Spiders are often the stuff of myths and legends. There are so many stories surrounding these eight-legged creatures. From scary anecdotes involving fangs and venom to wives tales explaining behaviors, there is a lot of misinformation about these benign insect-eaters. Since it has been said that you’re never more than ten feet away from a spider, it’s good to know what is true and what isn’t.
Here are some of those myths and the facts behind them to help you know a bit more about spiders.
Myth: Daddy long legs are the most venomous spiders, but their mouths are too small to bite humans.
Fact: This is a very widespread myth that almost everyone has heard, but has very mysterious origins. Daddy long legs are not actually spiders at all, making this myth completely false. Daddy long legs are also called harvestmen and belong to a group called opiliones. They have crab-like mouthparts do not have fangs like spiders.
Myth: Spiders have been known to lay eggs in the wounds they make in people’s skin.
Fact: Many people have heard a version of this story. A lady gets bitten by a spider and weeks later, a pimple like protrusion bursts and baby spiders come running out. As gross as this is, it is completely untrue. Your skin is not a suitable home for spider eggs, and spider biology does not work that way. Spiders usually create sacs to lay their eggs and keep the sac close by.
Myth: Spiders are often in our beds; that is why we always will wake up with spider bites on our skin.
Fact: Many of us have woken up with a mysterious big, red welt that resembles a bug bite. The mystery bite is often blamed on a spider. However, it is extremely rare for spiders to be in your bed. Unless your bed is on the floor in a basement or crawl space, spiders don’t see your bed as a potential hot spot for food. Spiders have no reason to bite humans unless they are very closely handled and pressed against the skin. Bumps and bites you wake up with are most likely from non-biting skin conditions or other insects (don’t rule out lice, mites, and bedbugs if you’re seeing bites frequently).
Myth: All spiders are poisonous and will create harmful and potentially dangerous wounds.
Fact: While all spiders do have venom to consume their prey, it is very rare for a spider’s venom to affect humans in a detrimental way. Spider bites will often feel like a general insect bite with swelling, itching, and redness. Black widow spiders and brown recluse spiders are two spiders you should be wary of, but those are very rare in most cases.
Myth: We swallow spiders in our sleep.
Fact: This myth varies in numbers, from 4 a year to 20 in a lifetime, but there is no basis of fact or proof to this myth. Many unlikely circumstances would have to align in order for a spider to enter your mouth (and you to not wake up), and for you to swallow it. Your mouth is not a habitable place for a spider, and spiders generally avoid humans.
Myth: Spiders can enter your home through sink and shower drains, so this is why you often see spiders in bathrooms.
Fact: Modern plumbing doesn’t allow this to be possible, and drainpipes are generally unfriendly environments for spiders, offering minimal food. House spiders need a lot of water, so they often travel into bathrooms to drink out of residual water in drains.
Myth: Tarantulas are extremely dangerous to humans.
Fact: Since tarantulas are so large, they are pretty scary creatures. They are often cast as the deadly monster in the movies and so many of us would be terrified if a tarantula made its way into our homes or worse. However, despite their large size, most tarantulas’ venom has very low toxicity to humans. In some cases, the bites might be a bit more painful because of the larger jaws, but the bites will usually affect you in the same way as a smaller spider.
More Spider Facts!
The following statements are confirmed facts about spiders:
The fishing spider doesn’t make a web to catch prey like its cousins. It rests in the surface water tension, and with its great eye sight it catches tiny species of fish with lightning fast reflexes.
The Bolas spider doesn’t spin a web. It actually makes a net between its front legs and snags the unsuspecting prey.
Over hundreds of spider species mimic ants by having related appearances and even comparable pheromones. Most do it to elude predators, but a few do it to help them prey on ants.
For a spider webs weight it is essentially stronger and tougher than steel.
Some species of jumping spiders can see in other spectrums of light that we are unable to such as UVA and UVB.
Tarantulas have another form of defense when being attacked they release irritating hairs, similar to how the porcupine repels predators.
Spiders are usually solitary species. Some actually form large cobweb colonies that can reach over 1,000 individuals, and they share the food or insects caught.
It is said that the black widow spider is known for eating every males she mates with, but this doesn’t actually happen with all species. In the red widow spider species the male spider actually makes her eat him by forcing himself onto her teeth.
Myth or Fact?
The following statements made about spiders are not confirmed facts, but have been passed around the web. We're leaving it up to you to decide if they are facts or myths. In any case, they sure are fun to read!
The U.S. government spends over four percent the GDP on methods to eliminate spiders and that is more than the war on terror, the war on drugs and the national parks combined.
It is said that if the spider didn’t lack the reasoning lobe of the brain it would hold the capacity to be smarter than the world’s greatest scientists.
It is said that most household spiders enter the home from not washing new clothing after purchase. Over 90% of clothing purchased at retail stores contains spider eggs laid during shipment.
It is reported that spiders withstand high levels of atmospheric pressure
Spider can work flawlessly in a space vacuum.
Spiders are capable of preserving their prey alive in silky cocoons in order to enjoy a "fresh meal". The Viedant Spider actually is known to find dead insects, and use an unusual form of venom to inject new life into the unappetizing corpse.
The Viedant spider venom is also a vital source to curing deadly forms of cancer
Some spiders construct balloons to descend elevations, and travel.
The Wind current Spider is said to have evolved to live in the Earth’s ionosphere.
The largest spider is history was over eight feet long and weighed 530 pounds
Orange Magma Spider can resist heat up to 5,300 degrees Fahrenheit
The study of psychology says the most dangerous concept in “dream understanding” is the spider, saying it represents to the human subconscious in the eleven stages of grieving
If the Harjack Spider wanted to it could produce enough silk to suffocate young animals and even human babies.
The Shoecase Spider of the Australian likes to make tiny skyscrapers, made of wooden sticks held together by heavy silk threads, which have been known to reach up to fifty feet high in rural areas.
The “x” variable in mathematics comes from the spider dating back to ancient Greece. Mathematicians used dried spider exoskeletons to symbolize their complex equations.
It is mandatory to own a tarantula on the Sandwich Islands. It is essential because the spiders ward off a multitude of local bacterium that would otherwise be dangerous to humans.
Less than 1% of spiders make webs!
Copperhead Spider actually spins webs made of solid steel
Bajillion Spider is unique because each single spider is actually recursively composed of thousands of tiny spiders that form a social group functioning as one.
There are sea spiders, which are not true spiders. However they are in Chelicerata class like the spiders. They’re the species of spider-like ocean dwellers.
Some spiders are hairy and produce milk like mammals
Spider webs actually have more potential energy than the dropping of the first atomic bomb
The eggs produced by a spider have over four times the amount DNA that a human does. So in just a single spider egg sac there is enough DNA to outnumber that of some countries populations.
Records show that spiders do not die from natural causes. A spider protected from danger can live and grow bigger for infinite amount of time.
The country of China claims to have a collection of Holy spiders, guarded by monks, which are reported to have hatched some 2,800 years ago.
The carapace of a spider is said to have the potential if made the appropriate size could shield a nuclear discharge.
The Kenyan Applecrosser spider is said to be able to grow emeralds on its abdomen.
The East African Snow Spider, which is all white is said to spin a completely black web