Spiders: 10 common perceptions to forget straight away

Credit: iStock

A fear of spiders is one of the most common phobias for humans.  Their hairy body, their numerous eyes, their eight legs and their particular way of moving around can disgust and frighten many.  Yet most spiders are completely harmless and try and escape humans as best as they can. You’d hardly believe that they are just as disgusted by us as we are by them!  Here are 10 myths about spiders that you should forget.  After reading this article you’ll see that these little eight-legged creatures are almost as cute as our dogs and cats and there is absolutely no reason to be afraid! 

1. In winter spiders shelter inside your home 

We often think that when winter comes, spiders start to take refuge in our houses so that they can escape the colder weather.  It is true that it is common to see them inside you house more often in autumn than in winter.

However in reality, the majority of spiders that we come across in our houses have always lived there.  These spiders lay their eggs in your furniture and live generation to generation indoors.  They have even adapted to the moderate temperatures of our homes and to the shortage of water and food. 

2. Spiders are aggressive 

When we wake up in the morning and we notice a red spot on our body although it is the middle of winter and there are no mosquitoes in the proximity, we immediately think that it is a spider bite.  Yet, not only do common house spiders not bite, but they are naturally nervous and scared. Therefore they tend to escape when they notice a human!  What is more, they do not feed off human skin!  

The only time when a spider will bite you (this only can happen if the spider is big enough), is when it feels threatened for example if you sat on it inadvertently for example.

3. Tarantula venom isn’t poisonous 

Tarantulas are victims of a particularly bad reputation.  Their big size and their hairy body can be frightening.  However, in reality, despite their poisonous venom, it is not generally dangerous for humans although it can be painful.

The bites of rare species of tarantulas can cause people to go into a coma and one species (Atrax robustus) can kill.  However an anti-venom does exist.

4. Spiders are insects 

Although spiders have certain similar characteristics to insects they can not be considered as an insect.  In fact spiders are arachnid like ticks and dust mites. This is because they have eight legs unlike insects which generally have six and they don’t have antennas.

5. Spiders are better outside

When we see a spider indoors the fist reflex for the most kind-hearted of us is not to kill it but to put it outside. As we can well imagine that the spider will be much happier outside.

However as we have seen earlier on, the spiders that we come across in our houses have often always lived indoors.  Therefore once released into the wild they have to fend for themselves against all types of dangers.  This can often kill them as they aren’t used to a life outside, to changing temperatures or predators.

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Credits : iStock

6. We swallow 8 spiders per year while we sleep 

This is completely untrue!  As we have heard earlier on, spiders have the tendency to escape humans.  Therefore if a spider finds itself by chance on your face, it won’t want to wake you up.  However you might argue that sometimes if you are in a deep sleep you have your mouth open.

But spiders don’t like the heat.  When you breath you breath out hot breath which they won’t like.  What is more if you are a snorer the vibrations of your snores will make the spiders scamper off.

7. Spiders are everywhere

It is often said that spiders are so numerous that they are all around us, that they are invisible and that they watch our slightest movement.  Where do these annoying little creatures come from!  However in reality it all depends on where you are.

If you decide to pick-nick in the park there is a strong chance that you will be surrounded by tiny little spiders.  However if you are on a golf course or another grassy area that is well maintained there is less of a chance that you will come across any spiders.   The same can be said you are in a plane or in a skyscraper.  In winter spiders tend to stay inside their burrows so that they can keep warm.

8. All spiders make spider webs

When we think of spiders, we can immediately think of spiderwebs that spiders spend days trying to weave.  This silk web, which is generally pretty sticky, is used to trap their prey so that they can feed.

However not all spiders make spiderwebs.  In fact some disappear into the ground so that there can camouflage themselves,  others like to ambush their prey while others go directly into contact.

9. Spiders lay eggs under the skin

We’ve all heard someone say that they “knew someone” or “heard a story that” there was a person who saw hundreds of small spiders come out of his body.   Apparently the spider laid eggs under their skin …

However in reality, it is impossible for this to happen for the simple reason that spiders do not have a piercing organ. They can at most bite you, and only if they are big enough. On the other hand, mites, which can often be confused with spiders, do have this ability.. good to know!

10. Spiders weave spiderwebs in a spiral

The first image that comes to mind when we imagine a spider’s web is it’s shape consisting of a series of spirals. However spiders are in fact able to create webs with different designs.

For example, some spiders create funneling webs that do not stick and hide in them until a prey passes nearby. They then leave their hiding place to attack.


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