Some Creatures Have Good Reason to Spit

030331Human saliva contains a bacteria killer called lysozyme.  In ancient times, people knew that spit was curative from observing animals licking their wounds, which subsequently healed.

Many creatures in nature make good use of saliva for many practical purposes.  Some spiders, for example, use spit to immobilize their prey from as far as twenty centimetres away.  An insect nicknamed the walking worm is a spitball champion!  It can cover a tasty morsel like a termite with a stream of gluey spit, accurately hitting a target some fifty centimetres away.  The spit hardens as quickly as five minute epoxy glue.  It holds the prey until the worm is ready to poke a hole in the hard case, and enjoy a relaxing meal.

Termites use their spitballs in a different way.  The spitballs become bricks, which they use to build elaborate houses with lots of rooms, including nursery chambers for their offspring.

Wasps make good use of spit to build their nests and bind them strongly together.  After a rain storm, wasps suck up water and spit it over the side of their nest.  A well-nourished, robust wasp can fly more than ninety-six kilometers a day.  Given the wasp’s great capacity for endurance, some athletes have used wasp spit to help them turn in medal winning marathon performances.

So next time, remember that for some creatures, there is good reason to spit.