Myth: Spiders in the home are a danger

October 23, 2015
Rod Crawford

Myth: Spiders in the home are a danger to children and pets.

Fact: House spiders prey on insects and other small creatures. They are not bloodsuckers, and have no reason to bite a human or any other animal too large for them to eat. In any interaction between spiders and larger creatures like humans, the spiders are almost always the ones to suffer. It is so rare for spiders to bite humans that in a 44-year career of handling tens of thousands of live spiders, I personally have been bitten three times. The three bites had only trivial effects.

A person who is not an arachnologist would not likely be bitten more than once or twice in a lifetime. ("Mystery bites" that people thoughtlessly blame on spiders, don't count! There are no invisible spiders...).

Very, very few spider species have venom that can harm humans, dogs, or cats. In most parts of the world, no spiders with medically significant venom have much chance of being found in houses. In the few areas that are an exception to this rule, the harmless house spider species still greatly outnumber the more toxic ones. And spiders whose venom happens to be more toxic to us, are no more likely to bite us on that account; they are unaware of our existence.

Why, why do people waste their time worrying about spiders? It is not spiders that are dangerous to your children; the dangerous ones are other humans!

Back to Top