|Height||Body Length: 5 inches|
|Habitat||Domesticated, Forest Areas|
Nobody really knows when the first silk spider was domesticated, or even how the strands it spins were discovered to be able to be woven into the strong yet light fabric of the same name. What is certain is that silk spider tending has been a profession since before the Aegis was raised.
Originally the exclusive purview of the Zahir, the chaos in the wake of the betrayals early in that House's career made it possible for other Houses to obtain the spiders and the secrets of keeping them alive and spinning. Now, all noble houses have their own silk families, and the fabric - while still rare - is no longer exclusive to the House of Ravens.
Silk Spiders are not found in the wild, though some Wildlanders who have seen the beasts have compared them to the Emerald Spiders found in the high canopy of the Verdegris. Escaped silk spiders usually do not last through the winter, as their silk has been bred for its weaving qualities, and their webs, while strong, are not terribly useful for catching prey.
Regardless, Silk Farming is considered a very dangerous profession, tended to by families who have worked in the substance for generations. Entire lineages of silk spiders have been cataloged, and there is much prestige to be had in being able to tend the temperamental and fragile creatures.
Hunted Object DescriptionEdit
A silk spider that tends to yield fair quality silk.
Habitat and HabitsEdit
No longer found in the wild, Silk Spiders are kept in enclosures that must be sheltered from the sun, yet not allowed to freeze. They live only a year, growing to maturity in just a few weeks after hatching, and weaving massive webs that fill their enclosures several times over the spring and summer.
Eggs are laid in large clutches, attached to the walls by massive amounts of silken thread.
Interestingly, Silk Spider thread - while still somewhat sticky - is not really suitable for catching prey. Over the years, spider breeders have emphasized quantity and fineness over stickiness and the ability to trap food - making the silk easier to work and generally less useful to the spider itself.
Silk spiders are spiders, and while domesticated still require live prey. They defend their webs when the Farmers arrive to take them, but their venom is weak and their fangs are short.
Generally, Silk Spiders are like any other spider, relatively unaffected by handling as long as it is done with caution to avoid activating their instinctive need to protect themselves. Farmers are usually in no real danger save during the harvesting of silk, and the spiders can even be transferred from enclosure to enclosure with relative ease.
Silk harvesting drives them, however, to defend themselves - a tricky thing, as killing the spiders means no more silk for the year, and possibly no young spiders for next year's work. Farmers wear heavy protective aprons, gloves, and helms made of a metal grate, pulling down the webs with large hooks made for that purpose. Silk Spider venom is not generally deadly to a healthy adult, but will make a man ill - children, smaller animals, and the elderly are at significant risk if bitten. Certain herbs do slow or even counteract the venom.
Small animals, especially, must be kept from the enclosures, as the spiders have been known to eat farm dogs, cats, or other friendly species - they are in fact fed live animals themselves.