Local man helps others crawl past their fear of spiders

Posted at 5:59 PM, Oct 19, 2016
and last updated 2016-10-19 18:27:13-04

ZEELAND, Mich. – Fair warning to those afraid of spiders – this story is actually meant for you.

Conquering your fears can be daunting, especially for those suffering from arachnophobia, or fear of spiders. The phobia ranks third highest on the list of most common among Americans, behind only fear of death and fear of public speaking.

But not to worry, Bob McAndrews is here to help.

Better known by his YouTube name, Bob the Spider Hunter, McAndrews has spent the past few years spanning the globe while tracking, filming, and educating his thousands of subscribers on those eight-legged creatures most will go out of their way to avoid.

“Spiders get a bad rap, is what it amounts to,” said McAndrews, “and there’s a lot of fears about spiders. Most people are afraid of what they don’t understand. Knowledge can help remove some of that fear.”

McAndrews has visited Mexico, the Virgin Islands, and several locations here in the States looking for arachnids, and has had some tremendous luck in terms of the diversity of species he’s captured on camera.

Also a regular volunteer at local nature circles, McAndrews says his education has helped a good amount of people – kids and adults – overcome their fear of spiders. He just wants others to see them the way he does.

“When I’m filming them I’m always going, ‘isn’t this a beautiful spider?’” he said. “And I’m thinking of the people that are going ‘Ahh! How can you use the word beautiful? That’s an ugly thing, it’s scary!’ But there is a sense of beauty in the design of spiders.”

McAndrews is completely self-taught, but has read countless books on spiders and regularly keeps in contact with professors and arachnid experts.

Take your first steps towards curing your arachnophobia and check out Bob the Spider Hunter’s YouTube channel for more information.