Cobweb Vs Spider Web: Curious Webby Difference Facts For Kids

Christian Mba
Feb 29, 2024 By Christian Mba
Originally Published on Nov 18, 2021
The shot of the big cobweb.
Age: 3-18
Read time: 6.5 Min

Research and science have claimed that you will always be 10 ft (3 m) away from a spider!

Today, there are about 35,000 species of spider in the world. You'd be surprised to learn about the distinct and diverse shapes and sizes that they come in!

To most people, spider webs and cobwebs can be quite a nuisance and are also an indicator of how often your house is cleaned. It is essential to know the difference between a spider web and a cobweb. More than spider webs, it is cobwebs that you'll find at home. This is because these webs are woven by spiders that come from the Theridiidae family or, in other words, house spiders. Cobwebs are sticky, tangled webs that are specially constructed by cobweb spiders or comb-footed spiders.

They are also three-dimensional webs that are tangled and woven in an irregular pattern. On the other hand, spider webs are two-dimensional webs that are symmetrical and elegant-looking. Some types of other spider webs include funnel webs, sheet webs, spiral orb webs, orb webs, tubular webs, and cobwebs. Some of these house spiders are tangled web spiders and funnel-web spiders. They are countless mind-blowing facts about spiders and the silk-woven homes they make. One such fact about spiders is regarding the structure of their spiderwebs.

For eight-legged creatures that are super small, they construct some super strong webs that are believed to have a tensile strength that rivals that of steel! This might seem funny because of how thin they are and also because of how easy it is to swat a spiderweb away, but many experts on spiders and insects will let you know that a spiderweb made with strands the size of a pencil would be strong enough to completely stop an airplane!

Spider silk is a strong and tough substance or material made out of amino acid crystal structures that many experts in the field of science have been looking to recreate for its durability and strength. This silk is not only used to build webs but also to move up and down or hang in the air with a thread of spider silk. Spiders secrete this silk from their spinneret glands which are right above their abdomen. It is an extremely interesting process! Different species and types of spiders in this world have the unique ability to weave spiderwebs with seven different types of spider silk. However, most spiders spin webs with four to five types of silk.

The purpose of spider webs and cobwebs is to catch prey. So, it works like a trap for prey! You might wonder if it is possible for a spider to get caught in its own trap and the answer to this question is that yes, it is very much possible for a spider to get caught in its own web or another spider's web. However, this rarely happens as these members from the Araneidae family are smart.

You'll often see a spider web having very tiny droplets on it. A spider, in its own web, will avoid these areas. The tiny droplets act as glue for prey, and spiders prevent them from escaping by paralyzing them. Some species of spiders can weave poisonous webs, too, but sadly, there are no indicators that can help you to distinguish a poisonous web from a non-poisonous web, and spiders don't talk!

If you enjoy this article on the differences between spider webs and cobwebs, be sure to check out our other articles on the six-eyed sand spider or the chrysalis vs the cocoon.

Are cobwebs made by spiders or dust?

A cobweb spider that comes from the Theridiidae family is the reason behind the cobwebs you find in your home!

Many families all over the world find them a nuisance and it can also be a big task when it comes to getting rid of them. They can rid your home of other pesky pests like silverfish, mosquitos, fruit flies, and so on, but they themselves can become the biggest pests after a certain period of time. These cobwebs in and around your house will often look dusty, irregular, and opaque, largely differing from the web of a spider which has definite structures, symmetry, and is difficult to see.

Cobwebs are web structures that are built by house-abandoning spiders and not dust. These are different from the webs that normal spiders make, and each other cobweb spider will build its own silk structure in a distinct and different way. Cobwebs are usually constructed by spiders in the corners of a room or ceilings. This is because it is easy for these spiders to build these webs from one surface to the next. Secondly, cobwebs are more like abandoned spider homes that have been lying around enough to collect dust and other particles.

They do not have a spider roosting or living in them any more and this is the difference between them and the spider webs that spiders make. An interesting fact about a cobweb that you will probably not know is that it was used for medicinal and healing purposes to soothe wounds and heal cuts quickly! Even the cobwebs that you might find in and out of your home are to catch prey, as the silk of these webs is silky just like that of a regular spider web.

Why are spiders webs called cobwebs?

Not all spider webs are called cobwebs. Spider webs that are made by house spiders or spider species that come from the Theridiidae family are called cobwebs!

If you spot these webs around your home, you most probably have some spiders living with you in some nooks and corners. Of late, some researchers have claimed that spider species that come from the Linyphiidae family and also the Araneidae and Nephilidae families are responsible for building cobwebs, but this is yet to be proven.

What makes cobwebs different from other spider webs is that they are initially made for the same purpose as every spider web: to catch prey and food like insects and other small creatures! However, the difference is that the webs are abandoned once the spiders are done with them.

Colorful banana spider on the web.

Are all cobwebs created by spiders?

All cobwebs are abandoned spider webs, where spiders moved on to other places to build a new web as their home.

So yes, cobwebs are built by spiders! A web is built in a sticky manner mainly for the purpose of catching prey and acting as a spider's home. They are made by spiders that come from the Theridiidae, Araneidae, and Linyphiidae families. Some types of spider webs include sheet webs, spiral orb webs, tangled webs, and funnel webs.

How do you stop cobwebs from forming?

Coming across cobwebs in your home can be quite annoying. It is very important to get rid of them when you find them because cobwebs can carry some airborne diseases and allergens that can cause respiratory issues among your family members.

Hence, this is something you want to avoid. Cobwebs can be stubborn to clean but make sure you remove them. Keep the corners of your home neat and clean at all times and also free from dust. Removing these cobwebs will keep the air clean without any harmful particles in it. There are many ways to clean cobwebs. They can be vacuumed with a vacuum cleaner and even a cobweb duster which is readily available on the market. To prevent cobwebs from forming in your house, block all possible outlets in your house that make potential entrances for spiders to come in.

Here at Kidadl, we have carefully created lots of interesting family-friendly facts for everyone to enjoy! If you like our suggestions for 'Cobweb vs spider web' then why not take a look at 'Can chickens eat bananas?' or 'Biggest snake facts for kids'?

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Written by Christian Mba

Bachelor of Science specializing in Computer Science

Christian Mba picture

Christian MbaBachelor of Science specializing in Computer Science

Christian Mba is an experienced blogger and content writer with over a decade of experience. He holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Computer Science from Nigeria and has a keen interest in Python programming. Along with his writing and blogging expertise, he is also an SEO specialist with more than six years of experience. Chris, as he is commonly known, has a passion for music and enjoys playing the piano.

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