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Urban Legends

You can eat 8 spider a year while you are sleeping!?

Behind the Legend

You'll be pleased to hear that this is not true. The only way one could reasonably say that a person eats eight spiders a year is by assuming, a) that you can add up all the spider parts found in typical foodstuffs (e.g., vegetables, rice, hamburger buns) until you reach the mass of a spider and call that one spider, b) that all spiders are as large as medium-size tarantulas, when in fact most of the spiders eaten each year are significantly smaller, and c) that spiders that crawl into your mouth while you are asleep don't count as having been eaten. But without making such wild assumptions, one can only say that the average person eats 10-12 whole spiders a year, and some two to three pounds of miscellaneous spider parts.

and not to mention also that if it bite! you may not have to worry about 7 or anymore spider to eat while you are asleep


Claim: The average person swallows eight spiders per year.

Status: False.

Origins: Oh, yuk!

I said, 'Quack' It's hard enough to avoid those horrible wriggly things while we're awake, and now we have to worry that they're crawling into our mouths while we sleep? Little Miss Muffett was a piker.

Fear not. This "statistic" was not only made up out of whole cloth, it was invented as an example of the absurd things people will believe simply because they come across them on the Internet.

In a 1993 PC Professional article, columnist Lisa Holst wrote about the ubiquitous lists of "facts" that were circulating via e-mail and how readily they were accepted as truthful by gullible recipients. To demonstrate her point, Holst offered her own made-up list of equally ridiculous "facts," among which was the statistic cited above about the average person's swallowing eight spiders per year, which she took from a collection of common misbeliefs printed in a 1954 book on insect folklore. In a delicious irony, Holst's propagation of this false "fact" has spurred it into becoming one of the most widely-circulated bits of misinformation to be found on the Internet.

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