This book about spiders made me cringe

I hate spiders. So when I received Dana Wilde’s book, A Backyard Book of Spiders in Maine, with an ugly yellow spider on the cover, I cringed. I wasn’t sure I could read and write about this book.

But the book turned out to be very interesting, with lots of information about spiders. And despite the fact there are photos of spiders all through the book, I did read it (while spending no time looking at the photos).

Dana tells us that we have 689 species of spiders in Maine. Yikes! But I was intrigued that there are fishing spiders – and no, I don’t plan on fishing with a spider.

One study in Milbridge collected 302 spiders. We drive through Milbridge on our way to Lubec, and yes, in the future, I’ll be driving faster through there.

Dana reports that there are 48,000 species of spiders in the world, but only 200 can give us medically significant bites, and only 4 can kill us. I suppose that’s good news.

I was amazed that Dana collected live spiders. I suppose he would not be happy that I’ve always killed every spider I saw.

I was pleased to learn that lots of spiders die in the winter. Bring on the snow!

I have to say, even if you hate spiders as much as I do, you will find Dana’s book to be very interesting.







George Smith

About George Smith

George stepped down at the end of 2010 after 18 years as the executive director of the Sportsman’s Alliance of Maine to write full time. He writes a weekly editorial page column in the Kennebec Journal and Waterville Morning Sentinel, a weekly travel column in those same newspapers (with his wife Linda), monthly columns in The Maine Sportsman magazine, two outdoor news blogs (one on his website,, and one on the website of the Bangor Daily News), and special columns for many publications and newsletters. Islandport Press published a book of George's favorite columns, "A Life Lived Outdoors" in 2014. In 2014, George also won a Maine Press Association award for writing the state's bet sports blog. In 2016, Down East Books published George's book, Maine Sporting Camps, and Islandport Press published George and his wife Linda's travel book, Take It From ME, about their favorite Maine inns and restaurants.