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Disclaimer: If you are easily offended by sheer honesty, or you think me having my own opinions is "being negative", then this is not the place for you, and I suggest you leave and head elsewhere. I call a spade a spade, and I don't sugarcoat anything.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Arachnophobia

I thought I would discuss things that terrify me. Arachnophobia is the fear of spiders. Of all the animals in the World, none terrifies me more than these 8-legged beasts! I first noticed I was scared of spiders when I was 15 years old. Adolescence is usually the time when most phobias set in. I was lying on the floor of my bedroom listening to my boombox. I had stopped to fast foreward to a favorite song. All of a sudden, this big, black, hairy-legged spider appears from behind my boombox and crawls along the side of the wall. I let out a shrill, froze, then when I recovered I knew I had to grab something and kill it. I grabbed my tennis shoe and bopped it on the wall. This was my earliest memory of being so terrified of spiders. I was never afraid of spiders as a child. In fact, I used to actively go out and capture them and put them in glass jars and keep them as miniature pets. But apparently that all changed when I was a teenager.


In all realness, people should be more afraid of mosquitoes. Mosquitoes have killed more people, through the many diseases they carry, than any other living animal on Earth. Spiders are beneficial in that they kill and eat harmful insects like mosquitoes. There are however, several spider species that are known to be venomous enough to kill people. Tarantulas are venomous and if you are bitten by one it can cause cramping and sickness, but usually is not fatal. Whether it is this fact, or the sight of one racing across the floor or images like these:




That makes us terrified of spiders, the fact still remains that this is one of the most common phobias there is. It's among the top 10, and with good reason. Here are some of the most dangerous spider species in the World.



This is a common garden spider. Quite common in the USA. You probably have about a dozen of their webs around your house right now. Their bite will make you nauseous, though it is usually not fatal. It still packs a whollop though.



This is our old arch-enemy, the black widow spider. They are found throughout most of the USA and their venom is well-known for being harmful to humans. Black widows also have a relative in Australia, the red-backed spider, that causes the same problems down there.



Another familiar species known to cause trouble is this brown recluse spider. It is tiny, but one bite from this little monster and you could suffer a condition called necrosis, which causes your flesh to rot away and could take months to heal.



One of the most dangerous spiders in the new world is this Brazilian wandering spider. Though they look like tarantulas, they are in no ways related. Their venom is powerful enough to kill an adult human. These have often been imported into the US unintentionally by way of crates full of bananas. They don't eat bananas, but in their home land of Central and South America, they do like to roost in banana trees.



This is the Sydney Funnel-web spider. These spiders not only pack a highly potent venom, they are also the most aggressive spiders. Whereas most spiders will flee from people, funnel-web spiders will stand and fight. Their fangs are so long, they've been known to pierce through leather boots.



Last but not least, this is the hobo spider. Originally they were only found in Europe, but now have been imported into the USA. Particularly in the northwest. Like the brown recluse, the bites from these spiders will cause necrosis and it could take months for a victim to recover.

Now that we've seen the spider's bad side, there is one family of spiders that simply look scary, but pose no threat to humans at all. They are the jumping spiders. Though they look scary, and they have been known to bite, their venom is not potent enough to affect humans. Their venom only works on insects and other such tiny creatures. Though most of us have seen jumping spiders that look like this:




There are some very highly attractive species. Most of them found in the Orient or in Australasia. Here's a very colorful species found in Malaysia:





Here are some more very colorful representatives of the jumping spider family:




But if you are an arachnophobe like me, this makes little difference. For I will not go near a spider, no matter what. For me, though I know there are those that will not harm humans, I'd rather not take any chances. If you suffer from arachnophobia, you are just one in about 5 million sufferers in the World.
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