The woes of Miss Muffet


Daddy long legs are harmless to humans spidersI, personally have never had a fear of spiders, I’ve always known that they’d be more scared of me than contrariwise. Having spent my toddler years in the wildlife of Sri Lanka, I’m pretty much a Rentokil man myself…or so I’d like to think.

Now, having moved to New Zealand, I discovered rudely one morning that my respect and understanding of spiders was not shared by all. A sleep in, at a slumber party was brought to an abrupt halt, when my friend shrieked at the sight of a daddy long legs spider in a high corner of her room. Without warning Chehanya ran out of the room only to return a second later with a large can of Mortein, which she sprayed not so professionally over the rest of our heads. My friends were all in agreement that eradicating the spider was indeed the right thing to do.

Leaving the spider and myself bewildered, my friends reasoned “but the spider was gross”. God forbid my friends ever get to know my brother.

Although spiders may not be the most handsome of insects not all of them are a hindrance to our lives. Daddy long legs for instance aren’t harmful to humans despite the stubborn stance of my friends. In fact, a single spider feeds on 2000 insects every year, frankly a big favour to my friends!

Arguably the fear of spiders has been embedded into people’s minds from a very young age. With nursery rhymes such as “Little Miss Muffet” teaching children that the appropriate reaction to a spider sitting down beside her is to be “scared away”.

A lesson is to be learned here about judging things at face-value. Not all “gross” things will harm you. Especially not the daddy long legs spider that not only feed on other insects but also fellow spiders. In saying that, the verdict is still out on my brother.

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