2 Comments

Who’s Afraid of Spiders? (Fearless February Day 10)

Even people who like spiders don't like them on their heads.

Even people who like spiders don’t like them on their heads.

Arachnophobia. The fear of spiders.

This is the most common animal phobia – which goes to show how irrational phobias are, since dogs and horses kill way more people each year than spiders.

Spiders are creepy, I’ll admit. Those fangs, those eyes, the clicking of their little clawed feet, the way they drop from a web so suddenly, the speed with which they wrap up dinner. Ew. Giant spiders scuttle through centuries of human storytelling because we’ve seen what they do to their captives, and we can’t help imagining the horror.

Not-so-Scary Spider Fact #1: Almost no one dies from spider bites (especially since those Australians developed anti-venom for theirs). Most spiders can’t bite humans – their little fangs can’t pierce our skin. The spiders that can bite us do so surprisingly often but we usually don’t  know it – their venom doesn’t hurt us. Even the notoriously deadly species have 99% survival rates. 

spider_caneI am always happy to see palm-sized dock spiders when I go to my cabin. (One stood guard over her hatchlings for almost two weeks, protecting them from other spiders.) They are terrified of humans. And of fish. But they’re not phobic – their fear of us is completely rational. Our fear of them is not so rational. (Which is odd, since we’re the ones with the big reasoning brains.)

Rumour has it that you’re always within a few feet of a spider – you just don’t know it. They live all over the world in every habitat – on the ground, in trees, on the water, under rocks, and most certainly in the dark corners of your basement.

Scary Spider Fact #1: Some spiders inject digestive enzymes into their live prey to soften it up before they tear at it and slurp it up.

If spiders were this big, our fears would not be irrational.

If spiders were this big, our fears would not be irrational.

But don’t be scared. As Charlotte told Wilbur, spiders help control insect populations. (Also, though Charlotte didn’t mention it, if you squish a spider you’ll make it rain.) So leave them be. Get therapy.

Scary Spider Fact #2: There are no vegetarian spiders. None. Not even one experimental black sheep trying out a cruelty-free lifestyle. Nope. Every spider you see is a killer.

spider_closeupBecause spiders are not as cute as dogs or as photogenic as horses, exposure therapy won’t be fun. But you can do it. You are a strong human being.  You don’t have to live in fear, freaking out every time an arachnid crosses your path. You’re bigger, smarter and you can run faster. The odds are in your favour.

Not-so-scary Spider Fact #2: The average black widow spider weighs one gram. Seriously, you could eat 40 of them and still not get your recommended daily protein. Maybe you shouldn’t be scared since you’re 50,000 times bigger. 

Not a good movie to watch for exposure therapy.

Not a good movie to watch for exposure therapy.

Start your exposure therapy by looking at photographs. (Maybe not close-ups.) Read about spiders and how very few species are a threat to humans. Find out which species live in habitats near you. Get a realistic view of the danger, or lack of it.

With a friend to help keep you calm, watch a nature show about spiders. Eventually, maybe one day you can pop into an insectarium. (Or just go into the garden because, seriously, spiders are everywhere. You don’t need to buy a ticket to see one. Just look under a rock.) Good luck.

Feel free to share your eight-legged fears on this blog during February and maybe you’ll win a copy of the middle-grade comedy, 28 Tricks for a Fearless Grade 6.

(Spider close-up photo credits: the spider on green and the one on blue are both by foto76, from FreeDigitalPhotos.net. Thanks.)

Advertisements

2 comments on “Who’s Afraid of Spiders? (Fearless February Day 10)

  1. Don’t like spiders. Not one bit. X( They don’t even do a good job of keeping the other bugs out of our house; we might be able to come to some sort of understanding, if they did, but as it is, they just creep me out.
    Though I’m okay with Charlotte, because she is fictional and an artist. Both good things.

    • Charlotte is awesome, isn’t she? I don’t mind spiders but I don’t want them on me or my stuff, and that’s the thing with creepy crawlies – or any critters, really – if you let them in your house they just try to take over. I catch and release spiders, and pretty much anything else that wasn’t invited. I don’t kill them – bad karma. I enjoy seeing them outdoors, especially the really big ones. They freak me out but in a good way.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

I am Buddy

It's a dogs life

Roxie Munro

Children's books, kid's apps...

The Wilden Marsh Blog

A blog about Wilden Marsh. Nature Reserve and Site of Special Scientific Interest

golnaranart.wordpress.com/

Original New Stories about Musical Notations by "Golnaran", The musical cube maker

Jan L. Coates - "What if...?"

life as a kids' writer

TurtleAndRobot.com

Children's Book Reviews

Gotta Find a Home

Conversations with Street People

booktrailers4kidsandYA

This site is about encouraging reading throughout the school years. By watching book trailers it is hoped that you will be inspired to read the book.

(Lost in) Believing in Books

A Young Adult & New Adult Book Blog

The Sweet Sixteens

2016 Young Adult and Middle Grade Debut Authors

Young Adult Book Madness

YA & NA Book Reviews

YA Book Reviews

Reviews for Young Adults or just Adults.

2015 YA & MG Debut Authors

Leaping to your bookshelves in 2015!

Mindy Hardwick's Blog

Author Mindy Hardwick Muses about Writing

YA Crush

Pass a note to your favorite YA book

AUTHOR ALLSORTS

A group of published UK-based authors and illustrators of picture books, children's and YA.

The Whole Megillah

The Writer's Resource for Jewish-themed Story: Fiction, Nonfiction, and Poetry

Cheryl Willis Hudson's Blog

Children's Book Author/Editor/Publisher

PASS IT ON

the networking e-zine for children's writers & illustrators

Julia Lee Author

A blog about reading and writing children's books

Tracey Baptiste

author/editor/teacher

Random Acts of Reading

reviews, raves and a random assortment of book buzz

Children's Literature Crossroads

children's literature meets teaching, reading, talking, writing, and thinking

Books Around The Table

A potluck of ideas from five children's book authors and illustrators

Chapter Book Chat

A Writer Reviews Chapter Books, by Marty Mokler Banks

The WordPress.com Blog

The latest news on WordPress.com and the WordPress community.

booksellersnz.wordpress.com/

Booksellers New Zealand's blog

Flowering Minds

Children's Book Review Site

Lauri Fortino's Frog On A (B)log

Sharing and Celebrating Picture Books Since 2009

Bobs Books Blog

Childrens and Young Adult Book Reviews by Bob Docherty

Pretty Books

Fiction, Young Adult and Children's Books & Reviews

1001 Children's Books

I must read before I grow up (too much)

Writing and Illustrating

Sharing Information About Writing and Illustrating for Children

Lucybird's Book Blog

Book reviews and discussion

%d bloggers like this: