Is it true that the average person ”eats” upto 4 spiders in their sleep during their lifetime? | Notes and Queries


Is it true that the average person ‘eats’ upto 4 spiders in their sleep during their lifetime?

David Bagnall, Milton Keynes Bucks

  • The actual figure is probably much higher – but don’t have nightmares because these are not huge spiders but rather, Bimmo Spiders, the tiny little ones that seem to float. They are perfectly harmless.

    Gary Bardeeni, Scotland

  • Yes. I am a County Medical Examiner (Coroner) in Colorado and have performed thousands of autopsies since I was licensed in 1971. A typical analysis of chemical stomach contents found in over 90% of cases shows a .018 % of insect DNA less than 90 days old. Insect parts do not seem to be digested (similar to corn), however, they remain in the large intestine for an extended period of time and eventually make their delayed way out about 90 days after being consumed. In other words, if you ask any ME (Medical Examiner) he/she will tell you that far more than 8 spiders are eaten in a life time. While we don’t know how many actual spiders are consumed each month, there is a considerable amount of chemical and physical (DNA and body parts) evidence that proves the average American (or at least Colorado resident) has consumed 8-12 insects (of varying size) within the previous 90 days. One can safely assume that 90% of Colorodan’s have not meant to consume this many spider-parts while awake, but have consumed them inadvertantly, through processed or natural foods, or while asleep. Furthermore, I have completely made up the above explanation, but it just goes to show you that anyone can say anything and make it sound pretty darn believable.

    Jonathon West, MD, Denver, CO, USA

  • About a year ago I woke up to find a spider on my face near my mouth, so I think that myth is somewhat true.

    Amy Maddix, Detroit, USA

  • I am a plastic surgeon in Phoenix. It’s not the spiders you should be afraid of, but bug parts in processed food. The USA allows a large, large concentration of bugs parts in our processed foods. I guess if you added all the parts up you might just have a spider!

    Robb Johnson, Phoenix, AZ, USA

  • to prove this, one would have to get statistics from emergency rooms, symptoms – wiggle and jiggle and tickle inside them. Now if someone said the average person has two insects fly/crawl/fall into their ear in a 15 year period that made it necessary to go to the hospital emergency room in great pain then I would say that is true – since it has happened to me.

    Gene Kowalski, Fairfield, NJ, USA

  • Humans consume many things in a years time unintentionally and unknowingly. Many of which, would make their stomachs turn if they knew about them. Fortunately, they do not. Why not spiders?

    Julie, Belle Plaine, Iowa, USA

  • I believe it is true. I have seen spiders go in and out of peoples nose, ears, and mouths while they were asleep. They only stay in there for a short time. They will eventually leave. Dont worry, you have had things a lot dirtier in your mouth before.

    Brian C, Roanoke, Va, USA

  • Spiders are rather picky creatures and have well tuned olfactory systems. Unless a spider were going blind and had lost its sense of smell it would never linger in your mouth for more than a moment.
    That being said the eating of spiders for sport or cuisine by some individuals may more than average out to 4 per person if said individuals only eat one a week for their lifetime and even considering a 50 year lifespan (everone knows eating spiders is bad for you) they would consume enough spiders for 650 other noneaters to bring the average to 4 during a lifetime. It would be quite easy, especially if the eaters are not terribly picky to eat smaller less delicate spiders more frequently and eat enough for even 1000-2000 noneaters. Either way the spiders, certainly not of their own accord do get eaten…

    Tim Riegel, Edmonton, Alberta, Canada

  • I can believe things crawl in your mouth, ears, nose, etc. when you are asleep. I have woken with ants on my face, a cockroach on my forehead, and a fly on my nose. I have, when awake though, swallowed bees, moths, ants and probably other things I can’t remember. The bee was scary because I thought it would sting going down. I guess it didn’t: I’m still alive.

    John, Bethlehem, USA

  • My uncle told me this when I was about 4 or 5. I was so impresionable (and terrified of spiders) at that age that to this day, 30 something years later, I grind my teeth so badly at night trying to keep my mouth shut and the spiders out that I wake people up!!
    So glad to hear it’s a myth. Maybe I can learn to stop grinding my teeth now!

    Michele M, Melrose, USA

  • I don’t know how John from Bethlehem (see above) has ended up with so many bugs on his face, but maybe he should think about cleaning his house.

    Amy, Bath, USA

  • Uhh I don’t even want to think about it! Now I wont be able to go to sleep & I just found out about it. I hate spiders. I dont know what to think anymore. Gosh.

    Yaneth, Washington, USA

  • I could only wish to have a spider small enough to crawl into my mouth.
    Here in Iraqi Kurdistan’s Erbil province we have spiders so large that it is not uncommon in the summer months to find our small children completely cocconed up and dangling from the rafters in the morning.
    Hence the ancient name of Erbil city – “Hawler.” Meaning, “Land of the Three Kilogram Spiders.”

    Rasul Ahmed, Erbil Iraq

  • I don’t think its true.
    Surely we’d feel them and wake up?
    or they spider would be scared off as they seem to run pretty quickly from any kind of movement.

    Shane, Basingstoke UK

  • Its true. but they are little harmless spiders

    Ashlyn, Milton, KY USA

  • There is no question that we eat several bugs a year in our sleep–millions if you include bugs that are smaller than 20 microns (such as dust mites). The good news is that spiders are too smart to crawl into your mouth and get eaten. I live in Amherst Massachusetts right next to a large barn. MANY SPIDERS! Over the years I’ve gotten used to them. They’re everywhere over here. I rarely DONT see one. Theres so many that I always see the smaller ones get eaten by the bigger ones. At night they sometimes crawl on my body but I don’t care anymore. Few are poisonous, although I have been bitten by a brown recluse spider before. Here’s why you wouldn’t eat them in your sleep:
    1. Have you ever breathed at a spider? If you’re as much as 1 foot away, and you so much as exhale slightly in the spider’s direction, it will run like hell as far away from you as it can and hide. For this reason spiders wouldn’t get close to your breathing mouth when you sleep.
    2. Spiders are smart. No really, I live with them. They have millions of years of evolution under their belts. Would they be thinking: “Oh, look, a very large mammal. Let’s crawl into it’s mouth.” Of course not.
    3. If spiders crawled into mouths, I would have known by now. I would have breathed one in and choked on one eventually. I’ve choked on other things like moths and gnats, but never spiders.

    Roman, Amherst MA

  • Everyone, the simple answer is YES! I’m a sleep therapist and study peoples sleep behaviour at their homes, with a video camera. On many occasions, I have seen small spiders crawl into peoples mouths while they are asleep. Sometimes the spiders crawl out, but the majority of times, the patient closes their mouth and the spider is never seen again. Seeing is believing!

    Blitz, Houghton, USA

  • Yes. I woke up when a spider was crawling in my mouth. It was huge. I have taped my mouth shut every night since that happened. Almost died once.

    Mariah, Blairstown, USA

  • Ahh well two nights ago, my window was slightly open and when i woke up my ear really hurt and i felt around and on my ear lobe inside it i felt a huge ball, like when you pierce your ears.. but i don’t have them pierced!
    and i looked and their were two fangs marks and it still hurts and its swollen i have no clue what the hell it was.

    Miki, Omaha USA

  • What I believe the true story is that when spiders decompose they turn into dust which eventually gets put into the air. Then, when you are asleep, when you inhale, the particles of the spider are “eaten” which in your lifetime eventually adds up to 4 spiders.

    Brian Smith, Florida USA

  • About 30 minutes ago, I felt something on my face while I was asleep. I instinctively brushed it away. A few minutes later, I felt something on my face, near my left eye. I though it was just my imagination, but the I remembered seeing a spider on the wall earlier tonight. Half awake, I reached up and grabbed the object on my face, and threw it towards the floor. I reached over, got my super-bright LED flashlight, and looked around. On the edge of the blanket, near my stomach, was the spider. I recognized its markings, as the same one on the wall earlier. It was a wolf spider, which is a common spider in my area. I thumped the spider to the floor, and smashed it with my shoe. By this point, I was fully awake, and had the “willies”. I thought I would do a quick google search to see if this is a common occurance. I guess it is!
    I don’t know why it crawled onto my face, but it is rather cool tonight. Maybe it was looking for someplace warm, and my face happened to be it. Regardless, it freaked me out.

    Mike, USA

  • Right now I feel as if I never want to sleep again!! Maybe I could purchase a face mask … Sleepless in FL!!!!

    Karen , Apopka, FL, USA

  • No, its not true because a. one spiders are smarter then that and b. it’s just something that people say …

    Briana Smith, Ukiah, USA

  • Most probably the number of spiders swallowed would be influenced by where you sleep. If spiders are prevalent where you are the odds would increase that you would eat spiders. Most insects are not harmful to eat and are a good source of protein. We digest them in our lives through processed foods and worse than spiders make their way into the mix. We are more apt to swallow spiders and other insects while we are awake though than while sleeping as we are on the move and not dependent on them to come to us. It is nothing to worry about in most cases.

    Anne, Auburn, USA

  • Well, I am a tramp and was sleeping behind a builder’s skip in Ireland and woke up with a slug up my nose. It was very difficult to get out.

    Geordie Allan, Newcastle

  • I woke up to feel like something was crawling down my throat. Maybe it was a spider, maybe not.

    Treacy Jackson, Denver, Colorado, US

  • I often leave a small piece of cheese in the corner of my mouth to attract spiders. I just love the way they tickle inside.

    Chris, Derby UK

  • when i wolk up i saw NOTHING stop being cry babies!!!

    lucia, leminster bosten

  • Actually this isn’t a rumor. It’s been recently tested and proven. And has even ended up on hit shows like MythBusters

    Grace, San Diego America

  • I ate a spider on purpose. It was a money spider dancing on my spoon. I thought it might be good luck. It wasn’t. It tasted like gone-off liquorice. I hate liquorice.

    Paul, Blackpool Lancs

  • I ate a spider, more specifically,.a wolf spider in my sleep! Ugh! I know. I live in a house surrounded by oak trees, and my hubby and I had been getting bit and sick from a big spider judging by the fang placement on skin while we were sleeping. One morning I woke up feeling a little nauseas and like I ate something that didn’t go all the way down, and I looked on the mirror thinking of the spider and saw a long segment of a spider leg in the groove between my front teeth. I got him!!! True story, approx. One year ago. Sweet dreams.

    Roe, Indianapolis Usa

  • What is all this about urban legends? Is it really that hard to believe that you could possibly consume 4 spiders in your whole entire lifetime while you’re asleep? That’s possibly over 90 years. Just because it’s not factual doesn’t mean it’s not possible.

    Kate, Cambridge England

  • I read all of this and I laughed…my own opnion is that ITS NOT POSSIBLE!!!…majority of you on here woke up before it got near your mouth…dudes come on it could’ve just been passing through for all you know…false false FALSE!!!

    Bobbie Jo, Grants USA

  • What Roman said is exactly what I thought.
    You breathe in the direction of a spider and it runs away. Now think when you’re sleeping, you are constantly breathing through your mouth or nose. If a spider goes towards your mouth, no matter which way you are breathing, it will feel the breath and clear off.
    Also if a spider would climb into your mouth (and also it’s too wet in your mouth- spiders never go into wet places-just damp at most) surely it would climb into your nose or ear too? But how often do you blow your nose and see spider parts? I highly doubt it is often.
    I’m sure that it’s likely to happen at least once in your life but as for even once or twice a year? I highly doubt it. It is not a common thing to happen.
    Plus spiders linger around more still, dead-like things or places. It’s not common to find spiders in your bed when you are or have been sleeping on it. Hell, even if I leave my bed for several weeks when I’m on holiday, so far I have never seen a spider on it dead or alive. They clearly prefer room corners or tight secluded areas, generally cold or a bit damp.
    Just my observation. 🙂


  • Well it is actually true but these spiders are called common house spiders, if you open your mouth one time they may or may not crawl in but you only eat 8 per year. Thats what people say….

    Alicia, oklahoma

  • As much as I would like to say that we don’t “eat” spiders in our sleep, I think we do. I hate spiders with a passion! It really freaked me out to wake up with one on my pillow right next to me. I hope to never experience that again!

    Whitney , Oklahoma USA

  • I don’t believe its true. I just believe that its a myth.Number 1 wouldn’t you feel it moving around when your awake

    Karina, NJ Usa

  • It is just plainly unbelievable that such insignificant information generates such a plethora of responses, waste of time, and volumes of analysis. I do include myself of course as I have months to contribute to a blog……

    bt, nyc usa

  • Dosen’t anyone sleep with there mouth closed?

    Taya, Minnsota USA

  • Well,I believe that it is true. With all of the encounters with spiders that I have had over the past several years, I believe that they are everywhere. I see them all the time and I am constantly spraying. I have seen spiders crawl on my pillow, in my bed, and have awoke to something small and black biting my skin. I woke up from a sound sleep the other night and I felt something on my right upper lip and then BAM, something crawled really fast up my right nostril and hit the back of my nose really hard. It hurt like hell and it scared the crap out of me. I am also “arachnaphobic” so that didn’t make me feel any better. Yes, I sleep with my mouth closed.

    Suzanne, Abilene U.S.A.

  • If you are in the habit of keeping a glass of water on your bedside table & drinking from it in the dark then you will occasionally swallow a spider because they crawl into it & drown.

    finnw, Bristol England

  • In my many years of non medical practice I have came across many unanswered questions. A spider will be to afraid to enter a mouth that has an odour such as from those who sleep. See, the flux capacitor has 3 branches, inside the fuel bearing is a series of aluminium magnets and single tower corn rod. The alcohol from the rod is distributed through the oral curvature of the titanium larnyx and the molar synopsis of the 3 stage over bite, conflicts with the intestenal track of the blinker fluid of the lower jawline. So there is no way you would ever know if you swallow a spider.

    anthony, phoenix usa

  • This is totally True. I would know. I woke up one morning with a plugged up nose and when i blew my nose a whole spider came out. It was died thank got but it freaked me out. Also it is said around here that the only time a spider or other insect (mainly spiders) go up our nose or other crevess, they go there to die. This i thought was a myth but it happened to me

    John Doe, Wisconsin USA

  • I don’t get it. How can a spider crawl in your mouth without you feeling it? Also where do they come from? Plus this is really scary when I was in bed and asleep something pinched my hand and when I woke up nothing was there. It couldn’t have been an insect cause the pinch was too big and hard and it wasn’t a spider and there was no-one in the room and it wasn’t a throb in my hand. But this is the scary part there were no marks… Guys don’t think I’m messing with you cause it did really happen

    Tom Gould, Hove, UK

  • Actually yes, you do eat loads of spiders in your sleep. You are always within 10 feet of a spider, and though you usually don’t swallow in your sleep, if your tongue is stimulated by the presence of a spider, you are far more likely to swallow than to wake up, similar to how you are far more likely to smack a bug that landed on you than you are to wake up. Usually spiders avoid humans, viewing them as predators, but every now and again a spider will crawl over your face while you sleep, and sometimes it will go near your mouth and fall in due to your breathing and land inside your mouth. The swallowing reflex is then triggered, and you literally eat the spider. It’s a bit rare for all these events to happen in one night, so even though there is always a spider within 10 feet of you, on average you only swallow one every month to a month and a half, hence why the records show that you actually eat more like 8 to 12 each year.

    Paul Blainy, Detroit USA

  • I don’t think it’s true. Im 11 years old, and never heard such a thing. But the thought still scares me so I sleep with tape over my mouth, earplugs and I sleep completely under my blankets.

    Alex, Smith England

  • I agree with people who say don’t worry about it.

    Brandon, retard gay

  • Woww I really hope this isn’t truee… I’m 11, and I have a bad bad bad fear of spiders, and I saw a fast spider in my room, I called for my father but he, took to long, then the spider hid. I’m terrified now! I guess no more sleep for me…..

    Samone, Muskegon USA

  • Well, I hate spiders too but it is a myth usually you will spot spiders in your room and take them outside. Necessarily you might swallow two or three in your life if you live in a dirty house. If you are camping maybe so because you outside. I am nine and came up with this idea. Also you should be more worried about chemicals in your food because I bet you have eaten a bug in your salad. If you store food in your room it is more likely that a spider will come in your mouth. Please don’t worry guys, it is a myth.

    Tala Kabbani, Charlotte, North Carliona, US

  • “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.”
    Spiders are not insects.


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