Why I Love Spiders
I think that spiders get a raw deal.
I'm not talking about the spiders that can do you harm. I mean the spiders that just scutter around, and whose fangs are far too weak to penetrate human skin, (ie. the majority of spiders found in the UK).
Spiders are almost universally hated and feared, despite their harmless status. They get a bad press. They are the stuff of phobias. There are many children's books demonising them, and perpetuating this prejudicial view to future generations. I don't really get it.
I have always liked spiders. I like the way they manage to crawl, despite having all of those legs. How do they know the order in which to move them? How do they not trip over their legs? I know I would!
And they move so fast, especially when they sense a threat, such as a curious child approaching... Another enviable skill that a spider possesses is being able to retreat into the tiniest space. Their legs and little body are sufficiently flexible to be able to manipulate into impossible seeming places. This great combination of skills makes them very difficult to catch. And that isn't a bad thing, for the spider (or for us).
Having a spider in your house is good. They are great house guests who don't eat your food or take up space. (This is demonstrated very well in children's book "Aaaarrgghh! Spider!" which sends a lovely, positive message about house spiders).
They keep themselves to themselves and are no trouble. Plus they pay their way by eating flies and other bugs that find their way into your house, and which may be much more of a nuisance!
I get that spiders are not very beautiful; they are usually quite dull colours, and perhaps their long, spindly legs make them look intimidating, but I don't really understand the extent of people's hatred towards them. Is it their capacity for sudden movement maybe? The way they can suddenly dart across a room from nowhere? I can see how that could perhaps give someone a fright. But given that most of them here are harmless, why do some people scream when confronted with one? Why do they phone their partners or neighbours to come and 'rescue them', by removing the offending creature? Why do they get so hysterical?
I will never understand it. To me they are no more scary than a butterfly or a ladybird. But, yes, they're not as beautiful. They are furry and beady-eyed. And they have lots of wriggly legs. So is it an aesthetic thing? Probably partly.
It undoubtedly also has a lot to do the fact that many spiders in the world are harmful, and I am lucky not to live in the part of world where deadly spiders are found. Then my view of them might be quite different.... And this is probably where their bad reputation comes from. When you see a harmless spider in your kitchen, does something in the back of your brain subconsciously project onto it an image of a tarantula or redback?
I'm glad not to be arachnophobic, I consider spiders my friends. My eight-legged, beady-eyed furry friends.
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