Spiders and the weather • Lynne Garner

Warning: spider picture below! 

I’m fascinated by spiders and love this time of year as  they're everywhere hanging in the middle of their webs. I'd heard reports the fantastic wasp spider, which is a new arrival to our shores (1920s) had been seen in a new area, so off I went. Sadly I wasn't as lucky as I've been in previous years, when I'd managed to see some and take some photographs. 

One of these previous photographs I'd used as the front cover for my Anansi the Trickster Spider stories. Now, while I was researching Anansi I discovered a few proverbs that related to the skills spiders have in forecasting the weather. As I haven’t had an excuse to use these and feel they’re relevant to this time of year I thought I’d share some of them with you.

“Spider webs in the air, or on the grass and trees, foretell much fair weather.”

From: ‘The Husbandman’s Practice or Prognostication for ever, with the Shepherd’s Perpetual Prognostication for the Weather by Godfridus, published 1685.

The Wasp Spider it all it's glory
“If thou wilt see and know how it will go that year, then take heed of the Oak-apples about St. Michael’s day, for by them you shall know how that year shall be: If the apples of the Oak-trees when they be cut be within full of spiders, then followeth a naughty year …”

From: A Handbook of Weather Folk-Lore: being a collection of proverbial sayings in various languages relating to the weather, with explanatory and illustrative notes by Rev. C. Swainson, published 1873.

“If garden spiders forsake their cobwebs, rain is at hand.”

From: Weatherlore - a collection of proverbs, sayings & rules concerning the weather compiled and arrange by Richard Inwards, published 1898.

“When you see the ground covered with spider webs which are wet with dew, and there is no dew on the ground, it is a sign of rain before night, for the spiders are putting up umbrellas; but others say when the spider put out their sunshades it will be a hot day.”

From: Weather Folk-lore and Local Weather Signs by Edward B. Garriott, published 1903.

So, next time you see a spider take a note of what it’s doing. You never know it may be a little more accurate than the weather forecast.
If you’ve come across any spider and/or weather-related proverbs or sayings please do share below.


Now for a blatant plug: Anansi The Trickster Spider - a collection of 16 short stories featuring this fun but mischievous character.   


Umberto Tosi said…
I've always been fascinated by spiders - all the more since the early 1970s when I read the detailed and lyrically written "Life of the Spider" by the French naturalist Jean-Henri Fabre (written around 1912, I believe.) It made me more aware of many earth and environmental issues. Spiders can be dangerous, but they are our friends- much-maligned creatures as are some of my other favorite and much-slandered critters - e.g. wolves, crows, bats. I look forward to reading "Anansi The Trickster Spider." Congratulations and good luck with it.

Lynne Garner said…
Umberto - Great to hear I'm not the only spider lover. Sadly along with your list you can also add rats who like wolves and crows are given bad press, which I think partly down to how clever they are.

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