Beautiful October – yellow leaves
are flying in the wind, pumpkins are ripening, spiders are at their web-weaving best and we are getting ready for Halloween.
During the fall most spiders
mate, lay eggs and die.  Others
prepare for winter, when they will be dormant.  There are many species of spiders, but in general they can
be divided into two groups based on the way they get food. 
Hunting spiders don’t make webs;
they either chase their prey until they catch it or lie in wait and pounce on
passing bugs.  They have excellent eyesight
and are fast runners.
Trapping spiders make webs to
catch insects and other small creatures. 
They don’t need to have good eyesight or speed, since their victims get
caught in their sticky webs and can’t escape.  Web styles include funnel webs, cob webs that look like a
tangle of threads, sheet webs that look like a stretched-out trampoline of
threads, and orb webs – this is the type of web most people think of when they
imagine a spider web.  
Spiders have two body parts and
eight legs.  They have chelicerae, or jaws, with sharp, hollow
fangs at the tip.  Once they have
caught a bug or trapped it in a web, spiders inject their prey with poison and
digestive juices that turn their victims’ insides to soup.  The spider then sucks out the soup
through their fangs, and toss the dried-up body out of the way like an old
juice box.  Talk about a scary
Halloween story!

  •     Find a clean
    spray bottle and fill it with water.
  •  Search nearby
    bushes and grasses for signs of spiders. 
    You will probably find funnel webs and sheet webs in the grass, and orb
    webs in the bushes. 
  • Webs are often
    hard to spot; you may notice one web strand shining in the sunlight, or see a
    big spider that looks like it’s floating in the air.
  • Using the spray bottle,
    gently cover the web with mist – try not to upset the spider!  
  • When the web is
    wet it will catch the light and show up beautifully.  What kinds of webs can you find?

At Halloween we think about stories
of ghosts and monsters.  But what
do these things have to do with science? 
You might be surprised! 
There is a field of scientific study called Crypto Zoology.  ‘Crypto’ means ‘hidden’, and ‘zoology’
means the ‘study of animals’.  Put
these together, and you get the study of unseen but well-known animals that
people tell stories about.  These
stories become legends.  Scientists
use their observation skills and sensitive testing equipment to seek out the
truth about the world’s legendary monsters.
In British Columbia we have plenty of our own Cryptids!  
These include:
Caddy: a sea monster said to live
in Cadborough Bay (outside Victoria).
Ogopogo: the massive Loch Ness
Monster of Okanagan Lake – it was given protected wildlife status by the BC government
in 1989! 
Cammy: another massive cryptid
spotted in Vancouver Island’s Cameron Lake.  The lake is astonishingly deep, and is known to be home to
some HUGE fish.
The Sasquatch: a large, hairy
ape-like creature said to be found throughout BC and Washington.  Over the years hundreds of people have
claimed that they have seen Sasquatches.
Have you ever seen a mythical creature, or know someone who has?  Send us your stories, to info@ync.ca and we’ll share them on the website!

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