Scared of spiders

Why are so many people frightened of spiders?

Because they are scary!

I think maybe the way spiders move is just too alien. Insects tend to crawl (or fly), but if you have more than six legs you start to walk funny. I’m sure if people really saw how centipedes move it might freak them out (of course, the experts probably think it looks really beautiful…). Spiders have their knees (well, their knee analogs) above the rest of their bodies; they move their legs in weird swinging, lurching motions that don’t really remind us of anything cuddly, or familiar, or even from earth.

Having eight eyes on your thorax is kind of intimidating as well. Oh yes, and the fangs are scary. And the fact that the entire class of spider is carnviorous - not a single vegetarian among them. On the whole, they worry me.

But I’m just as squeamish about insects, so I kind of like spiders for political reasons.

I dunno, but put me in a sealed room with an open jar of spider and enjoy the show.

Wake up with one on your face, and I’m sure you’ll be scared of them too.

Spiders! EEEWWWWW!

Spiders give me the creeps, have for as long as I can remember.

Anything with more than six legs give me the creeps.

Earwigs give me the creeps, too. Anything with pincers on its ass gives me the creeps.

They scare me because I can’t help but imagine them bigger, like the size of a small car or something. Imagine a spider that size attacking you and wrapping you up in it’s web…yikes!

One night I was playing “Capture the Flag” and we were out in the country. I fell and when I looked up I was about 2 inches from the biggest honking spider in the biggest web I ever saw. You never heard such a scream in you life.

My boyfriend is scared to death of spiders. He’s scared of them because when he was little, he was playing in his sandbox when he uncovered enough of a buried spider to see just two hairy legs poke out and flail around. Why this particular incident happened to make a lasting impression on him, I shall never know. But on the basis of that, I would probably agree that it’s the weird way they move.

For me, it was that stupid, friggin SCARY movie that made me afraid of spiders. Not the actual spiders themselves, but afraid of the thought that GIANT HAIRY SPIDERS ARE GOING TO COME DOWN FROM THE CEILINGS AND POISION YOU MOST HORRIFICALLY! At least, thats what my younger brain thought, resulting in fear (generally) of spiders.

we’re more scared of you than you are of us.

I heard a theory once somewhere (sorry to be so vague) that the further away a creature is from us on the evolutionary scale, the more likely we are to find it “creepy.” OK, so the theory is probably a lot better articulated than that (and it presupposes the validity of evolution), but the point is, we don’t instinctively feel repulsed by a dog or a horse because its morphology is, in general, readily analogous to a human’s (4 limbs, 1 head, etc.) As you get further away from homo sapiens on the evolutionary scale, the morphological analogs become harder and harder to find. So by the time you get to your slugs and crickets and spiders, your instinctive reaction is “ewwww.”


Seiously, though, why are rats more disgusting than butterflies?

Are they, objectively speaking? Or is that a personal preference?

The wings of a butterfly can be quite beautiful. Once you get past the bright colors though, there are all those intricate mouth parts, fuzzy little legs and that squishy, segmented thorax…ewwww.


. . .why are rats more disgusting than butterflies?

A: Butterflies look more like flowers than insects, and rats look like . . . well . . . rats.

(We had a white rat named Algernon, a refugee from a behaviorism lab, who was quite a nice pet.)

Okay, then why are flowers considered more beautiful than rats when they are farther on the “evolutionary scale”? Flowers definitely don’t have one head and four limbs.

I would appreaciate it if someone could post a link to the “evolutionary scale”.

I’d go with both the “evolutionary distance”, and also something along the lines of invasion of privacy:

Some creatures are dangerous, but we have some control over it: avoiding bears in the woods, etc… But certain creatures that (at least until the 20thCentury) pose risk of disease or trauma, like snakes, spiders, scorpions, rats, et al… that are “not avoidable” are creepy, and sometimes imply fault on the person (unsanitary living conditions).

You never found a leopard in your shoe as you put it on; in a way, heck, they “respect” our space and generally keep their distance unless we’re seeking them out, presumably accepting the risk of encounter. Plague-ridden rats, biting arthropods, or just plain old roaches don’t. Ick.

I think this is just an irrational fear. But telling myself that sure doesn’t make it any better. The most disgusting of bugs are these odd looking centipeed like things we have around here. They have tons of legs, are really fast, and VERY disgusting. I once caught one, just to look at. ick.

I once heard the average human eats 4 spiders a year. :slight_smile:

Another thing, I think most people have eaten a crab, which resemble insects too much for me. I mean, exoskeleton, jointed appendages…yuck!

IMHO I think the fear of rats and spiders goes back to the early days of humans. Spiders tend to like dirty and dark areas, just the same kind of spots humans would have wanted to hide in from the big bad <insert killer of choice here>. Get bit in the dark from this tiny thing you can hardly see and you die anyway. Pretty scary.

Rats and maggots and the like cause the fear of death. Rats carry a lot of diseases and, to be honest, that is what I think of when I see one.