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Scared or Afraid of Spiders?


Now I am the first to admit to being scared of spiders ever since a very young age. There is no reason behind my fear, none of my family are particularly bothered by them, and here in Guernsey we have no poisonous ones to worry about. This doesn't change the fact that if I see a large house spider charging along the carpet I instinctively freeze and bring my legs up on to the sofa out of reach, (in case it decides to jump me!)

The truly crazy thing is that I actually find the darned things fascinating if I am watching a nature documentary about them. The way they spin their webs and the detail involved, the way they hunt, (whether with webs or not) and the sheer necessity of them being on this planet. But put me in a room with one and I go to pieces.

Okay, I am far from as bad as I used to be, but my memories still haunt me of the times I had close encounters with spiders I would prefer to forget. For example, the instance where I was lying in bed and in the semi-darkness saw a massive spider running along the shelf next to my bed. In hysterics I ran downstairs frantically asking my Mum to come and 'get rid of it', but she wanted to watch the end of the News. By the time she came upstairs it had vanished and I was refusing to go back into the bedroom. Mum obligingly pulled out the bed to try and find this hairy monster, at which point it came hurtling out from under the bed straight towards where I was standing in the doorway. Letting out an almighty scream I crashed into my Sister's bedroom opposite at high speed, slamming the door behind me, and nearly giving her a heart attack in the process.

Meanwhile, Mum managed to catch the spider in a tea towel, but also managed to drop it on the way down the stairs. In case it returned to my room I refused point blank to sleep in the room for at least a week afterwards, and moved into the spare room on the lower floor. Even Mum agreed it was the biggest spider she had seen over here, and her guess was that it was a female carrying eggs, (not a comforting thought believe me!)

Another time I was babysitting for a couple's children, and whilst the couple were out another vast spider decided to taunt me by tap dancing on the carpet in front of my chair. By now I realised there was only one way to deal with this problem if alone. In other words the wine glass and paper trick. I quickly grabbed an empty glass, just about fitting it over the spider, then slid an envelope underneath it. Too scared to risk throwing the spider outside in case the wind blew it back onto me, I placed it carefully on the kitchen table for the couple to dispose of later. What ended up being really funny was how their two year old son was absolutely fascinated by the spider the following day, and I became his hero for providing such great entertainment.

Of course then there was the occasion I was in the bath, and realised a spider was gently lowering itself from the ceiling towards my face. Both me and the bathwater exited the bath simultaneously.

Then there was the time I went to the toilet in the middle of the night having first put on my dressing gown. As I lifted it up to sit on the loo, a large spider fell out of the back of it into the toilet bowl. This really freaked me out, as it must have been against my skin all along. I quickly flushed the chain in case it managed to jump back up on to my bare bottom whilst I did what nature intended.

Lastly, the tale that springs to mind is when I worked in the rat breeding unit, and at lunchtime we came out for our sandwiches in the small shed. The shed was equipped with a sink and electricity, and as I went to fill the kettle I looked down into the sink and saw a huge spider staring back up at me. In horror I leapt backwards, and one of the male staff kindly agreed to remove it. Funny thing was that when he picked it up it actually bit him. Alright, there was no danger of it being poisonous, but he still said it hurt, and I found out later that even some house spiders can inflict a painful, if non-venomous bite.

I want to know if they are truly more scared of us than we are of them, then why do they always seem to run towards us at high speed, rather than in the opposite direction? And what about those ones who seem to be wearing clogs because they are so huge? I am pretty damn certain I am more scared of them than they are of me!!!

As the years have passed I have become much more tolerant of these arachnids, and found that given the time to summon up some courage, I even managed to hold a giant Tarantula that covered both my hands completely, (possibly because it reminded me more of a Guinea-Pig than a spider due to it's size and slow movements).

I have now developed techniques that have really helped me to deal with the problem of finding a spider in my home and not being able to reach it to remove it using the glass and paper trick. I want to share these tips with you, as I know they work, and make spiders far more bearable for those of us who are generally terrified of them.

1) If you find an 'out of reach' spider, such as on your bathroom ceiling, give it a name. Last year I had one in our bathroom for a week or more, and I called him 'Harry'. By doing this I thought of him more as a pet than something to be scared of, and when he vanished on his own I was not too worried about where he had gone. I currently have one living on my car wing mirror called 'Boris', and he is kind of pretty, black with orange dots all over his body.

2) Watch as many documentaries on spiders as you can. They are fascinating creatures and once you watch how they hunt, be them trap door spiders or the spiders we all know who spin webs, you may well find your interest outweighs your fear. Did you know a spider's web is many times the strength of steel of the same diameter? Scientists are still trying to find a way to reproduce this strength to human advantage.

3) Look at a spider web in your garden first thing in the morning when it is covered in dew. Few things are more beautiful in nature, and a spider's web is a work of art.

4) Go to your local zoo and look in the spider section. Learn more about them and you will grow to appreciate them. Watching them through a glass screen will make them seem a whole lot less threatening.

5) If all else fails get a cat. My cats tend to catch most spiders in our home, and whilst I hate them killing anything, I am not usually quick enough to rescue the spider concerned. At best I find a set of legs left behind and the torso gone.


Cindy Lawson (author) from Guernsey (Channel Islands) on July 27, 2013:

A very interesting and informative post anonymous. Thanks :)

anonymous on July 27, 2013:

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Spiders are too numerous and diverse to generalize. There are pretty spiders repulsive spiders gentle spiders aggressive spiders harmless spiders and dangerous spiders. Some spiders are so small that they can barely be seen by the naked eye while others are the size of dinner plates. Unconfirmed reports in South America and Africa claim that monstrous spiders from 3 to 5 feet long exist which eat children pets livestock and any other wild animal they can catch. Many spiders are venomous and some are aggressive with people. Black widows the Brown recluse the Hobo spider the Sydney Funnelweb spider the Mouse spider the Six eyed Sand spider and the South American Wandering spiders have dangerous venoms. The Wandering spiders and the Sydney Funnelweb spider are very bad tempered and bite readily. Some Trapdoor spiders are also extremely aggressive and cranky. Some kinds of Tarantulas are extremely bad tempered such as the Haitian Brown Tarantula and the Rangoon Mustard Tarantula and the Orange Baboon Tarantula. They will raise their large fangs and bite at anyone or anything coming near them. Some kinds of Tarantulas have a nasty venom. Bites from Indian Ornamental Tarantulas cause severe pain nausea vomiting sweating and muscular cramps. The Orange Baboon Tarantula of Africa has an unimaginably painful bite which has been described as feeling like a hot electric iron on one's body or being set on fire. The Orange Baboon Tarantula's venom is one of the worst pains known to man. This cranky spider may have a bite as painful as a Stonefish sting. One female victim said the pain from its bite was worse than giving childbirth. Tarantula venom is fatal to small pets and small animals. An allergic reaction to the venom can kill. The most venomous species may be able to kill a human baby. Unconfirmed human deaths from Tarantula bites have occurred in Central America India China and Borneo. Africa Asia Indonesia New Guinea Sri Lanka and Australia have Tarantulas with very painful bites which can cause serious sickness. New World Tarantulas also have a painful bite and the ability to fling their hairs. The hairs cause itching and rashes. These animals are not harmless. A bite from some species can result in days of suffering or a trip to the hospital. Nausea vomiting headaches and muscular cramps are among the symptoms. Despite these risks theres a large number of people who collect Tarantulas as pets and who have a genuine love for these animals. Some of these people handle the most aggressive and most venomous Tarantulas. Some of them have suffered bites. Some of these spiders are docile such as the Chilean Dwarf Flame Tarantula and the Pink Zebra Beauty Tarantula and some of them have pretty colors. Spiders are full of contrasts and contradictions. Im only scared of dangerous and aggressive species. I find the Trapdoor spiders repulsive. Spiders are both wonderful and horrible depending on species and depending on one's point of view.

Cindy Lawson (author) from Guernsey (Channel Islands) on January 10, 2013:

Thanks for your comment Herman. I confess that the spiders were something that put me off visiting Australia as I heard so many horror stories about them hiding under toilet seats, in shoes or in beds. It freaked me out the very thought of it.

herman on January 09, 2013:

a lot of people that move to austraia that are scared of spiders just get used to them.

herman on January 09, 2013:

i live in Australia and we get lots spiders big and small some poisonous ones some even deadly. they don't really bother me and we gets lots of red backs around although they can be deadly they are not aggressive and don't move around much. there is a red back on my front porch in the corner that i have seen grow the red gets very bright. although i don't look everytime i get home its never not there. we just have to be careful here in adelaide when getting things from sheds etc. occasionally you get them inside but never running across the floor or on your bench like huntsmans just in quite corners.

Cindy Lawson (author) from Guernsey (Channel Islands) on October 23, 2012:

LOL Josiphina, I would never describe myself as 'loving' spiders,, I just don't 'hate' them any more. God only knows how you got close enough to let it bite you, (I wouldn't dare to pick one up with my bare hands, and it makes it very hard for them to nip you if they are inside a beer glass at the time).

Josiphina on October 22, 2012:

I hate those damn spiders!! One sec, I found one on my roof... Ok I'm back, it took me like 30 minuets to get it out of there, but to you it was probly 3 seconds:( it bit me and it hurts... I hate them, if you hate spiders and want to rule there world of h*ll, then respond to this!!!!!:D

Cindy Lawson (author) from Guernsey (Channel Islands) on May 20, 2012:

Now that incident would freak me out too Yus. Spiders in places like India, Australia, Africa etc seem so much bigger than those in Britain, and the size is definitely a determining factor in how scary they are. Bizarrely though I was less freaked out by the Giant Tarantula when given the opportunity to hold one, possibly because it was not 'in the wild' and was used to being handled. It also moved very slowly and methodically, which made it far less scary than a smaller, faster moving spider.

Condolences over poor Timmy too :(

Yus on May 19, 2012:

I can stand the spiders that are like dots, i used the method of naming them :P. The problem is that if its any bigger than that i get freaked out. They can't be a meter close to me. We had two spiders one in the upstairs bathroom and one in the downstairs bathroom. I talked to them every time i saw them - i named them Timmy and Tommy and they were the only spiders i wasn't scared of. One day i came downstairs and my mom was vacuuming the washroom and i saw Timmy get sucked up. :(

One time i visited my family in India and we were talking and suddenly i saw this huge spider! It was missing three legs and it was 2 and a half inches long and i freaked. It was walking really fast and i was terrified. i watched it walk over my cousin who was sleeping... i started shrieking surprisingly she didn't wake up but the whole time we were in India i didn't even try hugging her my max distance when coming close to her was two meters away. My parents are the kind of people who say it's just a spider, so one of my cousins picked it up and threw it out the window. I stayed awake the whole night. :P

Cindy Lawson (author) from Guernsey (Channel Islands) on May 08, 2012:

Yikes, I would hate the idea of one on my face, never mind it biting me. Luckily our spiders are not poisonous, and only the big ones would bite, and then only if you try to pick them up (which I would never do). We have a few spiders living in our house in places I know where they are. e.g. there is one inside our back door area in the beams above. Bearing in mind the amount of flies we get here in the summer I am happy to leave him be because he can help me to get rid of them. I have called him 'Frank'.

Kelly Umphenour from St. Louis, MO on May 07, 2012:

I can not stand spiders - or snakes thank you! Your hub makes some great points - almost like desensitizing yourself to them...acclimatization to spiders! Lol

I woke up one morning not too long ago - the left side of my face was swelled so badly I went to the doctor. He found a wound he believed was a spider bite. I live next to a corn field...oh I get those huge wolf spiders! I have my house sprayed quarterly - even in freaking winter which really makes my husband mad:) lmao! He says I'm the only one on the block who has the exterminater here when there's ice on the ground! LOL. So - isn't that when they would MOST want to come in??

I had to take antibiotics and I looked like a freak! I'd been cleaning my I bet anything I disturbed someone's home!

Cindy Lawson (author) from Guernsey (Channel Islands) on March 22, 2012:

LOL Rusticliving, that final line of your comment is just the best yet. I can totally understand a fear of a venomous spider, especially after the story about your boss. I have my basic phobia of all spiders under control, but I still would not want to have a house spider on my body anywhere.

Liz Rayen from California on March 22, 2012:

OMG. This was the coolest Hub! I am not afraid of spiders excep