Have you ever accidentally walked into a spider web? You might have been surprised by how sticky it was. It can be challenging to remove all the web from your skin and hair!
What makes spider webs so sticky? Spiders use their webs to catch flies, insects, and small animals that they eat. When a fly flies into a spider web unknowingly, it quickly becomes trapped. The spider’s silk is both sticky and strong, allowing it to subdue the prey and have a quick meal!
However, if you’ve observed a spider moving across its web, you may have noticed that it doesn’t get stuck like its prey. Spiders move swiftly and efficiently on their webs, as if they aren’t sticky at all. How do they do it?
Unlike unsuspecting prey, spiders don’t come into full contact with their webs. Instead, they navigate the strands of their webs with only the hairs on the tips of their legs touching the sticky threads. This reduces the chances of getting caught in their own trap!
To avoid sticky situations, spiders groom themselves meticulously. They regularly clean their legs to remove any silk or debris that could cause them to get stuck on their webs.
Moreover, not all parts of a spider’s web are sticky. Many spiders only apply adhesive “glue” in specific areas of their webs. Other areas, especially where the spider rests, are built without “glue” to facilitate movement on the web.
Some people mistakenly believe that spiders have oily legs that prevent them from sticking to their webs. However, this is untrue because spiders do not have oil glands. Recently, scientists have discovered that the hair on a spider’s legs might be coated with a special chemical that prevents the web’s “glue” from sticking.
Try It Out
If you’re fascinated by spiders, explore the world wide WEB and try out one or more of the following activities with a friend or family member:
Choose one or two activities and share pictures of your completed projects on Facebook. We’re excited to see what you create!
- Can you create your own spider web? You don’t have to be a spider or produce silk to make an artistic treat that your friends and family will love. Team up with a friend or family member, gather some craft supplies, and try these fun crafts:
- Paper Plate Spider Web Craft
- Creepy Spider Web Doorway
- Beaded Spider Web
- Foamie Spider in Yarn Web
- Glitter Spider Web
1. Why don’t spiders get caught in their webs?
Spiders have a unique ability to avoid getting caught in their own webs due to a few reasons. First, their bodies are covered in tiny hairs that help them navigate their webs without getting stuck. These hairs also act as sensors, allowing spiders to detect vibrations caused by prey. Second, spiders produce a special kind of silk for their own use, known as “dragline silk.” This silk is much stronger and stickier than the rest of the web, allowing spiders to safely move around without getting trapped. Lastly, spiders are able to carefully control their movements and distribute their weight, avoiding areas of the web that may be more prone to sticking. Overall, these adaptations help spiders to stay free from getting tangled in their own webs.
2. How do spiders build their webs without getting stuck?
Spiders are able to build their intricate webs without getting stuck due to their unique physiology and behavior. First, spiders have specialized feet covered in tiny hairs that help them grip onto the silk threads without getting caught. They also produce a non-sticky silk from their spinnerets, which they use as a guide wire while constructing their webs. This allows them to move around without getting trapped in the sticky silk. Additionally, spiders are careful and precise in their movements, using their legs to carefully navigate and weave the intricate patterns of the web. Their ability to control the amount of pressure they exert on the silk also helps them avoid getting stuck. Overall, spiders have adapted various mechanisms to ensure they can build their webs without becoming entangled.
3. Can spiders ever get caught in their webs?
While spiders have evolved to avoid getting caught in their own webs, there are still instances where they can become trapped. Young spiders or individuals that are not as skilled in web construction may accidentally get entangled in their own silk. Additionally, if a spider is injured or weakened, it may not have the same level of control over its movements, increasing the likelihood of getting caught. In some cases, certain species of spiders intentionally create a “retreat” area within their web where they can safely rest without the risk of getting trapped. However, even with these precautions, there is still a small chance that spiders can get caught in their own webs.
4. How do spiders remove prey from their webs without getting stuck?
Spiders have developed various strategies to remove prey from their webs without getting stuck themselves. One method is by using their specialized legs to detect the vibrations caused by trapped prey. Once they identify that there is prey in the web, spiders approach it carefully, avoiding the sticky strands. They use their legs to immobilize the prey or wrap it in silk, ensuring that it does not struggle and cause them to become entangled. Another technique is the production of a non-sticky silk known as “tangle web.” This silk is strategically placed in certain areas of the web to prevent the spider from getting stuck while capturing prey. Through careful control of their movements and the use of specific silk types, spiders are able to safely remove prey from their webs.