Have you noticed how spiders are everywhere in Halloween festivities, from costumes and decorations, to scary movies? Many humans possess a deep-rooted fear of these mostly harmless arachnids, known as Arachnophobia. This Halloween, we are taking a closer look at our eight-legged friends, and debunking some myths about spiders.
Halloween Fuels Untrue Facts About Spiders
Halloween feeds into our fears about spiders. Most often, those fears are linked to spiders being associated with things we are already afraid of, such as cemeteries or haunted houses. Then there’s Hollywood, which fuels our fear with scary movies that feature giant, blood-thirsty, spiders that prey on humans. Creepy, crawly spiders and their clingy cobwebs are featured in mummy and vampire tales that take place in abandoned, dark lairs, crypts, underground vaults and other dark places. While it is true that some spiders prefer dark, undisturbed places to build their webs, there are some that prefer a quiet spot in the middle of your garden as a place to call home.
Myth: Spiders Are Aggressive
The truth is, most spiders are very laid back, just hanging around their webs and waiting for food to come to them; that’s why they spin webs. There are some spiders, such as Wolf Spiders, that do not spin webs, but hunt their prey. Luckily, humans are not on their menu. Most humans who experience spider bites have usually disturbed the spiders, or threatened them in some way.
Myth: All Spiders Bites Are Deadly
In North America, there are only two types of spiders that pose a significant threat to humans: the Brown Recluse Spider, and a variety of Widow spiders: such as Black Widow, Brown Widow and Red Widow. Brown Recluse bites can cause severe swelling and pain, and flu-like symptoms that could require immediate medical attention. Widow spiders can pack a punch with their potent venom, but thanks to advances in anti-venom therapy, they are rarely fatal.
Myth: People Swallow Spiders While They Sleep
The myth that you swallow spiders is false. Spiders don’t typically hang out around sleeping humans. Contrary to popular belief, spiders do not go into your bed at night to bite you, or try to climb into your mouth.
Myth: Spiders Are Bad
Most spiders are harmless, and many are beneficial in controlling mosquitoes, flies and other potentially dangerous insects. In Native American teachings, female spiders play important roles as co-creators of humankind and the bringer of light to the world. In many cultures, spiders are considered a mystical creature due to their ability to spin webs. On a more earthly level, they help control mosquitoes, ants and other insects that get snared in their webs.
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