Have you ever just sat and watched a spider build a web? It’s one of the most mesmerizing experiences. Captivated by this lovely spider outside my window last night, I watched it for over half an hour while it crafted its magnificent silken snare. I have a serious obsession with spiders. I’m not really sure why, but it could have something to do with a childhood fear that I was determined to overcome.

One day when I was a child, I was playing around an old flowerbed that was surrounded by red bricks. I picked up a loose brick and the largest grass spider that I have ever seen jumped out at me. It was as big as my hand! Granted I was small, probably no more than 8 years old; but this spider left quite a lasting impression and certain cautiousness that I still feel is warranted.

Over the years I have seen some pretty amazing spiders from the garden variety of writing spiders to the cane spiders of Hawaii that are 3 to 4 inches wide. Those guys are pretty creepy! Given the relative size of spiders to the size of a human, I wonder why so many of us share this common fear. My guess would be that it has a lot to do with the fact that something so small could be potentially deadly if it is one of the more venomous species.

According to National Geographic News writer, Cameron Walker, “Almost all spiders carry venom, but its purpose is to stun or kill their insect prey, not to attack humans. Of the known spider species, only about 25 are thought to have venom that has an effect on humans. The two best known venomous spiders in the U.S. — the black widow and the brown recluse — have not been proven to have caused any deaths in more than two decades.”

I still wouldn’t handle spiders. I’m just not that brave. However, they do make an excellent subject for photography and research. These fascinating creatures are worth a second glance because without them the insect population would grow exponentially.

In case you’re wondering about those venomous types or how to treat a spider bite, this is a pretty good link to get you started:

USA Spider Identification Chart


2 thoughts on “Arachnophobia

  1. X is terrified of spiders. So is my daughter. Inevitably, I am the spider savior in our Home. I am the one that must come in for the catch & release of any eight legged beauty who ventures in. Which is fine, I’m used to that, it’s been that way pretty much all my Life.

    Last summer, X was bitten on his leg by a black widow spider. We didn’t realize that was what was going on until a couple of days later. Right after it happened, he experienced violent shaking, muscle pain, and nausea. We thought maybe he had contracted a flu bug or something, but after a couple of days the muscle pain in his left leg had not subsided & we realized he had a large red spot on his calf that was hot to the touch & tender. We did some research online, the site of the bite & the symptoms matched up. Although we never did see the spider, we heard of numerous people being bitten by black widows that summer, apparently they were pretty abundant for some reason.
    It was a scary experience, but I still love spiders 🙂 I can’t wait for Fall this year because we live in a much more rural place. The orb spiders with the red striped legs are gonna be everywhere!

  2. Ouch, that had to hurt! I bet it was scary. I would be all paranoid after something like that. Did you have to call an exterminator?

    I knew a girl in college who got bit by a brown recluse in her dorm room of all places. Both black widows and brown recluse spiders have pretty wicked bites. I’m with you, though. I still love spiders and save them every chance I get, lol.

    Take pictures of those orb spiders. I would love to see which ones you are talking about. 🙂

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