Some years ago there was a song by that title. (for the record, I tolerate spiders and actually do like snakes) The song made a completely different point than where I am going this week. Do you ever notice that spiders and snakes are probably the most hated creatures on the planet. Some people have a completely irrational fear of these poor critters, although they may disagree. Well there is a reason that snakes are not well liked, and there is a Biblical reason that women hate snakes. If you read about the encounter in the garden, the hatred between women and snakes goes back a long way. The rocky relationship started there and will continue on forever. And that is probably the main reason we don’t really like snakes today. Spiders on the other hand are much smaller, actually just insects. Perhaps it is just something about the eight legs, or maybe it was those cheesy 1950 era horror movies about spiders from Mars. I mean the spider “monsters” in those movies were very realistic, if there was such a thing as a giant spider made from pipe cleaners.
Spiders like to build their webs in areas where there is traffic, I guess they don’t realize that people use those same trails. So fairly often we will run into a web. Now this is mostly just a minor inconvenience, cleaning the sticky threads from our face and hair is just a nuisance. However a few moments later you feel those eight legs galloping down the back of your neck and that just creeps you out.
Now spiders and snakes actually serve a purpose in our daily lives, they are very important in the food chain. Spiders eat about any insect. Snakes will eat as many rats and mice as they can catch. Now I don’t know about anyone else, but rodents rank right up there as a highly hated animal.
So why the unreasonable fear of spiders and snakes? I mean if you had a door to door sales man come to your house and told you he had a solution for any bugs in the house and could keep all the mice away from the outside, you would probably think that is something you want. Spiders are the pigs of the insect kingdom, they will keep eating as long as bugs fly into their webs. They have a storage system that keeps the unlucky bugs captive until the spider finishes the current meal and moves on to the next one. Snakes will eat a lot, and large animals at times, but not endlessly. They fill up and rest for a while, unlike some people that might hit a buffet and then eat again in a few hours.
Obviously there are poisonous spiders and snakes that can cause health issues, so that fuels the fears. The old saying about an animal being more afraid of us than we are of them, holds true here as well. We are way larger than either spiders or snakes, we can easily defend ourselves with our huge feet (sorry ladies, they look large to the tiny spiders). It just isn’t fair, so the spiders or snakes are at times forced to defend themselves against us. I am sure they would rather move on without the confrontation either.
Now I am certainly not interested in bringing in a bunch of spiders into my house, and definitely not snakes, even if you do have a mouse problem, which I luckily do not. Snakes have a place outside to control the rat population. There have been places that have “snake roundups” and have noticed an increase in rodent population. We have interfered with the natural balance and paid the price.
So as pest control goes, you might want to stick with the friendly folks that come to your house with truck full of chemicals. However we shouldn’t just have the notion to wipe all spiders and snakes off the planet. We can live with them, knowing how to get along with them, and also knowing that they are on our side when it comes to pests. Let them gorge themselves on the animals that we should dislike and give them a break. We can move past the Biblical fears and accept our critter neighbors here in Texas.