I do not know of an animal that is in more need of positive PR than a spider. As someone who spends a lot of their time outside, it baffles me when I run into a significant amount of outdoor-oriented people who do not like dealing with the critters that inhabit the wild places they have come to love. This can result in thoughtless killing of an animal that has not harmed them and has far more use to our world alive rather than dead. Here are 22 reasons these people need to get their shit together when it comes to spiders (and why you probably do too). Tough love’s a-coming.
1. As always, the number one reason will be the fact YOU ARE OUTSIDE.
Something other than you does exist out there.
2. There are only two spiders that can actually cause harm in North America.
They are the Brown Recluse and the Black Widow.
3. They can’t hurt you if you don’t mess with them.
Even though these spiders can be harmful to humans, the best way to avoid getting bit is to not touch them. (Yes, this does include not killing them).
4. They are not mindless drones.
Having said that, there have been accounts of an arachnid scientist, Catherine Scott, allowing a Black Widow to crawl on her and they did not feel an irresistible urge to chomp down on her flesh. They simply scuttled across her arm. (Not something I condone everyone to do but she definitely proved the point).
5. They are smaller than you.
Some can reach “frightening heights” in our eyes but are you really telling me, a 4’0”-6’5”+ man/woman with a great amount of intelligence, could not conjure up a better way to remove a spider than to kill it?
6. They are not out to get you.
At times, it may seem like the spider dangling from the web that just happens to be coming towards your face is out to get you. But I promise, they aren’t.
7. They are not aggressive.
It does not make any sense why something so small would need to go after something so large – that is a lot of energy wasted on their part.
8. They cannot eat you (I know you know this).
Meaning, they have no need to interact with you and getting in your house was not on their to-do list.
9. They cannot mate with you (I know you know this, too).
Again, they have no real desire to interact with you. You are not food and you are not a potential mate – they cannot waste their precious baby-making time interacting with such large, ineffable creatures. (See what I did there?)
10. Your fear is fantastic at playing tricks on you.
Remember Aunt Betsy that said she found a spider [THIS BIG] in her basement? A study done by Ohio State University uncovers the truth, stating that when people are fearful of something – its size is skewed.
11. Spiders eat other bugs.
They feast on the critters that can be seen as nuisances, making your outdoor experience more enjoyable.
12. You should forget all the worry about when you’re asleep.
If you’re worried that they’ll crawl on you while you sleep rest assured. Scientist Catherine Scott states that the chances of them exhibiting this behavior is very low.
13. Their venom is used in medicine.
Studies are being done to see how their venom helps with diseases like muscular dystrophy and Alzheimer’s.
14. They have fascinating behaviors.
Example: using their webs for communication. And if you took the time to watch them, you would see it.
15. They have been around much longer than us.
This probably won’t win you over but be humbled by the fact you are in the presence of a species older than the human race.
16. Stewardship, not dominion is the game we should be playing.
Despite people’s differing worldviews, I think most of us can agree that humans are a major cause of natural destruction and the only ones capable of fixing the issue. Therefore, making our role one of stewardship instead of dominion.
17. We can combat genetic predispositions to our fears.
There was a twin study performed by John Hettema that stated genetics played a role in the fear of spiders, whether or not you were ever exposed to them as a child. However, we can partially combat our genetic predisposition towards our fear of spiders (See #18 below).
18. If you never choose to give spiders a chance, you will never get over your fear.
Scientist, Paul Siegel, had two groups—one with arachnophobia and one without the phobia. He then showed them pictures of spiders to see if conditioning helped those who were fearful of spiders. The results of the study indicated that when the spider-fearing group reassembled to take the test again, they were less afraid.
19. Propagating fear of spiders is not beneficial for your kids.
Group learning has a lot of influence on a child. A study done by Graham Davey states that if there are family members who have a fear of spiders, it is a common result that others in the family will be too. Propagating fear to something so harmless is propagating ignorance.
20. Who likes to be afraid?
Fear can be useful and has been essential in our species survival but it can also be very limiting. Turn your fear into thoughtful curiosity to gain a deeper understanding of the world around you and I promise you, you will not regret it.
21. Media often shows the wrong side of the spider, contributing to your fear of them.
There are several myths generated about the spider that are simply untrue (ex: the amount of spiders crawling in your mouth while you sleep) and media often depicts their crawling behavior as repulsive. Halloween media also often uses spiders as their unspoken mascot.
22. Last but not least, spiders are all-around, fascinating creatures.
If we close our eyes to the very ideas that could help us move forward, we are not only hurting the spiders but we also end up hurting ourselves.