“Our native spiders pose no threat to us. They are essential to our ecosystem; they are our friends, not our enemies so we need to find a way to learn to live alongside them. They really are more scared of you than you are of them and would much rather run away.
It's hardly a rare fear; an estimated 6% of the general population suffer from full-blown arachnophobia. The leading explanation is that our ancestors evolved to fear spiders, and this has been passed on to us.
This Sylvana jumping spider may look curious and intrigued, but it's probably not feeling fear. No, spiders cannot feel emotions analogous to those felt by humans. At last, science hasn't confirmed that spiders feel what humans would recognize as emotions.
We found that perceived fear and disgust of spiders were triggered predominantly by enlarged chelicerae, enlarged abdomen, and the presence of body hair. Longer legs were associated with perceived fear as well; however, the presence of two eyes did not produce any statistical significance in terms of fear.
An estimated 5 per cent of Australians have arachnophobia, but there are plenty of others happy to get close to the creepy crawlies.
The danger of spiders in Australia
The two most dangerous groups are those commonly known as Funnel web spiders (which include 3 genera of spiders) and Redback spiders. Then come the Mouse spiders which can also cause serious envenomation, even if none has ever been lethal!
Which any Aussie will tell you, you absolutely should. But in general, the spiders and snakes keep themselves to themselves. Your most common encounter will be cockroaches, but since they exist in every hot country, from France to the US, roaches shouldn't put you off the Australian way of life.
“The spiders are probably larger in the urban areas as a result of more food, warmer temperatures (that is, the urban heat island effect) and a relaxation of predation,” Elizabeth says.
In fact, Psychology Today shares that spider fear is significantly less common in non-European countries regions as India, Africa, the Caribbean, and amongst the aboriginal cultures of Australia. Many of cultures in these regions consider spiders to be a symbol of good luck or a culinary delicacy.
"We conclude that fear of snakes and spiders is of evolutionary origin. Similar to primates, mechanisms in our brains enable us to identify objects as 'spider' or 'snake' and to react to them very fast. This obviously inherited stress reaction in turn predisposes us to learn these animals as dangerous or disgusting.
It's easy to keep spiders away using natural products. These eight-legged creatures hate the smell of citrus fruits such as lemons and oranges. They also don't like peppermint oils, tea tree oils, eucalyptus, and vinegar. Using any of these around your home will keep spiders away.
“Spiders can hear humans talking and walking, which is within the audible range,” says Menda.
Spiders really don't like strong scents such as citrus, peppermint, tea-tree, lavender, rose or cinnamon. Add 15 to 20 drops of your chosen essential oil or a couple of capfuls of Zoflora fragrance to a spray bottle filled with water, and spritz around the house.
Generally, spiders want to avoid humans and will only bite as a defense mechanism if they are provoked. Many are extraordinary at hiding or camouflaging themselves because they don't want to be seen.
We are born with only two innate fears: the fear of falling and the fear of loud sounds. A 1960 study evaluated depth perception among 6- to14-month-old infants, as well as young animals.
Our brain is wired to be afraid of them because they were a threat to our ancestors. Today, we seldom encounter spiders and they are not a threat to us, but we still have this fear because it is ingrained in our DNA. If the spider's mere presence wasn't enough, it has now eluded me.
About 3% to 15% of the population has arachnophobia.
Arachnophobia affects 3.5 to 6.1 percent of the global population.
Often, a combination of counseling and medication may be used to treat arachnophobia. Relaxation techniques such as meditation also can be helpful in the treatment of arachnophobia. As with other phobias, arachnophobia can be treated with exposure therapy and cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT).
In Australia they are only found in the southeastern part of the country, from South Australia to Queensland via Victoria, New South Wales and Tasmania. You won't find them in the dry and arid zones. On the other hand, huntsman and wolf-spiders are found all over the country.
Australian Huntsman spiders belong to the Family Sparassidae (formerly Heteropodidae) and are famed as being the hairy so-called 'tarantulas' on house walls that terrify people by scuttling out from behind curtains.
Spiders don't like the smells of strong odours such as cinnamon, eucalyptus oil and citrus. Use cinnamon candles and spray eucalyptus and lemon/orange oil in areas where you often see webs.
Australia is warmer than NZ. It generally has more spiders. But its not so much that Australia has lots of spiders (it does), its that two of the most common species are amongst the most venomous spiders in the world.