How I think of arachnophobes

In what I consider among the most cringeworthy videos of all time, a whole family of arachnophobes notice a small house spider on the ceiling, and freak out. There is much screaming and whining and indecision by daddy chickenshit, mama chickenshit, and a couple of shrieking baby chickenshits. They should all be ashamed.

I include the video just to document how stupid these people are, but I don’t recommend actually watching it — there’s way too much over-the-top drama over a harmless animal.

You’re going to hate me for this, but when someone tells me they’re afraid of spiders, I’ll always picture these people in my head.


  1. silvrhalide says

    OMFG. I was expecting something a lot bigger. They’re freaking out over a spider the size of a quarter? All I can see is two useless assholes who spawned a second generation of useless assholes. Who will undoubtedly grow up to spawn a third generation of useless assholes.

    Jesus, for that kind of drama, I was expecting to see a wolf spider that wouldn’t fit into a Solo cup or a Big Gulp cup. It still wouldn’t justify that kind of drama but some people are genuinely afraid of spiders or anything from Arthropoda, really. You can’t help feeling afraid about some things but Jesus H Christ on a bicycle, learn to fucking cope.

  2. Artor says

    I wouldn’t even bother with a cup. Besides, spiders on the ceiling are A-OK with me. If they’re in my clothes or bedding, they’ll get relocated, or on the floor where they might get squished. My preferred equipment is a bare hand. I have never been bitten, not even by black widows or brown recluses.

  3. silvrhalide says

    @2 I don’t have a problem with spiders, I generally use a cup or other container to relocate them out to the rose bushes where they’ll do some good. I don’t like killing them, generally, because they do a lot of good. (Yeah, the brown recluses get the shoe, but the others are free to come and go.) Quarantine kitten (now a teenager) is a prolific hunter (also 100% indoor kitty) so by the time anything from Arthropoda is big enough to be noticeable, it usually turns into kitty snacks in short order, rendering the question of “kill it or not” kind of a moot one.

    I don’t think it’s okay to mock people for being afraid of whatever it is that they’re afraid of–pretty much everyone has an irrational fear of something–but I do think it’s on you to deal with it in a way that doesn’t involve over-the-top drama and the kind of shrieking hysterics on display here. The tempest in a teapot drama on display here is ridiculous and just makes me want to smack the heads of the two so-called adults together–repeatedly–and tell them to grow the fuck up. Also, not really modeling the kind of behavior you’d want to your kids to display going forward.

  4. bcw bcw says

    I’m mourning a house spider that made the mistake of building a web over the bowl of my toilet when I really needed to go to the bathroom. It responded to my frantic efforts to get it to leave by falling in. It was kind of my version of the trolley problem… somebody had to go.

  5. astringer says

    [trigger warning: video of a spider embedded… ]

    I’m happy to share my home with half a dozen Eratigena atrica like these, but must remember to drape the spider ladder )TM) over the bath-side each evening. I assume the common name, “Giant House Spider”, was given by someone who didn’t travel much… they’re not that big.

  6. bjnich2 says

    This is learned behavior. I feel for the kids who will likely mirror the parents unless they’re curious enough to grow past irrational fears and find wonder in indoor wildlife.

  7. Walter Solomon says

    This is learned behavior

    Not necessarily. My mom is afraid of spiders. She even hates old cobwebs. AFAIK she didn’t learn it from her parents. I think it was based on some negative childhood experience from spiders according to what she tells me.

  8. Walter Solomon says

    Artor, true. My point it wasn’t learned from another person though. It wasn’t like fear of spiders was instilled in her by her parents or anyone else.

  9. silvrhalide says

    @13 No one in that video owns a brain.

    That being the case, vacuum cleaner ownership would not solve the problem.
    I mean, at some point in the video, one of the adult shrieking idiots is convinced that squashing the spider will cause baby spiders to come out of the adult.
    These morons clearly own a TV but somehow have managed to avoid seeing anything on Discovery, PBS’s Nature, etc. or indeed, any kind of scientific and/or nature programming at all.
    For that matter, there is an entire internet out there that can be used for things other than porn. (Apologies to Avenue Q)
    And yet, all four of these morons have managed to avoid any kind of knowledge at all that might otherwise shed some light on the situation or otherwise allow them to cope.
    Like I said, the vacuum cleaner ownership is not the issue here.

  10. lochaber says



    I’m guessing the “baby spiders” thing comes from hearing stories (maybe watching low quality videos?) of someone smacking/stomping a wolf spider or similar carrying a bunch of young on the abdomen, and the survivors flee, making it appear that they may have burst out of the smushed spider? maybe that’s giving them too much credit…

    Anyways, I still hold that a vacuum cleaner is far better than a shoe for small arthropod disposal, the wand attachment/extension will allow someone even shorter than me to easily reach the ceiling, while still remaining out of range of even the most athletic of jumping spiders, and the suction of the vacuum allows you more lee-way with the accuracy, no need for force, and also no worries about making a mess or cleanup.

    But, overall, this was a pretty sad reaction, and I say that as someone who has repeatedly done some very undignified spaz-flailing after walking through a spiderweb in the woods…

  11. DanDare says

    I’m afrais of spiders.
    It has taken me decades to learn to overcome.
    I’m now the one in the familly that will catch spiders and put them outside.
    That doesn’t mean I don’t still feel fear with them, its just no longer disabling.

  12. brightmoon says

    Until about 10 years ago I was guilty of the same behavior. I still get creeped out by spiders but thanks to you, PZ,🙌🏽I don’t have freak outs when I see one

  13. Trickster Goddess says

    I used to be bothered by spiders, then one summer in my mid-20s I was living in a basement bedroom where the bed was under the window and I had a steady stream of spider traffic coming from the window and traipsing across my bed and I learned to tolerate them. Several years later I had a very vivid dream one night where a spider played a pivotal role. The dream presaged my coming out to myself years later. Because of that, spiders are now Holy to me.

  14. ajbjasus says

    It’s attention seeking.

    A bit like all these folk with imaginary food intolerances.

    No I’m not belittling folk with real food intolerances.

  15. Silentbob says

    Heh. True story:

    My wife’s arachnephobic and we live in Australia. Decades ago in our relatively young and impoverished years, we lived in a ground floor dilapidated apartment with no air con and no flywire screen doors in a semi tropical climate. So basically to sleep at night we had to have a fan blowing on us and the doors open, including the bedroom door to the outside. So all sorts of wildlife would invite themselves in at night including mice, giant moths and Australian huntsman spiders. That’s these guys:

    So my job each summer morning would be to go around collecting the huntsmen from the ceiling and walls by trapping them in a takeaway (takeout in American) food container and putting them back outside. It wasn’t always easy cause those buggers can run fast (they’re called huntsmen for a reason) and they can jump super-fast. Like quicker than the eye can see, so it’s like they’ve teleported somewhere else. Nevertheless, I never killed one. I’d eventually trap them one by one in in my plastic container and put them back outside (no doubt to come back the next night). Anyway, having been the huntsman of the huntsmen, so to speak, I have to laugh at the video. I feel like Crocodile Dundee – that’s not a spider, this is a spider. X-D. And I’d have to catch half a dozen daily. (They’re completely harmless, of course, just big.)

  16. StevoR says

    Spiders in my house – and my families ones over my life – have always been caught gently and released outside. I gather the Huntsmen ( starve generally inside houses due to insufficient food. We treat them with caution and respect but also kindness and appreciated and view them as “natural mortein” (anti-fly spray) here – except for the Redbacks* (Latrodectus hasselti See : which make really messy webs, notoriously hide in dunnies including under the toilet seat (not that I’ve ever found one there myself!) and can make you pretty crook apparently with their bite so they get no mercy & will be killed on sight. Otherwise, no issues here – one of my brothers was found eating or playing with spiders by my Mum as a toddler according to family legend whilst another brother of mine was once mildly arachnophobic but cured himself of it – I think – and now has a Huntsmen spider tattoo on his shoulder.

    .* South Australia’s Sheffield Shield – state domestic 4 day red ball cricket team – are called the Redbacks after these arachnids FWIW. See :

  17. call me mark says

    Freaking out over a spider like this may be damn stupid but filming video in portrait orientation is unforgivable.

  18. evodevo says

    @ #1 – YES…THIS LOLOL…’quarter-sized”? What kind of stroke would he have had encountering my hand-sized wolf spider who lives under my kitchen sink? NOBODY touches MY spiders….and I have NO cockroaches…thank you, guys/gals…

  19. michaelvieths says

    So, as an arachnophobe, there’s nothing rational about it. I know the spider isn’t a threat. I know that I should leave it alone. But tell that to my adrenal glands.

    I’ve been trying hard to desensitize myself. I started ignoring them in the basement. Worked my way up to ignoring them in the kitchen, where they love to hang out in the ceiling corners and cocoon themselves. There are a couple of them in the downstairs bathroom that have been there a while and I watch them while I’m in there. I still freak out if they invade my space on the 2nd floor.

    It’s working, but 20some years in (I’m 47 now, and started working hard on it after throwing a phonebook through a wall when I saw a spider), I still have the startle reflex on seeing any fast small-moving critter on my wall or ceiling, and I need to make an effort to lock it down.

  20. silvrhalide says

    @30 Look, the point I was making wasn’t that the idiots in the video were stupid for being afraid of spiders, they were stupid for their over-the-top overreaction and general ignorance. (Have these people never encountered a spider egg sac?)

    I’m afraid of snakes. I just don’t like the way the scales feel on my skin. Only snakes, other reptiles don’t evoke the same reaction. I just don’t like the way they feel. It’s my personal squick. (I have an uncle who WILL NOT touch anything smooth and glossy, like satin fabric or any kind of glossy paper. It creeps him out in the same way snakes creep me out. That’s his squick.) That said, I had a snake crawl into my shoe and stay there and I still didn’t have the kind of idiotic shrieking reaction that these morons displayed. (In case you are wondering how the snake got into my shoe, I was picking blackberries, wearing some kind of ratty old shoe–moccasins? loafers? boat shoes?–and my foot lifted out of the shoe when I reached for some berries, at which point the snake crawled across the top of my foot and into my shoe.) My mother noticed my expression and shudder and asked what was wrong. (Also, the fact that I was now standing like a stork was kind of a clue.) Problem resolved when my father got me a different shoe (you do not want to be barefoot in the middle of a blackberry patch) and dumped the snake out of my original shoe.
    It was a garter snake less than a foot long. Nothing to be afraid of.
    The sensation still creeped me out to the point of uncontrollable shudders for the next 15-20 minutes.
    You can’t help being irrationally afraid of whatever it is that pushes your buttons but you can choose not to be a jackass about it.
    BTW, good job not throwing more phone books through the walls, You are never going to get your rental deposit back if you keep on like that.