Characters: Woody Woodchuck, Jumping Spider, Winifred Wolf Spider, Crab Spider, Olivia Orb-weaver
Props: goldenrod flower
Jumping Spider One, two, three…(jumps) One, two, three…(jumps again) Better!
Woody Woodchuck Hello there, spider! What’s with all the jumping?
Jumping Spider Hi, Woody Woodchuck. Today’s the day of the Spider Olympics. Bet you’ve never seen so many eight-legged athletes in one place!
Woodchuck No, never! Are you competing?
Jumping Spider You bet. I’m a jumping spider. We always win the long-jump competition.
Woodchuck Really? But you’re so small.
Jumping Spider Sure, but look how thick and muscular my legs are! I can jump fifty times my body length. Bet you can’t do that.
Woodchuck Not me. With this round body, I’m not really built for jumping. But, I bet you have competition from grasshoppers.
Jumping Spider Grasshoppers? They don’t compete in spider Olympics! They’re insects!
Woodchuck Insects, spiders, what’s the difference?
Jumping Spider We’re very different! Insects have wings and antennae and three body parts. We spiders have no wings, no antennae and only two body parts. And, they’ve got only six legs, but we spiders have eight!
Woodchuck I guess you are different from insects! With all those legs you must be good jumpers.
Jumping Spider Sure, and we jumping spiders are the champs. It’s an adaptation – so we can pounce on our prey.
Woodchuck What’s an ada…what you just said?
Jumping Spider Adaptation – it means the special things about our bodies, or the way we behave, that help us to survive.
Woodchuck Oh, like having warm fur and hibernating in winter – like that? They’re my adabada… How’d you say that?
Jumping Spider It’s easy. You say “ad” like add, “ap” like apple, and “tation” like nation with a ‘t’.
Woodchuck Ad-ap-tation. I can say it! Gee, you’ve got lots of eyes. Is that an ad-ap-tation, too?
Jumping Spider Yup. Most spiders have eight eyes. We jumping spiders have especially good vision with these four big eyes in front. We can spot our prey from far away and then pounce!
Woodchuck But can’t you build a web?
Jumping Spider Oh no. We’re not web-builders. We’re called wandering spiders. We don’t spin webs, but like all spiders, we do spin out a lifeline wherever we go. See? (lower and raise puppet on a string)
Woodchuck That’s a great adaptation! Are there other wandering spiders that don’t build webs?
Jumping Spider Sure – wolf spiders, crab spiders…Hey, it’s time for my event! I’d better jump to it! Bye! (exits)
Woodchuck Here comes another spider. Hi there, are you a spider athlete, too?
Winifred Wolf Spider Yes, I’m Winifred Wolf Spider. I’m in good shape from carrying my egg sack all summer. After my babies hatched, I carried them on my back.
Woodchuck What for?
Wolf Spider It’s an adaptation we wolf spiders have for keeping our young safe. We carry them until they’re ready to be on their own.
Woodchuck Just like an opossum. Hey, your legs sure are furry – kind of like mine.
Wolf Spider Yes, these hairs help me feel vibrations and tell me when prey is near. Now I’d better wolf down a power snack before my event. See you later. (exits)
Woodchuck Good luck, Winifred.
Crab Spider Pssst. Have they announced the camouflage event?
Woodchuck Huh? Who’s there? Why, it’s a yellow spider on a yellow flower! Boy, you’re hard to see.
Crab Spider Sure! It’s an adaptation – to help me catch insects that come here to eat. I’m yellow now, but on a pink flower and I’ll turn pink.
Woodchuck A color-changing spider? Makes me green with envy. Your eyes are tiny compared to some other spiders.
Crab Spider Well, they have to hunt for their food. I just wait for my prey to come to me.
Woodchuck With your legs sticking out to the side like that, you look like a crab. You even move like a crab.
Crab Spider Well, I’m a crab spider! And when my prey comes near, I just crab it and bite! (lunges at Woodchuck; exits)
Woodchuck Yikes! That’s one scary spider!
Olivia Orb-weaver Oh dear, am I late? Have they started my competition? I’ve been working all night, and I overslept. Oh dear!
Woodchuck What’s your event? You look different from the other spiders I’ve met with those long, thin legs, that big abdomen, and how can you see anything with those tiny eyes?
Olivia Orb-weaver We don’t need big eyes since we always catch our prey before we see it.
Woodchuck Huh! How can you catch prey before you see it?
Orb-weaver Because I’m a web-spinner. Olivia Orb-weaver at your service. I catch my prey in a big, round web that I weave out of silk.
Woodchuck But if you can’t see your prey, how do you know when you’ve caught it?
Orb-weaver With my feet, of course! I can feel the web shake when an insect gets caught. Then I dash out and wrap it up in silk.
Woodchuck Oh, that’s where all those long skinny legs come in handy.
Orb-weaver You mean footy! We’re very agile, and we can walk on the thinnest of threads.
Woodchuck Wow, you’re a web-weaver and a web-walker! Wait, is your event the high wire?
Orb-weaver Yes, of course, if I’m not too late! It’s the last event of the Spider Olympics. Oh dear, I’ve got to go spin some threads, but I’m all wound up!
Woodchuck That’s okay. I’m excited too, and I’ll be there to cheer for you, and all you spiders and your amazing ada…pada…bada…
Orb-weaver Do you mean adaptations?
Woodchuck Yup. I still can’t say it, but I know they’re good!