MYTHBUSTER: FIVE POPULAR BUT INCORRECT ‘ FACTS’ ABOUT SPIDERS
SPIDERS COME UP THROUGH THE PLUGHOLE
We do often find spiders in our baths, but they’re not arriving through the plumbing. Most are males that have fallen in the bath during their romantic wanderings and are unable to get out. Some people like to put a towel or a ribbon of toilet paper over the edge to act as a ‘spider ladder’ for those that become trapped.
SPIDERS NEST IN OUR ATTICS
A common fear among arachnophobes is that there are ‘colonies’ of spiders making nests in our attics. This simply isn’t true. There are some social spiders that live in large communal webs, but these species do not occur in the UK.
FALSE WIDOWS ARE DANGEROUS
The media has fuelled fear of the noble false widow spider, Steatoda nobilis, through sensationalist (and mostly unproven) stories of spider bites. The false widow was first recorded in the UK in 1879, so has been around for quite a while without attracting undue attention. It’s one of the very few species in the UK that can give us a nip, but such bites are exceptionally rare. The fact is, the lurid photos of swollen legs are usually a consequence of poor wound care and resulting bacterial infection.
WE SWALLOW SPIDERS IN OUR SLEEP
Have you, or anyone you’ve ever known, woken up with a spider in your mouth? This is a popular urban myth, apparently “supported by evidence”, but spiders do not like to hang out in the mouths of predators, and we huge humans are most certainly their idea of a predator.
EIGHT LEGS MEANS ‘SPIDER’
Spiders are only one of a number of groups of eight-legged animals in the class Arachnida. From scorpions to whip scorpions and ticks to harvestmen, the arachnids are a fascinating and diverse group found throughout the world, occupying many ecological niches.