Myth: Small-fanged spiders can't bite

Illustration: Henry C. McCook
Illustration: Henry C. McCook

Myth: Most spiders could not bite humans because their fangs are too small.

Fact: That may actually be true of a few of the smallest spiders, and of certain crab spiders that have small fangs. However, there are well-documented human bite cases from spiders as small as 3 millimeters long. (The bites caused no ill effects, of course!)

It's not that spiders can't bite, but that they don't bite except very rarely. And on those rare occasions, the bite almost always has only trivial effects on the human, who after all weighs from a million to several million times as much as the spider!

Spider Myths

"Everything that 'everybody knows' about spiders is wrong!" —Rod Crawford sets the record straight with Spider Myths.

extreme close up of a spider's fangs
Photo: Bob Thomson

Fangs of typical spider from below, at tips of chelicerae (jaws) with teeth. Note that fangs are seldom visible from above. 

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close up of a spider

Spider Myth Resources

Explore even more! Additional spider resources and more myths (poor spiders can't catch a break!).

Photo: Cathy Morris/Burke Museum
Photo: Cathy Morris/Burke Museum