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Arachnophobia: The Fear of Spiders

Insect Night Spider MoonArachnophobia is one of the most common phobias plaguing the human species. People with arachnophobia experience fear and unease when they believe they are in the presence of spiders. The sight of cobwebs or spiders themselves can cause a person with acrophobia to have panic attacks, scream, cry, or even faint.  This phobia affects around 3.5 – 6% of the population and there is still much debate on whether the fear of spiders is a result of an evolutionary need to protect oneself from venomous creatures or something we learn to fear by observing how others react around them.

Spiders have gotten a bad reputation, only being seen as creepy crawlies hiding away in dark corners, preying on unsuspecting insects and sucking the life right out of them.  Movies like Arachnophobia, Eight Legged Freaks, Tarantula, or Kingdom of Spiders aren’t doing these little guys any favors either! There is a lot more to the spider than what we see on the movie screen! Here are some spider facts that you may not know:

  • In other cultures, including Cambodia, Costa Rica, and South America, spiders are included in some traditional foods. Fried spiders are a popular tourist snack in Cambodia!
  • Spiders are not insects, they are arachnids – other arachnids include ticks, scorpions, and mites.
  • Spiders are found all over the world, except on Antarctica.
  • One species of spider, the Bagheera Kiplingi – which is found in Central America, is actually a vegetarian!
  • Most spiders feature 4 sets of eyes. The pattern of how they are arranged though will depend on the species.
  • The largest spider is the Goliath Bird Eating spider of South America – this spider can have a body length up to 12 inches along with fangs measuring around 1 inch! The Huntsman spider is the world’s largest spider by leg-span, this spider’s body can also reach up to 12 inches long with a leg span reaching a massive 6 inches! The goliath has a heavier body mass than the huntsman thereby awarding it the title of world’s largest spider.
  • A common house pet is the tarantula! Owners of these pets claim tarantulas are intelligent and very affectionate. Tarantulas can live 10-20 years.
  • The wolf spider is the only spider in the world that will carry her babies on her back! The egg sac remains attached to the mother wolf spider until the young are ready to hatch. Once hatched, the babies move onto the mother’s back and hitch a ride until they are ready to survive on their own.
  • Spiders take approximately 60 minutes to spin a complete web.
  • Spiders eat insects and are a source of natural pest control. Spiders can help rid your home of sow bugs, mosquitoes, flies, moths, and roaches.
  • The myth that you will eat 8 spiders in your sleep throughout your lifetime is false! In 1993, Lisa Holst, a columnist for PC Professional Magazine, wrote about how gullible people are to believe the facts received in e-mail chain letters. She created a list of made up “facts” which included the spider stat – proving her point when the entire world picked it up and spread it as fact. Unfortunately, no one has been able to confirm that the article, or Lisa Holst herself, actually exist. The question still remains if this stat – and origin story –  is true or false, but we say false.
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