You may love or hate spiders (although I fear most are in the second category) but despite whether you love or hate them, spiders play an important role in the environment. When my children and I stumble on any animal we usually take time to look at it and talk about that animal’s role in the environment. Spiders are no exception although this time we had to get a little more hands-on!
Miss Possum found a huntsman spider in the house and it was a perfect opportunity to teach the girls that we don’t need to kill an animal to get it out of our house. Instead we can release it outside. So we did.
What you need to catch a spider
- A container or a cup that’s bigger than the spider
- A piece of paper (or cardboard, if you don’t feel that’s thick enough).
I should remind you all here to check the type of spider it is before catching it. If it’s venomous it would be better left for the professionals and save this activity for a spider that you know is quite harmless.
Before you try to catch the spider to release it outside, talk about the spider. Here are some questions you can pose to your children:
- How many legs does it have?
- What does it eat?
- Where are its eyes?
- Why do you think it’s in our house?
- Why shouldn’t we kill it?
- Why are spiders important for the environment?
- Do all spiders make webs?
We looked in our wildlife guide-book to find out if the huntsman spider was poisonous (I already knew the answer, but I think it’s good for children to find out themselves). We also learnt a lot about them. We learnt that a huntsman spider is nocturnal, that it doesn’t make a web but hunts its food at night and that they are great for around our house because they eat cockroaches. We also admired the features on its body.
How to catch a spider
Next, you’ll need to catch it.
I caught it before I realised this would be a good post for you guys (the things I do for a blog post!) and so I tipped the spider out and did it again while getting hubby to take the photos.
I must admit, I did squeal a couple of times. They are just so fast and although I love spiders, I’m not fond of having them run up my arm. I tried not to get silly about it and reassured the girls I wasn’t scared. Still, I did see my children get slightly more anxious after that (darn instincts, why did I squeal!)
- Catching a spider works best if your spider is on a flat surface. Have both your cup (or container) and piece of paper ready and close by you.
- Grab your cup and quickly place it over the spider (try not to squish those little legs).
- Then, slowly move the paper under the cup.
- Put your hand up under the paper to keep the spider contained. There, wasn’t that easy?!
- Then, release it outside!
Yesterday, Miss possum found another huntsman inside, although this one was much smaller and she wanted to catch it herself. I was surprised but she did it and she did it without squealing too!
It’s so lovely to know that my children are already thinking to take animals outside rather than killing it (we catch moths and geckos too). This little activity really does teach your child that every animal has its place in the world and it’s important that they do their job… just outside!
Have you ever caught a spider? How do you feel about spiders in your home?