= in my eyes.

I’m sitting here slurping coffee, getting ready to feed a bunch of tarantulas in a short bit and I was musing about some reactions on faffbook in response to arachnid galleries and posts…from people who obviously aren’t in the hobby.
These reactions range from just “EWWWWW!” to “I’m scared of spiders” to “kill it with fire”…with a few folks taking the high road complimenting on color or beauty, but quite often appending with “I’m terrified of…” or “but they are creepy”.
cute jumping spider
Arachnophobia is a real thing. I know this, because I have a mild form of Apiphobia, which is the fear of bees and wasps. It is a completely irrational fear for me, and one which I’ve endeavored to get over by forcibly NOT running away at the mere sight of one of these beautiful animals. I still get anxiety around them, but by dealing with the fear, I no longer bolt when one swings by.
So I CAN relate to the reaction.

Studies of arachnophobia over the years have run the gamut from “evolutionary selection” to “learned” which means that this fear is instilled rather than inherited. Parents or childhood friends are the usual culprits. Children NOT exposed to a bias against spiders tend to, in several studies, show no fear or trepidation whatsoever.
I fall in the middle of these arguments because I have no rational reason for my Apiphobia. I HAVE NEVER BEEN STUNG (knock wood) in my life. There were no “omgodzorsrun!!!(tm)” stuff from parents or friends, and to top it, when I was seven years old, every recess during the school year that wasn’t snowy, I was out in the field behind the school studying, collecting and writing papers about ants and other insects. I got bit many many times by Red harvesters and field ants during this time, but never gained any fear. I did gain a respect for how painful a Red harvester can be when it is pissed off though. heh.
I still find them fascinating to this day, and will stop whatever I’m doing if there is a documentary about em’ on the tube.
(See? I’ve been playing with bugs since the start of all stuff Casey related. heh.)
[ASIDE] My 2nd grade teacher, Mrs. Addy, was very supportive of this, and actually made me do stuff which I realized later followed the scientific method. -funny how a great teacher can positively impact a person at an impressionable age. |
Anyway, the topic of this post is “I don’t see what you see”, and that is a fact. I used to get irritated at the snarky comments from friends and acquaintances until I started to actually think about this rather than just react.
When I look at, feed, hold and study the family Theraphosidae (Tarantulas), I don’t see a bug. I see an animal that captivates my mind and senses. I see symmetrical beauty, evolutionary legerdemain, and a VAST gulf of the history of the world.
That last bit is no joke. The first “spiders” began appearing over 300 million years ago, and survived the Permian-Triassic extinction event which wiped out most life on the planet at the time.
Mygalomorphae (the family of which tarantulas are a part) began showing up OVER 250 million years ago.
To suss this, just realize that these hairy little critters were here before Tyrannosaurus Rex was a gleam in mother nature’s eye…and the spiders are STILL here.
That garden orb weaver or the doofus brown house spiders that always end up in the bathtub that all of us see from time to time have ancestors that saw and tried to avoid dinosaurs….and probably got pooped on by them. -heh.
To round this out and get back to stuff, the next time you see someone post pictures of THEIR PETS, think a second before you blast off with the “EWWWWW”. To the person posting the pictures, they don’t see what you see.  It would be the same as a person posting “gross!” or “EWWWW” to your dog, cat or horse pictures.

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