Bill Nye’s fine-tuning his spider sense for this cool episode.

Spiders are everywhere walking, running, and waiting to pounce. All spiders eat meat, which means they’re carnivores. They primarily eat insects, but there’s a big spider in South America that actually eats birds! Spiders catch their food in a lot of different ways. Some spiders pounce on their prey, others lasso insects with a piece of sticky silk, and many spiders spin webs and catch their food there. Spiders come in all kinds of different sizes and colors. All spiders spin silk, even if they don’t use it to catch their lunch.

Be sure to get this straight: spiders are not insects, they’re arachnids. Spiders have eight legs, and insects have only six. Spiders have two body parts, a head and an abdomen, while insects have three body parts, a head, a thorax, and an abdomen. Insects have antennae, and spiders do not. Some insects sting. All spiders have fangs and venom. There are almost certainly a few spiders in the room with you right now.

The “Spider” episode is crawling with excitement.

The Big Idea

  • Spiders are different from insects.
  • Spiders are predators.
  • Spiders spin silk.

Did You Know That?

  • Scientists believe there could be as many as 100,000 different types of spiders on Earth?
  • Some spiders use their silk to make parachutes that catch the wind, and fly through the air?
  • The biggest spider found so far had a body 10 centimeters (4 inches) long and weighed 122 grams (4.3 ounces)?

Books of Science!

  • “Amazing Spiders” by Claudia Schieper. Published by Carolrhoda Books, 1989.
  • “Spiders Near and Far” by Jennifer Owings Dewey. Published by Dutton Children’s Books, 1993.