Reddish Vale Country Park
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The Garden Spider is a very common orb web weaver in the UK.
The webs are built by the larger females who usually lie head down on the web, or in a nearby leaf (with a signal thread attached to a leg), waiting for prey to get entangled in the web. The prey is then quickly captured and wrapped in silk before being eaten. Orb spiders are said to eat their webs each night along with many of the small insects stuck to it. They have been observed doing this within a couple of minutes. A new web is then spun in the morning.
The much smaller male will approach the female cautiously to mate. If not careful, he could end up being eaten by her.
The female is recognised by the pale cross of white or yellow spots on the abdomen which gives them the common name of Cross Spiders. Individual spiders colouring can vary from very light yellow to very dark grey, but all European Garden Spiders have the markings on the abdomen.
Garden Spiders tend to be passive, it is difficult to provoke them to bite, if they do bite, the bite is just slightly unpleasant and harmless to humans. Garden Spiders have been known to make a warning sound with their legs (stridulate).