Spiders are not insects! They are actually arachnids - invertebrates (animals without backbones) that have eight legs and which inject venom. Spiders are found on every continent except Antarctica. There are over 44,000 known kinds of spiders. Spiders are found in every kind of habitat and are often found in homes!

Spiders are unique among animals in that many spin webs out of silk. The webs trap insects and other prey to be eaten later. Larger spiders, such as wolf spiders, huntsman, and tarantulas, attack prey rather than spin webs. One spider that was recently discovered even flings itself at prey like a slingshot! Most spiders eat insects, but tarantulas, and larger spiders will eat small lizards and mammals as well.

Many people fear spiders. In fact, a fear of spiders has its own name: Arachnophobia! Most spiders, however, are totally harmless to humans and are actually beneficial because they eat insect pests. Even the largest tarantula in existence, the Goliath Bird-eating Tarantula is harmless to humans. A tarantula bite is said to be about as painful as a bee sting. Some spiders, however, such as the Black Widow Spider, are dangerous to humans. Bites from these spiders usually require immediate medical attention.