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KATIE'S SPIDER
Once upon a time there was a little girl named Katie, who
was VERY afraid of spiders.  Katie's mommy was afraid of
  spiders, and so Katie became very much afraid of them, 
too, though she wasn't quite sure why.
Katie loved to visit her Gramma, who lived in a house in 
the forest.  But in the forest there were LOTS of spiders, 
and all kinds of creatures.  This made Katie feel just a little 
bit scared, especially if she spotted a spider nearby.
Now Katie's Gramma was NOT afraid of spiders.  In fact, Gramma
even LIKED the spiders.  Gramma said they ate some of the bugs
that were not so nice, and Gramma thought some of the spiders
were really pretty, especially the beautiful big one in Gramma's
garden who had spun a huge web with lots of ZZZZZZs in the
middle.  Gramma said it was called an ARGIOPE, and that it was
a lady spider so Gramma named it Arlene.  "When Arlene eats
lots of bugs and grows bigger," Gramma said, "she will lay eggs
near her web which will hatch into tiny baby spiders one day."
Gramma showed Katie other spiders.  Many of the spiders
were not very big, and lived in the woods, and in the leaves
on the ground.  Gramma pointed to a little hole in the
ground with what looked like a tiny "door".  "This is the
home of a Trapdoor Spider," said Gramma.  "It will hide
in the hole, and when a bug walks near its door, the
Trapdoor Spider will run quickly out to grab it for lunch."
One day, on the windowsill, they found a fuzzy black
  spider, which Gramma said was a Jumping Spider that liked to
   live in windows.  When Gramma wiggled the curtain, the fuzzy
  spider jumped quickly off the windowsill and dropped to the
  floor on a silken thread.  Gramma said it was very shy.
Gramma also told Katie that it was not a good idea to touch any
of the spiders, or to try to pick them up, because it would scare
them and some of them might bite.  "This isn't because they
are mean or bad," said Gramma, "but because THEY are afraid
of YOU, and afraid that you might hurt them."
One day Katie spotted a REALLY BIG brown spider hurrying
across the flowerbed.  It was dragging something that looked
like a big white ball behind it.  Gramma explained that it was
called a Wolf Spider because it hunted for bugs instead of
spinning a web, and that it looked kind of scary, but it was
really just a mommy spider carrying her baby eggs in a round
white bag behind her.  "When the tiny babies hatch," said
Gramma, "they will crawl up onto their mommy's back and
she will carry them around, just like your mommy carried
you when you were a baby!"  
Every time Katie visited her Gramma, she would go to the garden
to visit Arlene.  Each time Katie would get a little closer, so that she
could see Arlene better.  She could see Arlene's beautiful yellow,
black, and white colors, and she liked to watch as Arlene built a new
web, especially when Arlene made all the ZZZZ's in the middle. 
Katie watched as a bug flew into the web, and saw how Arlene would
bounce up and down to make the web stick to the bug really tight.
Soon Katie was not so afraid.  Arlene was VERY interesting to
watch.  Katie even talked to Arlene!  She told Arlene about her
baby brother, and how much fun they had together.  She told
Arlene all about her puppies, and about going to the zoo.  Arlene
didn't say much, but she always listened politely to every word
Katie said, as she waited for another bug to fly into her web.
Katie decided that perhaps spiders were not so scary after all.  In
fact, they could be VERY INTERESTING when you got to know them
a little better! 
If you would like to see real pictures of Katie's spider 
and some of the other spiders she found, click on the
blue spider.  If you would rather not look at the real
pictures of spiders, just go on to another story page.
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