Do Spiders Feel Pain?
If you are like most people, you may not care whether spiders feel pain. However, because of the way spiders are designed, their ability to feel pain has implications for many other creatures.
Like crabs and lizards, spiders are able to drop a leg when attacked. Spiders, too, have enemies. Among them is the poisonous ambush bug. Scientists have always assumed that a spider would drop a leg bitten by the ambush bug to prevent the bug's venom from spreading to the rest of its body. However, when they were closely watching an ambush bug attack a spider, it seemed to them that the spider might actually be reacting in pain to the bite.
This observation led scientists to test the spider's reaction to various parts of the ambush bug's venom. Four components of the venom produce both pain in humans and are poisonous. Two other components produce pain, but are harmless. Others cause no pain. Spiders would detach a leg only when it was injected with the components that are both poisonous and painful. Scientists were surprised that spiders could feel pain. They were also surprised that the same substances that cause pain in humans also cause pain in spiders.
Science has, for too long, ignored the obvious fact that other living things can feel pain. Some have even taken this so far as to say that the unborn human child cannot feel pain when attacked during an abortion. The spider's proven ability to feel pain teaches all of us to be less unfeeling about the pain of others.