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Page last updated at 08:43 GMT, Monday, 16 May 2011 09:43 UK

Tarantulas' silky slippers



New research has revealed that tarantulas climb and stop themselves from falling by secreting silk from their feet.

For the first time researchers have found that strands of silk were let out of their feet, anchoring them when they slip.

"When we raised the spiders from the horizontal up to the vertical and shook them a little bit, we then found that they had secreted silk on to the glass slides we had put under their feet," Dr Claire Rind of Newcastle University explained.

"We didn't slap them around or anything like that," she told John Humphrys. "We used quite a docile species, but they were pretty big. You had to be brave to embark on the experiments."

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