Why You Don't Need to be Scared of Spiders


Nov 04, 2014 by British Blog

Arachnophobia (an irrational fear of spiders) has to be one of the most widespread phobias in the UK. The strange thing is that it is probably also one of the least reasonable - there are very, very few spiders in the UK that are capable of biting a human being at all, and even if a deadly spider were to be imported in a crate of bananas (or whatever other spider-based scare story is currently doing the rounds of the tabloids) our unfriendly British weather would kill it off pretty quickly.

Nonetheless, the spider continues to be one of the most unfairly hated creatures in the British Isles, so it is time that somebody stood up for them. The following are just a few of the many reasons why there is no need to fear spiders in the UK.


You're not on their menu

Most spiders eat insects and little else. Granted, tarantulas will eat birds and the odd small mammal but unless you are reading this from exotic climes and/or are a shrew, vole or sparrow, that doesn't really affect the line of reasoning.

In fact, most of the spiders in your house will eat 2,000 insects in the course of a year. So which would you prefer, 4,000 assorted insects or two spiders?


They could, however, be on your menu. Or a bird's.

Spiders are routinely eaten in several parts of the world, even tarantulas - in fact, especially tarantulas. In Cambodia, spiders are bred specifically to be eaten. Closer to home, spiders are a vital food source for many types of bird.


They can't see you

The majority of spiders cannot see more than a few inches in front of them, a foot at most, and certainly they can't see anything as large as a human being. Most can see light and movement, but not much else. So, if a spider is running in your vicinity, it is probably running away from you.


They're harmless

Spiders generally only bite if provoked and even then, a bite from a British spider is unlikely to have much effect. Typical symptoms are local pain, swelling and reddening.

The UK has more than 600 types of spider and only around ten are physically able to bite a human being at all (the rest have jaws and fangs that are simply too small to pierce human flesh). Therefore, as long you don't pick up an angry spider - that happens to be one of the very, very few that can actually bite you - with your bare hands, you have nothing to fear.


They prevent disease

The insects and pests that spiders eat include many that can spread disease to humans. These include fleas and cockroaches.


We might need them in the future

Scientists are currently exploring the potential use of spider venom in medicine and as a natural pesticide.


They won't be around for long, anyway

Most spiders only survive for a year or two. So why not let them enjoy it while they can?