Why are so Many People so Afraid of Spiders?
When it comes to dangerous creatures of the world, spiders aren’t exactly at the top of the list of threats. Millions of people in the world who are arachnophobic, however, believe quite a different truth. For them, spiders are one of the scariest and most dangerous living things they can ever encounter. When a tiny, tiny little spider enters a room, it’s not uncommon to see grown men jump up on a chair in fear. So what is the big deal? What is so frightening about spiders that makes them one of the most feared and hated creatures on earth?
Dark and Creepy Arachnids
The inherent physical characteristics of spiders are some of the things that make many people fearful, some researchers say. According to them, we have a natural, internal fear of spiders that is partially based on their looks. Some features of spiders – in particular their dark or black colors and their angular legs – are simply scary to us. Dark animals have a negative, dangerous connotation, and angular features are sharp and hard; people feel more comfortable with soft, rounded edges and shapes. Unfortunately for spiders, their dark color and angular legs really have no bearing on their ferocity – they’re just the victims of bad looks.
The other main reason people are inherently, biologically-inclined to be afraid of spiders is that they move in very unpredictable patterns. Spiders are quick, change direction easily and often, some can jump, and it’s nearly impossible to determine when or where a spider will move just by looking at it in a resting state. Unpredictability in general can be dangerous to humans, because if we’re unsure of what will happen we don’t know how to protect ourselves. Once again, however, spiders unpredictable movements don’t mean they’re dangerous to humans – after all, have you seen how small they are?
If you aren’t naturally afraid of spiders, it’s entirely possible that you’ll be conditioned to be afraid of them. As a young child, you don’t know what creatures are dangerous; you learn from the actions and teachings of the people who care for you. If your mother or father is afraid of spiders, there’s a really good chance you’ll learn to be afraid of them, too, even though you’ve had no personal reason to mistrust them. It also doesn’t help matters that nowadays children are often playing inside when years ago they would have been digging in the dirt, exploring insects and spiders on their own. With no knowledge of or experience with spiders, you’re even more reliant on the attitudes of the people around you.
In reality, spiders are not as dangerous as many people think they are. Yes, it is true that some spiders can deliver poisonous bites, but those spiders are very uncommon in comparison to number of spiders who are totally harmless. If you can learn the difference in their looks (it’s often obvious, like a red mark on their body), then you’ll equip yourself with the tools and knowledge you need to overcome your fear of spiders.
Mario Smith writes for Franklin Pest Control. Mario has written over 100 pieces on phobias and entomology.