It’s that time of year again. The worst time. It’s spider season.
Spiders have historically been used to represent evil and scary things in stories, films, games and that’s because they are the subject of probably the most widely known phobia – arachnaphobia. Spiders exist in every country in the world, so most people are likely to have seen them, so the phobia spreads far and wide. What makes a spider so scary? They aren’t creatures of superlatives – they don’t have the *most* legs, or they don’t have the *most* eyes, and they aren’t everywhere like other arthropods appear to be.
What they do have though is eight legs that give them the ability to be able to move in what should be the only definition of the word creepy. It’s somehow undescribable as to why the movement of eight legs of a spider is so detestable by an arachnaphobe. What is also scary about their movement is that they make no noise. They are silent (killers). And when they do happen to make a noise it’s because it’s on a surface that their little scuttling legs are tinkling on. Spiders are bastards – they creep up behind you (like a serial killer would) and sit there waiting to frighten you (like a serial killer would) before using your panicked state to jump on your face (like a serial killer would).
They also have eight eyes. What in all that is relevant for sight needs eight eyes? In most spiders, unlike flies which have seemingly loads of eyes (but is actually a compound eye), their eyes are not all pointing the same way, and they can move them all independantly. ALL of them. A bit of an interesting bit about spiders/tarantulas: you can tell the species if not by any other trait than with the placement of their eyes.
Some interesting facts about spiders I know:
– Trap-door spiders can move out of their hidey-hole, open the trap door, kill their prey, then move back into their hidey-hole in less time than it takes a human to blink
– Brazilian Wandering Spiders are massive, have venom that can potentially kill humans, and can be found in bunches of bananas because that’s where they live
– Urticating hairs are released by some tarantulas that cause irritation to breathing tracts, eyes and small capilliaries
– Bird-eating spiders ACTUALLY EAT BIRDS. There is nothing else on the planets whose name has the biggest thing it can eat in it. THIS IS WHY SPIDERS ARE WRONG!
– The smaller, voluminous spiders in Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets are actually way more scary than Shelob in Lord of the Rings.
– The spider from the game Limbo perfectly personifies the scary things about spiders.
If you hadn’t noticed, my dislike for spiders does not actually mean I don’t know anything about them, I actually think they are very interesting arthropods, and find that it’s better to know more about them than it would be to not know anything about them, just so I can be aware of how to fight one should it decide to attack me. (I have nightmares about these things, so usually they’re the size of Shelob from Lord of the Rings.)
However, my interest in them is not without its downside. Whilst looking at a web page that may contain a photo of a spider is absolutely fine, I find I can’t really scroll the page because then it looks like the static photo of the the spider is moving, and it freaks me out. The worst image of a spider that gets conjured up in my head when I think of spiders is when their horrible legs appear from behind something – when you see their legs before they actually appear sends shivers down my spine.
More realistically, scary things about spiders are finding them in places where you think you’re safe and where you’re not expecting to see them, like on your duvet/pillow next to your head when you wake up. Or in your shoes. What the hell do they think they’re going to do in your shoes? It baffles me.
It’s encouraging to know that I’m not alone in my fear of spiders – there are some pretty decently described responses by Charlie Brooker and Phil Jupitus which are quite funny and I suggest you read/watch them. I would have put pictures of some of my favourite spider related things that scare the shit out of me (literally, there is no action of defecating, it just goes), but then I wouldn’t be able to go on my own blog again.