Charlotte’s description of the life of a spider is pretty accurate, except that they don’t talk or spell. Most spiders live only one season and reproduce by spinning egg sacs. Spiders with webs catch their prey in the web, inject a venom that starts the digestion process and then drink the digested juice within the animal’s body. (Spiders don’t really drink blood. The prey’s body is predigested by the poison the spider injects making the inside of the prey a kind of soup. The spiders drink the soup.) Young spiders disperse by sending out strands of silk, called balloons, and riding the air currents to a new home.

Spiders have four pairs of legs, eight in all. Their bodies have two major parts, a head region and an abdomen. These are joined by a narrow waist. At the end of their abdomen, spiders have small fingerlike spinnerets which produce silk. Spiders have a pair of jaw-like structures as part of their head which end in hollow fangs for injecting venom into their prey. For almost all spiders, these fangs are not strong enough to pierce human skin, however, their jaws can still bite people and spider bites can result in bad infections. Young spiders (spiderlings) look just like the adults, only they are smaller and they may have a different color.

Spiders have an important place in most ecosystems. If spiders didn’t exist, insects like mosquitoes and flies would soon get out of control. People would have to use many more chemicals to control insects.