Hissing spider!

barfing_pumpkin

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#1
The other day, my next door neighbour was attempting to remove the spiders in the hallway between our two flats (my means of some 'spider-removal' tool, which - from what I can gather - is a kind of spade with a flap on it). One of these spiders was a large common garden spider - there's loads of them out this year - which had been settled cozily between the handles of two amenity cupboards for the past few weeks; and when my neighbour tried removing it, she says - now get this - that the spider hissed as it scurried away!

I was told this story second hand unfortunately, but I have no reason to doubt my neighbour. And yet, I've never heard of a spider - be it a garden spider, or any - that hisses. My first assumption is that maybe an incidental noise, like a hiss from the pipes or something, occurred at the same time, giving the impression that it was the spider that was hissing - but then again, I guess if you can get hissing cockroaches, then there shouldn't be any reason why you couldn't get hissing spiders, either. I checked out garden spiders on wiki and whatnot, and found no mention that they might hiss when threatened. So I'm left wondering: is there a species of spider in Britain that does hiss, which we have mistaken for a garden spider? In fact, has anyone here either heard, or heard of, a spider that hisses?
 

licata1708

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#2
The Goliath Bird Eating Spider makes a hissing noise, but it looks nothing like a garden spider and I certainly hope there is not one in your flat romping around.

The Goliath bird-eating spider is, as its name suggests, large enough to eat a bird. This giant spider is found in the northern South American countries of Suriname, Brazil, Guyana and Venezuela. Its habitat is the wet swamps and marshy areas deep within the primary rainforest. The Goliath bird-eating spider was named by explorers from the Victorian era who first reported them to the western world, and witnessed one eating a humming bird.


Unlike other spiders, who are noiseless, the Goliath bird-eating spider can make a hissing noise to frighten off threats by rubbing bristles on its legs together.
source
http://www.blueplanetbiomes.org/goliath_bird_eating_spider.htm

I am of course not suggesting this is what it was, but science is such an imperfect subject, esp. when it comes to creatures, I don't see why it would not be possible for another type of spider to develop the ablility to make these warning sounds with their legs as a way to adapt to modern life? Hmmmmm
 

GNC

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#3
Could the hissing have been made by whatever the spider's legs were scurrying over as it ran?
 

Mister_Awesome

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#4
My brother and friend swear that an Aggressive House Spider hissed at them as it gave them the rush... Maybe all spiders can hiss, but they don't!
 

Dingo667

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#5
Yes, spiders can hiss. I haven't heard yet of house spiders doing so but if she was pissed off enough, who knows? ;)

A friend of mine had a tarantula [one with orange knees, can't remember the name of them at the mo] which hissed regularily at him.
My own one, which is only a common Chilean Rose is as docile as a sleeping donkey and you can even dance the "twist" with her first two frontlegs without her getting annoyed. What she does do is stand up on her hindlegs, lifting her front ones and whacks you like a cat when she's miserable...so I usually leave her alone when she's in that frame of mind. Tsss :roll:
 

Boulters_Canary

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#6
gncxx said:
Could the hissing have been made by whatever the spider's legs were scurrying over as it ran?
Years ago, in my late grandmother's house, large spiders could be heard running over the lino floor in the kitchen. It was sort of a 'striking match' noise.
 

kirmildew

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#7
Spiders breathe through their abdomens with very primitive 'book lungs' so any sort of vocal hissing is pretty much out. Most invertebrates make their noises with physical actions, like rubbing bits of their exoskeleton together.
I was once squared up to by a woodlouse spider... It was sitting in the middle of the path, and I didn't really want it to be stood on, so I made shooing gestures at it. Instead of turning tail it stood its ground, looked at me and waited. This thing was about the size of a 20p piece, but its fangs were huge (for piercing woodlice, surprise) and it stood firm until I gingerly stepped round it. It probably made a rude gesture at my retreating back.
 

mindalai

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#8
spiders are brave. I was watching a tiny little zebra spider carrying a dead fly that was bigger than it was. I bent down to have a proper look and the tiny spider, which could have sat on my little fingernail, held on to its meal and reared up on its hind legs and waved it's front legs at me to threaten me.

I pretended to be scared. Probably made its day.
 

licata1708

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#9
This thread is why I love the Fortean Boards so much.
It almost makes me like spiders, which I am usually
petrified of. :D
 

waitew

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#10
I too have a Mexican red legged tarantula & she can indeed hiss when annoyed.I know the hissing sound isn't 'vocal' but it definitly does exist..I have no idea HOW she makes the sound,but I hear it regularly.
 

Mister_Awesome

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#11
Spiders can tackle much bigger prey, indeed. I watched an attic spider about a half-inch long capture and kill a 2 1/2" long cranefly over about an hour's time. The cranefly had one leg it just couldn't get unsnagged. I thought for sure it would break the web or shake the spider off -- the poor thing was a blur from all the shaking that was going on. But when the cranefly finally slowed, the spider rushed in and tied it up a little more. This prompted another burst of energy, so the spider backed off and waited again. Over the hour the spider got more and more tangled, until finally the spider was able to bite it. The poison took a little time, and it may have taken more than one bite, but that was still that. Spiders are impressive little critters. Kind of off-topic, sorry... ;)
 

GNC

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#13
There's a great big screaming spider at the end of the film Arachnophobia, but I think that was just a sound effect.
 

kirmildew

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#14
gncxx said:
There's a great big screaming spider at the end of the film Arachnophobia, but I think that was just a sound effect.
It's like the film Eight Legged Freaks- I love it, but the screeching, hissing and growling of the giant spiders is so not grounded in any sort of reality! Fab film though very silly.
 

DougalLongfoot

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#15
Screaming Earwig

I once sprayed an earwig with insect killer and it squirmed for about ten minutes screaming at me. Very disturbing. Somewhat reminiscent of the caterpillar in that Simpsons episode.
 

barfing_pumpkin

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#16
Could the hissing have been made by whatever the spider's legs were scurrying over as it ran?
Well, I had seen the spider myself, prior to the incident, and it had been sitting on its web. I'm presuming it either ran along the remains of its web, or the wall just behind it. I can confirm that it looked like an ordinary garden spider, average size for the species, with a distinct browny/orangey hue.

I recall actually grabbing hold of the occasional garden spider as a kid, and do not recall any of them hissing. I received no bites, either, but the way they scrabble around in your hand is just...nasty.
 

kirmildew

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#17
Re: Screaming Earwig

DougalLongfoot said:
I once sprayed an earwig with insect killer and it squirmed for about ten minutes screaming at me. Very disturbing. Somewhat reminiscent of the caterpillar in that Simpsons episode.
PMSL... The Screamapillar.
Just a heads up... The abundance of insects in the damp mild weather has meant that spiders of all types are growing to spectacular proportions. House spiders with a 20cm legspan... When they get to that sort of size their fangs are strong enough to pierce your skin so don't pick 'em up. Not that I expect you would... I normally pick up house spiders to put them out but if I saw one with a 20cm legspan I'd ask it politely and fetch its coat.
My garden is literally festooned with garden spider webs too- giant ones, with spiders the size of cherry bombs bobbing menacingly in the centres.
And I like spiders. I get near them by choice. I feel for you arachnophobes I really do :shock:
 

GNC

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#19
I think if the British government made it clear that global warming meant bigger spiders then we'd all be recycling like there was no tomorrow. Which maybe there isn't.
 

QuaziWashboard

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#22
Yeah, we've had large house spiders 5 or 6 cm across but 20 cm? That would make it about 8 inches...2 inches bigger than half a foot...much bigger than most tarantulas, if my house became infested with monsters like that, I'd be moving to the Arctic Circle or somewhere else that's cold enough to keep them away.
 

kirmildew

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#23
mindalai said:
20cm? You're exaggerating, right?

I like spiders too but 20cm?
The Cardinal Spider, a house spider the males of which you see highstepping round the skirting boards, have a supposed 'normal' maximum legspan of 13cm. I have seen one this big and it may have even been bigger; this was a couple of years ago. This weather could conceivably increase the long- leggity beasties to this size at a push.
I await my giant visitors with camera in hand :lol:
 

kirmildew

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#25
QuaziWashboard said:
The largest spider in the world is the Goliath Bird Eating Tarantula which grows to between 20cm to 30cm.
Splendid things they are. They are powerful enough to feed on frogs, toads, small snakes, lizards and mice. (I don't know how often they get to eat baby birds). Plus they make hissing sounds, a la the original thread, by rubbing parts of their body together :)
There is a Whistling Tarantula and a Buzzing Spider also. Unfortunately the Violin Spider doesn't actually play- how disappointing :?
 
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