What causes spider bites while sleeping

Do we really swallow eight spiders a year while we sleep?

by Peter Carstens
What's wrong with the rumor that we swallow around eight spiders every year while we sleep?

Everyone has probably heard the horror story of the swallowed spiders. Every year, so the legend goes, a person swallows eight spiders in his sleep. Approximately.

Sources for this claim are usually not given. That is not surprising. Because there are none. The number is - even if it is persistently rumored - out of thin air. There is nothing to the myth.

Why this is so becomes clear when one looks at the biology of the spiders. Most of them who are in our apartments build nets and have no interest in walking around at night. But even for more mobile species, such as the house spider, sleeping people are unlikely to be of interest.

Humans are more of a source of danger for spiders

"For spiders we humans are more like a big rock," said the American biologist Bill Shear of Hampden-Sydeny College in Virginia the American Scientific. In addition, spiders are extremely sensitive. Rod Crawford, curator responsible for arachnids at the Burke Museum of Natural History and Culture in Seattle, adds: “A sleeping person breathes, has a heartbeat, and may snore. All of this creates vibrations and warns spiders of danger. "

In addition, many people with a lighter sleep are likely to wake up from the crawling in their face.

The evidence is correspondingly poor. It is true that it cannot be ruled out in principle that a sleeping person will swallow a spider. But there are hardly ever any unequivocally identified spider legs that come to light when the mouth is rinsed, nor are there credible eyewitness reports from attentive bed neighbors.

The fairy tale of the swallowed spiders stands on extremely wobbly legs.

More modern myths on GEO.de.