Paul Lazarro has one of the weirdest gigs I’ve ever heard of: he milks black widow spiders for their silk. Yeap! The venomous, red dotted, eight-legged, creature-killing black widow is knocked out and then handled for its super strong silk. All in the name of dangerous research.
Lazarro is a grad student, and he uses a special machine to mine the black widow spider for its silk. Lazarro first knocks out the spider with carbon dioxide (they’re only knocked out for a few minutes though!) and then mechanically grabs the spider’s silk. The silk is for Lazarro’s research (according to Reddit, he works with silk-associated molecules in the black widow silk and its role in communication). The spiders can be mined for their silk multiple times in their lifetimes too. As I’m a bug-loving freak, I’d love to see this process happen in real time. [Reddit]