Spiders: Evil on 8 legs or Tortured souls living in perpetual terror?

OK, It’s 11:30 pm and I’m heading down to the dungeon on a Friday night with a pizza & liter of beer: I am ready to fight some ignorance.

All the lights in the house are off, the wyfe & kids asleep, my PC jukebox is pumping out Crocodile Rock. All around my PC are a number of picture records, license plates from various states I’ve lived in, a couple lithos of cat drawings from The M.O.M.A. in NY, a cool chalk drawing of me & my boy from a street faire–all highlighted by a bunch of colored rope lights (from a couple Christmases ago). So there is some low light. Sandalwood is burning.

As I enter the room I see a largish (size of a quarter) spider hauling ass accross the linoleum and taking cover under a sweater one of the Montoyas has left on the floor. Why is there a sweater present in Summertime? Why is it in *My * room? It’s not my sweater.

This last fact means that I will not disturb this spider. Based on a childhood incedent involving two humongous house spiders, a bed and an 8 year old child (me) I am a living arachnophobe. All of the little bastards scare the pee out of me (except for sanguine ones, they frighten me in an intriguing sort of way that reminds me of my misspent young adulthood…but that’s different). Because ALL spiders want to crawl on me & bite me. Bite my eyes.

As a reasonable human being, my terror of these demon spawn has engendered in me a certain curiosity about the feelings of the sons of bitches before I smash them into oblivion with a shoe or book. Because, for all there malevolence and ferocity, they seem to be simply terrified of everything around them. And so they run from everything and therefore, toward everything else!

I almost feel sorry for them. Except for hissing tarantulas–they must all die.


Size of a quarter is not equal to largish.

Size of a spread hand is more like largish.

/never gets tired of showing off how big the spiders he has to deal with are

Never used to have a fear of spiders.

Then, in West Hollywood, CA I knew a guy…strong, young…who came to my local Gay bar with his arm in a sling.

I jokingly asked who he had beat up and he showed me a round, red circle on his chest, just above his right tit.

Seems he had been sleeping and was bit by a (some kind of brown) spider. He didn’t even know it, but the next day he saw a little red mark. Later that day, he started to lose feeling in his right arm and luckily, someone at his workplace insisted he go see a doctor.

The little red mark became a huge red mark and the doctor immediately gave him a shot…and if I remember correctly, the doctor told him that if he had not received the shot, he could have died in the next day or so.


I know…most spiders are harmless, but trust me, after that story, I am not going to walk casually to my computer and look up on the internet if the one crawling up my leg is a good one or a bad one.

Kill them, please. I don’t have any personal thing against them. I’m just scared to death of them. Kill them, please. Would you miss them? No. And I would finally be able to sleep with my feet hanging out the covers.

Sure would. Without spiders we’d be up to your armpits in bugs. I like having them in my house.

I’ve a very firm policy on sharing my abode with arachnids.

Spiders of the world:
If you stay quietly in your own little corner of the room and eat bugs, I will not bother you (Grandma might molest you with the vacuum cleaner, but not me).

If you climb into bed with me or merely over me, you will die – I’m not a spider jungle gym nor a midnight snack, so piss off.

We now return you to your regularly scheduled bug munching…


We have a beautiful orb weaving spider (Writing spider) on our back door. She’s spun a huge web across the glass of the window. Fascinating to watch and the kids enjoy keeping a look out for her wrapped up bug dinners. Fascinating to watch from the other side of the glass, that is.

As long as she stays on her side of glass and away from any area that my hand may touch going in and out of the door, everything’s fine.

Writing spiders always get an automatic stay of execution around here mainly because my daughter reminds me I’d be smooshing “Charlotte” with a shoe. Those big wolf spiders that jump at you and will even chase you across the floor as you run screaming through the living room in utter terror? That’s a different story altogether. Those ARE pure evil on 8 legs.

Y’know, at first I thought you were saying that as a reasonable human being, you felt justified in squashing these things to oblivion. For that reason, I was about to object. The vast majority of these creatures are utterly harmless, after all, and they are tremendously beneficial to the environment. Heck, if they’re present in your home, then they’re helping to eliminate creatures which are indeed hazardous to your health.

Then I saw that you consider yourself reasonable for feeling curious about the feelings of these creatures. That, I agree, is indeed reasonable.

Mind you, spiders are so primitive that they surely have no true “feelings”. Still, in most cases, the fear and loathing that these creatures engender is truly unwarranted. Since the SDMB is devoted to fighting ignorance, I feel that I must stress this quite strongly. :slight_smile:

Hissing tarantulas? You mean the stridulating ones (that is, the ones which generate a loud sound by rubbing their legs together)? Spiders have primitive book lungs which cannot inhale or exhale, and so they cannot hiss in the usual fashion.

Mind you, tarantulas are basically harmless. Sure, there are some aggressive species, but none are known to have a fatal bite, and most of them are confined to Asia and Africa. Additionally, none of these will go after human beings unless they are disturbed. In other words, don’t mess with them and you’ll be safe.

In fact, there is only one aggressive species in North America (Aphonopelma moderatum, native to Texas), and even it’s not terribly bad.

(I know what I’m talking about, friend. I’ve handled dozens of species, both docile and aggressive. I don’t recommend handling the aggressive ones unless you know what you’re doing and take appropriate safety precautions, but still, they’re not all that bad.)

In fact, I’ve used some of my more docile tarantulas to show people – especially schoolchildren – how utterly gentle and safe they can be. Fighting ignorance! Isn’t that what we’re about?

That would be a Brown Recluse, right?

Yikes, I just realized I’d been living in the middle of their distribution area for 2 months and didn’t even think about it.

I’m sure various stand-ups must have dealt with this many times in the past, but if Spiderman REALLY did “whatever a spider can”, it would be a pretty boring story. Hanging around the kitchen ceiling all day, getting your legs broken by a newspaper without provocation, and inadvertently scaring the living daylights out of a passing child before being carried outside under a small cup are not the sort of things that make a hero in my book.

(for that matter, I don’t see too many spiders rescuing annoying damsels and getting upside-down snogs)

Do you think all spiders actually have secret identities?

I am terrified of all spiders except for two.

Tarantulas are big enough that you can see them coming and, if they’re aggressive, you can escape. The more docile species make great pets. I do not fear the tarantula.

Black widows- drop for drop, they have the most toxic venom of any land-dwelling creature on the planet. They are also extremely laid back. I have actually had my hand within six inches of a black widow’s nest. I was sitting in the grass in front of my mom’s apartment, and I looked, and mere inches away from my had was this black, grape-sized spider hanging upside down in her web, red hourglass visible. Just hanging. Not afraid of me, not menacing me. Just hanging. Like, “OK, chick, just don’t stick your hand in my web, 'cause if you do, I’m gonna have to bite you and that would not be cool. But if you want to hang in my yard, that’s fine. If you’re not going to be eating that bug that’s crawling across your knee, can I have it?” I do not fear the black widow.

I have seen a brown recluse since I’ve moved to Vegas, and I undersand they’re quite common here, even though they’re not native to the area. With so many people moving out here every month, they hitch rides amongst their belongings. I fear the brown recluse.

Black widows are everyfreakingwhere out here in Vegas. If you walk along just about any fence line or wall after sunset, you’ll see one about every three or four feet. Strangely, I’ve never seen one on the Strip, though. I guess the kitsch annoys them and they stay away. Yet with all the zillions of them out here, I’ve only ever met one person who has been bitten, and he was being careless while trimming some shrubbery.

Everybody, you are missing the real horror in the OP:

Crocodile Rock???

I really, really do not like spiders, but I recognize that some species can be beneficial by eating other bugs. But why must they constantly test me by coming into my home or building webs across my front walkway? Right now I have a few dozen in my spare room that I will have to make a decision about soon when I remodel the room. They helped me out a bit by catching the moth overpopulation I had when I bought some infested bird seed so I don’t want to just smoosh them all. Still they are housespiders and I don’t know that I will be doing them any favors by trying to catch them and let them go outside.

I also have a couple that have taken up residence in my mail box and I noticed several egg sacs in there now. I really do not want my mail crawling with little baby spiders. See I don’t want to kill any of these spiders but they are forcing my hand, I asked them nicely to leave and they won’t.

I once had a brown recluse that lived in my garbage can that would leap out at me and shout “ooga booga!” while I leaped about and squealed like a maniac. I eventually started using a stick to open the garbage can and then moved away
from there.

The only spider that doesn’t really squick me out is a spiny orb weaver because it 1) stays outdoors and 2) doesn’t look like a typical spider.

I like spiders (except daddy long-legs, which creep me out). I’ve had several as pets over the years–not tarantulas in a terrarium, but common house spiders I’ve given names and felt some fondness for for as long as they lived in my bedroom curtains or under the bathroom baseboard. The average spider can live in my home without fear of being smooshed.

At work, we have some pretty big wolf spiders running around. My co-workers know to come to me when there’s one in the ladies’ room or making a nuisance of itself in the library; I’ll catch the little guy in a cup and escort it out to the bushes in front of the building.

I would definitely say they’re more afraid of me than I am of them (except for those daddy long-legs, which I simply cannot go near; if you want one of those taken outside, you’re on your own).

I beg to differ. Size of a quarter is GI-NORMOUS!!! I have an agreement with spider-kind. You stay out of my house (and that includes spinning your nasty webs on my gate, damnit), and I’ll let you live.

They bite. I’ve never had my eyes bitten, but they get my shins, and occasionally my elbows. I HATE them. And it’s not so much the bites, but the EXTRA creeeeeeepy knowledge that they were ON me, in the night. aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaagggggggggggggggggggghhhhhhhhhhh

I take it you don’t want to see my nine-inch-long Goliath birdeater, then?


That almost sounds like a proposition! But, IIRC, that’s a real spider right? The dinner plate spider? Seems like I remember it from a show on big spiders my son made me watch.

He’s always bugging me to buy him a tarantula. I keep telling him “you want a spider, you get your dad to get you one, and it’s NOT coming with you to visit me either”

::gags, pales and sweats::


Look, intellectually I know JThunder is absolutely right but my messy, primitive Id drowns out flimsy reason when spiders are involved. And lest aspersions of wimpiness be cast about, I love snakes, rats, bats and most other creepies. Not tolerate: love. It’s supremely stupid, but no other critter, not even scorpions, short-circuit my inner workings like spiders. It starts with a purely reflexive recoil and degenerates from there: sweaty hands, quivering tummy, the whole humiliating package.
I’ve tried desensitizing myself by learning about them. Hasn’t helped. The intellectual part appreciates it, but the quivery instinctive horror hasn’t changed a bit. I still recoil from pictures of them, which is really pathetic.
At best I’ve worked out a queasy compromise. If spiders stay out of my way and immediate living space, we’re okay. Not good, but okay. I won’t go out of my way to kill them, even if they’re hanging ::shudders:: around in the basement. But if one creeps into my immediate living space, it’s dead. Smallness doesn’t matter. It’s dead.
Simple mosquito bites turn into quarter-sized, itching lumps on me, though they fade very quickly. Even the most minor spider bites swell into hard, aching, seeping knots that last for a week or more. Bird gotta fly, fish gotta swim, spider gotta be smashed into goo with a broom or drowned in Raid.


Am I the only one that after reading this thread can feel imaginary spiders crawling all over me?!?! Shudder. I hate them, they’re evil!!!