1. robro says

    I saw that a few days ago and thought: This cartoonist doesn’t know PZ Myers at all. PZ would be like, “Why aren’t there more. Let’s get settled and investigate.”

  2. Oggie: Mathom says

    I have no idea what publication I saw this in, not even sure if it was a book, a magazine, or even NPR. But, I clearly remember hearing (or reading) that, short of being in the Arctic, Antarctic, or the middle of the ocean with no boat or ship, it is impossible to be more than 1 metre away from a spider of some sort.

    Wife is extremely anti-spider. I have never told her this factoid.

    And I just Googled it. I typed in “can I get more than 1 meter away from a spider?” and the FIRST hit was this from the Burke Museum. Apparently the myth comes from arachnologist Norman Platnick. And his original publication, back in 1995, started with, “Wherever you sit as you read these lines, a spider is probably no more than a few yards away.”

    So, er, nevermind?

  3. Oggie: Mathom says

    And none of the sources listed in the demythtification article are ones that I remember being exposed to.

  4. Oggie: Mathom says

    I worked a fire up in Northwestern California and, over at Ground Support (they handle transportation for people and supplies), they had a wooden pillar in the Forest Service garage taped off with caution tape. I asked about it. One of the women there told me to look in the knothole. A gorgeous Black Widow spider. Bigger than I thought it would be. She (the spider) was very content, willing to just hang around until we left. The woman who had taped it off worked for the Forest Service (different forest) as a natural resource specialist. Her specialty was ‘anything without a backbone.’ She was very happy to see the Black Widow. And preserve it.

  5. smellyoldgit says

    There’s nothing wrong with a gathering of spiders that a good flame-thrower can’t sort out ….

  6. pilgham says

    I have a napkin sitting on my desk and a (wolf?) spider often likes to hide under it. I put him back behind the bookcase. I thought spiders hide in the cracks in walls and tiny gaps between wall, baseboard and floor. I don’t think it is possible to get more than a few yards away from the walls in my house, especially if I’m reading. Why worry about spiders anyway, when there are face mites out there?

  7. says

    For several months we had a giant huntsman spider in the bathroom. It generally scuttled away when we entered but if it did hang around I always said hello and thanked it for keeping the cockroaches at bay. It stood out on the white tiles but blended in with the brown ones in the center of the floor. Sadly late one night my wife failed to see it against the tiles and we lost our eight legged friend. Its big sister is lurking around the washing machine and terrifies my stepson. I was thinking of relocating his excuse for not doing the laundry to the bathroom but enjoy the screams too much.

  8. says

    Norm Platnick can be trusted on these matters.

    I know for a fact where there are several spiders within about two meters. I could probably find 10 different species of spiders within three.

  9. divineconspiracy667 says

    I’ve no doubts there are that many spiders around. Even sitting in the very center of my house, three meters is enough to be outside. Since there’s gravel surrounding my house on three of four sides, I’m very aware there are likely dozens of spiders within a 3m diameter of wherever I may be sitting at any given time.
    Just in the last two days I’ve killed three spiders. One trying to scurry down my stairs on Thursday afternoon. Another lurking a foot away from my bedpost a couple of hours later. Lastly, a black widow that my dog almost stepped on when going for a walk Friday evening.
    All spiders I catch in the house die, as per my wife’s orders. Spiders outside I usually leave alone, but I’ve a grudge against black widows ever since they made a nest in my hockey equipment about six years ago. If I see a red hourglass, I stomp on it.

  10. John Morales says


    All spiders I catch in the house die, as per my wife’s orders.

    Sounds messy.

    Me, I get a clear glass/jar and cardboard backing, I trap them in the jar (can be an exercise) then evict them outside into the garden.
    Neat and tidy.

    No squishy squashed spider mess.
    No big blob of bug spray.

    In short no mess.

    (Also: “As flies to wanton boys are we to the gods; They kill us for their sport.”
    I’m not neither wantom nor godlike)

    PS I live in Oz.

  11. fishy says

    I had a chance, many years ago, to spend a week in a resort town in a cottage by a lake. It was owned by the family of my then college roommate. It wasn’t really the place for me, but I am grateful for the experience.
    On our arrival at our abode we walked inside and the place was literally crawling with spiders. We got out the vacuum cleaner and went to it.
    My question is, should I feel some regret?

  12. John Morales says


    My question is, should I feel some regret?


    Both you and the spiders are just things doing their thing.

    (Bet ya missed some, but)

  13. zygoptera says

    Below is a link to some wikihow tips that could be helpful on how to catch a spider. I use the glass and paper method for most spiders, including jumpers, that I want to relocate. I’ve found certain types of spiders in cobwebs are often rather easy to catch by putting a jar right under them. Then they just drop right into the jar and are easy to relocate.

  14. birgerjohansson says

    Smashing Pumpkins recorded “Tarantula” so I know for a fact I have a spider within easy reach.

  15. birgerjohansson says

    …and if you live in a wooden house you have any number of chitinous critters nearby.

  16. unclefrogy says

    yes it is the human condition this planet we think is made for us but it is the insects that are the most numerous on land and the eight legged beasts that feed on them are everywhere even in places where there is very little food for insects, they are so patient they wait for the wind to bring them random benefits and it does not neglect them
    without those who feed on the insect horde we would be covered in bug shit and the fungus and bacteria that eat it.

  17. Oggie: Mathom says

    Many, many, many years ago, when I was a Park Ranger, I had an interesting experience. As I walked through one of the museum buildings, I noticed an older man (well, to me he was older (back then)) looking in corners, photographing, and writing things in a notebook. So I asked him what he was doing. Turned out, he was an arachnologist (and no, even if I did get his name back then, I don’t remember it now (white hair like Boris of England, very thin, very tanned, dressed in old blue jeans, a plaid shirt, a bow tie, and a tweed jacket with elbow patches). Taught in Chicago. And he had found about 35 species, in 28 genera, in four families. Some of the spiders were way, way, way out of their natural habitat. I guess, being in a railroad yard, that wouldn’t be surprising.

  18. Oggie: Mathom says

    Crap. And all those spiders were in two buildings, not even including outside.