"Spider-Man, Spider-Man, does
whatever a spider can..."
We were fed this line of bull long ago,
and we swallowed it without question. TV never lies!
But does Spider-Man really do whatever a
spider can? Does he really?
While Spider-Man may have the
proportional strength, speed, and agility of a spider, and while he
certainly has the ability to stick to walls (like pretty much every every
other insect, I mean, it's hardly spider-exclusive), he falls short with
some the other abilities of the common spider.
Now, everyone knows Spider-Man has
something he calls his spider sense. This warns him of danger, so he can
easily leap out of harm's way, and this ability appears in the comics as
some wavy lines coming out of his head. This is not to be confused with
"stinky-lines", which appear in comics as wavy lines as well.
You easily can spot the difference between the two examples provided
spidey sense is tingling!"
head smells funny!"
Real spiders have a spider-sense too, but
it doesn't warn them of danger, as a simple experiment involving a
rolled-up magazine can demonstrate.
The only sense a spider has is an
instinctive awareness of the best time to drop on you to provoke the
funniest reaction. For instance, the spider that lives in my bathroom
knows that anytime I'm sitting on the toilet, engrossed in the latest
Nelson Demille paperback, it's an excellent time to drop onto my head.
That way, he gets the frantic flailing, along with the added bonus of the
Luckily, I keep magazines in the
Senses aside, spiders have the ability to
excrete silk webbing from their spinnerets, or "butts",
something Spider-Man cannot do (thankfully). Sure, he shoots webbing, but
it's from artificial web-shooters strapped onto his wrists. What do real
spiders use webbing for?
They use it for trapping prey, as
Spider-Man does. They use it to fashion webs, as spider man also does.
And, they use it for transferring sperm, which Spider-Man thankfully does
not. Although, really, what better deterrent could there be for a
criminal? I think Doc Ock and the Vulture would hang up their arms and
wings (respectively) if there was any chance that Spider-Man's webbing
contained, uh... more goo than usual.
Another use for webbing is called
"ballooning", wherein a spider will extend a strand of webbing
from its bottom, and then use it to catch a breeze, sailing gracefully
through the air to wherever the current takes it. Spider-man uses his
webbing to travel, but instead swings from building to building, knowing
full well that floating upside-down from a strand of webbing sticking out
of his butt might not look so great on the front page of the Daily Bugle.
Finally, some spiders also shoot a clear,
foul-smelling liquid from their hinders to discourage enemies.
Again, I think the criminal underworld,
and the general public, is thankful Spider-Man is lacking in this