Myth: Spiders can live in bushy hair-dos

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

Myth: Spiders (often deadly ones) or their eggs may lurk in human hairstyles or in bubble gum.

Fact: These older urban legends don't seem to be in wide circulation today. One dating from the days of beehive hair-dos relates that a young woman died from the bites of black widow spiderlings that had hatched inside her bouffant. There are a number of variants, including a common one where the victim is a man with an Afro hair-do. In an Australian version, the spider was a red-back rather than a black widow. A late 20th century rumor concerned a popular brand of ultra-soft bubble gum which, it was alleged, was manufactured from spider eggs.

Spiders, need I say, do not find the human body or hair a favorable site for egglaying, and spider eggs are not so easy to harvest that any mass consumer product could be made from them. Even if black widow hatchlings could bite, the minute amount of venom they carry would not likely be very harmful; even the bites of adult females are very rarely fatal if properly treated.

More details on these tales may be found on this Snopes page.

Spider Myths

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

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