In Defense of Unlovable Creatures

I have this memory I keep in the secret pocket of my childhood coat. I recall sitting in front of a rock wall, watching an egg sac hatch. They were spiders—little zebra-striped jumping spiders, I think. Even as a child, I saw that they were young and fragile, and I saw how they wobbled around on brand new legs and fearlessly explored their brand new world. They were, in a word, adorable.

When I got older, I learned to be afraid of spiders, but it was never an innate fear. It was taught. So, after I became an adult, I decided to overcome it. The best way to overcome any fear is through education, so I started learning all I could about the different kinds of spiders, until I could identify the ones I found around my own home. Then I started giving them names (Amelia, Copernicus, and Incitatus) and treating them like visitors. They were the cats of the arachnid world—perfect, agile hunters—and they earned their keep the same way cats do: by preventing a potential infestation of other, invasive insects.

Some people wonder how I can love an unlovable creature. But honestly, they’re only unlovable because we’ve been programed to hate them. We’ve seen Arachnophobia and learned that spiders are viscous, horrible creatures that will suck the life out of you until you are a mere husk of a person as soon as look at you. But that’s just not true. The vast majority of them are completely harmless, even beneficial creatures.

This is what most of them are:

Start with the jumpers, if you really want to learn to love spiders. They’re curious and super cute. You won’t regret befriending them, as long as you show them the proper respect. Even now, there is a spider living near the window just over my desk, and it’s taken down every bothersome fly that’s gotten into the house so far. Plus it’s interesting to watch.

And if you liked the above video you should check out the creator’s youtube channel. It’s surprisingly chill and fun with a myriad of jumpers to see. Also, have a look at the What’s That Bug website and learn a little more about which creatures are harmful and which are actually beneficial. You may be surprised at what you find. I know I was.

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