Meet HH’s Little Buddy

Jumping spider

You may remember HH. I introduced you to him a few weeks ago. Henry Huntsman has taken up permanent residence in my office. He is a little concerned that his presence has caused discomfort for some. I had to gently explain to him that some people suffer from a condition called arachnophobia. Henry scratched the top of his hairy head with one of his eight legs, looking puzzled.

Arachnophobia, I said as gently as I could, is when people are scared of spiders.

Noooooo…. he gasped.

‘Fraid so, Henry.

But why? I’m not scary. I don’t hurt anyone. In fact, I help to keep your office free of bugs.

I know you do Henry. You’re quite right. Don’t take it personally, please.

And that’s when Henry asked me to introduce you to Lucas. You see, Lucas helps people not to be scared of spiders. That’s his job.

There’s a lot of interesting things to know about spiders, like, for example –

  • There are approximately 40,000 species of spiders.
  • Most spiders are not capable of penetrating human skin.
  • Most spiders will bite humans only in self-defence.
  • Most spider bites have no more effect than a bee sting or mosquito bite.
  • Recent studies show that the ‘toxic effects’ of spider bites are often of no medical relevance.
  • Most venomous spiders are not capable of injecting enough venom to warrant medical intervention and of those that can, only a few cases are recorded to be fatal.
  • Most researchers agree that the Australian funnel web spider is the one to avoid because of its aggressive nature, but even so, there are only two recorded bites (not deaths) a year.
  • In western society, around 55% of women and 18% of men experience a fear of spiders to some degree.
  • In the 20th century there were around 100 reliably recorded deaths from spider bites (one a year on average), but there were 1500 deaths from jellyfish stings.
  • The house spider – usually spotted during autumn running around our carpets looking for a female mate – is not harmful to us.
  • Scientists are working with spider venom to create a less toxic pesticide alternative; spider venom can be deadly to insects but harmless to other animals such as pets.  So, not only do spiders catch flies and mites, they may help us further tend to our plants in future too.
  • Arachnophobia, like many other ‘simple’ phobias, can be treated very effectively these days

 Greco-Roman mythology tells us that Arachne, a Greek maiden and an excellent weaver, learned her craftsmanship from Athena (goddess of craft).  Her tapestry work was incredible. She refused to tell who taught her. Athena got mad and challenged her to a tapestry contest. They finished at the same time. But Arachne won because hers was prettier. Athena was so furious she trashed the tapestry and hit her on the head. This made Arachne so sad she killed herself.  Athena, feeling guilty, brought her back to life as a spider. Apparently so she could keep weaving. Geez those Greco-Roman gods do some weird things.

Spiders were blamed for the Black Plague in the Middle Ages in Europe. They really got a bad rap there. But not everyone believed that spiders were evil, fearful creatures. The Native American Indians regard them as symbols of wisdom.

The University in Toronto has done some research on arachnophobics. They have found there are two different categories of spider fearing people.  The monitors scan the environment for the fearful beasties so they can keep their own beady little eyes on them at all times.

The blunters, on the other hand, will do anything they can to never see or encounter one.

There is good news too. Exposure therapy using virtual reality stimulators is  far more gentle than being thrown into the deep end with a pit full of spiders. The  level of exposure can be monitored and titrated according to the individual’s responses.

© Raili Tanska

Steps for Peace

Ho’oponopono helps – 
I’m sorry
Please forgive me
I love you
Thank you


17 thoughts on “Meet HH’s Little Buddy

  1. Last year Paul’s arm went numb. He was so alarmed that he phoned the doctor, who said he thought he knew what had caused it, and it should get better in the next three days or so. I noticed he’d been bitten, and asked if he’d seen any unusual spiders. He said there’d been one in his bedroom, I showed him a picture of a false widow spider, and he thought that was what what he’d seen.
    That kind of exposure doesn’t help arachnophobia…

    1. I have never heard of a false widow spider. To be on the receiving end of a bite puts a very different spin to it, that’s for sure. Hope his arm has recovered.

  2. The late Ernest Borgnine once played a crazed cult leader, who fed spiders to women who were tied to chairs. That pretty much got everyone laughing at the idea of spiders being dangerous, although Black Widows (which bite in self-defense) and Brown recluses (which suck nutrients out of the bitten human skin and leave lesions) are still animals around which to be careful.

  3. I don’t really care how dangerous they are Raili. That is not the problem. I think my fear of spiders goes back to a childhood experience. It is their appearance and the way they move. They fill me with irrational fear. I’m a biologist who loves all animals – apart from spiders. It is not rational.

    1. You,re right Opher, no phobia is rational. There are two family members who are arachnophobic , one of them being my youngest son. If he sees a spider, he screams and rushes for the nearest exit regardless of what is in the way. If he were living at home, I would have to evict Henry.

  4. Loved this Raili , As a child I had a fear of spiders, but then in my adult years I had to overcome the fear so as not to make my children frightened.
    Now I regard them as good housekeepers, 🙂 and of course being in the garden one is always apologising to the deva kingdom for spoiling all the hard work of creating a web when I have to break one.
    I am thankful though we do not get the large ones you get, or the very poisonous ones..
    But those jumping spiders, we get a lot of and they are harmless. 🙂
    Loved reading 🙂

    1. Thanks Sue. Some of the nasty, poisonous ones here live outside,, thank goodness. When gardening we have to be very mindful as their bites can be quite toxic

      1. Yes, I am allergic to some insect bites, and have been given one or two nasty spider bites in the garden that have swelled and been painful. And they teach you to wear gloves, especially when picking raspberries LOL. as they love to curl under their leaves as the fruit attracts flies. 😀 I am grateful to live in England 🙂

      2. Although you hear a lot about all the dangerous and toxic beasties here in Australia, my encounters with any have been minimal. I’ve never seen a white tail spider in our garden, seldom see redbacks, have never encountered a snake in the wild 🙂

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