Not very big, but he stayed still for long enough for a quck photo

WILDLIFE COLUMN: It’s time for lovestruck spiders

Well, October and Halloween are on the way. What nicely spooky creature should I look at?
Well, personally I think there can only be one candidate, not least because this is the time of year when they appear in our homes. Spiders! Great big hairy ones too, that enliven a night’s TV viewing by scuttling across the floor.
These are literally house spiders.
Members of the family “tegenaria”, more properly known as “funnel-weavers”.
Not to be confused with the Australian funnel web spiders, which are a completely different kettle of fish (or spider).
They like to live in sheltered spots, the insides of buildings really suit them.
They lay sheets of webbing down, forming a funnel, and then sit at the top end.
Any insect that falls over the sheet is then grabbed and eaten.
So, why are they appearing in our houses?
Well, whilst they usually find our homes too busy and bustling, now is the time of year when male spiders go looking for love.
Setting off on a quest, to find a lovely maiden to woo and raise a family with.
In this odyssey they end up exploring all possible places where a female might be, which includes our homes.
That terror sitting at the bottom of your bath is really just an unrequited Romeo, looking for his eight-legged Juliet!
So what to do about them?
Some people say that conkers produce a smell that they don’t like, though there is no evidence to this.
Another spider might be your saviour though. Daddy-long-legs spiders are the ones with tiny bodies and incredibly long legs.
They also come into houses and hide in ceiling corners. They do catch flies, but they also hunt and eat the big hairy spiders!
Yes, it is a spider-eat-spider world out there…

by Dr Chris Andrews,
Visitor Experience Manager, RSPB Frampton

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