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My Fear of Spiders

Anyone who knows me knows I am terrified of spiders. Although I think that over the years my phobia has chilled out a bit and has become more of a little freak out moment rather than a full blown phobia moment. But either way you slice it, spiders scare the bejeebers out of me.
And yet the scientist in me can’t help but be totally and completely fascinated with them.
Now, I understand that phobias can be debilitating and some people really don’t see anything amusing about them. For me, finding the humorous side and trying to understand the creatures helps me to control my reaction to them. It doesn’t work that great all the time, but I keep trying! So please don’t take offense to the light-hearted nature of the post. It’s just my way of dealing 🙂
Even though I know watching shows about spiders will give me the dreaded spider dreams (these actually cause me to leap from the bed in utter and complete terror), I can’t NOT watch the darn show. It’s like rubbernecking a car accident. I spend the entire show with either a pillow over my face or chewing the hangnails on my fingers till I draw blood.
Case in point: Rich and I were watching a four-part series called World’s Deadliest. It features two from Africa, Australia, and Brazil. Now, the Australian one was the first we watched and I already knew about at least three of their deadliest critters. I actually blogged about it here in my post about the list of ways I don’t want to die (yes, there IS an actual list!).
The funnel web spider is one of the deadliest spiders in the world. It’s fairly big, lives in Sydney, and is absolutely not afraid of people. So when someone says “it’s more afraid of you than you are of it” is full of *&^%$! This little guy, rather than run when threatened, will actually rear up, put its front legs in the air, flash it’s quarter inch long fans, and actually drip venom from them *shudder* Seriously??? Is that necessary?? *cries a little*
Another spider that has been touted as the most venomous in the world is the Brazilian Wandering spider (also called banana spider). It also rears up to intimidate like the Funnel Web and isn’t afraid of anything. Yes, that includes US! One interesting thing about this particular spider is that one of the side effects of the venom is a….well, that is to say….ummmm…an erection that lasts for like 5-6 hours. Scientists are studying the venom hoping for a treatment for erectile dysfunction. Cool, eh?
 Now, I have never come into contact with these two spiders (thank GOD!!!) and probably never will. The spiders I come into contact with are common in Colorado and can get pretty damn big and are VERY intimidating. The dreaded wold spider. They LOVE coming into the nice warm house in the winter. I also killed a black widow that had decided to build a web near my front door. EEEEEKKKKKK!
True story: I broke a wooden coffee table trying to reach my shoes so I could squish the hell out of a wolf spider crawling across the floor. Going across the table was the ONLY option to reach my shoes and not lose sight of the damn arachnid. And I could see it in his eyes that he wanted to eat my face off.
What are you afraid of? Snakes? Heights? Flying? Bunnies? I’d love to hear from you!

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41 Comments on “My Fear of Spiders”

  1. Diana Lesire Brandmeyer January 20, 2012 at 9:58 am #

    I do not like snakes! Shivering as I type this!

    • shayfabbro January 20, 2012 at 10:01 am #

      The series we watched had TONS of snakes! Australia: inland taipan and brown snake; Brazil: anaconda; Africa: rock pythons, green and black mambas, gaboon viper (actually one of the prettiest snakes alive).

      There was also a caterpillar in Brazil called the assassin caterpillar. *shudder* Causes you to bleed out if it sticks you with the venom barbs. This is why I like living in a cold climate! 😀

  2. supersquarel January 20, 2012 at 10:00 am #

    Yea im a bit terrified by them also.

    • shayfabbro January 20, 2012 at 10:02 am #

      The only way I can deal is by reminding myself that their venoms can help produce meds that we can use. And that the good Lord must have SOME reason for making them so scary 😉

  3. April Plummer January 20, 2012 at 10:11 am #

    I don’t really have a phobia, I don’t think. Nope…nothing that really freaks me out unless you include really gruesome scenes in movies. Good post though! You had me laughin’ the whole time! And yeah, I think in some cases, that “it’s more scared of you” thing is complete BS!

  4. Cas Peace January 20, 2012 at 10:12 am #

    I can honestly say that I’m not afraid of anything in the animal world – at least, not in the phobia sense, I’d be afraid of a charging elephant or a seriously pi$$ed off lion! I do sympathize though because my mom’s afraid of spiders. When I was younger (and crueler!) I used to freak her out by suddenly staring wide-eyed at a patch of living room carpet. She’d immmediately squeal and leap up on to the sofa. Yeah, not nice, I know, but it was funny! 🙂
    I do have phobias, but mine involve thunderstorms and lightning, and small, dark spaces. For example, I simply CANNOT watch films or TV shows where people get buried alive. Uuuuurgggghhhh!

    • shayfabbro January 20, 2012 at 10:16 am #

      HAHAHA! Rich likes to do the “finger tickle on my arm or leg” while we’re watching nerdy nature shows with spiders. He thinks it’s totally hilarious too! 😀

      My sister is claustrophic too. We used to go climbing and bouldering when we were in our early 20’s and we were squeezing through a crack in the rocks. Suffice it to say, the first person in line got stuck, and everyone had to back out because she lost it once all movement stopped 😉

  5. Jeff Lee January 20, 2012 at 10:30 am #

    Hi, Shay –

    Spiders are OK. My big fear, the mere thought of which can send me into a couple of weeks camped out in a fetal position on my analyst’s couch is – gulp! – Republicans!

    OMG! I can already feel my pulse starting to race…

  6. Jeff Lee January 20, 2012 at 10:39 am #

    Speaking of arachnids, here’s a scene from my book, THE LADIES TEMPERANCE CLUB’S FAREWELL TOUR, that involves three slightly inebriated women, a booth in a jungle-themed restaurant and a huge and very realistic looking fake spider:

    “Vonda grumbled under her breath as she reached for one of the halves of her burger.

    At that moment, more than fifteen feet above her in the artificial jungle canopy, a life size and accurate reproduction of a Theraphosa blondi—a Goliath Bird Eating Spider—was motionlessly studying the room.

    By life size, we’re talking roughly a foot from the tip of one hairy leg to the other, the largest tarantula species on the planet and a resident of the Central and South American jungles, known to regularly catch and chow down on birds, mice, frogs and the occasional wildlife photographer who ignores the Do Not Feed the Spiders signs.

    Its body and legs were molded from the same rubber compound fishing lure manufacturers employ to produce artificial, hook-embedded worms so lifelike they can fool a wary Walleye.

    Add the true-to-life coloring and a pair of nasty looking fangs up front, and this was one arachnid no one was ever going to try to chase down with a handful of wadded up toilet paper.

    And if timing is everything in life, the gob of hot-melt glue that held the make-believe spider in place for the past five years couldn’t have picked a more opportune moment to decide to take a breather.

    The glue relaxed its grip and the gigantic spider plummeted earthward, landing squarely on top of Vonda’s slightly overcooked burger and taking up the entire plate, with all eight of its hairy, tiger-striped legs shuddering in a very lifelike and convincing manner.

    Vonda’s eyes locked onto her burger’s humongous, eight-legged rubber garnish, sitting there with its two forelegs raised in a pre-molded aggressive posture, its fangs pointed in her direction and its whole attitude daring her to go ahead and make its day.”

    • shayfabbro January 20, 2012 at 10:42 am #

      That reminds me of the commercial for some new droid phone that had the spider pic and the dude wacks the shit out of it with his shoe while the lady screams bloody murder in the middle of the restaurant!

    • hmcmullin January 20, 2012 at 2:42 pm #

      OK, now I’m going to have to read the rest of the book – it ought to be great if the rest of it is like this! My uncle used to run a company that made various things out of rubber molds, including spiders and bugs used as fishing lures. He brought us some samples one year when I was in high school – a large black very lifelike and supremely ugly spider. My evil friends and I tied it on a string, and to a stick, and dangled it over the heads of the girls in front of us on the bleachers at a basketball game. The game had to be stopped until the floor could be cleared of screaming teenagers.

  7. Jeanne Ryan January 20, 2012 at 10:51 am #

    Despite my phobias of snakes, rats, airplanes and tanning beds, for some reason I’m not afraid of spiders. But I still wouldn’t mess with a funnel web!

  8. Rabia January 20, 2012 at 10:56 am #

    Li-li-li-lizards. *shudders*

    • shayfabbro January 20, 2012 at 11:52 am #

      I love lizards actually! LOL I catach them on the biology field trips with my class. They think I;m pretty bad ass 😉

      • Rabia January 21, 2012 at 9:46 am #

        American lizards aren’t *so* bad, but the house lizards in Pakistan are just ugly and gross. The way the scuttle across the walls, those ugly blobby heads and the reptilian tails…. *has the creeps*

  9. Cindy January 20, 2012 at 11:32 am #

    I clicked on the pic to get a better view and wound up on a news article about a guy who found his son poking at a funnel web in their home! I don’t mind spiders, but wouldn’t dare provoke something venomous either, lol. Sheesh!

    Have you seen the mentos fighting spider commercial? I’ll leave a link but leave it up to you whether to watch it or not (rather realistic looking spider). Mentos even has an app now where you can try and squash the spider. I haven’t downloaded it, but the commercial preview makes it look like the spiders are in some sort of kung fu pose, lol.

    I’ve always had social anxiety so I can relate to the fear factor, just in social settings instead of with critters, lol.

    • shayfabbro January 20, 2012 at 11:53 am #

      HAHAHAHAHAHA!!!! That is awesome!!! 😀

  10. Julie Kenner January 20, 2012 at 11:36 am #

    Did anyone else think of Ron Weasley reading this post? {{crickets}} Hmm. Maybe it’s just me.

    I’m not scared of spiders per se, but if they leap on me, I will run screaming. But if they’re just hanging out, I’m happy to let them live their little spider lives. Of course, I’ve never run across one that looks like the spider guys in your pictures. Eek….

    • shayfabbro January 20, 2012 at 11:53 am #

      That’s RIGHT! I forgot about that till you mentioned it! Aragog…*shudder*

  11. Marianne January 20, 2012 at 12:53 pm #

    I don’t enjoy spiders at all. I’ve tried catching and releasing, but I can’t. I must step on one when I see it for fear it will crawl up my leg.

    • shayfabbro January 20, 2012 at 1:00 pm #

      I can only step on them if I have hiking boots on! HAHAHA! Otherwise, it’s a shoe in hand.

  12. Rebecca Byfield January 20, 2012 at 2:12 pm #

    We have huntsmen here in Australia. They are pretty massive. I had one in my car the other day while I was travelling at 100kms an hour. My daughter calmly says ‘pull over Mum and don’t look’ so I look, see this thing and nearly freak out. Was as big as my hand and on her sun visor!!!

    • shayfabbro January 20, 2012 at 2:14 pm #

      I would have totally wrecked the car!!!!! OMG! I freaked and pulled over on the side of the road because of a tiny spider (like smaller than my pinky finger nail) dangling in front of my face off his silk.

  13. hmcmullin January 20, 2012 at 2:37 pm #

    I hate spiders! When I was going to training in Virginia a few years back, there was a huge furry looking thing that liked to lurk under my typewriter case (tells you how long ago that was!)Someone said it was probably a wolf spider. I didn[‘t move the case for the whole 6 weeks I was there and it took a great amount of will power to pick it up when I was ready to leave. Of course, the spider was gone. The other day at the store, we were looking at bananas and my husband said “the bananas in the box look better than these.” I said “then you’re going to have to look at them because spiders come in those things.” Poor patient man.

    • shayfabbro January 20, 2012 at 3:19 pm #

      After watching that show last night, I’m not sure I can ever pick up a bunch of bananas again!

  14. corajramos January 20, 2012 at 4:11 pm #

    Spiders? not scared unless they attack. Lived in a rented house once that had the whole back of the house (outside) filled with webs of huge black widows. I remember sitting out there and watching them in fascination as I dryed my hair.
    stinging insects?–I jump and jiggle around like I have a severe case of tourettes. Once while camping, my husband told me, “Just hold still and they won’t bother you.” I did and got stung. Now I run like hell.

    • shayfabbro January 20, 2012 at 4:20 pm #

      I do that too!!!! I shriek in an octave that only dogs and bats can hear and run around waving my arms and serpentining to avoid the little buggers!

  15. Ellen January 20, 2012 at 10:20 pm #

    I put up with Huntsmen in the house, so long as they’re not hanging out on the ceiling overhead… but I hate them in the car. Fortunately we don’t get funnelwebs in Melbourne, because they would freak me out.

    • shayfabbro January 21, 2012 at 12:37 pm #

      Is this a Huntsmen????? Cuz this video makes me about FAINT!!!!

      • Ellen January 21, 2012 at 5:41 pm #

        LMAO – Yes that’s a huntman, but a really BIG one. I don’t think I could live with that one.

        I’ve done the spider relocation thing with a container, but it’s pretty scary. I’d prefer just to leave them where they are rather than get that close. (You need a sheet of card to slide under the container so you can get them off the ceiling.)

        I hate killing spiders. I refuse to use fly spray, but I will occasionally vacuum up a daddy longlegs (do you have those?) and squash white tails, which can apparently make your skin rot away… The other really poisonous ones we have are red-back spiders which can live around wood piles and such. I don’t think they come inside though. Gee Australia is such a fun place to live!

        That video is brilliant.

  16. Elaine Smothers January 21, 2012 at 9:34 am #

    I can’t stand spiders or snakes. Both give me the heebie-jeebies. But the giant ‘bring it’ Wolf Spiders that challenge you, bring out the terrified warrior in me.

    • shayfabbro January 21, 2012 at 12:34 pm #

      I know, right? I wanna out the kung fu moves on the damn things!

  17. shayfabbro January 21, 2012 at 9:11 pm #

    @Ellen…the TV program I watched had red-backed spiders. They look very similar in body structure to black widow spiders.

  18. Patricia Caviglia January 21, 2012 at 9:11 pm #

    I couldn’t even look at the pictures you posted of the spiders. I think that says it all.

  19. shayfabbro January 21, 2012 at 9:13 pm #

    *sprinkles happy fairy dust on Patricia so she can sleep tonight* 😀

  20. Quill Shiv January 22, 2012 at 12:16 pm #

    I think people scare me more than animals, things, or scenarios. People are less predictable and far more creative/devious. Maybe that’s why when I write “horror,” it tends to be psychologically based.

  21. Barbara Forte Abate January 23, 2012 at 12:54 pm #

    Good gracious, but I’ve always had an issue with spiders, but didn’t even realize the degree of my ee-bee-jeebies until I found myself dodging the images while trying to read. I’m a little ashamed, but my spider love gene has yet to evolve. Ick…

    And yet, A lovely post where only the words are involved 🙂

    • shayfabbro January 23, 2012 at 1:23 pm #

      LOL It’s strange this love/hate relationship I have with them. Their venoms are truly amazing and their evolution is positively elegant in every way. Hmmmmm…I think I have the beginnings of a short story going on here 😉


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