Even before Miss Muffet sat on her tuffet, human civilization has had a morbid fascination with spiders. Although the average spider can do no harm to humans, they are seen as dangerous creatures to be killed on sight.
Worldwide, and since the introduction of antivenom, very few fatalities can actually be attributed directly to spiders. The legendary Sydney Funnel-web Spider from Australia last caused a fatality in 1981. Other species of spiders around the world cause fatalities due to their venomosity combined with a lack of medical facilities and treatment.
In South Africa, there has never been a verified death from a spider bite. There are approximately 2400 of named species of spider in southern Africa, only about 20 species are considered medically important.
Oddly enough, the average spider’s venom has very little effect upon humans. Many spiders rarely bite, others only deliver a mechanical bite, when their fangs penetrate human skin. Despite the lack of evidence that spiders are dangerous to humans, the average person lives in misguided fear of these creatures.
Many people may think that the world would be a better place without spiders. In reality, without their existence, insect populations would blossom, impacting upon food crops and spreading disease.