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Do we really eat spiders while we sleep?

Like many people, you have surely heard or read that we eat 7 or 8 spiders per year during our sleep. Not to mention those that get in through other orifices like the nose or ears! So: myth or reality? Are spiders really lying in wait, just to get into your mouth the minute you fall asleep??

Horror stories of spiders who enter our bodies while we sleep

In 2012, CBS News published an article about a spider that lived for 5 days in a Chinese woman’s ear, who eventually needed surgery on her auditory canal. According to the website Research Gate, one person in three in Australia claims to have been bitten during their sleep by a white-tailed spider.

These supposedly reclusive spiders of the family Loxosceles tend to bite humans at night, and if you see this type of spider (see the photo below), get rid of it with care. If it bites you, go to the emergency department for an examination. It is around the same size as a 5 cent coin, and is often light brown in colour with narrow legs.

araignee-loxosceles-reclusa-adulte-commons-wikimedia

What to the scientists say?

The Daily Geek Show  interviewed Dave Clarke, the head of the invertebrate department in London Zoo. Mr. Clarke explained that “most predators are not able to attack species that are bigger than them.” What’s more, spiders are very sensitive to vibrations and heat, meaning that there is little chance that one will walk over your body or venture into your mouth or nose while you sleep.

Spiders live in our hallways but they tend to hide in areas that don’t get disturbed, and they tend to stay there. When we sleep, our breathing, our heartbeat, our movements and snoring create vibrations which alert spiders to danger and they flee.

What’s more, 8 legs prancing on your face is unlikely to go unnoticed! Even during your sleep, most people will feel it.

The false statistic that claims we eat on average 8 spiders a year during our sleep was invented from scratch by a columnist called Lisa Holst in 1993. In short, it’s a hoax, like much unverified information that circulates on the internet since its beginnings! It’s always better to check your facts than to believe everything you read.

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