There's pretty much only one thing in the entire world that people can agree on these days, and it's that we can agree on nothing.
Actually, there's one other tried and true fact that unites us all together as a people. And that fact is: spiders are the worst. If you see one, you're given full permission to burn your house down. If you have a gun, go ahead and shoot it.
Except now. Now we're ruining the one thing that everyone loves to hate. We're telling you that spiders have tiny little paws, and paws are really cute. So, in other words, spiders are cute, and you actually don't hate them.
Just look at that fuzzy wittle paw! It's the cutest. What kind of puppy does it belong to? Oh, that's not a puppy? That's actually a gross and horrendous spider, which we thought had no redeeming qualities, with an adorable little foot? Everything we thought we knew about the world is wrong. Everything is a lie.
Yes, these are actually the tiny feet of a tarantula. Aww, so sweet! Norman Platnick, an Arachnologist - which sounds like probably one of the worst jobs in the history of all jobs, ever - who works at the American Museum of Natural History, said that when it comes to spider paws "the similarity to dogs or cats is only in the mind of the beholder." So you're telling us these little paws aren't actually paws at all?
They're actually called "claw tufts." Potato, potatoe, you know? "About half of the spider families have claw tufts. These animals usually have only two claws at the tips of their legs, and are usually hunting spiders, who pursue their prey," said Platnick. So the ones that have teeny paws are actually the ones that go after things to kill them. Super cute!
"Web-building spiders typically have three claws; the two paired claws, like those found in hunting spiders, plus a third, smaller, unpaired claw that helps them maneuver on their silk threads," Platnick continued. Their cute paws - er, claw tufts - also help them to climb around stuff and stick to surfaces. We bet your cat or dog can't do that. Who needs cat and dog people, spider people are where it's at, right?
The fur - uh, we mean hair - around the spiders' feet is called setae, and it's used for sensory purposes. "For example, many spiders have trichobothria [vertical hairs] that are extremely sensitive to both airborne and substrate vibrations (i.e., they 'hear' with their feet). Many spiders also have modified setae that are chemosensory (i.e., they also 'smell' with their feet)," said Platnick. Being able to smell with your feet is definitely talent.
Spiders, of course, have double the cute paws that you're used to seeing on a furry creature. All eight paws cumulatively have an adhesive force that allows the spider to carry up to 173 times its weight. So you could say spiders are sort of strong. And they're cute!
The final segment of a spider's leg, which contains the paw, is called the tarsus. "The tarsi, being the most advanced point of spiders, are rich in sensory organs," says Robert Raven, the head arachnologist at the Queensland Museum. We're learning a lot about some really fun jobs today.
The little hairs on the paws can sense heat and movement. Can you do that? We think not. Spiders are cooler than you. They can also sense environmental conditions, so next time you think it might rain, ask your friendly neighborhood spider. If that wasn't enough, they are auditory and chemically sensitive. So they can hear you, and tell you what chemical dangers are around. Spidey senses.
Also, if you provide these pawed little creatures with a musical instrument, they will display their musical gifts for you. Just place a minuscule percussion instrument in front of them, and they'll show off their best version of a Beethoven song. Fact: none of the things we just said are true. Back to science!
Raven continues his explanation of why spiders have furry paws, and how it helps them scale walls. The more hairy the spider, the better the climber. "However, there are two ways to go with this: if you are big you can get those beautiful big, dense iridescent pads as with the Idiommata; or you can get lighter, thus needing less, as in the case of huntsman spiders, which are among the few spider groups – along with jumping spiders – that can run upside down on ceilings and dangle off them with a toad in their fangs." Alright, maybe we don't want to go back to science, because that's horrifying.
As the weather's getting colder, you might be realizing you want someone to cuddle with. And your apartment doesn't allow dogs or cats. Your online dating has not been successful. So what is there left to do? Look at how cuddly those paws are. You've always got spiders around to keep you company.
Did you know it's a true fact that you're never less than ten feet away from a spider? So that's good news. You'll be able to find your cuddle buddy in no time. You have to look no further than just ten mere feet away from you.
You may think the world would be a better place without spiders, but look at how lovable this tiny friend is. Also, spiders eat more insects than birds and bats combined, so without them, we'd be swimming in insects. Find your nearest spider and thank him. He's only ten feet away.
If you're still not convinced that spiders can be cute even after you've stared at all those pictures of their adorable paws, then maybe an animated spider can convince you. If not, you've definitely got arachnophobia, and, okay, we don't really blame you for that to be honest. Time to go get a pet tarantula, right?