Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Spiders are winning!

With 40% of the votes in my poll (right hand side of the page),

Here's a treat for all of you who said you are most afraid of spiders:

I'm evil, aren't I? Those are Tip Toe (first two pictures), and Skittle (last picture). They are both Avicularia avicularia, Tip Toe is around four years old, while Skittle sadly passed away last summer from a strange disease.

Tip Toe is quite friendly, a little skittish but I trust her enough to let her crawl all over me (including my face).

I'm always curious about what makes people afraid of certain animals. I know a lot of it has to do with how you're raised. As far back as I can remember my dad has caught little creatures to excitedly show me, so I've always been interested in spiders and bugs and things. With some people it's an innate, unexplainable fear, while for others it's simply the "gross" factor that's placed on certain organisms by society. I bet if spiders became "cool" and popular, somehow, many fewer people would be afraid! I can understand when people have bad personal experiences though, like being bitten or stung by something, or if they're allergic. Thankfully, due to my vigilance even though I play with lots of things I probably shouldn't, I'm very rarely bitten by anything.

Here's some more pictures, just for fun...
Momma wolf spider with an egg case:

Babies! I raised over 30 of those little guys once they left her back, until they were nearly half an inch long. Lots of vials and teeeeensy tiny crickets.
Fishing spider momma. Note how she's carrying her egg sac: with her mouth. For this reason, she became quite thin while guarding her eggs (couldn't eat) and she died shortly after they hatched. They were all released in my mom's garden.
So, generally (at least if you're in northeast north america) if you see a large spider with an egg case, if it's stuck to the abdomen it's a wolf spider, and if it's holding it in it's mouth, it's a fishing spider. Both types are harmless.

Oh, and if you step on a spider babies will NOT explode from her body. Look at the picture with the wolf spider and babies... chances are, they were just sitting on her back, or in an egg case and about to hatch anyway.

And you don't eat ANY spiders in your sleep. It was a statistic made up, on purpose, to prove that people will believe anything spread around the internet. Don't believe me (and all of my entomology professors)? Snopes And think about it. Spiders are terrified of human breath. Next time you see one, blow on it. It'll freak the heck out (makes Tip Toe jump about two feet).

And no, the daddy long legs is NOT the most venomous spider however it's jaws are too small to bite a human. First of all, "daddy long legs" is a common name given to quite a few different creatures, in this case we're talking about harvestmen, which are of the order Opiliones. They're arachnids, but not spiders. The myth often says they're "poisonous" which is false (Poisonous: bad to eat. Venomous: bad if it tries to eat you). They don't have venom, and most barely have fangs to speak of. They are mostly scavengers, though they sometimes hunt down really teensy invertebrates. And some species are capable of biting humans, but it's extremely rare, and won't really do anything to you.

So, I'm curious. Are you afraid of spiders? Why or why not?


Tanya Pshenychny said...

Wow this was a lot of interesting spider information. Thanks for discussing some of the myths, I've always been curious about them.

I guess spiders don't really freak me out but their eyes do. So do ants and dragonflies, etc.

Infinite Cosmos said...

Those are some great pics! I definitely learned a lot reading this :-)

ElegantSnobbery said...

Ew, ew ew ew ew!!!

I'm afraid of spiders. Especially those ones. It's funny because I just blogged my bug fright two days ago. I only wish I was a weirdbuglady like you, who didn't scream and run away from a caterpillar!!


Jodie said...

Wow I totally believed the spider eating thing (mostly because it was in a book that I first read it - damn untrustworthy books).

I am afraid of spiders but not the big ones - they seem like little furry pets. The little ones also fine and I feel strangely protective of them. The medium ones (say 2 - 3 inches) freak me out. They seem to scuttle more than the rest and the scuttling makes me cringe.

Regina (Lexi) said...

Great facts, but count me in the "Don't like spiders" camp. =)

Rocki's Rock 'n Beads said...

No - I'm not afraid of spiders, bugs, snakes, etc. I had a boyfriend who had a pet taranchula named "Spike"... anyway, LOVED the blog - fascinating info!

Jess said...

i have been terrified of spiders for as long as i can remember. i think it began when i accidentally walked through a spiderweb outside when i was little.
the web being on me scarred me for life.
In my teens I had really bad night terrors about them-and i ended up sleep jumping off of my bed to get away from them...too bad my bed was lofted at the time. ouch. so while i do not like them at all.
i loved reading the info about them...though i could have done without seeing them!!!!