You’re probably one of two types of people: the kind that appreciate the wonder of spiders and how helpful they are in cleaning up our bug population, or the kind that doesn’t care what their benefits are, they just want to squash them and be done.
No matter on which side of the fence you find yourself, these little creepy crawlies are pretty amazing.
Here are just six creepy facts about spiders you need to know.
- Spiders can only ingest liquids. Of course, they eat solids, such as bugs and insects, so they have to liquefy the food before they can digest it. To do that, they bite their prey to immobilize it then they empty stomach acids onto it, which turns it into a soup they can drink.
- Spiders are actually water repellent. They are covered in water-repellant hairs, which trap a thin layer of air around their bodies, keeping them from getting wet. When immersed in water, they will float, and some spiders can even survive underwater for several hours. That’s how, when you thought you washed a spider down the drain, it comes back up.
- An estimated 1 million spiders live in one square acre of land, with even more in tropical areas—up to 3 million. That means that humans are never farther than 10 feet from a spider at any time in their lives.
- When a black widow spider bites you, the venom they inject attacks the nervous system, creating painful muscle contractions. In addition, black widow bites can cause high blood pressure, restlessness, and severe facial spasms. The venom of a black widow is 15 times more powerful than the poison of a rattlesnake. There is good news, though: Only the bite of an adult female is dangerous. Males and juveniles bite but don’t harm people.
- You’ve likely heard that we ingest a number of spiders while we’re sleeping. That is a myth. It’s unlikely that spiders will ever find their way into a person’s mouth, whether that person is asleep or awake.
- Common house spiders can live several years, so you probably have a number of roommates right now!
You should also know that the deadliest spiders in the US are the black widow spider and recluse spider (and they’re both Arizona natives).
Most of the time, you’ll just find house spiders in your home, which are harmless and do a lot for the ecosystem.
Overall, spiders eat more insects than birds and bats combined. In addition to helping reduce the insect population, they pollinate plants and recycle dead animals and plants back into the earth. Spiders are also food for birds, small mammals, and fish.