I’m sure you’ve all been in the situation: you’re laying in your bed drifting between the worries of the world and the blissful embrace of sleep. When all of a sudden you feel a tingle in your mouth… Then before you can say Arachnophobia bang! You have just swallowed some extra protein for the night.
Supposedly the average human swallows on average eight spiders a year. Eight! I don’t know about you but I have always been a little skeptical about this, I mean you would think that you’d notice a spider crawling into your mouth and what are they even doing in there? Last time I checked spiders don’t really appreciate small wet holes, well at least ones living in your house.
Well you no longer have to worry about ruining your breakfast, it turns out that this myth is about as false as a three dollar bill. According to Rob Crawford the arachnid curator at the Burke Museum of Natural History and Culture in Seattle, the act of us sleeping is enough to deter spiders from crawling anywhere near us. Think about it, when humans sleep they are breathing deep, their hearts are pounding and they’re moving around causing all sorts of vibrations. Spiders mostly use vibration as a form of warning of danger, so spiders would see us as one big lethal lump in the dark. Plus if you are sleeping with your mouth open you are most likely snoring which would freak a spider out even more.
You have more of a chance catching a spider crawling over your body then into your mouth. Bill Shear, a biology professor at Hampden–Sydney College in Virginia says that we are so large compared to spiders that they see us as just another part of the landscape. We’re more like a “big rock” than a real threat.
Of course there are some instances where people do end up swallowing spiders while they sleep, but these instances are so few and far between that the average person will probably never have to deal with the experience.
For more reading on the subject check out this article on MentalFloss.
Have you guys had any encounters with spiders while you were sleeping?