Spiders Won't Bite

Illustration for article titled Spiders Won't Bite

Spiders are often portrayed as malicious, bloodthirsty creatures looking for anything with a pulse to sink its fangs into—especially us humans. Look no further than movies like Arachnophobia, Arachnid or even Eight Legged Freaks. Even Peter Parker was the victim of a random spider bite. But the truth is, spiders don't really bite. I mean, sure they bite, but only if you really provoke them to do so.


Most people are paranoid that Spiders will crawl up onto their beds while they're sleeping and bite away. According to the University of Washington, it's extremely rare for a spider to crawl up on your bed and bite you:

Here are some facts: Unless you are sleeping on the basement floor, a spider might wander onto your bed as often as twice a year. Not every night! If you take elementary precautions like not letting the blankets or bedspread touch the floor or walls, the incidence of spiders on the bed will be effectively zero. If a spider does get on a bed, usually no bite will result. Spiders have no reason to bite humans; they are not bloodsuckers, and are not aware of our existence in any case.

Secondly, even if a spider crawls on you, it will only bite if provoked. Since their fangs are housed in their underbelly, you'd have to push the top of the spider down onto yourself for it to try and bite you. Besides that, it would have to be stuck in your clothing or you would have to be sticking your hand in its web or den. And even if there are bumps that make you think you've been bitten, it's more likely to be a bacterial infection than a spider bite.

Also interesting is the unwarranted paranoia of Brown Recluse spiders that most of us possess. Sure, the Brown Recluse spider is an extremely dangerous species, but it doesn't really exist outside the midwest and southern regions of the U.S.:

In a study published in October 2003, four western U.S. arachnologists were contacted in regard to 216 brown recluse spider bite diagnoses made in California, Oregon, Washington and Colorado in 41 months. In contrast, only 35 brown recluse or Mediterranean recluse spiders could be verified as EVER being found in these 4 states.

Long story short, If you see a spider, don't panic. Just don't try to become its best friend either. [UW and UCR, Thanks Dawn!]



yeah, spiders are pretty harmless... except the funnel web spider.