Spider sense

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This is the time of year when the misunderstood and unappreciated spider is out and about weaving intricate webs and wooing mates.

They’re all around us, and yet most of us know little about these interesting animals. They range in size from tarantulas, which can grow a foot long, to arachnids, which can be as small as the head of a pin.

Some spiders can live up to 20 years.

Their silk is five times stronger than steel, and it has been speculated that a spider web with strands the thickness of a pencil could stop a 747 in flight. If you spot one of these eight-legged wonders in your house or garden, please leave it in peace – the spider will soon retreat back into a safe hiding spot.

If you must evict one, do so humanely by placing a glass over the spider and sliding a piece of stiff paper underneath (taking care not to pinch the spider’s delicate legs).

Ben Williamson

People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (Peta)

All Saints Street

London