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Image courtesy of Runt of the Web

Poor spiders! They seem to be at or near the top of most folks’ list of creepy crawly icky things that they don’t want anywhere near them. They usually make the sides of pest control vans too, even though they’re practically the opposite of a pest. Spiders never infest your food supplies, but they eat some of the things that do, they don’t bite you without a good reason, and some of them construct super cool webs.

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Argiope aurantia, Black and Yellow Garden Spider

According to National Geographic, the average spider eats about 2,000 insects a year, so spiders are good to have around the home.

Of the more than nine hundred species of spider in Texas, only two are potentially dangerous (barring an allergic reaction similar to how some people react to bee stings); the black widow and brown recluse. Both of these are quite shy, choosing to stay hidden and let food come to them.

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The red spot is on the belly of the black widow. Image courtesy of wikipedia

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Brown recluses aren’t much bigger than a penny. Image courtesy of Wikipedia

Spiders are an incredibly diverse and fascinating group of animals. There are small ones, big ones, fuzzy ones; some burrow, some make huge webs way up high, some use silk as a lasso, some take care of their babies for a time, some dive under water taking along a bubble of air. There is even one that spits a combination of glue and venom at its prey-how cool is that? Some are just downright cute.

Phidippus regius female jumping spider. Photo by Thomas Shahan via flickr

Phidippus regius female jumping spider. Photo by Thomas Shahan via flickr

As with other venomous creatures, many people tend to be overly concerned about them. Bites do happen on occasion, though almost always from accidental contact. We come close to many more spiders than we will ever know because of their usual small size and reclusive habits. This Halloween, let’s give spiders some credit and think of them as natural pest control instead of pests themselves!

Comb-clawed spider chomping down on some pesky ants

Comb-clawed spider chomping down on some pesky ants

Find out more cool stuff about spiders – check out Spider Facts on the Discovery Channel website

Wolf spider mom carrying dozens of babies on her back.

Wolf spider mom carrying dozens of babies on her back.

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