Thursday, September 4, 2014

Banana spiders in all their splendor

This is one corner of my Citrus County home, and on every other other corner and lots of places in between there are banana spiders. When we lay on a raft in the pool we can see multiple banana spiders high above us, their webs connecting from tree to tree.

Banana spiders, also known as golden orb weavers are large colorful spiders with little known predators besides man. The name banana spider is from the shape of their body and not the fact that they live near banana trees. Golden orb weavers got that name because they web has a golden hue to it. When I started to do some research I found some amazing information including claims that a banana spider is able to capture and eat a small bird!

Banana spiders build their webs quickly and unlike other spiders, they stay in plain site and await prey to be caught in the web. Its also almost impossible to tear down the orb weavers web because they work on it all the time and make repairs faster than you can knock it down. If I had a dollar for every banana spider web I have walked into over the years I could take a nice long vacation! Females can grow up to three inches (not including the legs) so we are talking about some pretty good size spiders.

Although the spiders are large, they are mostly harmless. Banana spiders do have small fangs and a small amount of venom but they are docile unless provoked and I have never heard of anyone getting bitten. You don't have worry about the bite being dangerous, the way you do with black widows or the  brown recluse spider.  The video below shows how they respond when my son gently prods the web with a piece of pine straw.

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