Claim people regularly swallow spiders during sleep is a myth

A popular myth holds that people eat a lot of spiders in their sleep throughout their lives. But there is no scientific proof that this actually happens.

Social media posted that request the fact that we swallow a few spiders in our sleep has been the terror of people online for years.

Some claims that humans swallow up to eight spiders per year in their sleep while others allege that people swallow almost a pound of creepy crawlies in the night during their lifetime.

Viewer VERIFICATION Kerry asked our team in an email if these claims are true.


How often do people swallow spiders while sleeping?



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No, people don’t often swallow spiders while sleeping.

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According to Rod Crawford, a spider expert at the Burke Museum in Seattle, the claim that people regularly swallow spiders while sleeping is a very common urban legend. Not only did he say it was “very unlikely,” but there was no scientific evidence to back up this claim.

“For a sleeping person to devour even a living spider would entail a lot of very unlikely circumstances that, for practical purposes, we can rule out. Crawford writes on the museum’s website.

Floyd Shockley, an entomologist at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of Natural History and Culture, also said people don’t swallow spiders while sleeping.

“As a scientist, I can’t completely rule out the possibility of a spider falling from the ceiling at the exact moment you’re yawning or something like that, but the amount of things that would have to happen for this to happen. is very small . So it will be very rare, and it will certainly be published, if it does happen,” Shockley told VERIFY.

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Shockley said the idea that humans swallow spiders while sleeping first appeared in a book of insect fiction and spider folklore published in 1954. Since then, he says, the myth has spread. spread like wildfire over the years, especially via email chains and social media.

According to Shockley, the number of spiders that actually cohabit with humans is extremely small, and almost all of them pose no danger to humans. He says if a spider is in a person’s home, its main goal is to hunt insects that have gotten inside – not to disturb sleeping humans.

“They weren’t really there because they liked us. That’s because we create a good, warm, stable environment for them to hunt. For the most part, they ignore us,” Shockley said.

Michael J. Breus, clinical psychologist and sleep specialist known as the “Sleep Doctor,” tells VERIFY.

Breus told VERIFY: “Spiders aren’t going to go into a dark damp cave where basically all that comes out of it is carbon dioxide – which doesn’t really make a lot of sense, just from an insect standpoint. learn.

As for those who sleep with their mouths open and snoring, Shockley says spiders won’t want to get close to the source of the snoring.

“If you’re sleeping with your mouth wide open, you’re probably snoring and the vibrations will scare them off,” says Shockley.

Crawford sets records for a variety of “Myths of Spiders” on the Burke Museum’s website, including the myth that all spiders make webs – only about half of all spiders are known to capture prey in that way. He also refuted claims that spiders can climb into bathtubs and sink drains when it’s cold.

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