Seaside and Wayside, Book One  by Julia McNair Wright

The Spider and His Food

S OME people say that they "hate spiders." Why do they dislike them? "Oh," they say, "they are so very greedy!" Well, a spider must eat a great deal, or he cannot spin his web.

His food makes the glue that makes the web. Spiders work hard. So they must eat much.

"But they bite." They will not bite you if you do not hurt them. If they do, the bite will do you no harm. They bite insects to kill them.

Do you not eat fish, meat, and birds? Who kills this food for you?

"But the spider is not pretty." True, his shape is not pretty, nor are his long hairy legs pretty. Just see his fine black or gold coat! Is not that pretty?

If he is not pretty, he is wise and busy. Webs are very pretty, if spiders are not.

Spiders eat flies and all kinds of small bugs. When a fly is fast in a web, he hums loud from fear. He seems to know that the spider will come and eat him.

The spider will eat dead birds. One kind of spider kills small birds to eat.

When spiders eat they do not chew their food; they suck out the juice.

There is a spider that lives on water. He knows how to build a raft.

He takes grass and bits of stick, and ties them up with his silk. On this raft he sails out to catch flies and bugs that skim over the water. There is a spider that lives in the water. She can dive. Her nest is like a ball. It shines like silver. Her web is so thick that it does not get wet. Her velvet coat keeps her as dry as a fur coat. Her eggs are of the color of gold.


His Diving-bell

Spiders are very neat. They hate dust and soot. They will not have a dirty web. If you put a bit of dirt or leaf on the web, Mrs. Spider will go and clean it off.

She shakes her web with her foot until all the lines are clean. If the dirt will not shake from the web, the spider will cut the piece out, and mend the web with new lines.

Spiders are great water drinkers. They cannot bear drought. They soon die of thirst.