Characters: Woody Woodchuck. Jud Jumping Spider, Winifred Wolf Spider, Corey Crab Spider, Olivia Orb-weaver
Props: goldenrod flower, gold medal for Orb-weaver
(Spiders file across stage one by one & exit.)
Woody Woodchuck I wonder what’s going on! It’s like a spider parade. (Jumping spider enters) Hello! What are you spiders up to today?
Jud Jumping Spider Hi, Woody Woodchuck. Today’s the Spider Olympics. Bet you’ve never seen so many eight-legged athletes in one place!
Woody No, never! Are you competing?
Jud You bet. I’m a jumping spider. We always win the long-jump competition.
Woody Really? But you’re so small.
Jud I’m small, but look how thick and muscular my legs are! I can jump fifty times my body length. Bet you can’t do that.
Woody Not me. I’m not built for jumping. But, I bet you have competition from grasshoppers.
Jud Woody, grasshoppers don’t compete in spider Olympics! They’re insects!
Woody Insects, spiders, what’s the difference?
Jud We’re very different! Insects have antennae and wings and three body parts. Spiders have no antennae, no wings and only two body parts. And, they’ve got only six legs. We spiders have eight!
Woody I guess you are different from insects! With all those legs you must be good jumpers.
Jud Sure, but we jumping spiders are the champs. It’s an adaptation – so we can pounce on our prey.
Woody What’s an ada…what you just said?
Jud Adaptation – it means the special things about our bodies, or the way we behave, that help us to survive.
Woody Oh, like having warm fur and hibernating in winter – like that? They’re my adabada… How’d you say that?
Jud It’s easy. You say “ad” like add, “ap” like apple, and “tation” like nation with a ‘t’.
Woody Ad-ap-tation. I can say it! Gee, you’ve got lots of eyes. Is that an ad-ap-tation, too?
Jud Yup. Most spiders have eight eyes. We jumping spiders have especially good vision with these four big eyes in front. We spot our prey from far away and then pounce!
Woody But don’t you build a web?
Jud 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)
Woody That’s a great adaptation! Are there other wandering spiders that don’t build webs?
Jud Sure – wolf spiders, crab spiders…
Hey, it’s, time for my event! I’d better jump to it! Bye! (exits)
Woody 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.
Woody What for?
Winifred 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.
Woody Just like an opossum. Hey, your legs sure are furry – kind of like mine.
Winifred 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)
Woody Good luck, Winifred.
Corey Crab Spider Pssst. Have they announced the camouflage event?
Woody Huh? Why, here’s a yellow spider on a yellow flower! It’s hard to see you.
Corey Sure! It’s an adaptation – to help me catch insects that come here to eat. I’m yellow now, but on a pink flower I turn pink.
Woody A color-changing spider? Makes me green with envy. Your eyes are tiny compared to some other spiders.
Corey Well, what of it? They have to hunt for their food. I just wait for my prey and then grab it. (lunges at Woody)
Woody Aah! You’re kind of scary-looking with your legs sticking out like a crab.
Corey Well, I’m a crab spider! I get really crabby when I’m hungry, so, bye! (exits)
Woody Must be very hungry. Here comes a spider with long, thin legs, a big abdomen and tiny eyes– wearing a medal! Hi there. What event did you compete in?
Olivia Orb-weaver I’ll give you a hint. We don’t need big eyes because we catch our prey before we see it.
Woody Huh! How can you catch prey before you see it?
Olivia Because I’m a web-weaver. Olivia Orb-weaver, at your service. I catch my prey in a big, round web that I weave out of silk.
Woody But if you can’t see well, how do you know when you’ve caught something?
Olivia 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!
Woody Oh, that’s where all those long skinny legs come in handy.
Olivia You mean footy! We can walk on the thinnest of strands, balanced above the ground. Now can you guess my event?
Woody The high wire! You’re a champion high wire acrobat! Wow, web-weaving and web-walking are amazing adaptations!
Olivia Why thanks! I’ll be doing my high wire act at the closing ceremonies.
Woody I’ll be there to cheer for you and all you spiders and your amazing ada, pada, bada… oh help! Can anyone help me out? (audience: Adaptations!) I still can’t say it, but I know they’re good!