If you are scared of spiders and see one scuttling across the floor, you probably won’t find much comfort when someone tells you that the spider is more afraid of you than you are of them!
But here’s the truth…
Spiders are scared of just about everything and will go out of their way to avoid humans. They are naturally cautious animals, highly sensitive to any perceived threat in their environment (particularly humans).
In this article, I’ll look at how spiders avoid humans, as well as address issues such as:
- Do spiders really crawl on you when you’re asleep?! (Eek!)
- Do humans really sometimes eat spiders by mistake (help!)
- Can they see us?
- How do they sense us?
- What are spiders afraid of?
Do Spiders Avoid Humans?
If you find any spiders in your home, usually, they are in seldom-used areas such as an attic, garage, or spare room.
Spiders are antisocial creatures and really do not want any contact with human beings.
If a spider encounters a human or animal such as a dog or cat, it will feel vulnerable and threatened, so its natural reaction is to run away.
Bites from a spider, though, are extremely rare.
Usually, if a spider bites a person, it has no alternative and cannot escape, so it does what it has to defend itself.
Most spiders are harmless and show no signs of aggression.
Do Spiders Crawl on Humans When They Are Sleeping?
I expect you have heard the myth that the average human swallows eight spiders a year while sleeping. Eek!
The very thought of ingesting so many spiders is nothing short of horrifying!
However, as we know, spiders avoid humans as much as they can, so they are highly unlikely to go near you whether you are awake or asleep.
Many of the home-dwelling spiders you find in your home spin webs that they never leave, while others prefer to stay in quiet places like a cupboard, attic, or basement.
Also, spiders interpret the world through vibration receptors on their legs, so the vibrations you produce while sleeping, like breathing, snoring, and shifting around, are highly likely to scare a spider off!
Can a Human Swallow a Spider?
So, even if a spider did come near you while you were sleeping, there is not much chance of you actually swallowing one!
First, you would most likely feel a spider on your face when sleeping, as we still maintain sensations in our faces.
You would brush the creepy-crawly away even though you were asleep. It’s also highly likely your mouth would be closed too, but if it were open, breathing or snoring would undoubtedly scare the spider away!
However, if the spider did make it into your mouth, you would probably wake up choking.
And even if you did swallow one spider, the chances of swallowing eight spiders a year are virtually impossible, so it’s time to put this myth to sleep indefinitely!
Fear Of Spiders
So many people are frightened of spiders that they squirm at the very thought of seeing one!
In fact, 6% of the world’s population suffers from arachnophobia, an intense fear of spiders.
It is probably their “legginess” and erratic movements that make them look scary, which is why Hollywood has made many horror movies featuring this creepy crawlies or why you see them as decorations during Halloween.
However, spiders are a vital part of the ecosystem, and we shouldn’t kill them unnecessarily.
Why You Should Never Kill a Spider
You may have heard of the old superstition that it is unlucky to kill a spider.
Here we look at other reasons why you should never kill a spider.
Spiders mostly eat insects which can help control insect populations and help prevent the spread of disease and protect crops.
Spiders also provide an essential food source to birds and many other creatures that live off them to survive.
And you may be surprised to learn that spider venom has many uses as medical treatment in humans for conditions such as epilepsy, strokes, and cancer.
So, next time you go to kill a spider…think twice!
Why do Spiders Come into Your Home?
Spiders will come into your home if there are insects, and like you, want to make it pest-free!
Areas that are damp and humid attract bugs making it the perfect hunting ground for the house spider.
Some of the insects that spiders feed on are attracted to bright lights, which for a spider, is like a bear catching fish in a flowing river, as flying insects surround the light.
Leaving your cash trans open will attract flies, which in turn will attract spiders, so you must keep your trash cans sealed.
Lastly, if you have plants, you will find insects, as being herbivores, they will feed on them.
In other words, wherever there are insects, spiders are sure to be there!
Can Spiders See a Human?
Many species of spiders have eight eyes arranged in pairs; some have twelve pairs of eyes, while some species have none.
But although all their eyes are for vision, they are all used differently.
The eyes that are most central to a spider’s face can detect an object’s color, size, and shape, while those at the side of the head detect any motion.
Spiders don’t have necks, so they cannot turn around to look at something, which is another reason they have so many eyes.
However, despite most species having eight pairs of eyes, their vision isn’t really that great, so they use taste, smell, and vibrations to explore their surroundings.
Jumping Spiders are the exception, though, and studies reveal that they can see a human with outstanding accuracy due to their hard-working neurons and chemical transmitters. (Source)
How do Spiders Detect a Human?
Although most spiders do not have perfect vision, they also do not have ears, so they cannot hear.
So, how does a spider detect that a human is in the room?
Spiders have a unique organ called the slit sensilla in their leg joints, which detects vibrations. (Source)
The hairs on a spider’s legs are so sensitive they can detect a human speaking from several meters away.
What Scares Spiders?
Spiders are scared of most things, as they tend to be eaten by birds and animals, which is why spiders tend to hide out of sight.
As spiders are small animals, they risk being trodden on as well, which is why if something bulky is coming towards them, they will run away.
How Can You Get Rid of Spiders Without Killing Them?
One of the best ways to keep your home spider-free is to keep it scrupulously clean and remove any clutter, so the spider has nowhere to hide.
Spiders hate strong odors, so spraying your home with peppermint oil is another suitable method.
If you do not have any peppermint oil, you can use other essential oils such as cinnamon, lavender, citronella and eucalyptus or a combination of them.
Insects attract spiders, so removing bugs that have taken up residence will encourage a spider to leave if they have no food source.
If you are not afraid of spiders, of course, there is the tried and tested method of simply placing a glass or jar over the creepy crawly and letting them loose outside.
Unless you have a spider infestation, you could just let your spider be as they won’t do you any harm!
However, if you do find a dangerous spider in your home like a black widow, it is better to call in a pest control company that can remove them safely for you.
Are Spiders Insects?
Some people assume that spiders are insects, but although they are invertebrates, they are not insects.
Spiders differ from insects because they do not have distinct wings or antennae. Also, a spider has eight legs compared to an insect which has six and two body parts instead of three.
Insects have large compound eyes, while most spiders have eight simple eyes.
Spiders are part of an animal group known as Arachnida, including scorpions, ticks, and mites.
But the difference between spiders and insects doesn’t end there.
Most insects are herbivores and often a tasty snack for other creatures, including spiders.
Spiders are hunters who live off fresh prey.
Some spider species spin webs, which they never leave to catch their food; others go in search of food on foot, while some build tunnels and wait patiently for their prey to pass by.