While spiders terrify me, I still find interest in observing a web or two.

The intricate lines of arachnid artwork prove to be one of nature’s most striking creations and seeing as I am an artist, I appreciate such beauty.

How the spider web works

Ever wonder how a spider web works? Well, I used to be intrigued by this myself. A spider’s web is remarkable. It serves as the primary way in which the spider survives. Without the web, the spider would have no tool to lure, catch, and devour its prey. What’s more, the process of building a web takes little time at all.

It only takes between 20 and 30 minutes for the arachnid to build its web. First, the radii must be placed at set intervals. The spider, then, crosses the radii in pendulums and round turns to set the insect-catching zones.

After the work is completed, the spider settles at the hub of the web and stretches out its legs. It can now feel each vibration that occurs on the web, thus catching prey trapped in its natural structure.

But what happens when, like us human creatures, spiders become subject to hallucinogenics or other mind-altering substances?

Webs before dawn

H.M. Peters, a zoologist, began filming the web-building techniques of the Orb spider in 1948. This project was part of his research conducted at the University of Tubingen in Germany.

The original plan was to simply film the ritual of the Orb spider, which occurred predominantly between 2 and 5 in the morning. The work soon became dreadfully boring, and so Peters got creative. His intention was to alter the internal clock of the spider in order to work during the hours of the day of his choice. Peters enlisted the help of pharmacologist Peter Witt.

Curiosity doped the spider

Peters and Witt, together, formed a plan. In order to change the spider’s time of web-building, they would need to change the functioning of the spider.

The duo decided to lace water with a variety of mind-altering drugs such as LSD, amphetamines, and marijuana, along with many other substances. The lighting and temperature of the laboratory were regulated for controlled results.

The results were interesting, to say the least. While the spider’s web is usually intricate and effective, most results proved to be inconclusive and horrifying.

Notes from the English publication, “Drugs and Society,” state,

Their daily spinning is usually a remarkably precise and complex process whose mechanisms we do not fully understand.”

The webs could not serve what the spiders had intended them to. The creations were ugly and proved to be useless for catching the spider’s prey.


The webs included irregularly spaced radii but with the same basic geometry.


With high dosages of LSD, web-building was completely altered. Dosages that were just a bit lighter made the webs appear psychedelic. Sometimes the spiders couldn’t do anything under the LSD influence. Low dosages of LSD almost created a normal web, but it still had compulsive lines and sections.

Other substances

Soon, after observing the results of drug-induced web-building, Peters abandoned the research. Witt continued in his tests, experimenting with other substances and combinations. He also questioned the comparison between the spider’s mind and our own while using these substances.

Here are spiders’ webs under the influence of other substances, including marijuana and caffeine:

spiders on drugs

Results are unclear as to whether the tests proved useful in any way. Although scientific interest in spider experimentation decreased, Witt continued testing mind-altering effects on the orb spider until his death in 1998.

What do you think about the results of the experiment and spiders’ webs under the influence of different substances? Share your thoughts with us!

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This Post Has 7 Comments

  1. nance

    when fed high doses of sugar, what results?

  2. Adam

    It looks like Orb spiders can handle their acid, speed, and weed, but give them a cup of coffee and they’re in big trouble ?

  3. i

    no they fucking didn’t

  4. Simran

    lol… Marijuana must have given him a great sleep and sound brain to function next day .. actually marijuana help concentration level so catching a pray would be best example on all above drugs..

  5. Me

    Although scientific interest with spider experimentation decreased, Witt continued testing mind-altering effects on the orb spider until his death in 1998.

    Yea translated that means the dude enjoyed tripping with the spiders, probably gave up stupid drugs like coke, speed n whiskey and just tripped the mind expanding, remember a difference is not necessarily negative. Besides The spiders Web on LSD is much more detailed in some photos that have been removed from the WEB!!

  6. Laura

    The drugs made the spiders more creative in their web making.

  7. phoenix

    that’s interesting.

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