Many would have been told as children how spiders crawl into people’s mouths while they sleep. Some rumours go as far as to say that as many as seven or eight spiders crawl into our mouths while we are getting shut-eye per year. But according to experts on the eight-legged creatures, spiders are unlikely to crawl into people’s mouths.
There are a number of reports circulating on the internet, from people who have claimed to have experienced a spider crawling into their mouths while they slept.
But while a person could technically experience this at some point, there is little evidence it is a common occurrence.
According to Scientific American, a number of spider experts are not convinced arachnids make a habit of crawling into people’s mouths.
For one, spiders are keen to spend time where there is prey – and human mouths are pretty unhelpful in this regard.
Bill Shear, a biology professor at Hampden–Sydney College in Virginia, said: “Spiders regard us much like they’d regard a big rock.
“We’re so large that we’re really just part of the landscape.”
Another spider expert said the way humans sleep would probably not invite a spider to approach.
What with all our snoring and deep-breathing while we catch some Z’s, spiders are unlikely to seek us out.
Rod Crawford, arachnid curator at the Burke Museum of Natural History and Culture in Seattle, told the publication: “Vibrations are a big slice of spiders’ sensory universe.
“A sleeping person is not something a spider would willingly approach.”
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According to Dave Clarke, head of invertebrates at London Zoo, spiders are also unlikely to deliberately seek out a human.
He told the BBC: “Most predators won’t tackle anything bigger than themselves because they are likely to come off worse. They are just not interested in us at all really.”
So on the whole, experts acknowledge that it is possible a spider could find its way into your mouth while you are sleeping, but the chances are very slim – so it is not worth losing sleep over.
There have also been reports of spiders biting humans, but in the UK bites from spiders are “uncommon”, according to the NHS.
The NHS website explains: “Bites from spiders in the UK are uncommon, but some native spiders – such as the false widow spider – are capable of giving a nasty bite.
“Spider bites leave small puncture marks on the skin, which can be painful and cause redness and swelling.”
In some cases, spider bites can cause more severe allergic reactions, which will require medical help.
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