Itsy, Bitsy Spider

The face of your newest friend.

Photo courtesy of ExoPetGuides.

The face of your newest friend.

Helena Ochoa, Columnist

Any animal can be intimidating. There are many cats and dogs that are cute, but also some that can be loud and scary and give you the urge to walk in the opposite direction. The same can be true for spiders. We all know about the venomous spiders like black widows, but they give harmless spiders a bad reputation. People are eager to focus on the scary and intimidating aspect of spiders and never get a chance to see how cute they can actually be.

We usually fear spiders more than other animals because we, or someone we know, have been bitten. Additionally, media has been promoting the idea of murderous arachnids for decades in games, movies, and books. They show up along with ghosts and skeletons during Halloween, which speaks a lot for how people feel about them. If you were to walk up to anyone and ask if they thought spiders are cute, their answer would most likely be a strong no.

But spiders aren’t as bad as everyone thinks. Humans simply don’t have enough interactions with the nicer, if less noticeable, spiders. They can’t meow or make sounds like a dog or cat can, so humans have no idea of what they might be thinking or doing. One way to solve this problem is to imagine them talking, and try to think of what they would say if they could. The spider instantly becomes less like a silent ninja assassin and more like a friendly neighbor trying to find a home. Maybe that’s all it really wants.

If you find a tiny spider in your bathroom, instead of screaming and trying to destroy its short life of weaving spider webs and wandering, try to sympathize with it. Most likely, it doesn’t want to be in your bathroom any more than you want it to be, either. Maybe it’s thinking about a new weaving technique to capture all the annoying flies that buzz around. It’s just trying to work hard to help you out. Instead of killing it, capture it and release it outside where it can continue living and helping balance the environment. A glass and a piece of paper should be enough to capture and release the spider safely.

A lot of people don’t realize how important spiders can be. According to Dustin Wilgers, an Assistant Professor of Biology at McPherson College, writes in Science Friday that spiders can prevent the spread of disease from a large variety of pests by keeping their populations in check. They eat insects like mosquitoes, cockroaches, grasshoppers, many of which can cause damage to plants or harm humans.

You don’t have to love spiders more than anything else in the world (although you can if you want to), but they at least deserve to be accepted and understood for what they actually are: tiny, hard-working, living things that help keep the ecosystem in balance.