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Why Do Bugs/Insects/Spiders/etc Creep Us Out?

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posted on Sep, 6 2010 @ 09:03 PM
So, I didn't know what forum to put this in (haha as you can tell.) Figure it's kind of a social issue so...

First off, I know not ALL humans are afraid of bugs or spiders or insects or any other related organisms. But, it seems to me that a higher proportion of people are creeped out by bugs than other animals, say for example, squirrels and possums, and I was wondering why this is.

My one theory is that we are less afraid/creeped out by animals more like us. For example, everyone loves dolphins and whales but no one would think of swimming with a squid as an altogether pleasant experience. Dolphins and whales are mammals, so maybe we feel a closer kinship with them. (Not sure where birds fit into this, so this theory may not make much sense haha)

Because seriously. Bugs are tiny compared to lots of other creatures on the planet that we find cute (elephants, giraffes, deer, etc). Why do they creep us out so much?
Wondering what you all think.... Do you think it's just something intuitive in humans to think bugs are creepy? Something conditioned? Something that really shouldn't have a thread written about it cause it's so obvious? Haha

posted on Sep, 6 2010 @ 09:11 PM
I found a fascination and love of insects at an early age, and they don't creep me out at all. But I have known lots of people that are scared of them, have even seen a person or two go into hysterics if encountered by a bug or spider. I wonder if people are afraid of them because they are small and they are afraid they will be biten by not seeing them in time. Interesing subject!

posted on Sep, 6 2010 @ 09:20 PM
When it comes to human beings and fear, a lot of it has been placed into our minds through social engineering and just contact with others, as fear will spread fast. I do think it is somewhat natural sometimes, though. Obviously, insects are very "alien" looking to people in general.

posted on Sep, 6 2010 @ 09:56 PM
How could you not be scared of a tarantula . Even though they're smaller then us i would still be afraid like come on man you gotta be kidding me haha jk but seriously though they're still creepy as # .

posted on Sep, 6 2010 @ 10:16 PM
Certainly there is some biological factor that causes us to fear certain insects/arachnids...

There are also cultural factors which amplify this fear by turning them into creepy/dangerous monsters.

In essence, our fears are both natural and brainwashing in conjunction.

So the reality is somewhere in the middle. Most spiders/insects are harmless, some aren't, some are pretty dangerous. There seems to be a genetic predisposition to identifying snakes/spiders more quickly than other things, the fear response is likely to be secondary. Of course in some cultures, people are more educated about the critters they live around, so they demonstrate no fear when they can identify an insect/arachnid/animal as harmless and/or know how to handle them correctly. Western culture is fairly sheltered in this respect, and a culture of cleanliness, sterility, and disgust for other lifeforms/dirt is part of this.

Here are some articles on the matter:

posted on Sep, 6 2010 @ 10:32 PM
Nice thanks guys! Glad to know I was not just a weirdo bringing it up.

I for one am freaked out by spiders. There is just an innate fear of spiders in me. I also am freaked by some bugs, but not all of them... in fact, I find a lot of them cute (unless they are on me unexpectedly.) The worry about being bitten unexpectedly is probably one of the things that makes us worry about bugs - the reason we are scared is BECAUSE the are small, not scared DESPITE their smallness.

Thanks for the brain food!

posted on Sep, 6 2010 @ 10:36 PM
Our fear of insects is hardwired into our brains, something carried over from when we were wild, living amongst the animals. You see, some insects and spiders were poisonous, therefore our brains are hardwired to fear them for our own safety. It's the same thing for puppies and babies, only opposite. For instance, we find babies "cute" most likely so that we are more willing to care for them and less likely to abandon them. We have evolved to see babies as cute, just as we have evolved to fear insects and spiders.

Many scientists argue that this is also the reason for humans being ticklish. They argue that we are ticklish because it is how we evolved to combat the risks of poisonous creepy-crawlies climbing over us. It is how we evolved and it's a defense mechanism.


posted on Sep, 6 2010 @ 10:38 PM
HAHAHA funny this thread came up tonight! We were driving my son and his friends to the skate park and one of his friends spotted a roach in my friends car, and he freaked out I was laughing so hard cause though I really despise roaches and hate them around me, I am certainly not afraid of them. They're just more of an annoyance to me!!!

posted on Sep, 6 2010 @ 10:46 PM
I can only repeat what others have said, we are scared of them because there is sometimes a good reason to be scared of them, being scared of Spiders in a country like Australia for example is pretty damn valid as a lot of them can kill you, in London where I live then not so much but it's part of our biology.

Personally I don't really mind most insects, maybe because my dad was a pest controller when I was growing up, and I used to keep snakes as pets, but for some reason until a few years ago I used to really freak out about moths flapping around the room.

Just a side note:
There is a difference between poisonous and venomous, poisonous in zoological terms usually means that it is harmful to eat (like some toadstools etc) venomous on the other hand means that it can inject you with a harmful substance either through bitting or stinging.

posted on Sep, 6 2010 @ 10:47 PM
reply to post by spacekc929

I think it's an evolutionary thing. Our ancestors fearing bugs might have helped us survive by preventing them from going near parasites and poisonous bugs.

I think you're right too when you say we have better relationships with animals similar to us. There's also bonds that are ancestors forged with certain animals, like dogs and cats, that still exist today.

posted on Sep, 7 2010 @ 12:37 AM
One person's 'creepy' is another's beloved pet

Giant centipede 'was escaped pet'

posted on Sep, 7 2010 @ 12:54 AM
I'm afraid of some bugs and not others not afraid of spiders to to answer your question here's a sample


so that's why they creep me out... sweet dreams

posted on Sep, 7 2010 @ 01:01 AM
Yet interestingly, there are a handful of insects that we do find cute, or at least non-threatening. Think ladybugs, caterpillars (and of course, by extension, the butterfly), pill bugs (a.k.a. "roly polys") and the like. Nice topic.

posted on Sep, 7 2010 @ 01:12 AM
reply to post by Monsieur Neary

I love spiders, all of them ,not scared of them in the least

I love praying Mantis all of them ,

I raised Giant Spiny Leaf bugs for a few years ,everyone should they're awesome

love ladybugs ,moths, Butterflies , roly polys ,Silverfish(which are not bugs)

some caterpillers they turn into butterflies but they gross me out

I like bees not and fireflies and dragon flies

almost everything else is horrible and freaks me out!!

posted on Sep, 7 2010 @ 01:17 AM
reply to post by MrsBlonde

I have never personally seen a praying mantis, but I don't think I would like to haha.

I am not normally such a cowardly person, in fact, I am not afraid of a lot of things I should be, but I have to admit, that a lot of bugs and other creepy crawlies just 'bug' me haha (cept for lady bugs, caterpillars, and roly polies. You got it Monsieur Neary! Wonder why humans like them more.)

I was thinking as I was reading the responses about how someone mentioned being ticklish. I am super ticklish, wonder if that has a correlation? Like, if people who are more ticklish hate bugs more, and if those who are really into bugs aren't as ticklish? Probably a coincidence and I doubt there is a correlation but it was something else that popped into my mind (which is overfilled with weird such thoughts haha)

posted on Sep, 7 2010 @ 01:21 AM
My personal opinion is that bugs and insects get on you. Most animals go the other direction when they see you. They avoid you. Insects fly into your face, nose, ear, maybe even get in your eye. At night when you sleep they could be crawling on you. Spiders spin webs across doorways that often get caught in your hair. It is not so much the insect that bothers me, it is that they will land on me unlike an animal would.

posted on Sep, 7 2010 @ 01:23 AM
reply to post by ExPostFacto

That is true. I often think they are very silly for getting so close to us, because most of the time, we end up killing them for it...

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