Edit: I have never knowingly eaten spiders.
Edit: Reddit was just down in my district, so give me a minute to catch up. (845am Pacific)
Edit: The water in the video is to keep the spiders from running up my arm. The first take was a disaster.
Edit: The spiders are dangerous, not the handler.
Edit: If anybody knows those magical beings called Producers, I would make awesome spider TV for everyone! I just need the hookup.
Edit: To try to overcome your arachnophobia, start trapping spiders and observing them. Take pictures of them and post them to /r/spiders - learn to recognize different species, learn to recognize different spider parts, like the pedipalps and the spinnerets. Knowledge will help ablate your terror.
Edit: I am still answering questions but I have a 9-month-old and she needs some love too. So please be patient!
I pick up every spider I find. I have handled hundreds of species from North America, Costa Rica, and Indonesia. I used to smash about thirty a day between my bare hands in Costa Rica, where I worked at a butterfly garden. I was never bitten. I don't normally kill spiders, because I am convinced they are falsely implicated in almost every instance of reported bites.
I am also a spider bite tester but so far I haven't gotten enfanged. I know it's a hassle to sit through the ads on my videos, but it helps pay for expeditions. If you can endure another ad, here's a spider heartbeat from a forest of cacao trees in Indonesia.
I have been called a "spider lawyer" at public presentations, for asking these questions: Has anyone in this room ever actually seen a spider biting a person? Why is there no single picture on the internet of a spider actually doing the biting?
I moderate at /r/spiders and shout out the glory of my hardworking comrades. Next time you freak out about a spider, don't kill it, even if it's in your house. Put a glass over it, slide a postcard underneath, and take a picture of it. Then post it at /r/spiders and you'll probably find out it's a harmless pest-eater. If it is something dangerous, we will give you sensible advice.
I am fascinated by spider anatomy and often dissect and photograph them. Here is the calamistrum, a special silk-comb. Here is the claw.jpg) at the end of a spider's leg. This is the male copulatory organ, and this is the female. I made an informative video about spider ladyparts.
I am addressing the issue of dangerous spiders to the Department of Health as part of a Zoonotic Disease Workshop. Medical doctors and veterinarians are among the leading propagators of anti-spider disinformation. They often attribute any lesion or necrosis to a "spider bite" even if no spider is reported. I'm going to tell those doctors what's up.
Let me anticipate some of your questions or statements:
"I don't hate spiders but I am terrified of them." My response: you're not alone. Many people identify themselves as arachnophobes, and harbor unreasonable fear and disgust for spiders. The most helpful thing you can do for yourself is trap a spider in a jar and just look at it. You'll see it is a small animal afraid for its life, not a bloodthirsty killer. Learn to identify which parts are the pedipalps. Once you're looking close enough to see them, your spider paranoia will begin to evaporate.
"I don't care what they do outside, but if they come into my house, it's game over." Why? You're 10000x the spider's size and you have a giant brain. Be the conscious being in charge of the situation, calm down, and don't kill the spiderbro. Roaches and mosquitoes throw a party when you squash a spider.