Admit it, even if you’re not deathly afraid of spiders, the little monsters still send a shiver of respect down your spine whenever one happens to cross your path. Everyone can recite a few scary spider facts, and for good reason: these little natural marvels are abundant, diverse, and occasionally very deadly. They look like nightmares made real, too.
Of course, spiders are also amazing. Their silk is stronger than steel, they help reign in the insect population, and they’re found on every single continent in the world. (That last thing isn’t impressive, is it? It’s just creepy.)
Arachnids are terrifying. It’s an undeniable fact of life, and only the most eccentric personalities think otherwise. Spiders have adapted so many different skills and traits across the entire breadth of their evolution that they are WAY more horrifying than you could ever possibly comprehend.
But, hey, that’s what lists like this are for, to let you know exactly how pants-crappingly scary spiders really are.
This is one of those things you desperately want to be total bullsh*t, right? There’s a long-held notion that spiders are so common that no matter where you are, you’re always within arm’s reach of a spider. Well, that’s not entirely true - however, with more than 40,000 species of spider spread across the globe, there are certainly a whole lot of them.
In fact, the math comes closer to stating that if you’re visiting “the natural world” then spiders are definitely all around you. As arthropod ecology professor Christopher Buddle puts it, "In most 'natural' habitats, I think it is true that you are always within three feet of a spider."
When people are bit by a spider in the genus Loxosceles (which includes the fearsome brown recluse), they’re injected with a venom that causes blackened skin at the point of impact. This black skin is caused by an extremely rare protein that essentially causes your cells to commit suicide. These leads to "necrotic lesions," accumulations of festering dead tissue with characteristics similar to gangrene.
Spiders don’t have any teeth, which forces these predators to subsist on an entirely liquid diet. Various species of spiders have different methods of making a prey milkshake, but the result is the same. Every kind of spider has built-in venom that’s specifically designed to break down cell walls.
Some spiders have mandibles that eviscerate their prey and shovel the leftovers into their mouth where it can be dissolved, others spit their venom on their prey and give it time to do its work before slurping them up.
On average, the gestation period for a spider ranges from one week to one month. An average egg sac can carry as many as 1,500 offspring, too. Beyond boggling your mind with the fact that there’s about a dozen spiders born every minute, this incredibly quick gestation period allows spiders to rapidly develop immunities to even the most deadly of poisons and insecticides.