Created By: Megaptera on January 6, 2013 Last Edited By: Megaptera on April 3, 2013

Spider Chitter

That chittering noise that real spiders don't make.

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Trope
Real-life spiders don't have voices. They might tap or drum a surface, or pluck a web, to attract a mate or confuse prey. But creators of fantastic fiction frequently seem compelled to give spiders vocalizations. The sound they make usually takes the form of, but is not limited to, a scratchy chittering sound.

Does it make them scarier, or is it to reduce their element of surprise and make them less scary? In video games, would complete silence from an enemy distract from gameplay?

Another variation is when the critters don't chitter but hiss. This is a more realistic approach to this trope, since many Real Life arthropods, like the Madagascar hissing cockroach and Eastern tarantula (also known as the "Whistling spider" or "Barking spider") do actually have the ability to produce hissing sounds.

This trope is not about sounds that a spider might make in its environment, such as the skittering of its feet up a wall. Please limit examples to vocalizations only.

Examples:

Film

Radio
  • Shelob howls like a giant vacuum cleaner in the 1981 BBC Radio adaptation of The Lord of the Rings. Maybe we can forgive a spider on a radio show for making noises, because we can't actually see her.

VideoGames

Western Animation
Community Feedback Replies: 16
  • January 6, 2013
    rodneyAnonymous
    I dig the idea (kind of like Audible Sharpness heh), but the phrase "This Troper" should not appear on this wiki under any circumstances, even when first-person writing is appropriate, which is almost never. Also articles (sentences, for that matter) that begin with the word "so" are weak, though I can't condemn that style as strongly.
  • January 7, 2013
    Arivne
    Western Animation
    • Jonny Quest episode "Terror Island". The giant spider in the Mad Scientist's laboratory made a chittering, squeaking sound with its mandibles.

    Watch it here.
  • January 7, 2013
    nitrokitty
    I think this might fit better under Stock Sound Effects rather than its own page.
  • January 7, 2013
    Chernoskill
    ^^ this, partly because it's actualy hard to think of any examples that don't feature this!
  • January 7, 2013
    Megaptera
    Don't worry, if I publish I'll fix the grammar and style. It was late, I just wanted to get the idea down.

    I'm not sure if this is a Stock Sound Effect. It's not the same sound clip over and over. It's a peculiar notion that this is a sound for spiders to make. It would make as much sense to have spiders running around followed by the tinkling of little bells.
  • January 7, 2013
    Someoneman
    The spiders in Minecraft make this sound.
  • January 8, 2013
    SharleeD
  • January 9, 2013
    KobyFish
    This sound effect is used in various Filmation cartoons as well, including He-man, She-ra, and Blackstar.
  • January 9, 2013
    Stratadrake
    This isn't restricted to spiders. It tends to occur with large insect/arachnid monsters in general.

    We also need a different word than "speak" - this isn't about dialogue or translations. Something like Spider Chitter or just Insect Chatter could work
  • April 1, 2013
    JonnyB
    The spiders in System Shock II make this sort of sound. Which comes in handy when they're invisible...
  • April 1, 2013
    Larkmarn
    I'd expand this to all bugs. It's definitely not limited to spiders.
  • April 1, 2013
    aurora369
    Chittery Arthropod?
  • April 2, 2013
    Megaptera
    Another variation is when the bugs don't chitter but hiss. This is a more realistic approach to this trope, since many Real Life bugs, like the Madagascar hissing cockroach and Eastern tarantula (also known as the "Whistling spider" or "Barking spider") do actually have the ability to produce hissing sounds.

    Video Games
  • April 2, 2013
    Megaptera
    Er.. whoops, I didn't mean to edit your comment there. Now my name is on it and I don't know who commented it. But I'm adding your point about hissing bugs to the main description, that's good.
  • April 2, 2013
    Megaptera
    I want to keep this to spiders because there are lots of insects that make sounds, one way or another. Crickets are the most obvious one I can think of. But aside from the whistling spiders mentioned above, it's rare for spiders to make any noise.
  • April 3, 2013
    WeAreAllKosh
    Live-Action TV

    On Babylon 5, the Shadows were not spiders, but Sufficiently Advanced Aliens who resembled very large spiders (when you could see them in-phase). And their language sounded like a series of chitters and squeaks.
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