Cute spiders alert! Just in case you are among the 3% to 15% of the population that find spiders scary and suffer from arachnophobia, I only placed a few pictures of spiders in this article and they are all cute (in my opinion).
However – no matter how cute they are to me – you may still find these images to be disturbing if you have a fear of spiders.
Please proceed with caution if you are scared of spiders.
You have been warned! Bwahahahaha!
Alright, enough clowning around, let’s get into why spiders are so scary for some people.
Why Are Spiders Scary?
Some people are afraid of spiders because of the way spiders look and move while other people are afraid of spiders because of how venomous some of them can be.
While some people may cringe at the sight of a spider because that is just the way their brains are programmed, others fear spiders because of the perception that most are poisonous.
In reality, only about 0.1% of spiders actually carry enough venom to harm a human being.
So, if you are afraid of spiders because of the fear of how dangerous they can be, you may be able to get over your fear by educating yourself about the various spiders and which ones are really dangerous to humans.
As for the people that are afraid of spiders because of their appearance, there isn’t much we can do to ease your fear. Maybe dressing the spider up in a cute outfit will help.
But don’t be ashamed if you are scared of spiders because spiders are scared of other spiders too. So, it isn’t just a human fear.
Spiders that have encountered other spiders have jumped and run away as fast as they could – indicating that not only are humans afraid of spiders – but spiders are also afraid of spiders.
5 Reasons Spiders Are Scary to Humans
Below are 5 potential reasons humans are afraid of spiders and why some people suffer from arachnophobia.
1. Appearance & Movements
Whether it is the way spiders move slow or fast or their hairy bodies, long legs, and fangs – some humans just get freaked out by the sight of spiders.
To some, spiders have disturbing and scary-looking bodies that are made worse by how they move uncharacteristically – compared to insects and other animals.
Spiders have erratic movements that can get under the skin of some humans. The way they look along with the way they move just creeps some humans out.
2. Cultural Behavior
You may be more likely to be afraid of spiders depending on where you are from. If you are of European descent, you are more likely to find spiders scary as arachnophobia is more prevalent in European countries.
In the past, some countries and regions believed that spiders carried diseases that were eventually passed on to humans like, “The Black Death”.
People in these countries and regions are far more likely to have a fear of spiders due to the cultural behavior and beliefs about spiders from the past.
3. Evolutionary Response
An evolutionary response may be triggered in some humans when they see or think about spiders. Some humans may have a negative response to spiders due to evolutionary reasons.
Many of our ancestors had an instinct to fear dangerous things and that included spiders that had the potential to kill them.
Since there were likely more dangerous spiders in the past, less shelter, and less medicine to help combat venom – it is believed that some humans have a negative evolutionary response to spiders because our ancestors feared and avoided spiders due to the dangers that some of the spiders presented to them and their survival.
A study overseen by Graham Davey of City University London found some evidence that supports arachnophobia may be a family trait.
Out of 118 participants, 75% of the participants reported having a fear of spiders and those participants reported having a family member that was also afraid of spiders.
While the test group was small, there are many other tests with similar results so it can’t be ruled out as a possibility for some people.
5. Spider Trauma
Some experts believe that spider trauma early on in your life can be a reason some people are afraid of spiders. They believe that if you had a negative or frightening experience with a spider when you were a child, you could still be suffering from that lasting trauma.
You may not even remember the event that triggered the fear of spiders, but the fear of spiders has always been planted in your brain since that moment.
Why Are Spiders Creepy?
So, why are spiders so scary and creepy to some? People are afraid of spiders for various reasons.
It isn’t just an evolutionary response or learned behavior, but rather people are scared of spiders for a combination of the reasons listed above – among others.
Some of the reasons people are afraid of spiders can be due to their genetics or evolution, but others may just be afraid of spiders because of their appearance and how they move about.
I don’t think there is a single box or category that we can put all people in that have a fear of spiders.
But we do have to agree that having a fear of spiders is definitely a real thing and can be very bad for some people no matter what the reason.
Spiders & Humans | Brief History
Spiders and humans have a long history together that may contribute to some of the fear that many people have in regard to spiders.
Our early ancestors had to deal with dangerous animals and insects and learned to avoid and fear spiders, among many other creatures.
We have to remember that times were very different back then and there was no ample shelter or pesticides to keep creepy crawly things away from their bodies and living spaces.
Our ancestors likely learned early on in history that things with eight legs are not good for their health, but this fear and disgust was made worse for some when spiders were believed to bring death – not from spider venom – but in different forms of diseases like The Black Plague or Black Death.
What Is Arachnophobia?
To put it in simplest terms, arachnophobia is the intense fear of spiders. But people that suffer from this phobia would say that it goes beyond the intense fear of spiders and is more of a “freak out” at the sight or the thought of spiders.
However, some people that have a fear of spiders aren’t necessarily classified as having arachnophobia. Any phobia is classified as an irrational fear (not just fear) of something.
If a person is suffering from arachnophobia – they won’t just have an intense fear of spiders – they will freak out, want to get as far away as possible, and have thoughts that the spider is coming to get them or is plotting to kill them.
At the sight or thought of a spider – people with arachnophobia may sweat, hyperventilate, have panic attacks, get tightness in their chests, and have rapid heartbeats brought on by their intense fear of spiders.
Why Do People Have Arachnophobia?
People have arachnophobia for the same reasons other people have various phobias.
There are many reasons that this phobia and others exist. Whether it is the fear of spiders because of the perception of how some can be so dangerous or it is the creepiness of their erratic movements, people are afraid of spiders in a similar way other people are afraid of sharp objects or heights.
It is just a part of our human design – to be preprogrammed to fear some things over others – especially when there is inherent danger involved, for some of us at least.
Are you afraid of spiders? If so, which reason listed above do you think is behind your fear of spiders?
Personally, I don’t find spiders scary, but at the same time – I would prefer to not have them crawling on me or biting me.
While I don’t have a fear of spiders, I understand why some people suffer from arachnophobia and can sympathize with them and their fear of spiders.
I hope you enjoyed this article and learned about arachnophobia and the fear of spiders.
That’s all I have for scary spiders…for now.
If you enjoyed this article and want to read more like it, check out our Spiders vs Humans section and see which articles you find interesting!