orb-weaver spiders that in some cases, filled over 95% of the various sections of the plant. The spider webbing was so heavy, it pulled light fixtures from the ceiling. There are over 10,000 species of orb weaver spiders. In all, they make up about 25% of the planet’s spider population.
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Animal Kingdom

Puppy-sized spider makes horrifying clicking sound when walking and shoots barbed webs into your eyes

Harvard entomologist Piotr Naskrecki’s was taking a nighttime walk in a rainforest in Guyana, when he heard rustling as if something were creeping underfoot. When he turned on his flashlight, he expected to see a small mammal, such as a possum, raccoon, or a rat. Instead… "When I turned on the light, I couldn't quite understand what I was seeing.” What he was seeing was a nightmare come to life – the South American Goliath birdeater spider, which has legs about a foot long (the size of a child’s forearm), a body the size of “a large fist”, and weighs about ½ pound. For those trying to form the visual – that’s the size of a small puppy!  In addition, the birdeater spider’s body is…
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Science Tips

Spiders and their strange webs

Why don’t spiders stick to their webs? A spider’s web is one of the strongest and stickiest substances known to man (relatively speaking, it is stronger even than steel). A single spider can spin an intricate web in less than an hour after which, she (yes, we refer to spiders as “she” – ask the boys – they’ll explain why) waits around for bugs and other critters to get stuck in the web so she can devour them. The spider feeds the webbing out of their abdomen and they use a few of their legs to guide the web into place while the other legs are used for pulling far reaching webs into place, feeling for the correct position to attach a web, picking their…
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