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Trapdoor Spider

Summary: The trapdoor spider is a neat arachnid that digs a burrow with its fangs. The spider builds a camouflage trapdoor made out of silk and soil to trick its prey.

The trapdoor spider is a very hairy, large arachnid. This is no itsy bitsy spider. It is at least an inch long and has short legs. It usually lives in warm climates such as Australia and the southwestern parts of the United States. What follows are some spider facts about this predatory spider.

A trapdoor spider constructs its burrow in the ground. Since it doesn't have feet or claws the spider uses its fangs to dig its home. This burrow can be as deep as a foot and as wide as an inch. It weaves its own silk into the walls of the burrow. The burrow protects the spider from predators and severe weather conditions.

The unique thing about the trapdoor spider's burrow compared to others is that the spider actually makes a trapdoor as an entrance. This door is made out of a mixture of soil and silk and it fit snugly at the top of the burrow. The trapdoor spider even spreads pieces of plants and soil above the door to disguise it. If the spider senses a little bug crawling around outside its home it pops out of the burrow, snatches the insect, and enjoys a delicious dinner. Favorite foods of the spider include moths, crickets, grasshoppers, ants and beetles.

Animals and bugs that prey on the trapdoor spider include bandicoots (It's an Australian-thing.), birds, scorpions, centipedes, flies, small mammals and parasitic wasps. It is often hard for these animals to find the spider, though, because the trapdoor is camouflaged so well. If the spider emerges from its burrow, it can be quite easy for predators to spot it because of its large size.

When trapdoor spiders mate the male must first find the female by following the scent of her pheromones. He walks around looking for a girl, hoping not to get eaten by a big bug or bird in the process. Some females may mistake the male for yummy prey and try to snatch him up as a meal. When the male finally finds a female he crawls into her burrow/bachelorette pad. The male may even dance for the female. After this process the male spider usually mates with a few other females. He is not monogamous by any means, but he does not have much change for more amorous adventure because he usually dies shortly his first encounter.

Female trapdoor spiders can lay hundreds of eggs at a time, usually occurring in the fall. The eggs nest in a silken cocoon attached to their mother's burrow. After the offspring are born the adult spiders raise them over the winter months. In the spring the young trapdoor spiders are ready to brave the world on their own.

The trapdoor spider can live anywhere between five to twenty years in the wild. This is a very long time for an insect to survive. Imagine all the baby trapdoor spiders that can be reproduced in five to twenty years. Thank goodness there are predators that eat them or they would rule the world.

Here are some tips for dealing with trapdoor spiders:

¢    When gardening, wear socks and tennis shoes, long pants and gardening gloves. This will help protect you from getting bitten by spiders hiding out in your garden.
¢   Wear shoes when you are outside, particularly at night. The cooler nighttime temperatures are ideal conditions for trapdoor spiders to be crawling around.
¢    Replace any screens on your doors or windows if they are ripped or torn. This will prevent spiders and other bugs from getting inside your house.
¢    Move firewood, leaves, garbage and any type of debris away from the foundation of your home. This will deter a multitude of species of insects from sneaking indoors.
¢    You might consider placing weather strips underneath your doors to prevent spiders from crawling inside.
¢    Know that spraying insecticides on trapdoor spiders is useless. They do not work well on this type of spider and may even cause harm to your pets.
¢    If trapdoor spiders are living in your yard, try to locate their burrows. Then, you can pour boiling water down the burrows to get rid of the spiders. When you do this, though, make sure you skin is fully covered because the eight-legged creatures will probably scurry to the surface.
¢    If you have a pool and see a trapdoor spider floating in it, scoop the bug out. Handle with care because it probably will not be dead. It can survive for many hours in the water.

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