Have you ever felt an itch on your scalp and wondered if something was crawling around up there? That creeping feeling that something might be lurking in your locks is enough to make your skin crawl.
You may have heard urban legends about spiders laying eggs in people’s hair while they sleep. Is there any truth to these hair-raising tales?
Let’s examine the facts about spiders and their egg-laying habits to see if you should worry about uninvited 8-legged squatters setting camp on your head.
Can Spiders Lay Eggs in Your Hair?
The short answer is yes, it is technically possible for a spider to lay eggs in your hair, but it’s extremely unlikely. Spiders don’t seek out human heads as prime real estate for their egg sacs. Here’s a breakdown of the possibilities:
- House spiders: Common house spiders like daddy longlegs are the species most likely to come into contact with people. However, they strongly prefer to spin their webs and lay eggs in secluded, undisturbed areas like attics, basements, sheds, and garages. Your constantly moving head does not fit their ideal calm space for rearing young.
- Outdoor spiders: Spiders that live primarily outside have adapted to laying eggs in their natural habitats like trees, leaves, branches, and burrows, not on mammals. Some outdoor spiders may wander indoors and come across a sleeping human, but they are not inclined to deposit eggs in your hair.
- Tarantulas: Despite urban legends, there are no credible reports of tarantulas laying eggs in anyone’s hair. Tarantulas create silken egg sacs in underground burrows, not on living organisms. Their egg-laying process would also be difficult to accomplish on something as small and mobile as a human head.
So, while a lost, confused spider can stumble upon your head and attempt to lay eggs while you sleep, it is highly unusual behaviour. Spiders instinctively seek out more suitable egg-laying sites than your locks.
Spider Egg-Laying Habits
To understand why your hair is highly unlikely real estate for spider eggs, it helps to know how spiders produce and deposit their egg sacs:
- Ideal conditions: Spiders select egg-laying sites with perfect temperature, moisture, protection, and seclusion from predators. Human heads are hot, exposed, and in motion – the opposite of suitable.
- Sac construction: For protection, most spiders spin thick silk cocoons around their eggs. This elaborate process would require more work to achieve on loose hairs.
- Egg adhesion: Spider egg sacs are securely attached to webs, leaves, or hidden crevices, not loosely scattered. Any eggs laid on your hair would not stick.
- Placement: Spiders determine the most nurturing place for their young through instinct – not atop mammals. Their babies fare best away from activity and threats.
- No hair affinity: No evidence shows spiders are attracted to hair for laying eggs. Hair provides no particular advantage over natural sites.
So, the biology and behaviour of spiders suggest your scalp is a highly impractical egg deposit site. A spider might only lay eggs there by accident under extremely unnatural circumstances.
Expert Insights on Hair-Dwelling Spiders
To get to the bottom of this creepy question, let’s examine what professional entomologists and arachnologists have to say:
- Pest expert Dr Michael Merchant asserts there are no known spider species with an inclination or ability to lay eggs on humans or animals.
- Arizona State University arachnologist Dr Rick Vetter finds no evidence of spiders purposefully laying eggs in hair. He concludes it would be biologically non-adaptive behaviour.
- The Burke Museum of Natural History & Culture states that while spiders might crawl on a person while sleeping, there are no verified reports of ovipositing on humans.
- Prominent arachnid researcher Dr Rod Crawford rules out the plausibility of spiders laying eggs in hair, calling it “scientifically untenable.”
The consensus among experts is clear: claims of spiders depositing eggs in your hair lack scientific backing. There are no verified cases of this occurring.
Can You Prevent Spiders in Your Hair?
While spiders laying eggs in your tresses is rare, you may still prefer to take precautions against nighttime head visitors. Some tips include:
- Keeping hair covered with a cap or wrapped in a scarf at night.
- Use essential oils like peppermint, lavender, and eucalyptus to repel spiders from bedding.
- Vacuuming and dusting regularly to remove cobwebs where spiders live.
- Sealing cracks and openings so spiders don’t sneak indoors.
- Checking bedsheets and pillows before sleeping.
The reality is spiders don’t want to call your head home. But if it eases your mind, easy preventative measures ensure you don’t offer accidental arachnid accommodations.
The Takeaway: Spider Hair Infestation Is Highly Unlikely
While the thought of spiders laying eggs in your hair is shudder-inducing, science and facts provide reassurance. No evidence supports spiders intentionally using human heads to incubate their young. Your tresses likely play host to dandruff, not spider nurseries. But if you take precautions and check for signs of active spiders, you can sleep soundly knowing your scalp is almost certainly a no-go zone for hungry egg-layers looking for a place to spawn.