Why don’t spiders get stuck to their own webs?

A STAFF REPORT FROM THE STRAIGHT DOPE SCIENCE ADVISORY BOARD

Dear Straight Dope:

Here's just one of the legion of questions my 4 year old son asks me that I can't answer: How come spiders don't get stuck on their own webs? My answer was: because they have special stuff on their legs, but I really have no idea!

SDStaff Doug replies:

Actually, spiders could get stuck in their own webs–they’re just more careful than that. You see, some of the strands are sticky, and others are not. The spiders only climb on the NON-sticky strands. Even if they accidentally set foot on a sticky strand, as long as it’s not their whole body or multiple legs, they can still pull their foot free fairly easily. It’s not THAT sticky.

Send questions to Cecil via cecil@straightdope.com.

STAFF REPORTS ARE WRITTEN BY THE STRAIGHT DOPE SCIENCE ADVISORY BOARD, CECIL'S ONLINE AUXILIARY. THOUGH THE SDSAB DOES ITS BEST, THESE COLUMNS ARE EDITED BY ED ZOTTI, NOT CECIL, SO ACCURACYWISE YOU'D BETTER KEEP YOUR FINGERS CROSSED.

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