Fact-check: this is how many spiders you actually swallow in your sleep 2 years ago

Fact-check: this is how many spiders you actually swallow in your sleep

It's enough to strike fear into the heart of every arachnophobe: you inevitably swallow spiders in your sleep.

Estimates doing the rounds include everything from eight to 80 spiders annually (frankly just one is too many).


However, the journal Scientific American has offered us a life-line - stating that a creepy-crawly wandering into your mouth in the night isn't likely.

"The 'fact' that people swallow eight spiders in their sleep yearly isn’t true. Not even close.

"The myth flies in the face of both spider and human biology, which makes it highly unlikely that a spider would ever end up in your mouth."

Furthermore, the kind of spiders we're familiar with in Ireland tend to like munching on flies... meaning your bed wouldn't be a typical hunting ground (we hope).

Biologist Bill Shear, former president of the American Arachnological Society, also told Scientific American: "Spiders regard us much like they’d regard a big rock.

"We’re so large that we’re really just part of the landscape."


And a couple of years ago, Dave Clarke, head of invertebrates at London Zoo, told the BBC: "Most predators won’t tackle anything bigger than themselves because they are likely to come off worse.

"Spiders are highly sensitive to both vibrations and heat so are unlikely to stumble across a human unawares. They are just not interested in us at all really."

Finally, while spider experts concede that a sleeping person could plausibly swallow a spider, "it would be a strictly random event".

Which puts us at ease (kinda).