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Incy wincy spiderIncy wincy spider climbed the water spout
Down came the rain and washed poor Incy out
Out came the sunshine and dried up all the rain
Incy wincy spider climbed the spout again (repeat)!

The fascination with spiders starts in our infancy and depending how we react to them. Like Marmite we either love them or hate them. For those with a spider phobia (arachnaphobia) we apologise, but there are thousands of people out there who do love watching and keeping spiders.

Spiders belong to the group of animals called arthropods which shed their outer skin as they grow. All arthropods have jointed legs and include crustaceans and insects which have six legs. Incidentally, both crabs and arachnids belong to this group, which have eight legs. Spiders, scorpions and ticks belong to the arachnid group. A spider's body is divided into two main parts, the head and the abdomen. All eight legs are attached to the abdomen. Spiders have claws on the end of each of their legs which enable them walk on their web and sense movement nearby. Most spiders have eight compound eyes.

Spiders live almost everywhere on the planet where they can find their preferred food. Their habitat ranges from jungle, swamps and underground to caves and deserts to a little closer to home, ie. in and on our houses, and outbuildings. One particular kind of spider spends most of its life under water.

There are over thirty thousand different kinds of spiders, most of them harmless to humans. Spiders help mankind by eating insect pests. Only a few are dangerous. Many spiders, like the wolf spiders and the large bird-eating spider may look fierce but are not usually much of a danger to humans. Many people keep bird-eating spiders as pets!

All spiders can spin silk. Some make webs with their silk to catch insects for food. Other kinds of spiders do not make webs but catch their food by jumping on it. However, all have hollow fangs and most use them to inject poison into their prey when they capture it. Spiders generally eat insects but some eat tadpoles, small frogs and fish, and mice and some are cannibals. The female red back spider often eats the smaller male.

After mating the female lays eggs. The spider wraps her eggs inside a sac made of silk; some hide this sac while others carry it with them. When the eggs hatch the spiderlings, grow and shed their outer skin as they grow.

Any spider pictures gratefully received. Please send to the address below or if digital, by email.

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