UW News

October 28, 2019

Video: Spider myths, facts from the Burke Museum’s spider expert

UW News

Curious about spiders? This video features Rod Crawford, the curator of arachnids at the University of Washington’s Burke Museum. He has spent decades studying spiders and says there are many common myths about spiders that he is regularly asked about.

Here are a few points he shared with UW News:

You have probably never been bitten by a spider. During his entire career collecting and studying spiders, Crawford said he has only been bitten three times. Most things we think are spider bites are not caused by spiders, he said, and are likely some other skin irritation.

Do spiders see humans as enemies? No. A spider has no possible way of telling that you are a living creature. You are just “the ground” to a spider, which is one reason why it’s unlikely to bite you.

A scenario for actually getting a spider bite may be if the spider gets trapped under your clothing.

Spiders don’t often come from outside into your house. There are actually species of house spiders that live primarily indoors and don’t come from the yard or surrounding area outdoors. There are at least 20 to 30 types of common house spiders in the Seattle area.

Not all spiders make webs. Only about half of spiders make webs, and web-making spiders tend to live in cooler, more temperate habitats like the  Pacific Northwest.