Friday, August 12, 2005

How to Avoid Spiders

Hi, Tarantula Lady here. In defense of spiders, I've got to say, they're not as bad as you might think. No spider is interested in attacking a human; they just want to get away. If you learn a little bit about them, you can avoid most problems. 1) Black widows and brown recluse spiders can be dangerous but they are very reluctant to bite you; they'd rather escape. In order to be bitten, you have to corner them somehow and then press your skin against them. NEVER kill them by crushing them against your skin. You'll drive their fangs in and envenomate yourself. It's like jabbing yourself with a poisonous needle. If they get on you, brush them off and then nail them with something like a flyswatter if you want to kill them. 2) If you see a spider wandering around your house, it's a male looking for a mate. I don't have a big problem with someone killing it, since the critter doesn't have much longer to live, probably a few months at best. However, he isn't interested in attacking you; he just wants to meet up with a female. 3) Spiders don't live in your toilet. There are no documented cases of someone being bitten on the ass while sitting on the toilet. 4) Spiders don't bite you in the exact center of your forehead while you're sleeping at night. There have been reports of people developing ulcers in the middle of their foreheads which are blamed on house spiders. It's way too suspicious that the "bite" is so precisely located in the exact center. I think these people have shingles since that disease has a symmetric pattern of rashes and sores. 5) Spiders are not well studied animals because pesticide companies won't fund any research on them. They're beneficial predators and farmers _don't_ want to kill them. Only harmful pests get lots of research. However, a heart medication has been developed from the venom of a Mexican Red Knee tarantula. 6) Tarantulas are big and hairy but a lot of them are bizarrely good natured. No one has ever died or developed ANY permanent health problems from a tarantula bite; it might be rather painful, though. Most New World species are docile and can be handled with very little danger but there are some exceptions; they also have VERY irritating hairs so leave them alone unless you read up on them. If you see tarantulas wandering around at night in the Southwest, they're, you guessed it, short-lived males looking for a mate. The females stay safe in their underground burrows. Old World species can be pretty foul-tempered, but, hey, they're not in the U.S. or much in Europe. They're predominantly in the warmer parts in Africa and southern Asia. They can't survive in colder regions like northern Europe. There are no native U.S. tarantula species east of the Mississippi; there is one small colony of escapees in an orange grove in Florida. 7) Full-grown tarantulas don't suddenly erupt from cacti. In the U.S., most tarantulas live in arid regions in the southwest. The females generally stay in their burrows. After mating, she'll build an eggsac, and after a few months, 1/4" spiderlings emerge. They usually disperse but a few may hang around Mom who will feed and take care of them. That's everything I can come up with right now. If people want to avoid a particular type of animal, they should learn a little about them. It'll be easier to figure out ways to stay away from them.


Blogger Gabriele C. said...

Lol, the rational part of my brain knows spiders are usful and harmless (the only poisonous one we've got, the Kreuzspinne, isn't worse than a vasp), but the arachnophobic part of my brain goes: SPIDER!!! Where's the friggin' vacuum cleaner? SPIDER ON THE CEILING - Help! Where's the poison spray?!

8/12/2005 04:02:00 PM  
Blogger mm said...

How interesting. You should write more of Doug's blog entries. (That was a joke, Doug.)

A tiny portion of my University entomology course was dedicated to spiders, and only because the prof's wife was a huge spider fan. Go figger. Maybe it is a chick thing. I know I'm the one in this house who instituted the no killing Fat Bastard rule.

8/12/2005 04:28:00 PM  
Blogger Anduin said...

Thank you for the interesting facts about spiders. It is very helpful. I try not to kill them but catch and release outside.

If you find a lot of spiders in your home does it mean that there are a lot of females or a lot of other kinds of bugs?

8/12/2005 07:28:00 PM  
Blogger Douglas Hoffman said...

Spiders on the move are usually males. Females find one nice cozy place and they stay put. If they're growing, then yes, there must be bugs somewhere keeping them well fed.

We had a female in our bathroom for well over a year. She lived in the window frame and snagged flies. I had NO problem with that ;o)

8/12/2005 08:19:00 PM  
Blogger Jona said...

Thanks for the info, it does help to know more about them, but... they're still too ugly and fast.

Although I am learning to calm my panic, I can't rid myself of it. (However I will promise if the spider behaves and doesn't move, I'll call the BH so it can be relocated OUTSIDE!)

8/13/2005 07:18:00 AM  
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