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Wildlife - Spiders In September!

Friday, 11 September 2009

Wildlife authority Colin Stafford Johnson is with a few eight legged friends and we'll finally be getting aquainted with the guests that come into our homes, wether they are welcome or not!

Why are spiders coming in to our home in September?

. We notice them more because the youngsters have been busy feeding all summer,. They have been shedding their skins and growing.
. It's the breeding season and male spiders are going a courting at this time of the year and become more noticeable.

Many people confuse spiders with cranefly. They may look like daddy long legs but they have 6 legs wings and spiders have 8 legs and don't have wings! Spiderlings are able to cover vast distances in air travel but they do this by producing silk that acts like a sail.


Are there many different species of spider in Ireland?
About 377. The most common ones we'd see are garden spiders and daddy long legs.

What is the biggest spider in Ireland?
The raft spider. The bog spider. Heard someone call it the Jesus Christ spider - it can walk on water. Will hide beneath the water if disturbed.. Females always the biggest. Nothing really big in Ireland though. I once had the largest spider in the world take up residence in my boot. The Goliath bird eating spider - a kind of tarantula. It was the size of a large dinner plate when it emerged. About a foot in diameter. Gentle giant though. Unless you are a small bird, mouse or snake and then he'll bury inch long fangs inside you and eat you.

Are there any dangerous spiders in Ireland?
No. None of them can bite us. They all bite and have venom because that's how they kill their prey. They catch it either by building a web, lying in ambush or chasing. There is always the possibility though that an alien could arrive on a ship but as of now, no, no dangerous ones.

Are there any ways to keep spiders out of your home?
Less clutter the better. They like to hide. I use a jamjar and a bit of stiff paper if I have arachnophobic guests coming to stay. There are spider removers you can buy that harmlessly remove them. Put them someplace where they can live.

How long do they usually live for?
Several years. Depends on the species. Big tropical ones could live to be twenty.

What kinds of habitat do spiders like?
Spiders inhabitat pretty much every place on this earth where life exists. . Are there any plants in the garden that they like? Not really. They just use plants as a suface to build their webs on or to hunt for prey. With one or two exceptions, they are predators and carnivores. Some crab spiders like flowers where they lie in wait for their prey in full camouflage.

Spider mothers are great mothers. Look out for daddy-long-leg Mums carrying their egg cases around at this time of year.

For More Information
If you see an Animal being mistreated then please call either of the following,
Dublin SPCA, 01 4935502, www.dspca.ie

ISPCA, 1890515515, www.ispca.ie

For more information on The Spider Catcher please visit, www.spidercatcher.net

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