I recall reading an article some time back where it was discovered that the one thing that consistently produced the strongest fear reaction in the most people was ‘a spider crawling over their foot while half asleep’. Makes you wonder what evolutionary process resulted in such a strong instinct.
Here in the US, most spiders are harmless. Larger spiders can bite painfully, and tarantulas have half-inch fangs of doom, but the only deadly ones are Black Widows and Brown Recluse spiders. And even those aren’t nearly as deadly as some folks fear.
Black Widow bites are generally no worse than a bee sting… the first time. The trick is the body is sensatized after that, so subsequent bites are increasingly nasty. You’ll be seriously ill your second time, and third and subsequent bites are probably gonna kill you unless you’re right outside the ER.
As for Brown Recluse, they’re nasty in a whole ‘nother way. The inital bite is barely noticable, but then everything turns into a pus-filled volcano of necrotic tissue and gangrene. I really cannot emphasize just how nasty it is.
Thankfully, both species are downright shy. Just make sure you look where you’re putting your hands when you go to grab wood from the pile, or are cleaning out the attic.
Of course, that’s peanuts compared to some of the tropical spiders out there, and then you get to the Aussie ones. Did you know that some of the spiders have proteins in their venom that *specifically* target primates? Despite, you know, there not having been any over there until relatively recently, and there being no reason for them to have it? Scary.