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A weekly show where we endeavor to answer one of your big questions. This week, "rushfreak" asks: "Why don’t spiders stick to their own webs?"

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Hi, I'm Craig. You've never seen my legs, and I have eight of them, and this is Mental_Floss on YouTube.

I'm going to answer rushfreak's Big Question today. "Why don't spiders stick to their own webs"

Well rushfreak, let's just put aside the fact that spiders are terrifying creatures who spend their lifetime tormenting me by crawling up inside of my shower curtain while I'm trying to rinse shampoo out of my eyes.

There are actually a couple of theories as to why spiders don't get stuck in their own webs and it's probably a combination of all of them that comes closest to reality. Let's get started!

[Intro music plays]

So if you've ever had the misfortune of accidentally walking through a spider web, just leave a message and I'll call you back. No.

You know that spider silk is clingy, sticky, and super hard to get out of your hair. However, unlike unsuspecting moths, spiders don't just fling themselves onto their own webs. They tiptoe carefully across the surface so that only the tips of their legs come into contact with the web, minimizing the chance that they'll get caught in their own trap.

Hairy legs help spiders stay clean as well. These hundreds of little bristles decrease the amount of surface area the web can stick to. I have hairy legs…am I a spider? Spiders also have impeccable personal hygiene. Op, I'm not a spider.

If you ever feel the urge to spend a lot of time observing a spider, you'll see them frequently pull their legs through their mouths to get rid of any small bits of web or debris that might cause them to get stuck…on the web…maybe I am a spider, that sounds like something I'd do.

One of the big debates in the Arachnid Scientist Community or ASC (ask), that's not a thing, have been over whether spiders have some sort of oily coating that also helps keep them from getting stuck. An obvious answer to this is that this is impossible because spiders don't have any oil-producing glands. However, in research conducted in 2012, scientists found that a spider's legs adhere more to a web after they were washed off with a mixture of hexane and water. This points to the existence of some sort of non-stick substance, at least in that particular breed of spider. 

Finally, not all spiderweb is sticky. Different spiders have different types of webs. In Orb Weaver spiders only certain threads are adhesive. Other spiders dot their webs with globs of glue instead of coating the whole thing, so it's easy to avoid the sticky spots. Then there are sheet-web spiders who capture prey using fluffy webs instead of adhesive ones, sort of like immobilizing someone by wrapping them in cotton candy. Although, if that happened to me I'd totally…eat my way out of that, sucker.

If you have a big question that you'd like answered, leave it below in the comments. Thanks for watching Mental_Floss on YouTube, see you next week on the InterWeb…don't get caught…you might get eaten…by…information.