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The Lasso

The Student News Site of Santa Rosa Academy

The Lasso

The Student News Site of Santa Rosa Academy

The Lasso

Funnel Web Spiders: Danger in the Bushes

Spiders are a very diverse group of creatures, coming in quite literally all shapes, sizes, and colors. From the littlest jumping spiders, Neon, to the dangerous, elegant black widow, or perhaps the bizarre, colorful spiny-backed orb weavers, it’s no doubt spiders are particularly a fascinating topic for any enthusiast. While a concerning amount of the population is afraid of these magnificent beings, many are not. This is a great thing to know that spiders are our friends, but what happens when it gets out of hand?

Bushes and shrubs all around California are covered in sheet-like webs that belong to Funnel Web Spiders. Be careful next time you have to remove an object from a bush! (Natalie Brown)

“Some people have been using their fingers to get in there and squish them,” claims Arrowyn Ross, a fourth grade student. She believes that it is not safe for children to be doing this.

Some have reported that elementary schoolers at Santa Rosa academy have been tampering with spiders in their webs. Most particularly, funnel web spiders; grass spiders being a common species at the school and throughout California. First of all, what is a funnel web spider?
These arachnids have very notable webs, looking like blankets stretching through bushes. Yes, bushes- and they’re everywhere. Students have estimated roughly 30-50 funnel webs on Santa Rosa’s mile track alone, and multiple more across campus. They are easily identifiable by a slight funnel shape and a dark tunnel where the spider hides.
The spider itself is most commonly brown in color, pale or dark, with distinctive stripes on its abdomen. It has markings on its cephalothorax that resemble that of a badger’s head, and long, pointed legs covered in narrow hairs. Of course, all spiders have venom, but much like many others, funnel web spiders are not to mess with. Similar to many other spiders and animals as a whole, they only attack if threatened. Their venom is not known to cause necrosis, a process where the cells in a tissue die, like the bite of a recluse spider would, but any venom can pose a threat to anyone.

The American grass spider, genus Agelenopsis, has many distinctive and unique markings. Watch out for them and their funnel-shaped webs next time you’re outside! (Judy Gallagher )

“It’s kind of sad,” Ava Sanchez, another fourth grade student, says. “(The spiders) don’t really do anything, they’re more scared of us.”

It’s best to keep students educated and safe when it comes to the world around them. Students and staff at Santa Rosa are urged to leave these webs and spiders alone and let them live their lives. Outside of classrooms, students have left food items, leaves or dirt in the webs. Young kids have been said to pick up the spiders or reach into the webs. This behavior is harmful to the spiders and puts people at risk of being bit, which would not be a fun visit to the hospital.

“I think it would be important to alert the student populace of the dangers of the spiders, but also tell them of their importance to the ecosystem,” Freshman Wynter Pepper chimes in, “For example, spiders can eat invasive insects or annoying critters like flies.”

Pepper is right. It is ultimately better to stay away and respect these unique creatures from a safe distance. This goes for all animals you see at school and outside of it, but the risky behavior towards these funnel webs have grown to a cause for concern.

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About the Contributor
Natalie Brown, Staff Writer
Natalie Brown, is a ninth grade student at Santa Rosa Academy. She is a staff member of The Lasso and is amazing at digital art and physical art. She loves to write about anything she is interested in. She is also a kind and outstanding writer. Some of her interests include bugs and cats. She also has a cat named Boof -- Boof is a fat black cat and she is very loud, very needy, loves to cuddle her owner, and cry out when she is hungry. Natalie is into the paranormal and even has a club dedicated to the super natural/paranormal. Her club is called the Mystery Club which is very new, so show kindness and support!
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