The 8-legged yeti

The 8-legged yeti

« Most like a spider she was, but huger than the great hunting beasts, and more terrible than they because of the evil purpose in her remorseless eyes » ​​​​​​​

J.R.R Tolkien, The lord of the ring, Part 2, The two towers, Chapter 9, Shelob’s lair


Giant spiders are key characters in Tolkien's cosmogony. However, their representation is not realistic from a zoological point of view, either in books or in the film adaptations that have been made: their size is exaggerated - the largest known spider is actually only 30 centimetres long! Furthermore, unlike in Peter Jackson's film, spiders do not have a stinger. They have chelicerae (arachnids belong to the chelicerate group), which allow them to inject their prey with a dose tailored to the size of the animal. These chelicerae are also responsible for injecting the digestive fluid that will allow them to absorb the previously digested flesh of their prey.

"In Peter Jackson's adaptation of The Lord of the Rings, it is probably one of the best 3D animations of a spider, even if it is not exactly zoologically accurate. It combines postural observations, locomotion and behavioural accuracy, not of a particular species but rather of a mixture." (op. cit, Le bestiaire des arthropodes).