Halloween’s eight-legged creatures

A little spider in our garden

A little spider in our garden

Do you live in Antarctica? No, well if you don’t like spiders, that’s the only place to go to have none, everywhere else, on every continent they are. If you suffer from arachnophobia, best not meet the Giant Huntsman spiders, as they have leg-spans of around 30cm! In France we only have a few dangerous ones. The one in the picture lives in the well in our garden.

I wonder what it is, that makes people afraid of these Arachnids, they’re not insects, as they have eight (symbolic number) legs, not six, which they can grow back… Is it because they are bearing fangs, have claws at the end of each leg, have a digestive system, adapted exclusively to taking up liquid food (they generally digest their prey outside the body and then suck the fluid) or because they are generally carnivorous and feed only on living prey? Surely that’s not on you!

Did you know their average life span is usually one to two years, but it can be five and up to twenty years and according to scientists there may be up to 100 000 different species. Many of them are so small that their colours can only be seen through a microscope, even in the animal world it doesn’t always seem easy to see others’ true colours!

When my husband was in Bahrain he saw loads of bigs spiders, called dessert spiders, his team called them camel spiders. Viciously he throt on one, to his surprise the spider carried on walking, with his foot on it. That made my “courageous” man run away!

Did you know that small and young spiders travel for many miles, being carried through the air by a breeze, a method called ballooning. And if I haven’t scared you enough, remember they were supposed to be the evil companions of witches, during medieval times. Come on! Rest assured though: around Halloween, you normally won’t see many living spiders, as they already laid their eggs and died!

Spiders are beneficial to us! Their venom offers several chemicals that may be useful to control or treat human diseases, this is proven by medical research! They help us by eating harmful insects responsable for destroying crops, or spreading nasty diseases, such as mosquitoes and flies! Virtually, the spider is a natural representation of our cycle of life!

They don’t harm us and rarely bite people, most species found in the world are harmless. In England, a spider in the house, means good luck, bringer of good fortune, so don’t kill it, says superstition. “If you want to live and thrive, let a spider run alive” says my husband.

For the feminists amongst us, they occasionally eat males, whether they are annoying or not…

My niece Martine encountered this beautiful specimen, living in a hole in the ground, in South Africa:

Big spider in South Africa

Big spider in South Africa

So what can we actually learn from spiders: “When spiders unite, they can tie down a lion” says an Ethiopian idiom… always handy to know! For me its “blow away the cobwebs”, try to make my mind cleaner and fresher every day!

Wondering whether you like spiders or not? There are beautiful and endless myths and legends about spiders, worthwhile reading on the internet, do have a search!

This one was seen by my friend Lia, in the Ardennes department in the South of Belgium, to be honest I thought it was an exotic species, but it’s a local one. Makes one think twice before going on holiday over there!

Giant spider in Belgium

Giant spider in Belgium

Time to say goodbye, offering you one of the first rhymes I was taught here in France:

Une araignée le matin, porte le chagrin,
une araignée le soir, porte de l’espoir

Weaving her own life with a spider’s persistence,

Halloween spider queen




1 Comment on Halloween’s eight-legged creatures

  1. Veerle
    October 10, 2014 at 10:25 pm (4 years ago)

    I don’t fancy them but I will never kill them. Movies like ‘Harry Potter and the chamber of secrets’ or in ‘Lord of the rings – Return of the king) the spider named shelob brrrrr, doesn’t really help for people’s fear of spiders I guess 🙂


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