Sucking a spider into a vacuum cleaner might seem like a good idea, but can it just crawl back out again?
The question was posed by an eight-year-old girl named Lucy in an article published on The Conversation.
To answer her question, the editors sought expert advice from a vacuum specialist and a spider expert.
Simon Lockrey, industrial design research fellow and former vacuum cleaner design engineer, told the publication that it’s certainly possible for a spider to make its way back out again, as long as it survived the journey. It also depends on the type of vacuum.
“Some vacuum cleaners have internal 'doors' that only open on the way in, and not the way out," he said. "Think of a trap door that only opens one way! We had those in some of the vacuums I helped to design.”
Spider expert Maggie Hardy, agreed, saying: "When a spider is sucked up by a vacuum cleaner, it first needs to avoid being killed by the low pressure that sucks air and dirt into the vacuum.”
She added that the spider will also have to wait for any injuries to heal.
Maggie explains that a spider’s skeleton is on the outside of their body, called an exoskeleton. If a limb is lost, the spider will have to wait until its next moult (shedding of the exoskeleton) for it to grow back.
However, Maggie stresses that if a spider does find its way inside your house, it’s probably lost and doesn't want to cause any harm.
If you do happen to find an injured spider, Maggie recommends watching this youtube video on how to make a spider hospital. Before doing this, make sure the spider isn’t poisonous.