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Spiders are wonderful
April 4, 2011 9:39 AM   Subscribe

Spiders are wonderful [via mefi projects]
posted by odinsdream (111 comments total) 29 users marked this as a favorite

 
Nonononononononono.

(I post this in probably every spiders thread, but only because that's how damn spiderphobic I am.)

*shudders just thinking about it*
posted by kmz at 9:42 AM on April 4, 2011 [4 favorites]


Second thread in a week. Do not want SpiderFilter.

*Spider-brush-off-jig*
posted by Slackermagee at 9:45 AM on April 4, 2011 [12 favorites]


man, I don't think super irrational arachnophobia needs any help. people are already terrified, why encourage this is beyond my ken.
posted by dhruva at 9:48 AM on April 4, 2011


your phobias appear to be justified (actually, it's cute)
posted by sineater at 9:49 AM on April 4, 2011


I am forced to balance this with hawaiian happy face spiders.
posted by dhruva at 9:49 AM on April 4, 2011 [6 favorites]


Spiders are your friends. They're built for it. All those extra arms are for more hugging.

and if they could build big enough webs they would never let you go
posted by adipocere at 9:49 AM on April 4, 2011 [15 favorites]


I freaking hate spiders. But I clicked on the link. And I'm glad. Because children need to know. About the spiders.

Goddamn spiders.

hint to spiderphobes: it's cartoony drawings. Not real spiders.
posted by iconomy at 9:50 AM on April 4, 2011 [1 favorite]


I have a coworker who is deeply arachnophobic, and when I saw that someone had made a kids book that explained spiders in a warm, safe way, I thought it might be perfect for her.

Then I read the whole thing, and now I know it'll be perfect.

Bwahahaha!
posted by quin at 9:52 AM on April 4, 2011 [5 favorites]


I was afraid to look on Projects but since iconomy said it was cartoons, I could click. YAY!
posted by pointystick at 9:52 AM on April 4, 2011


...and mothers.
posted by starman at 9:53 AM on April 4, 2011 [2 favorites]


Missing the GETITOFFME! tag. :D
posted by zarq at 9:54 AM on April 4, 2011 [1 favorite]


Fucking spider lobbyists.

Way to turn your back on the mammals, odinsdream. I hope you enjoy their sweet, sweet cocoons nesting in your brain.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 9:55 AM on April 4, 2011 [3 favorites]


WE HAD AN AGREEEEEMENT
posted by The Whelk at 9:55 AM on April 4, 2011 [6 favorites]


Alright I'm going to post a spider link a day till you guys stop gibbering.
posted by dhruva at 9:55 AM on April 4, 2011 [8 favorites]


Hee! That's awesome. I love the SunSpider.

Me, I got rid of my arachnophobia some time ago. They're eminently respectable and useful little critters, and srsly, they have no space for brains, and without brains they are incapable of malice toward you, so relax! They are too small to eat you.
posted by Because at 10:00 AM on April 4, 2011 [1 favorite]


people are already terrified, why encourage this is beyond my ken.

I mostly try to be a good person, but there is something about phobias that speaks to a cruel part of my soul. I've often remarked that it might because I don't believe that I have any (at least none that I've found so far), but I'm absolutely fascinated by irrational fears. And whenever I find out someones phobia, and I always do, I can't help but ask question and probe to learn more.

And then drop offhand comments, or make casual remarks about my interested in whatever it is that freaks them out. Or maybe describe, in vivid and horrifying detail what I would imagine it might be like to be covered in, say, a million hairy little spiders, swarming all over me, into my hair, eyes, mouth and nose, bearing me down under their weight, crushing me and devouring me from the inside out, and all I can hear is the nearly constant "chittering" whine that they make as they bore through me...

This is why I say I "try" to be a good person, because I'm not a good person, but I try, and sometimes, when it comes to things that freak people out, I fail.
posted by quin at 10:04 AM on April 4, 2011 [11 favorites]


That's awesome. I want to read that book to some kids I know.
posted by eritain at 10:04 AM on April 4, 2011


Haha what the hell this is awesome.

Also, seriously, you spider haters need to get over it. We've all got that natural ick response, but some of us have worked to overcome it and appreciate spiders for the useful little critters they are.
posted by palidor at 10:04 AM on April 4, 2011 [1 favorite]


I love spiders. When my parents were avid gardeners I'd get pocket change for showing up with new immigrant spiders for the garden.

Now we have a small wolf spider living underneath our entertainment console. He comes out at night on patrol. I've named him Walter. Seems like a nice type. Didn't bite me. Perfectly happy to have him in the house, keeping the bugs off the carpet.
posted by Salmonberry at 10:06 AM on April 4, 2011 [2 favorites]


I had a friend/roommate that was all vegetarian don't-want-to-harm-anything, and when he'd see a spider instead of killing it he'd pick it up with something and toss it outside. I thought it was rude of him.
posted by palidor at 10:07 AM on April 4, 2011


You know, I hate spiders. A lot. But after an unfortunate incident with a face-towel and a centipede, I think I can conclusively say that spiders are not the worst creatures on earth.
posted by specialagentwebb at 10:07 AM on April 4, 2011 [3 favorites]


I think part of the spider phobia comments here are really just for laugh value.

That said, a friend of mine has a tarantula and that thing is damn creepy.
posted by JHarris at 10:09 AM on April 4, 2011


spiders are not the worst creatures on earth.

Nope. Roaches, though...
posted by reductiondesign at 10:11 AM on April 4, 2011 [2 favorites]


Some of the facts in this book are incorrect.
posted by snofoam at 10:14 AM on April 4, 2011 [11 favorites]


I'm questioning the "non-fiction" classification of this book. Some of its facts are just plain wrong!
posted by hippybear at 10:14 AM on April 4, 2011


Dammit, snofoam. Jinx! You owe me a coke.
posted by hippybear at 10:14 AM on April 4, 2011


I actually feel sorry for centipedes. Because my wife hates them in an overhand-swinging-a coal-shovel-to-crush-them sort of way, but whenever possible, she sends the cats after them.

And the cats, being cats, like to just eat one sides worth of legs and watch them feebly try to get away.

Which, if you think about it, is far more fucked up than anything the centipedes would have done to anyone, and yet the cats get invited under the blankets at night. Humans are weird. We like our monsters to be baby sized, warm, and pleasing to look at, and for that we'll forgive them nearly anything.

(One day, I'll prove or disprove this theory when I finally introduce my spider-cat.)
posted by quin at 10:14 AM on April 4, 2011 [22 favorites]


We've all got that natural ick response, but some of us have worked to overcome it
Yeah I can attest to that. My particular phobia is things flying into my face, which absolutely icks me out. I think I may have been attacked by a wasp as a kid or something. Anyway, I stayed clear of working with flying things for a long time. So when I started my PhD project, I was really freaked out that the work would involve training honey bees to fly towards spider webs! So this meant putting a little sugar water dish next a hive (filled with hundreds of bees) and once they got used to the food source, moving them farther and farther away, till finally they had to fly to a spider web. I can tell you it took all my self control, and some more to get through this damn PhD (It got a little easier when I did experiments with stingless bees, but still the phobia remained).
posted by dhruva at 10:15 AM on April 4, 2011 [1 favorite]


And whenever I find out someones phobia, and I always do, I can't help but ask question and probe to learn more.

And then drop offhand comments, or make casual remarks about my interested in whatever it is that freaks them out. Or maybe describe, in vivid and horrifying detail what I would imagine it might be like to be covered in, say, a million hairy little spiders, swarming all over me..."


That's downright antisocial. It's one thing to trigger someone's phobia by accident, but when someone opens up about a serious fear they have, it's pretty fucked up for someone to go out of their way to antagonize them.
posted by hermitosis at 10:15 AM on April 4, 2011 [8 favorites]


hint to spiderphobes: it's cartoony drawings. Not real spiders.

Thank you, that's actually really important for major phobes.

I would seriously urge posters of spider-filter to note the extent of gothic octo-legs that are lurking inside a link. The last two pictures were a bit too spidery for me. Now I must spend the next hour on Cute Overload to purge my phobic brain.

Also, for the spider-hater haters: Spiders are Scary. It's Okay to be Afraid of Them. (more cartoons)
posted by dumdidumdum at 10:17 AM on April 4, 2011


(One day, I'll prove or disprove this theory when I finally introduce my spider-cat.)

(Cue Homer Simpson)

Personally, my opinion of spider matches that of They Might Be Giants. He is our hero. And he promises not to kill me.
posted by JHarris at 10:17 AM on April 4, 2011


I love spiders, and now that I've learned all about the sun I love them even more. That was an excellent story.
posted by frobozz at 10:18 AM on April 4, 2011


This reminds me of All My Friends Are Dead.
posted by starman at 10:20 AM on April 4, 2011 [1 favorite]


If spiders are scary, what about the amblypygids? Do they not deserve some fear?
posted by dhruva at 10:22 AM on April 4, 2011 [4 favorites]


I also thought oh how neat, somebody's giving arachnids a break and perhaps helping kids see them in a fresh light.

Too bad the thing went for a cheap laugh... also, I think it veered too quickly from sweetness and light into the dark side. Would've been funnier with a more gradual buildup.

I still like spiders. Somebody ought to try a project in defense of them.
posted by kinnakeet at 10:24 AM on April 4, 2011


I am printing this out right now so I can give it to my two-year-old son. I can already hear his little two-year-old voice proudly announcing "She's weally warm."
posted by ook at 10:25 AM on April 4, 2011


it's pretty fucked up for someone to go out of their way to antagonize them.

I overstated it for comedic effect, but in all seriousness, I do feel compelled to continue to ask questions, though I will always stop at the point where it is clearly bothering them. But irrationality is miles beyond riveting to me.

A friend's ex-wife was terrified of clowns, and, had she let me, I would have probably sat down with her and gone from, this is a stick figure, now how much clown-like stuff do I have to add to the picture before it becomes something you have to get away from? Can I just point to the stick figure and say "That's a clown?" or does it need the red rubber nose? At what point does its clownishness manifest and the fear kick in.
posted by quin at 10:27 AM on April 4, 2011 [1 favorite]


If spiders are scary, what about the amblypygids? Do they not deserve some fear?
ohsweetjesusfuckfuckwhatthehellisthataaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa
posted by Pastor of Muppets at 10:30 AM on April 4, 2011 [5 favorites]


I have terrible arachnophobia, and yet I enjoyed this.

What I do not enjoy is when coworkers send me attachments and say "OMG so cute! I swear it's not a spider!" and then I discover they lied.
posted by katillathehun at 10:31 AM on April 4, 2011 [1 favorite]


Spiders are all right, but vinegaroons are even better.
posted by Erroneous at 10:31 AM on April 4, 2011 [1 favorite]


WHY THE HELL DID I CLICK THAT LINK AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAUGH!
posted by liza at 10:35 AM on April 4, 2011 [3 favorites]


I read recently that spiders are one of the very few kinds of animal which make no use of melanin.
posted by jamjam at 10:36 AM on April 4, 2011


And then drop offhand comments, or make casual remarks about my interested in whatever it is that freaks them out. Or maybe describe, in vivid and horrifying detail what I would imagine it might be like to be covered in, say, a million hairy little spiders, swarming all over me, into my hair, eyes, mouth and nose, bearing me down under their weight, crushing me and devouring me from the inside out, and all I can hear is the nearly constant "chittering" whine that they make as they bore through me...

Yeah, arachnophobia is silly and irrational, that's what makes it a phobia. But I think because it's so common people forget that amongst the swathes of rational folks who dislike spiders (which is logical because, as I've asserted before, spiders are fucking scary), there are some who suffer from crippling anxiety.

In my case, I don't even have to be in the physical presence of a spider. I can't watch anything that has one in it. I haven't seen Home Alone since I was five. I will never watch the last few episodes of Twin Peaks. I skip the opening credits of Buffy and avoid the first season entirely. I was OK with Lord of the Rings in theory, but then Jackson goes and bases Shelob on a chuffing funnelweb!

My cousin works for a wetlands wildlife sanctuary, where he is in charge of the otters and beavers (I know, super-cool!). I was flicking through his facebook photos the other day and was all like 'aaawww, the ickle baby otters are hugging his leeeggggz'... then, in the next photo he's holding a muthafuckin tarantula - in his HANDS! Wtf is an exotic spider doing in a wetlands wildlife sanctuary just outside of Liverpool??!?

My boyfriend can testify that I chucked the computer off my lap and nearly broke it. Fucking spider.
posted by dumdidumdum at 10:37 AM on April 4, 2011 [5 favorites]


PS. I didn't mean to suggest you are mean, quin, I understand you're just joking.
posted by dumdidumdum at 10:39 AM on April 4, 2011


Here's a cool spider: New footage reveals how the spiders hoist snail shells off the ground using silk threads and shelter inside them.
posted by dhruva at 10:40 AM on April 4, 2011 [5 favorites]


I skip the opening credits of Buffy and avoid the first season entirely. I was OK with Lord of the Rings in theory, but then Jackson goes and bases Shelob on a chuffing funnelweb!

I can pretty easily get the heebie jeebies just from illustrations of spiders, but I don't really remember any big problem with Buffy S1. Return of the King though... I've only ever seen a few frames of the Shelob scenes. I cover my eyes as quickly as I can otherwise. *shudder* And whichever Harry Potter movie has the giant spider. Gah. Had to depend on my wife to tell me when I could open my eyes again.

Though, I supposed it does say something about my addiction to XBox achievements that I was able to play through the Harry Potter Lego game to completion. Not that I would have been able to do it if they spiders were anything other than blocky, and even then I had to suppress some revulsion.
posted by kmz at 10:43 AM on April 4, 2011


And what about the pseudoscorpions? They live near your toilet and watch you while you shower and they ride houseflies to get from place to place. They're cute the way they have huge claws!
posted by AzraelBrown at 10:51 AM on April 4, 2011 [3 favorites]


I like spiders. We have these little red-butt jumping spiders around here, and I love to watch them hunt along the ceilings and walls... they keep the house bug-free, plus they are beautiful and fascinating. Supposedly they can cause a painful bite, but they're not at all aggressive, so I let them be.

I only ever squish the black widows, and only if they're inside the house. I had an epic three-week battle with the one that was living in my LP collection last year -- the climax involved a can of Terro spider spray and a baseball bat. They're so fast that I could never quite manage to hit her with the spray, at least without ruining all the LPs; in the end I had to sneak up very carefully (so as not to let my shadow fall on her, as they're incredibly sensitive to light) and let rip when she was hanging out at the top of the web. Even then it didn't kill her... think I had to spray her three or four times before she finally slowed down enough to squash her with the bat.

Good times, as was cleaning the web-and-egg-sac mess out of my LPs...
posted by vorfeed at 10:54 AM on April 4, 2011 [1 favorite]


Spiders are fine as long as they aren't in my house, in which case they are well hidden or dead. I am a very live and let live kinda guy but that's my line in the sand for my own neurosis. Oddly, when I see them outside, they don't bother me at all. Some of this I think was from being heavily indoctrinated against black widows when I was a kid, which were really around but I never knew anybody who got bit by one. I also had a seriously vivid dream about a really big spider coming out of the toilet when I was very young, which I can still recall in detail (40-something years later).
posted by doctor_negative at 10:54 AM on April 4, 2011


My particular phobia is things flying into my face, which absolutely icks me out. I think I may have been attacked by a wasp as a kid or something. Anyway, I stayed clear of working with flying things for a long time

So this one day I'm going to my friend's house in the suburbs and as soon as I step off the bus this bee smacks right into my cheek, pretty hard, and proceeds to stumble-fly under my glasses into my eye. I shut my eye quick, and swatted at my face in a panic, sending my glasses flying into the muddy, long grass next to the sidewalk. I finally get my fingers on the thing and pull it off, but by now I've felt a few stings in my eyelid so I know the damage is done. I drop to my hands and knees with one rapidly eye swelling up, feeling around the mud and grass and weeds for my glasses. A couple of people pass by and ask if I'm OK, or if I just got beat up, or what. One guy helps me look for my glasses, eventually I find them and continue the 20 minute walk to my friend's house so I can get some ice for my eye. That sucked.

I've had enough run-ins with bees and wasps now that I can safely say I hate the little fuckers. But they still got nuthin on spiders and centipedes.

In college I shared a large 3 bedroom apartment with a couple of roommates in an old wood frame building by the river. One evening, for whatever reason, spiders decided they were going to invade. We were all sitting in the living room getting baked as usual, when I saw 3 black spiders decending on webs from the ceiling near my buddy at the other end of the sofa. "Dude, there's like 3 spiders right over your head man" I say to him, which he shrugs off as me trying to freak him out (we often would do this to each other when stoned; a favorite was telling someone to think about their teeth falling out, or feeding them Triscuits when they got the munchies--so mean!). Then he felt one at his ear and flipped out doing the spiders-on-me dance, which made us crack up laughing. That's when my other roommate looked around and started shrieking. There were about a dozen spiders all over the ceiling and walls, like a scene from Arachnophpobia. We all grabbed our trusty Econ 101 texts we'd been using to kill house centipedes (affectionately referred to as "speeding eyebrows) and started swatting. At the end, there were crumpled spider carcasses dotting the walls, and 3 baked college idiots on high alert holding econ texts with legs and gooey spider filling on them. We got another few spiders that evening, and an uneasy sleep. Over the next month or so there were between 3 and 6 spider sightings (and subsequent crushings) nightly--these guys were really persistent.

Eventually the invasion stopped, but man do I hate those things. It was like a siege, just terrible.
posted by Hoopo at 11:02 AM on April 4, 2011 [1 favorite]


NOT A SPIDERIST.
posted by blue_beetle at 11:04 AM on April 4, 2011


Erroneous: Spiders are all right, but vinegaroons are even better.

And luckily, the internet provides a quick Giant Vinegaroon Care Sheet! Don't worry, "all whipscorpions do not have venom"! Just some! Hah, kidding! What I believe the writer meant is that no whipscorpions have venom. They actually spit "acidic acid" (again, the writer's words, not mine), and they should not be handled.

BUT WAIT! A note for any arachnid collectors out there, if you don't have a Giant Vinegaroon, your collection isn't complete. Just don't handle them.


Giant Vinegaroon contains a liquid core, which, if exposed due to rupture, should not be touched, inhaled, or looked at.

Do not use Giant Vinegaroon on concrete.

Discontinue use of Giant Vinegaroon if any of the following occurs:

* itching
* vertigo
* dizziness
* tingling in extremities
* loss of balance or coordination
* slurred speech
* temporary blindness
* profuse sweating
* or heart palpitations.

posted by filthy light thief at 11:12 AM on April 4, 2011 [2 favorites]


... what about the amblypygids?

Oh man, sixteen year-old mystery SOLVED! I found one of these in the front yard of my mom's house when I was a kid, and nobody could tell me what it was. Thank you!
posted by carsonb at 11:13 AM on April 4, 2011 [1 favorite]


This thread is the latest in an occasional series of reminders as to why I have no plans to travel to Australia.
posted by dry white toast at 11:27 AM on April 4, 2011 [1 favorite]


quin: "people are already terrified, why encourage this is beyond my ken.

I mostly try to be a good person, but there is something about phobias that speaks to a cruel part of my soul. I've often remarked that it might because I don't believe that I have any (at least none that I've found so far), but I'm absolutely fascinated by irrational fears. And whenever I find out someones phobia, and I always do, I can't help but ask question and probe to learn more.

And then drop offhand comments, or make casual remarks about my interested in whatever it is that freaks them out. Or maybe describe, in vivid and horrifying detail what I would imagine it might be like to be covered in, say, a million hairy little spiders, swarming all over me, into my hair, eyes, mouth and nose, bearing me down under their weight, crushing me and devouring me from the inside out, and all I can hear is the nearly constant "chittering" whine that they make as they bore through me...

This is why I say I "try" to be a good person, because I'm not a good person, but I try, and sometimes, when it comes to things that freak people out, I fail.
"

Heh. I have a habit of going BZZZZZZZZZTTTTTT!!!!!!!! whenever anyone goes to plug something into a wall socket. It never fails to make a person recoil as if they actually got electrocuted. And often, scream. Then the hitting begins. Always the hitting.
posted by Splunge at 11:29 AM on April 4, 2011 [1 favorite]


I have a habit of going BZZZZZZZZZTTTTTT!!!!!!!! whenever anyone goes to plug something into a wall socket.

Wow, you do this too? I'm glad I'm not alone in my madness.

(Also, whenever someone says something to the effect of "I can't hear you", I always respond "What?" Hitting sometimes results from that, too.)
posted by hippybear at 11:33 AM on April 4, 2011 [3 favorites]


In addition to the above-listed tragic tendencies, I also hope for anyone headed to the restroom that it all comes out OK in the end.

Consternation not constipation, I say!
posted by carsonb at 11:39 AM on April 4, 2011


My boyfriend can testify that I chucked the computer off my lap and nearly broke it. Fucking spider.

This is totally me. I'm normally a calm, fairly rational person in most situations, but when that situation has eight legs, all bets are off. If someone's with me, I can handle it because they'll probably take care of it for me. When I'm alone, however, I'm reduced to a paralyzed, weeping, hyperventilating mess. The only motivation I have to get close enough to kill it is the knowledge that if I don't, it will run away, and then I won't know where it is. And even that doesn't always work.
posted by katillathehun at 11:42 AM on April 4, 2011 [2 favorites]


quin: "And then drop offhand comments, or make casual remarks about my interested in whatever it is that freaks them out. Or maybe describe, in vivid and horrifying detail what I would imagine it might be like to be..."

YES, WE KNOW.

covered in millions of spiders? *shudder*
posted by zarq at 12:01 PM on April 4, 2011


... when that situation has eight legs, all bets are off.

I now envision a film called The Horrors of Jersey Island and some over-irradiated guy with spiked hair yanks up his shirt to reveal washboard abs with two pairs of furry, segmented legs jutting out from his obliques. "What do you think about The Situation?"
posted by adipocere at 12:13 PM on April 4, 2011 [2 favorites]


When I was a young 'un, I used to take a shortcut into town by walking through a large field behind our place, then a forest bordering the field, until I reached the highway. The area where the field met the forest was a bit marshy at certain times of the year, but other times it was dry enough to cross. So one time I was walking through the dry marshy area and happened to glance down… to see hundreds of small spiders erupting out from the grass under my feet. I jumped and landed a few feet away and hundreds of small spiders erupted out from under my feet. Every step I took until I reached the forest, hundreds of small spiders erupted out from under my feet. The forest was not close when this began. This area was crawling with thousands and thousands of spiders. I was around ten or eleven, and I still remember this. Never liked crossing that area after that. I still have no idea what was going on.
posted by showmethecalvino at 12:14 PM on April 4, 2011


When I was like 19 or so, I walked under a tree that had a tiny spider hanging from it, and didn't realize immediately. I felt the strand of web on my face, and I brushed it off, and continued another few steps.
At some point I licked my lips, and the little sucker bit my tongue. It didn't hurt for more than a second, but left a lingering sweet taste, like aspartame.
posted by Mister Moofoo at 12:15 PM on April 4, 2011 [4 favorites]


OH EFF NO.

Story 1: Dominican Republic. They warned us not to walk under the banana trees. Well, my goofy 9-year-old butt certainly did. A banana spider fell and tangled itself in my waist-length hair. I ran almost a mile home and found my mother, who didn't believe there was a spider in my hair, until I passed out from absolute terror. She and the neighbor woman cut its legs off, pulled every piece out and fed it to the chickens. Screw spiders.

Story 2: Domincan Republic. Big octopus-looking thing drops down onto the bug net over my bed. I saw it slowly pulling the net down toward me, and eventually finally snapped out of a horrified trance and swatted it away. It bit me on the hand, which was paralyzed for a week. Screw spiders.

Story 3: Ecuador. I would occasionally leave the horses out to pasture after dark. DO NOT DO. The tarantulas come out at night, and you can hear them running. I would fly screaming across the field, leap bareback onto a horse, grab the other's bridle and come sobbing back to the stable. Screw spiders.

That's all. But DO NOT TELL ME THE FEAR OF SPIDERS IS IRRATIONAL.
posted by functionequalsform at 12:15 PM on April 4, 2011 [31 favorites]


Pass.
posted by jquinby at 12:39 PM on April 4, 2011


This thread is the latest in an occasional series of reminders as to why I have no plans to travel to Australia.
posted by dry white toast


Oh, come on over and visit, we don't have any killer spiders. Except for funnel-webs and redbacks. I have a huntsman on the loungeroom ceiling right now. She's been there for a couple of days. Eventually she'll realise there's no food to be had and will go away. (And her name is Charlotte, just like all spiders.)

I reckon spiders are cool and clever and fascinating, and they're welcome to live their little spidery lives near me. Mice, on the other hand, are uncool and stupid and make me shriek, so they are welcome to die en masse. Preferably soon.

posted by malibustacey9999 at 12:44 PM on April 4, 2011


This is gosh-darn cute. I have been wary of spiders ever since J. Ro. was bitten by one and a chunk of his leg died (NSFLunch). Finally! Justification!

This morning while I was eating breakfast, I saw a spider crawling on my chest. I shrieked, because oh god it's a spider and 6:30 is too early for me to put on a brave face and the upstairs neighbors wake up early anyway.

While I screamed to my husband something about a giant spider on my boob and omg please give me a tissue already why is it taking you so goddamn long, the spider must have decided "enough of this then" and used his tiny parachute to fly somewhere safe.

So now my husband thinks that I'm hallucinating spiders. Thanks a lot, surprise morning spider.

Less sarcastic thanks to my husband for not posting this story here earlier.

* It was not giant at all.
posted by giraffe at 12:46 PM on April 4, 2011


Okay, functionequalsform. You have an excuse and I will not deny it.

BUT. For me, this thread is GREAT! I keep clicking on links, which lead me to links, and I am finding out such neat new things!

Mind, I am sitting in a room with my eight beloved pet snakes right now, so obviously I'm generally well-disposed toward the creepy crawlies.
posted by Because at 12:46 PM on April 4, 2011 [1 favorite]


"surprise morning spider" would make a great username.
posted by quin at 12:54 PM on April 4, 2011 [2 favorites]


I loved this, and generally like spiders. Though when I think back to the house I lived in growing up that was infested with brown recluses, I shudder a little. One bit me on the top of my big toe, and the whole thing fell off. But then it grew back, so it all worked out ok. Pretty much ruined my summer, though.
posted by ewagoner at 12:58 PM on April 4, 2011


Just a vote from the "spiders are actually rather beautiful" camp. I once did a big project of making spiders out of differently-sized and colored beads, metal findings, and silver wire.
posted by amtho at 1:09 PM on April 4, 2011


One bit me on the top of my big toe, and the whole thing fell off. But then it grew back, so it all worked out ok.

Um. Your big toe. Fell off. And then grew back. Really?

Have you considered donating your DNA to science so that others may regrow lost limbs? Did you consider that perhaps that spider bite gave you superpowers or something?
posted by Because at 1:12 PM on April 4, 2011 [2 favorites]


I love spiders. I have no idea why, as I have every reason to hate the little beasts. I don't, though.

Right now I'm typing this with a bandaged right hand because of a spider. See, a couple of weeks back my hand started hurting. I ignored it for a few days and then it began to both hurt and swell. After a couple more days of that, my girlfriend took me to the ER. It was really swollen with a center hard spot the size of a quarter. The prognosis? Spiderbite, in all probability. The treatment was not fun - it was the opposite of fun. The doctor had to make a huge incision in the back of my hand and drain it, but not before sticking a giant needle right into the sore spot to inject something to numb it a little. They gave me morphine, which helped a little. A little. Holy christ, did this whole process hurt. I had to spend the night in the hospital to receive a full course of IV antibiotics. The opposite of fun.

The swelling's gone down now, six days after I visited the hospital. It's through leaking pus and blood and bloody puss. I still have to keep a big-ass bandage on it, though, and it's gonna be a few weeks until it heals properly. I'll have a wicked scar, too, yet still I like spiders. I think they're interesting and beautiful and cute and just plain cool. I don't know what's wrong with me. I have other reasons why I should never, never trust a spider as well. I've told the following story here before, but it's been a number of years now and it's sort of relevant, so here goes:


In 1998, I was bitten by a black widow spider in New Orleans' French Quarter the morning after a three day Halloween drinking and drugging binge. We were on our way to where our cars were parked, gearing up for the 9 hour drive back to Austin.

I was waiting for my friends to buy some coffee, sitting on a stoop playing with a puppy that one of them had bought from a homeless kid the night before when I felt a slight prick on my right forearm. Admittedly, I was still a bit hazy from lack of sleep and non-lack of strong drugs and booze, so I thought nothing of it and when my group returned with our coffee we started walking. I got maybe a block and a half before I noticed the strange circular welts that were starting to form, creeping up my arm and towards my torso.

At first, my friends thought I was dizzy and short of breath because I'd been hitting it so goddamn hard for the previous 72 hours. I showed them the welts and they knew something was rotten in swampland. My chest began to get really, horribly tight, the welts grew larger and more pronounced, and it was then we all knew shit was starting to fly. Two of our group took off to get their car, which was closer than ours, so I wouldn't have to walk any more and to maybe take me to the hospital if things didn't fix themselves. Later I found out that the fuckers stopped at a bar and had one last drink before they made it to their car. Priorities.

We popped into a coffeeshop - a big and busy one right in the heart of the Quarter, I forget the name - to wait for our ride to show up. I remember sitting on one of those high chairs that go along with those tall but small tables, starting to black out, and having someone catch me as I fell out of the chair.

My friends - no strangers to over-dramatizing even the most mundane events - were starting to freak the fuck right out when one of the cafe's patrons approached us and identified himself as a paramedic from, of all places, our home town Austin. I don't remember much from that point on, but he told my friends that I was going into anaphylactic shock and, damn the torpedoes, 911 needed to be called.

I remember coming to in the ambulance. A group of about 12 of us had gone to NO for the holiday, and for some reason the person that insisted on riding with me to the hospital was a girl that I barely knew, a new roommate of one of my close friends - a close friend that didn't want to ride in the ambulance through the French Quarter, apparently. The most I knew about the girl that was riding with me was that the first night/morning we were in town I'd woken up after 3 or 4 hours of light sleep to her fucking her boyfriend reverse cowgirl style in the bed not two feet from me. She was average cuteness, but her guy was a prettyboy and I watched nonetheless.

The paramedic was asking her all kinds of standard questions about my medical history - questions that she had no reason to know the answers to. Then the medic asked if I'd been doing any drugs, and I blurted out a firm "No!" (my first word in the ambulance). My escort decided that my lie might end up hurting me and I was promptly corrected. "He's been drinking heavily, doing cocaine, and taking pharmaceuticals... Valium, Percocet... maybe others." From that point on I was treated like a veteran junkie - looks of disgust, an actual mutterance of "brought it on himself", the whole works. Never mind that I was suffering from an ailment that no drug has ever been known to cause, I was trash to them.

When we got to the hospital, I was only in the ER waiting room for a few minutes. I was in such a state that they actually rushed me ahead of a poor fellow that had cut a sizable portion of his hand off with a chainsaw. I remember the blood. I remember his sobs. His blood and screaming are about all I remember of the waiting room.

I was given a couple of shots (steroid, hydrocortisone maybe?) and within a few moments I could breathe again. Before the shots were administered, though, the doctor made a comment along the lines of, "So... I see you've been doing cocaine and other drugs. That's not good." Because, you know, if my blood had been puritan grade that devious little spider would've left me alone and gone for the puppy instead.

I was out of the hospital in less than an hour. My arm and most of the right side of my bodys hurt like all hell, but since Little Miss Fucks-in-bed-next-to-strangers told them about my choice of chemical fun for the trip, they wouldn't give me any painkillers stronger than OTC.

While I was being treated, my friend's car was broken into and my hands down, all time favorite jacket was stolen. A few hours later, we were pulled over somewhere on I-10 by a fresh-faced Patrolman that decided our car needed searching and refused to believe that I was too ill to get out of the car into the chilly swamp night, despite my hospital bracelet and the medical paperwork my friends kept shoving in his face. Once out of the car, I fainted slightly and Officer Supercop wouldn't allow me sit down while he and his partner ransacked our car.

That's pretty much it. I've been to New Orleans many times since then and it remains my favorite city in the United States, but I promise to never attend a meetup there for fear of bringing down torrent of nasty luck.
posted by item at 1:14 PM on April 4, 2011 [9 favorites]


Because, I do attribute my superpowers to this bite, yeah. Most of my friends know my origin story. I don't want to be too graphic, but only the top half of my toe fell off, so, you know, my stem cells or whatever had a platform to start from.
posted by ewagoner at 1:15 PM on April 4, 2011


I really haven't liked spiders quite as well since I woke up one morning about ten years ago to the thunderous whispering sound of something rhythmically stroking my left eardrum and it turned out to be a bigger spider than I expected after I ran to the bathroom, laid myself down in the tub and poured half a bottle of hydrogen peroxide in there.
posted by jamjam at 1:35 PM on April 4, 2011 [1 favorite]


What was the name of that short story?... the one where the entomologist hikes to a secluded cave in South America in search of a colony of spiders previously thought extinct, but while he's studying them ferocious rains submerge the entrance to the cave, and as the waters rise to the ceiling of the cavern dozens of the enormous black hairy things scrabble and cling desperately to the only object above water, which happens to be his head....
posted by CynicalKnight at 1:38 PM on April 4, 2011 [1 favorite]


If spiders are scary, what about the amblypygids? Do they not deserve some fear?
posted by dhruva at 10:22 AM on April 4 [1 favorite +] [!]


You are the worst person on metafilter today.
posted by shen1138 at 2:36 PM on April 4, 2011 [9 favorites]


carsonb: " Oh man, sixteen year-old mystery SOLVED! I found one of these in the front yard of my mom's house when I was a kid, and nobody could tell me what it was. Thank you!"

Out of curiosity, where does your mother live? I'd like to know if I need to flee the city. Thanks in advance.
posted by zarq at 2:43 PM on April 4, 2011 [2 favorites]


The tarantulas come out at night, and you can hear them running.

That is one of the most terrifying things I've ever read. I love how Metafilter continues to provide new fuel for my nightmares.
posted by miss-lapin at 2:58 PM on April 4, 2011 [3 favorites]


How soon you forget. FUCK spiders.
posted by pjern at 3:19 PM on April 4, 2011 [1 favorite]


This is the best thing I have ever seen.
posted by kittens for breakfast at 3:40 PM on April 4, 2011


functionequalsform: My heartfelt thanks for the warning. One more place I will never visit. I should have remembered though. An ex of mine was a musician at Casa De Campo down there and related a few spider stories to me. One evening after playing and then partying a bit she was stopped from entering the villa she was staying in by a large arachnid camped on the door. Eventually she went back to the bar and waited it out. Smart girl.
posted by Splunge at 3:51 PM on April 4, 2011 [1 favorite]


That was creepy as hell. Thanks, I think.
Er, how DO I identify the horribly deadly spiders I'll find in Aus?
posted by Lovecraft In Brooklyn at 4:26 PM on April 4, 2011


Lovecraft In Brooklyn: "That was creepy as hell. Thanks, I think.
Er, how DO I identify the horribly deadly spiders I'll find in Aus
"

They're all deadly; everything in Australia wants to kill you.

Kidding, but yeah, checking up would be a great idea.
posted by bwg at 6:28 PM on April 4, 2011


Some of the facts in this book are incorrect"
Yeah! On the back cover it says "Ages 4 - 6" and that is so so wrong.
posted by Kerasia at 6:29 PM on April 4, 2011 [1 favorite]


Lovecraft In Brooklyn: "Er, how DO I identify the horribly deadly spiders I'll find in Aus"

If it bites you and you die, it's a deadly spider.

If it bites you and you just get really sick it's a deadly spider on holiday.

If it bites you and you just get a sore spot for a little while, it's a wannabe spider wishing she was deadly.

If it is almost the biggest spider you've ever seen outside of tarantula country and it's on your wall, it's a huntsman and most likely won't bite you. But it will drop onto your face while you sleep and try to nest in your mouth. That last sentence is not actually proven.

And if it is greenish with a big white lump on top it's a lime spider and you eat it.
posted by Kerasia at 6:39 PM on April 4, 2011 [5 favorites]


Thank you. My son thought it was cute. I thought it was terrifying. -_-
posted by Sallysings at 7:36 PM on April 4, 2011


Lovecraft in Brooklyn:

http://www.anoble.com.au/Spiders/SpiderID.htm

These people will send you one; which might explain how everyone I know from overseas has one of these on their fridge. I thought they were giving them out at customs or something.

Kerasia: a huntsmen did drop onto my sister's head once. I was the only other person home and had to get it off with a spatula. I don't know about the mouth-nesting though.
posted by kjs4 at 8:02 PM on April 4, 2011 [1 favorite]


Am I a spiderist if I look at all of those pictures and say AHHHHH!

I remember a Time Life book that I had as a kid and it had a full page picture of a Wolf Spider. I remember being very careful not to touch the picture of the sucker as I turned the pages. It might bite me. Seriously. The big BW pic scared the crap out of me. Sure pictures of spiders can't bite. But why take a chance?

And one night, before going to bed, I wrapped the book with heavy rubberbands. Better safe than sorry. Amirite?
posted by Splunge at 10:35 PM on April 4, 2011 [2 favorites]


I'm pretty terrfied now. thanks, guys. it's pretty hard to figure out what the real risks are since an American asking about dangerous animals is just an invitation to take the piss.

Since the antivenom was developed in 1980,[5] there have been no recorded fatalities due to this species. Wiki on the Sydney Funnel Web. should be okay. wheew
posted by Lovecraft In Brooklyn at 10:57 PM on April 4, 2011


Lovecraft In Brooklyn: You're pretty unlikely to die from a spider bite in Australia. Funnelwebs and redbacks are the main problems, but no one much dies from them. As Kerasia said, the scariest looking spider you're likely to see is a huntsman. They're not venomous, but they are notoriously cranky, and will bit. Which will hurt, but probably wont kill you. Still, if you're bitten by a spider, I recommend you avail yourself of our wonderful socialised healthcare system by taking yourself down to the local hospital emergency department and having it checked out anyway :-)

And I love the book in the OP, but it's not quite creepy enough for me. A vague existential dread of planet-eating sun spiders is probably the least concerning them about them.
posted by damonism at 11:22 PM on April 4, 2011


Spiders are enough to make Doctor Who commit xenocide. That's scary enough for me
posted by Lovecraft In Brooklyn at 11:46 PM on April 4, 2011


You're pretty unlikely to die from a spider bite in Australia

because something else will get you first
posted by hattifattener at 11:56 PM on April 4, 2011 [2 favorites]


My eldest was given a pack of insect top trumps for Christmas & the pictures scared him witless from the far side of the room. The wolf spider was the worst.
posted by pharm at 2:01 AM on April 5, 2011


the scariest looking spider you're likely to see is a huntsman. They're not venomous, but they are notoriously cranky, and will bit(e).

posted by damonism

Seriously? I'm not being snarky, I promise. But I let huntsmen live in my house and I've never seen one cranky. If they're in the firing line of a kids toy, for instance, they'll scuttle out of the way but I've never seen one be aggressive. They just hang around for a couple of days and then disappear.

(Not long ago I got in the shower and pulled the shower curtain across to see the biggest huntsman I've ever seen, about 20 cm from my face. I will confess to shrieking and getting the HELL out of the shower faster than the speed of light. And then I showered at my mum's place because I couldn't bear to move her or kill her. The spider, not my mother. She was gone by the time I got back home.)

Lovecraft, redbacks are beautiful, with their intense red streak against their black-as-black body. You'll know when you see one. It is the brightest red I've ever seen in nature, I think. (But they still get a good dose of Mortein.)

posted by malibustacey9999 at 2:52 AM on April 5, 2011


And I give up trying to only 'small' a part of my comment. For some reason, once I 'small', the smalling never stops.
posted by malibustacey9999 at 2:53 AM on April 5, 2011


Here's a cicada giving a spider a piggyback!
posted by h00py at 3:10 AM on April 5, 2011


Like the book, by the way!
posted by h00py at 3:10 AM on April 5, 2011


Spiders are fascinating. They can be beautiful. They still scare me, irrationally. I recall as a kid, I had an American common garden spider (orb), in a jar. I was afraid to touch the jar where the spider was against the glass. LOL!

I liked the post. My nephews are SO lucky, they are too little to read such a book. LOL.

Am I weird, or is it common for phobic folks to be fascinated by the object they fear? Is it the thrill?

One time I was at the zoo in Washington, DC. There's a spider exhibit. And I was trying to get a look, when suddenly I felt something on my head. See, the spiders weren't in a cage. They just lived in this place provided for them, where people came in to look. So, being a rational adult and all, I just screamed like a little girl, and ran out. And funny enough, afraid I might have hurt a spider, brushing it off me.
posted by Goofyy at 6:27 AM on April 5, 2011


Some of this I think was from being heavily indoctrinated against black widows when I was a kid, which were really around but I never knew anybody who got bit by one.

Here, it is the brown recluse. And a rather bullshit story about a red line that'll run from the bite to your heart, and if you don't get it taken care of before it hits your heart, you drop dead. Or something. Turns out there aren't even brown recluse in California.
posted by cj_ at 7:15 AM on April 5, 2011


Turns out there aren't even brown recluse in California.

Oh man, screw making wood-block prints, if I had a time machine I'd go back and tell my twelve-year-old self this fact.
posted by you're a kitty! at 7:27 AM on April 5, 2011 [1 favorite]


kjs4 - that chart was horrifying. & it MOVES! thanks. thanks a lot.
posted by PepperMax at 8:42 AM on April 5, 2011


MetaFilter: I couldn't bear to move her or kill her. The spider, not my mother.
posted by Splunge at 11:12 AM on April 5, 2011 [1 favorite]


Here's a cicada giving a spider a piggyback!

And that's precisely why I like spiders: they kill everything else that I hate.
posted by Amanojaku at 11:13 AM on April 5, 2011 [1 favorite]


Love the book. Ticks are my own personal demon. I had a close friend whose health was permanently compromised by a tick bite. Things that stay stuck to you without notice for hours or days, usually in hairy/moist body regions ... *shudder*.

Lyme disease especially is starting to spread here in the American southeast, and now I don't like even seeing suburban deer any more. Deer = filthy disease vectors.
posted by freecellwizard at 11:31 AM on April 5, 2011


Here, it is the brown recluse. And a rather bullshit story about a red line that'll run from the bite to your heart, and if you don't get it taken care of before it hits your heart, you drop dead. Or something.

According to my doctor, the red line part is not BS. The line means the infection caused by the spider bite has gotten into your blood stream and once the infection spreads to your heart, there's not much hope for you. But the process of getting from the bite to that point is so awful and gross and painful that most people get help before it gets that far.
posted by katillathehun at 11:38 AM on April 5, 2011


Interesting. I can't actually find a picture of this red line, just necrotic tissue, which leaves me skeptical. There's hundreds of pictures of people with their whole arm/leg rotting off, but no red line. Or I suck at the googles.

Plus, every time I've heard this bit of trivia, it comes from the same people who insist the brown recluse lives here in California, which is totally bunk. (Weird rumor considering there are plenty of black widows to be wary of.)
posted by cj_ at 12:25 PM on April 5, 2011


It's not like it's a bold, scarlet pen line. It's more of a blurry, pinkish trail. I wasn't bitten by a spider (before test results came back, we thought that's what it might have been. Same type of infection, though) but I had the line. Fortunately, I had begun antibiotics the very same day that showed up, so it never progressed very far, though "never progressed very far" still left me with a gaping hole in my leg. ANYWAY, that's how it was explained to me. If you want to see pictures, Google something like "infection red line" sans quotes.
posted by katillathehun at 12:34 PM on April 5, 2011


Spiders doing freakish things: previously.
posted by Kabanos at 12:48 PM on April 5, 2011


malibustacey9999: Seriously? I'm not being snarky, I promise. But I let huntsmen live in my house and I've never seen one cranky. If they're in the firing line of a kids toy, for instance, they'll scuttle out of the way but I've never seen one be aggressive. They just hang around for a couple of days and then disappear.

I don't think they're aggressive, as such, just liable to have a go at you if you piss them off. I used to know an entomologist and she had a friend who had a hand-raised huntsman who was happy to be handled. Apparently that is a pretty rare thing. Usually they're bitey if you try to pick them up or touch them.

Personally, I make a point not to touch them. I don't mind them in the house, but if mrs damonism asks me to remove one, I'll use a glass and a bit of card to transport it outside, where it's probably happier anyway.
posted by damonism at 6:29 PM on April 5, 2011


Ah I see. I was picturing something more visually dramatic.
posted by cj_ at 7:03 PM on April 5, 2011


Spiders are pretty safe in NZ. I like the jumping spiders that often wonder into my room. They like my laser pointer.
posted by Soupisgoodfood at 3:16 AM on April 6, 2011


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