Spiders: Biggest Fear or Biggest Misunderstanding?
This eight-legged arachnid is known to most of the world as a creature to be feared, avoided, and rid of. It lies in our subconscious as a maker of evil, a monster of nightmares. Arachnophobia is one of the most well-known phobias, affecting over 5% of the global population. Spiderwebs are recognized as a sign of the presence of a spider rather than a natural phenomenon. But are spiders genuinely deserving to be feared, or are they just greatly misunderstood?
Spiders are an essential part of nature, benefiting the ecosystem and the included organisms. They consume pests that may cause harm to plants, fruits, and vegetables growing in gardens, farms, and other areas. Spiders regularly capture nuisance pests and disease-carrying insects, many being mosquitos. According to spider expert Normal Platnick from the American Museum of Natural History, there would be a ‘famine’ without them.
Because of entertainment like Spiderman, many believe that every spider encountered is prone to plant a bite on you. There’s no reason for spiders to attack humans unless they feel threatened, as we aren’t a food source to them. Less than 1/10th of 1 percent of the 43,000 spider species have killed anyone. Even the deadliest spiders are non-aggressive. National Geographic says that black widows will only bite in self-defense, typically avoiding humans and their activities. So that little spider up in the corner of your bathroom ceiling will not pounce on you while you are taking a shower.
As mentioned, spiders are seen in a multitude of media, including tv shows, movies, books, and more. They are often portrayed as heroes, like in Spiderman and Charlotte from the classic novel Charlotte’s Web. But even so, their deceiving looks and mysterious attributes claim to be superior, hiding their positive impact on the world.
Spiders’ undeserved bad reputation can discourage people from taking a closer look at this group of critters. The lack of awareness of these hidden beauties causes the deception of their harm. Next time you consider taking their life for residing in your home, think about its impact on your community, not just on their life. Building a tolerance for these fascinating creatures brings humanity a step closer to appreciating and acknowledging the presence of all life on earth. Happy Earth day!!