6 Common Spider Beliefs that are False
Here are 6 common myths about spiders, provided by PRI:
Myth #1: Spiders are aggressive
According to PhD student Catherine Scott, the commonly feared black widows are “actually very shy, unaggressive spiders that really don’t deserve their poor reputation.”
Myth #2: Spiders want to bite you
“Spiders really have no interest in biting people, unlike a lot of other arthropods like mosquitos and ticks and mites that feed on human blood… the only reason a spider would bite you is if you’re crushing it or otherwise harassing it and it feels like it’s got no other choice but to try to defend itself,” Scott says.
Myth #3: Spiders are dangerous
Only 2 kinds of spiders exist in North America that can significantly hurt someone; widow spiders and the brown recluse spiders. Scott says that if you find a black widow crawling on you to just let it be and allow it to crawl off.
According to one of Scott’s tricks, she says “The way that I get black widows to move around is by gently brushing their hind legs with a soft paintbrush. So if you’re sort of tickling them from behind, then you might be able to convince them to walk off of you.”
Myth #4: Spiders crawl on you when you’re sleeping
“The chances of having a spider on you are pretty low. Contrary to popular belief, spiders do not go into your bed at night to bite you or try to go into your mouth. That myth that you swallow spiders is totally false,” Scott says.
Myth #5: Spiders venom is bad for you
Lauren Esposito, Curator of Arachnology at the California Academy of Sciences, is currently studying the medical properties of spider venom. There are multiple different components to venom that are being researched for their therapeutic properties- “everything from treating erectile dysfunction to treating drug resistant bacteria…to treating things like muscular dystrophy and Alzheimer’s,” Esposito says.
Myth #6: Spiders are ugly, scary and bad
“Spiders and scorpions and other arachnids are cuddly creatures,” Esposito says. Scott agrees saying I think spiders are a lot more fascinating than scary. And if you learn more about them, start watching their behavior, their behavior is really cool, and they’re beautiful.”
Lauren Esposito regularly milks scorpions. Catherine Scott lets black widows crawl on her. Both of these spider experts love arachnids, and they want you to love them, too.