What are daddy long legs
The term is typically used for spiders with long, skinny legs and small brown bodies. If you’ve ever seen small, creepy crawlers hanging around your house, chances are you’ve been acquainted with the infamous daddy long legs. They’re quite common all over the world and they like to hide in the corners of rooms, furniture, and sheltered areas. This makes our homes perfect for them to live in, and no matter what we do, there’s no getting rid of them.
Types of daddy long legs
Remember that not all daddy long legs are the same, and there are thousands of species that fall under different classes. However, there are three popular types: one goes by the scientific name pholcidae, which is an araneomorph spider, and the other is a harvestman species called the opilione arachnid, which isn’t a spider. And then there’s the winged spider, also known as craneflies or tipula oleracea, which are spiders under the Diptera family that can fly.
How they defend themselves
Despite their fragile nature, daddy long legs know how to survive when they go into fight-or-flight mode. When under the threat of a potential predator, the daddy long legs can automatically sever a part of their limbs to get away quickly. When under attack by other insects, they keep opponents at a distance while spinning them in silky webs until they’re helpless enough to receive a bite. They’re so powerful that they can even beat a redback spider, which is one of the most feared venomous spiders in Australia.
Daddy long legs myth
The famous myth claims that daddy long legs venom is one of the most toxic kinds in the world and that it can be fatal to humans or animals. But since their fangs are too small and short, they can never penetrate our skin even if they wanted to. The truth is that their venom isn’t lethal, and that they can bite us, but the chances of them wanting to are slim to none.
Are they poisonous?
This is where the Discovery Channel steps in to prove that they aren’t poisonous to humans. During a MythBusters episode, Adam Savage stuck his entire arm into a container full of daddy long legs. Needless to say, he lived to tell the tale with nothing but a few negligible prickling sensations left on his skin. The truth is, they’re passive towards humans and wouldn’t go out of their way to bite us, even if they could.
While they have venom glands, their bites don’t pack a punch against their kind or others. A study published by Professor Greta Binford and Pamela Zobel-Thropp proves that their venom is only effective against other insects. The research paper has also helped scientific and educational communities debunk the urban legend about daddy long legs venom for the general public.
Can they harm pets?
A quick online search will reveal posts by concerned pet owners whose dogs and cats have intentionally eaten daddy long legs spiders. If this ever happens to your furry friends, you don’t need to worry – since they aren’t poisonous to any mammal, daddy long legs are very unlikely to cause any adverse reactions to your pets.
Why they're safe to have in your home
The good news is that you don’t have to lose sleep wondering if they’re going to hurt you. They spend most of their time scavenging for prey with their silk webs while fending off potential predators, and they’re even beneficial in the garden. As a matter of fact they can fight against other household nuisances like bigger spiders, smaller flies, aphids, mites, worms, and even fungus.
Why daddy long legs won’t kill you
Whether you like them or not, daddy long legs are here to stay. But even if they show up uninvited, they won’t do much to bother you besides leave bits of web lying around. Instead of thinking of them as pests, you can choose to see them as protectors against other more potentially harmful intruders. So, the next time you run into one of them, you can relax and thank them for doing what they do.
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