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Are Spiders Afraid of Humans? (Yes, but…)

Yes, spiders are afraid of humans, but not because they are feeling the emotion of fear, but because of their survival instinct.

are spiders afraid of humans

Spiders are afraid of animals that are larger than them and see them as a threat. That’s why they’re scared of humans because they see us as a natural threat to their existence. Once they see a human, their survival instinct will tell them to run away or hide, especially if you get too close to them.

Some spider species will cooperate when they feel threatened, which might happen if they live around humans and they feel threatened by your presence.

Are Spiders Afraid of Humans?

Spiders can’t feel true emotions like we do – fear, love, happiness, anger. They don’t have the emotional capacity to feel these emotions and thus the reaction of fear towards humans or larger animals is not connected to these emotions.

Spiders rely on their survival instincts instead. What drives them to feel scared of you (or other larger animals that might pose a threat to spiders) is their instinct to avoid danger.

To better understand this, let’s take a look at the structure of a spider’s brain and compare it to our brain.

We, humans, feel emotions thanks to the amygdala, which is a collection of cells in our brains that enables us to feel certain emotions and respond to them. It allows us to process the happenings around us and connect certain events to emotions, which leads us to then take action according to the emotion we’re feeling.

Spiders, on the other hand, have a rather simple brain structure. Their brain is structured in such a way that it allows them to complete complex processes that are enough for them to survive, such as web building, preying on animals, and some species might even be able to learn new things.

Spiders don’t, however, have a part inside their brains that would regulate their emotions or their responses to the emotions, as humans do. 

This means that all their actions point towards their instinct for survival instead of responding to the emotions they are feeling, as they don’t have the capacity to feel emotions as we do in their brains.

Why Spiders Are Scared of Us

You should know that the majority of spiders are not bothered by humans and will not react to them, unless you come too close to them or try to hurt them, which is when they’ll run away from you in fear.

Normally, a spider would mind its own business, as long as you give it the freedom it needs to roam. If you leave it alone, so will the spider leave you alone.

The fear starts when you try to touch them or come too close to them.

Spiders feel intimidated by our presence, and they might see us as a threat to their existence. Of course, that’s not true of all spiders, since some spiders that you might own as pets might get used to your presence over time.

But if you try to move too close to the spiders or even worse, try to kill it or swat it, then it will start to run away in fear for its life.

Like the vast majority of species in the world, spiders have a strong sense of survival and are prepared to engage in unusual behaviors to survive. For instance, when spiders feel threatened, they are prepared to create colonies of spiders so that spiders are able to care for each other to survive.

In addition, many spiders are great at camouflaging themselves so that we’re not able to see them.

A good example of this is the Dolophones conifera spider (wrap-around spider), which lives in Australia. This spider will wrap its legs and body around a tree branch so that they conceal themselves from their predators and their surroundings. This is yet another survival instinct that you’ll see in nature if spiders feel threatened.

Read Also: Do Spiders Take Revenge Against Humans?

What Are Spiders Afraid Of?

Spiders are quite small, so they’re often preyed on by larger species, such as:

  • Birds
  • Toads
  • Lizards
  • Monkeys
  • Spider wasps
  • Scorpions
  • Centipedes
  • Fish

If spiders see any of these animals or they might come too close to them, they’ll feel scared and will try to hide in order to not get eaten. Again, it’s the survival instinct that kicks in when they are in the presence of these animals.

Many spiders are big enough to strike back and defend themselves, although, for smaller spider species, it might be a bit more difficult to defend themselves against these animals.

That’s why they’ll resort to different survival techniques when they spot these animals around them.

For instance, smaller spiders are very good at hiding in crevices and inaccessible spots in nature where their predators aren’t able to reach. Other spiders are very fast and they’re often simply too quick for their predators.

On the flip side, larger spider species might not even be afraid of these predators, because they have enough venom to strike back and kill the predator. That’s why larger, more venomous spiders will not try to hide away but will stand their ground in case they do get attacked by some of the larger predators.

Final Thoughts

If you’re afraid of spiders, it happens because of how your brain processes the threat of spiders. Fear of spiders is quite common, especially if you’ve had a negative experience with spiders before.

However, the opposite is also true – spiders are scared of humans too, but not because of the emotion of fear.

Spiders are afraid of humans because of their survival instincts. They’re very good at finding danger in their habitat and hiding from it, as they hide away in small crevices or camouflage themselves as they look to remain hidden.

To conclude, spiders fear humans because of different reasons that humans fear spiders. They can’t feel emotions but have a strong survival instinct, which leads them to become fearful of humans if they feel threatened.