Tuesday 4 October 2011

A spider will not survive -17 degrees C

I discovered this by chance yesterday. I had picked some blackberries, and frozen them on a tray, and when I went to tip them into a bag - lo! I found that I had mistakenly frozen a spider.

What if I am the first person to discover that a spider can survive such a low temperature? I thought. So I laid him/her tenderly on the table in the kitchen to see. S/he seemed rather crisp, but no matter. All the legs were there. Everything in tact. I waited.

An hour later, I returned. The spider wasn't quite so crisp, but it was almost certainly dead.

Telling my son about this, he reminded me of all the times when we had resuscitated hibernating hamsters by the fire, and he speculated that the flower bed which doubled as burial ground for animal corpses was probably full of misdiagnosed hamsters which had been, not dead, but merely waiting for the spring. Isn't that an awful thought?


  1. Good job you found him before he/she was cooked in a pie :-)

  2. While I can not help feeling somehow sorry for the spider who met its cold death in your freezer, I feel sorrier for the death hamsters. Isn't THAT awful, how partial I am?

  3. It could have worse. You might not have noticed it! I wonder if it would have tasted like a blackberry.

  4. Do hamsters hibernate?
    There is a fly — one fly — in my house, and it has taken a liking to my computer screen and hence to my head. I'd happily put it in the freezer and call it a scientific experiment, if I could catch it.

    Kay, Alberta, Canada
    An Unfittie’s Guide to Adventurous Travel

  5. Oh my! What a mesmerising tale. I was waiting for you to say - it worked! The spider came back to life! Oh well...

  6. A good contribution to scientific knowledge, Frances! I'm so glad you discovered the blackberry spider before you ate it.

  7. I must be heartless as when you got to the bit where it wasn't so crisp, I laughed (I wouldn't freeze one on purpose though - I'm not that bad)

  8. Jarmara, he was so small we would probably have eaten him without noticing.

    Librarian, I know, I know. Awful.

    Gail, if he'd been eating blackberries he might well have. Or eating flies that had eaten blackberries...

    Kay, hamsters certainly hibernate. They look exactly as if they're dead. I dread to think how many hibernating hamsters must have been interred/discarded by their fond owners.

    Pat, I was waiting for me to say it worked, too, and that would actually have made quite an interesting post!

    Not sure thsi was really very scientific, Rosemary, but it was worth a try!

    Patsy, how could you? This is a life we're talking about :o(

  9. In the hope it'll make you feel better about me, I'll tell you about my garden spiders. They make webs across the paths, so when I want to go by, I carefully unhook the web, open it like a gate, then hook it back again after me so they don't have to spend all day making a new one.

  10. Come back, Patsy. All is forgiven!