Why do they call it a barking spider? You may have heard what barking spiders are, or you may totally be clueless about it, but one thing’s for sure it’s not literally barking like how a dog does it. There are a couple of spider species, particularly those who live in Australia that have gotten the nickname “barking” spider because of the noises that they make. These spiders are also referred to as “whistling spiders.” Why do they call it a barking spider? What happens is that pests of various nature will do something known as “strigulate” as their defense mechanism. In this article, you’ll learn why do they call it a barking spider?
Why do they call it a barking spider: Strigulation
Why do they call it a barking spider? Strigulation is when they rub other parts of their bodies, for instance their legs in order to make noise. This action does two purposes at a time. It either attracts mate or scare off potential threats like predators. Other species like grasshoppers and crickets also does the same. They rub their legs together and that’s the kind of annoying sound you hear throughout the summer months. For spiders, they also do this through rubbing their legs and body parts up to their neck. This ultimately produces the barking or whistling sound.
Not Your Average Spider
As mentioned earlier, the barking/ whistling spiders are native in various regions in Australian wilderness. You most probably won’t find them in your home like how other typical house spiders appear out of nowhere. The barking spiders are relatively different than your average spider because they can grow very large over time.
Size of Barking Spiders
Why do they call it a barking spider? Barking spider can reach a length of up to 3 ½ inches long. In latin, the scientific names given to these species means “fat legs.” This is mainly because if you look closely at the physical structure of their legs, you can see that they possess very long front legs. These species can look a lot like a crab especially when their legs are up and how they put their pincers up. You can easily see similarities when you compare them to the nature of crabs.
Why do they call it a barking spider: The Silent Killer
Barking spiders are large species but in the wild, they are not that noticeable because they know how to camouflage. Camouflaging is another defense mechanism to protect themselves against predator and keep them safe. They are often found hiding or living under barks of fallen trees or rocks. Often times, their natural instinct is to create burrows to provide them shelter. What’s astonishing is that these creatures can burrow up to six feet underground. Amazing isn’t it? They don’t even need a shovel or a helping hand! Their natural instinct in the wild is to blend themselves in the environment that they are in not just for protection or defense against predator but for them to also catch food without the prey knowing it. They are pretty much like “silent killers” and are only loud when confronted with an enemy.
Why do they call it a barking spider? The typical predators that Barking spiders hide from are birds, snakes, owls, larger mammals, etc. When they create a burrow, they usually put different holes in it or passageways so that whatever creature will enter won’t easily grab them. They also have sort of a vibration sense to alert them of potential threat.
What They Eat
Why do they call it a barking spider? Unlike an average spider, barking spiders do not create webs to catch a predator. Don’t get them wrong though, they still use their webs but not to trap their prey. As you may know, the usual way for a spider to eat or catch a prey is to put up webs so that if a fly or insect gets near it or lands in it, they will instantly be trapped and eaten by the spider later on.
Sit and Watch
For barking spiders and most large spider species, what they do is they create burrows and line it up with webs. When they sense that a prey is near, they come out of their burrows and jump on them. This technique is known as “sit and watch.” For them eating is made by sitting. They eat lizards, frogs, crickets, insects and the likes. Sometimes they also eat birds slightly larger than them that may have fallen out of nests, or anything that’s near their burrows/ dens whom they can attack and catch. This is why they are also referred to as bird – eating spiders. While they don’t eat birds all the time, they definitely add it on their diet whenever they can.
These barking spiders can live a very long time. Female barking spiders can have a life expectancy of around 20 years while the males can live for just around 5 to 8 years. The reason why males have a shorter life expectancy than females is because they usually die after mating because the female tends to kill them.
Why do they call it a barking spider? It’s very interesting how these spiders can live and how big they can get. Perhaps the main problem why some species live for only a short time is because since they build their homes underground, they can be susceptible to flashfloods especially if they live near water sources. That’s also one reason why they put holes into these burrows because it allows them to breathe and survive if in case it gets flooded out.