Photo of the Week – April 28, 2016

During a walk in our family prairie last week, I found a spider web spanning the entrance to a badger tunnel.

Spider and web at the entrance of a badger hunting tunnel (where a badger had dug a tunnel to catch a ground squirrel or some other small creature. Helzer family prairie. nebraska.
If you look closely, you can see the spider near the top of the tunnel entrance.

When I pulled in close with my camera, the shadow behind the web and the bright sunlight on the spider contrasted beautifully.


It might be tempting to think the spider was trying to catch a badger except for three things.  First, that would probably end badly for the spider, and natural selection usually takes care of that kind of thing.  Second, spiders often string webs across any opening that could act as a funnel for flying insects.  A badger hole makes as much sense as any other, I suppose.  Third, this wasn’t a tunnel a badger lived in, just a hole dug while a badger was hunting a ground squirrel or some other small burrowing animal.  Most badger-made tunnels are of that ilk, and if you look closely at them, you can usually see the end of the tunnel within a few feet of the surface.

I do think it’s funny to think about what might happen if a spider hung a web across the opening of an active badger home, though.  I’m imagining a badger emerging from its tunnel in the morning and then hopping around shouting “OOOH!! Ick!  Spider web on my head! Spider web on my head!!”

11 thoughts on “Photo of the Week – April 28, 2016

  1. Pat April 28, 2016 / 4:57 pm

    Cracked me up! A good laugh is always appreciated. :)

  2. Joanne April 28, 2016 / 6:47 pm

    ‘Tis funny alright. Thanks for the laugh..

  3. Smith, Bill (Ext) April 29, 2016 / 9:08 am

    Reminds me of the old Far Side cartoon (you remember those, don’t you?) A couple spiders strung a web across the bottom of a slide as a kid was about to come down. One spider says to the other: “We pull this off, we’ll eat like kings!”.
    I enjoy your posts, thanks for doing them.

  4. Patti Holmlund April 29, 2016 / 10:47 am

    No one likes to walk through a spider web; not even badgers! :)

  5. Matt Roberts April 29, 2016 / 12:50 pm

    Nice photography! My guess is the badger probably don’t care about a spider lol!

  6. Ernest Ochsner April 29, 2016 / 2:45 pm

    Hey Chris congratulations on the article in Nebraska Life magazine.
    I always knew you’d come to something someday.
    Spider webs make great hairnets.

  7. Troy Mullens May 2, 2016 / 5:06 pm

    Enjoyed this a lot

  8. Terri Abbett May 30, 2016 / 10:19 pm

    I did field work one summer in the forests of northern Missouri and walked through lots of webs. I did the spider Web dance a few times just like your imaginary badger. Oooh ick ick web on my face.

  9. B. Kis October 23, 2016 / 9:29 am

    Nice photo, long jawed orb weaver., Tetragnatha sp.?

    • Chris Helzer October 23, 2016 / 7:41 pm

      I believe it is likely a Tetragnatha, yes. Don’t know the species.


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