Spiders are actually pretty incredible creatures. With over 40,000 known species worldwide, they help keep most ecosystems healthy and functioning. But does that make them any less terrifying? Given the scary spider facts compiled in this list, for most of us it's a big NO.
Spiders are listed as one of the most terrifying animals on Earth. Why do spiders scare everyone? There's plenty of reasons spiders are terrifying. Whether its using their webs to fly into large communal zones, creating ghost trees, or listening with their super hearing and hunting with their many eyes, scary spiders haunt the nightmares of many, so much so there's been countless horror films about these hellish creatures.
So if you were already scared of spiders just because they're spiders, here's some even scarier facts about spiders to keep you up at night. Read on to confirm your worst suspicions about these creeping, crawling creatures. And, remember, even if you try to escape them by going to Antarctica or launching into space, they might still be there to greet you.
They’re Into Some FREAKY Sex Stuff
Apparently different species of spiders are into a whole host of freaky sex stuff, like genital mutilation and sexual cannibalism. There’s a species of spider known as the Madagascan Darwin bark spider, and scientists in Slovenia recently discovered some female bark spiders are sexually aggressive animals that know what they want - cunnilingus. The females of this species are up to 14 times heavier and more than two times larger than the males, and they basically run the sex show. They get oral sex up to 100 times in a single session. In another one of their sexual practices, the males bind the females with silk during sex in order to avoid getting bitten to death by their ladies.
They Sometimes Live In Murderous Communes
Although you might think of spiders as treacherous loners, that's not always the case. In fact, according to Michael Miller, an animal keeper at the Smithsonian, some actually form communities, building massive, communal webs to better catch and kill prey as a group. And these spider colonies can number in the thousands of individual spiders. So, basically, it’s totally possible to be bopping along, not look where you’re walking, and stumble into the commune of hundreds and hundreds of spiders. This is also known as a nightmare scenario.
Like Love, Spiders Really Are All Around You
Spiders are kind of like cockroaches in the sense that they live basically everywhere, including the icy antarctic shelf. They can even swim and survive in space. They are also so diverse and varied they’re super dense in wooded areas. Some estimate for each wooded acre, there are approximately 2.5 million spiders. Just something fun to think about on your next hike.
They Can Hear You From Across the Room
Paul Shamble, a scientist at Harvard University who researches spiders, recalls something strange happening when he was testing jumping spiders’s ability to hear at close and distant range: they could do both. This was weird because prior to this experiment, scientists thought jumping spiders could only hear things within their immediate surroundings. But nope - it's so much worse than that. Some of these buggers can hear you from a distance of 10 feet, which means late at night when you’re just dying for a glass of water, and you get out of bed in bare feet, a jumping spider across the room might start preparing to spring as soon as that first foot touches the floor.
They Can Fly
There’s a technique spiders use to get around called “ballooning.” Sounds harmless, right? Well, let’s consider what ballooning actually entails. Also known as “kiting,” ballooning occurs when spiders release tiny gossamer threads into the air in order to catch the wind, enabling them to (you guessed it) catch a breeze and fly around. Baby spiders are especially adept at this technique, and they use it to transfer and disperse their light, little bodies all over the place. How cute?
Some Species Can Kill You
The majority of even the most venomous spiders’ bites probably won’t kill you, though they might just send you into shock and sometimes cause you to lose a limb. However, there’s a species of spider in South America known as the Brazilian Wandering Spider whose bite actually has been known to cause death for some of its human victims. Children, because they have weaker immune systems, are particularly susceptible to death by Wandering spider bite.
They Can Survive In Space
In 2012, scientists accomplished one small step for man and one giant leap for arachnids when they successfully launched (and kept alive) a jumping spider into space for 100 days. That spider’s name was Nefertiti, and it proved that spiders could adapt to weightlessness because it was still able to catch prey despite the zero-gravity environment in space. And Nefertiti was even able to readjust to conditions on earth after her foray into the wild blue yonder. She lived to the ripe-old age of 10 months after her astronautical expedition, dying while on display at the Smithsonian Institution.
They're Masters Of Disguise
This one’s just plain devious. Some spider species (as many as 300 to be exact) have evolved to mimic ants in their appearance. For some spiders, imitating ants is a protective strategy. It turns out ants are actually pretty dangerous to lots of large invertebrates because ants can squirt formic acid. So, even thought they’re actually frightened of ants, some spiders like to give off this possible-formic-acid-squirter look. Other spiders evolved to look like ants in order to more easily prey on ants - mimicking ants as a means of covertly infiltrating a community of potential victims. So, next time you see an ant, consider counting the legs just to be sure.