Ambush Predators: The California Turret Spider

Ambush Predators: The California Turret Spider

This is a clip from the science video series Deep Look produced by KQED and PBS Digital Studios highlighting the lives of California turret spiders, ambush predators that spend their entire lives in the little turret towers they’ve built on Northern California forest floors (except for males attempting to mate, who will leave their tower to either get ambushed and eaten by a female assuming they’re prey, or successfully mating then typically dying). Some more info while I’m thankful I’m not a male California turret spider looking to mate:

Turret spiders are ambush hunters. While remaining hidden inside their turrets, they’re able to sense the vibrations created by their prey’s footsteps.
That’s when the turret spider strikes, busting out of the hollow tower like an eight-legged jack-in-the-box. With lightning speed the spider swings its fangs down like daggers, injecting venom into its prey before dragging it down into the burrow.

“It’s like the scene in a horror movie where the monster appears out of nowhere — you can’t not jump,” Pearce said.

Thankfully, the spiders are only about the size of your pinky nail, so they’re not really that terrifying except when seen up-close.

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