Follow TV Tropes


Friendly Neighborhood Spider

Go To
"A spider's life can't help being something of a mess, with all this trapping and eating flies. By helping you, perhaps I was trying to lift up my life a trifle. Heaven knows anyone's life can stand a little of that."
Charlotte, Charlotte's Web

Usually Spiders Are Scary, especially if they're giant or so many. But sometimes, spiders can be actually nice and harmless. Sometimes can be used as a pet or an ally, or sometimes, if is a spider person, can be part of the hero team. This is your Friendly Neighborhood Spider, man (ba-dum tish)!

Positive portrayals of spiders in fiction tend to emphasize different aspects of them than negative ones do. Often, the fact that they eat insect pests will be mentioned, and their web-building habits are often used as an example of perseverance and industriousness. Negative or evil portrayals of spiders often play up their use of venom (because Poison Is Evil, after all). Heroic spiders, therefore, are rarely described as being venomous.

It is also worth noting that not all spiders are seen in an equally favorable light. Tarantulas and black widow spiders, which are almost universally considered dangerous (though this is quite exaggerated in fiction compared to reality, especially in the case of the former), rarely get this treatment. Jumping spiders and orb-weaver spiders, on the other hand, are more likely to be portrayed positively since they are considered harmless and look conventionally "cute" to many people.

Contrast Spiders Are Scary, the inversion of this trope, and Scary Scorpions, since scorpions are often portrayed as the Unpleasant Animal Counterpart to spiders. Some Spider People can be seen as this. A Friend to Bugs usually has one as a friend, as might an Animal Lover. Sub-Trope of Good Animals, Evil Animals, in which the spiders are usually Funny and/or Talking Animals, as well Dark Is Not Evil, in which spiders are usually being of color black or another dark colour.


    open/close all folders 


    Anime & Manga 
  • The arachne Rachnera Arachnera from Monster Musume is one of the many monster girls in the Unwanted Harem of Kimihito. She hated humans before until she met Kimihito and eventually fell in love with him and made friends with the other monster girls. Rachnera is aware of her own strength, so she's very careful with Kimihiko, also saving him in a couple of times. She is, however, aware that humans think Spiders Are Scary and is very, very willing to take advantage of that fact.
  • The, well, giant spider in Giant Spider & Me, despite being a wild animal, basically acts like a well-trained dog, only becoming aggressive to defend the protagonist from less-friendly creatures. Its accidental owner is unsure whether this critter is actually a spider since it's so huge and doesn't act like an arachnid.
  • Farming Life In Another World: Zabuton is a giant spider that resembles a jumping spider. She eats potatoes, guards the village, weaves clothing with her silk, and usually greets people by waving an arm. Her children are just as friendly.

    Asian Animation 
  • The Lamput episode "Lamput and the Spider" has Lamput befriending a spider after improvising a web for it when it has trouble weaving one for itself. As Lamput is trying to get some sleep that night, the spider defends him from a swarm of mosquitoes who want to suck his blood.

    Comic Books 

    Films — Animation 
  • In Madagascar, Alex finds a big hairy spider on his shoulders. The only thing the spider does is give him a big friendly smile and a cheery "Well, howdy-do", but Alex freaks out anyway.
  • In A Bug's Life, Rosie, the black widow spider (and a relatively rare instance of that species filling this trope), is the gentle Team Mom of the circus bugs.
  • In Corpse Bride, there are some friendly, talking black widow spiders in the world of the dead. One of them is a close friend of Emily, the titular corpse bride.
  • In Mune: Guardian of the Moon, there is a race of cute, fluffy spider-like creatures that assist the current Guardian of the Moon. Although they occasionally display Silent Snarker personalities, they are still shown to be benevolent and helpful.
  • Zig-zagged throughout the Trolls franchise. There are large predatory spiders that prey on trolls, but also smaller ones that happily sing along with their songs. The Pop Trolls were even shown to have a holiday where they're tickled by a swarm of them.
  • The spider from Minuscule: Valley of the Lost Ants, despite initially giving off the scary vibes, ultimately turns out to be friendly and hospitable to the ladybug that arrives into its doll house, sharing a berry with it and even allowing it to take the matchbox to let it turn the tide of the Ant War in favor of its ant friends.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • Cool World: Nails the Spider. Yup, even those that dislike the movie have dubbed him as the best character.
  • Home Alone: Buzz McCallister, the Big Brother Bully of Kevin, has a tarantula (Grammostola rosea) as a pet, which was released after Kevin went home alone. This was eventually used as one of Kevin's Improvised Weapons against the Wet Bandits. In fact it could be argued that the spider, like the cellar was part of Kevin's childhood fears which he had to overcome in order to rely on himself more and protect his home. And what better way of overcoming one's fear is there other than utilising the source of it into a weapon against the real enemies? In the end, the tarantula does not receive damage and it was found by Buzz when he came back home with the rest of his family (or at least is implied).

  • Issac of the Magic Ex Libris series has Smudge, his pet fire-spider who serves as his evil-detecting bug, who also likes to each jellybeans and chase laser pointers.
  • Charlotte's Web (as well their adaptations) is about a friendly spider that helps prevent the pig Wilbur from being slaughtered, even giving her own life to save Wilbur's as well being a kind of godmother for the rest of the farm. Her daughters Nellie, Joy, and Arania (who decides to stay at the farm since the other babies by Charlotte have left) are also friendly despite showing up at the very end of the story.
  • Being a Friend to All Living Things, Rubeus Hagrid from Harry Potter has a Giant Spider called Aragog, which was adopted by and is loyal to Hagrid, being defended by him from the accusations of Aragog being Slytherin's Monster, which was the basilisk instead. Unfortunately for Harry and Ron, they discover Aragog isn't otherwise nice at all, especially because his species has a taste for human flesh and he doesn't extend the exception that he makes for Hagrid to Hagrid's friends.
  • The Four Horsemen Universe: Double Subverted with Tortantulas, a race of car-sized arachnids that are first introduced as Blood Knights in Cartwright's Cavaliers, known for loving to fight and eating their kills. In the next two books, though, there are Tortantula mercs in the supporting cast that often act as Comically Serious comic relief: as a race they are fairly Literal-Minded and so social interactions between them and mammals often take strange turns.
  • InCryptid: In Calculated Risks, Sarah and her friends are trapped in Another Dimension full of Big Creepy-Crawlies, including Giant Spiders. Sarah telepathically tames one and names him Greg. He becomes her Bond Creature with Undying Loyalty, and at the end of the book someone calls him her "emotional support animal". When James pets Greg, he says he feels like what Sweetums would feel like if he were real.
  • In James and the Giant Peach as well as its animated film adaption, there is a friendly spider appropriately named "Miss Spider". In the book, she is more of a grandmother-like figure, while in the film she is darker and more gothic, but still all-around good.
  • Arachne from Alex Verus, who is also of the Giant Spider variety. Close friend of Alex's who likes to make clothing. Her tendency towards No Sense of Personal Space (she's extremely nearsighted) tends to unnerve people who don't know her well.
  • In The Bad Guys series, Legs is a kind and creative tarantula, and had already shifted to the side of good before he was introduced. Unfortunately for him, the stereotype that spiders are scary has dragged on for him. This was a heavy plot point in "Mission Unpluckable", where the others (primarily Mr. Shark) had to realize that yes, he means no harm, despite the fact he looks scary to them.
  • Miss Aranea Moneyspider in The Butterfly Ball and the Grasshopper's Feast is a bit vain but basically friendly. Even though many of the other characters are insects, she shows no inclination to eat them.
  • The Weavers in Spellsinger, who are isolationist, but are persuaded to ally with the vertebrates against the insectoid Plated Folk.
  • The Crystal Spiders in The Obsidian Trilogy are glowing white spiders the size of lambs. They're preyed on by the Shadowed Elves and immediately ally themselves with the heroes fighting them.
  • Two of the Heralds of Valdemar anthology books, No True Way and Seasons, have short stories involving giant psychic spiders. In the first, a homeless giant spider answers the human characters' call for help, reasoning that it's better to die doing something noble than to freeze to death. Her life is then saved, Vanyel Ashkevron works a spell to allow her to speak verbally, and the village she saves adopts her as their champion. In Seasons, she's had children and she and most of them are hibernating for the winter, but two of them, lamb-sized and wearing sweaters knitted by the villagers, help against a bandit attack.
  • Toy Academy: Irving Spider-Ring, a living plastic spider ring, is a polite and helpful fellow who serves as Grumbolt's guidance counselor at Toy Academy.
  • Xanth: Castle Roogna has Dor the magician befriending Jumper the Spider, who is a brave, loyal and selfless creature. He and Dor become extremely close friends.
  • Neil Gaiman's novel Anansi Boys mainly uses spiders as a motif for the main characters - the two sons of the West African trickster god Anansi, but as the fantasy elements come more to the forefront, the spiders become more and more literal, culminating in a Big Damn Army of giant spiders that the hero summons.
    • Anansi also appears as a Cool Old Guy in Gaiman's earlier novel, American Gods. It's ambiguous whether the two novels are set in the same universe or if it's the same version of the character, however.

    Live-Action TV 
  • The Addams Family: The title family have a pet spider named Homer. Despite the neighbors being scared of him, he's actually quite a nice pet.

    Myths & Religion 
  • In Akan Mythology, Anansi the Spider is a Trickster God who is generally the protagonist in his stories, and is usually regarded as benign or beneficial. A few stories cast him as more of an Unsympathetic Comedy Protagonist, but he's never truly villainous.
  • Fulani Mythology has Hammadi ask the Spider Queen to send for flies in order to find Bagumawel, who is on a journey to kill Njeddo Dewal Inna Baasi.
  • A more benign interpretation of Arachne from Classical Mythology is that Athena turned her into a spider that's generally harmless and would only weave webs. Of course, considering that it's the Greek myth and their Gods, so it's often a common practice to think that Arachne got bitter at this and turns the other way around.
  • The Qur'an tells a story about Muhammed and his father-in-law Abu Bakr being pursued by assassins, and hiding out in a cave. On Allah's instructions, a spider quickly weaves a web over the entrance of the cave, fooling the assassins into thinking that nobody could have gone in without breaking the web, which appears to be the work of several days.
    • In some Christian traditions (though not in the text of the Bible itself), a spider saves Mary, Joseph, and the baby Jesus from the pursuing soldiers of King Herod in a similar way.
  • Spiders are rare in heraldry, but they symbolize perseverance and diligence.
  • The Teotihuacan civilization (Aztec precursors who lived in what is now Mexico) had a central goddess who is often pictured accompanied by spiders. It's been speculated that she was a fertility goddess, but not much else about her is really known, although she was clearly very important to the Teotihuacanos. She has also been linked to...
    • ...the Spider Grandmother found in many Native American mythologies, especially those of the southwest. As the name suggests, she is generally seen as a kindly, wise mentor figure, and is strongly associated with medicine and protection, although in some Navajo myths she takes on a more disciplinarian role as a frightener of naughty children. In Choctaw tradition, she stole fire from the heavens and gave it to humanity, like Prometheus. In Objibwe tradition, she taught humans to create the web-like good luck charms that are today generally known as dreamcatchers.
    • Also from Native North American tradition comes the character Iktomi, a shapechanger who most commonly takes the form of a spider. Like Anansi, he is a Trickster God and a somewhat morally-ambiguous figure, though generally a benign one.

    Puppet Shows 
  • In the The Wubbulous World of Dr. Seuss episode, "A Bird's Guide to Health", Horton the Elephant meets Sid the Spider, a spider whose left legs were crushed by a fallen tree. Despite Horton's initial fear of spiders, he and Sid become friends. Horton nurses Sid back to health and protects him from Jane Kangaroo and the Wickershams, who all think that bugs are creepy and not friendly.

    Tabletop Games 
  • Pathfinder: The Anadi are a race of sapient, talking, human-sized spiders native to the Mwangi Expanse. They are a generally nonviolent and cooperative people who do their best to be comforting and accommodating to make up for the instinctive revulsion that most people feel towards spiders, and have developed magic that allows them to take humanoid form in order to avoid frightening others.

    Video Games 
  • Skid from TinkerQuarry is a living plastic toy spider who exhibits a Cheerful Child-like personality, and is one of the sweetest and kindest characters in the game.
  • Kirby Star Allies: While the spider-like Como enemies have appeared in previous games, they were almost always portrayed as generic spider enemies. In this game, however, they can be transformed into Helpers.
  • In Donkey Kong Country 2: Diddy's Kong Quest and Donkey Kong Country 3: Dixie Kong's Double Trouble!, Squitter is a Giant Spider who assists the Kongs in their quests. He creates two different types of webs; ones that can be used as ammunition against enemies, and ones that can be used as temporary platforms to get across dangerous places or reach higher places and/or items.
  • Moshi Monsters has a minor character who's a spider named Scratch, who once helped the Super Moshis save Simon Growl from a fall by using a web.
  • In Pokémon, Spinarak from the Second Generation, Joltik from the Fifth Generation and Dewpider from the Seventh Generation are Pokémon depictions of spiders that actually are cute and nice, also seen in their appearances in the anime. However, their evolutions (Ariados, Galvantula and Araquanid respectively) may look slightly scary, though not that much compared to most examples, but in the end all depends of their trainers and generally are cute in behavior.
  • Each game in the Exile series and the Avernum remakes features the Giant Intelligent Friendly Talking Spiders (GIFTS). As the name suggests, they're intelligent, talkative, and incredibly friendly. They're also all named Spider.
  • While Bug Fables normally averts this, as all spiders in the game are hostile "lesser bugs" (non-sentient animalistic arthropods), there are two exceptions for this rule. The first is a sentient Tarantula wizard, who, while gruff and anti-social, is not aggressive, and he warms up to the main party after they give him ingredients for his newest potion, and even teaches them new skills. And then there is also a lone semi-sentient spider in Forsaken Lands, who, if given items, will pay a double price of their sell cost.
  • The main character of Webbed is a cute jumping spider on a journey to save her boyfriend, who has been kidnapped by a bowerbird. Throughout the adventure she comes across a wolf spider who lost her babies, a redback spider who speaks in skater lingo, a golden orb-weaver who plays hide-and-seek, and an ogre-faced spider on a fishing holiday. Unusually, this cast of friendly creepy crawlies displays realistic anatomy and very few anthropomorphic attributes; their cuteness comes instead from the game's pixelated art style and lighthearted dialogue.

    Web Animation 
  • Lucas the Spider is a YouTube video series dedicated to making the titular young spider as tooth-erodingly cute as possible.
  • Invoked in Story From North America. A boy calls his father to his bedroom because there's a spider crawling around in the room, and the boy is scared of it and wants the father to kill it for him. The father changes the boy's mind by convincing him that the spider isn't evil, it's part of nature and should be appreciated. The boy realizes that "maybe he's got a family", and the father releases the spider outside.


    Western Animation 
  • In Pocoyo there're a few secondary spider characters with one eye who are despised even though they're actually nice. A good example is the episode "Pato's Egg" in which Pato finds an egg and raises it, only to find that it hatches a spider instead of a bird. Everyone finds it scary, including Pato, but later it is seen that this baby spider is very nice and is embraced by Pato as his father, and later is accepted by his friends Pocoyo and Elly. Also is seen later in other Pocoyo shorts, like "The Big Race!" having his own car.
  • Jeff from The Grim Adventures of Billy & Mandy, a Giant Spider who is friendly and kind and thinks Billy is his father. Billy, on the other hand, is dreadfully afraid of spiders, and always tries to swat him whenever he appears.
  • The two main characters of the Hungarian animated series Vízipók-Csodapók are a water spider and an orb-weaving diamondback spider. The water spider is a wide-eyed, curious character who is friendly with all bugs he meets, whereas the diamondback is somewhat grouchy and snarky, but still a loyal friend.
  • My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic:
    • In "Maud Pie", the resident Friend to All Living Things Fluttershy introduces Maud Pie to a spider, describing how they're "actually very sweet and help keep other, more dangerous insects away!" And then the spider offers a flower to Maud. This also counts as a subversion of Spiders Are Scary, since the spider is introduced glaring menacingly from solid red eyes and with fangs dripping with saliva, presenting a traditionally scary image before offering its flower. The spider goes on to reappear in later episodes as part of Fluttershy's menagerie of friendly woodland critters. "Scare Master" reveals that his name is Mr. Fuzzylegs.
    • "What Lies Beneath" likewise uses this trope by subverting Spiders Are Scary. In her trial in the crystal caverns, Yona — an arachnophobe — encounters an enormous swarm of red-eyed spiders. She passes her trial when she overcomes her fear and befriends the spiders, who turn out to be very helpful critters and help to first guide her to her friends and then to guide the rest of the characters find Sandbar.
    • The TV Special Rainbow Roadtrip has Fluttershy meeting another friendly spider in a run-down hotel room. The spider bears a striking resemblance to Lucas the Spider.
  • Charlie and Lola: In the episode "I'm Not All That Keen on Spiders", Lola meets two spiders named Sidney and Robert, who she's scared of at first, but then her Cool Big Bro Charlie tells her spiders are nice.
  • The Aesop of the Peppa Pig episode "Mister Skinnylegs". George finds a large friendly spider in the bathroom sink and "invites" him to the tea party, which scares Peppa. Eventually she learns the spider is benevolent and harmless. Note this episode was Banned in Australia due to the number of venomous spiders there.
  • In the Rugrats episode, "Spike Runs Away", after Spike runs away, Stu and Didi try to get Tommy a replacement pet. One of these is a tarantula named Terry, who isn't poisonous and has even been defanged so he can't bite. However, Didi still finds Terry creepy. When Tommy opens the door to Terry's cage to try to teach him how to fetch his ball, Terry crawls into Lou's bedroom, where he frightens a sleeping Lou. Lou, having not been informed of Terry's presence, kills him, wraps him in a wad of tissues, and tosses him into a trash can.
  • Miss Spider's Sunny Patch Friends stars the kindly Miss Spider, who adopts three insect children along with raising her own five spider kids. There is another spider character, Spiderus, who starts out as a bad guy, but becomes more of a Jerk with a Heart of Gold as the series goes on, as well as Miss Spider's husband Holley and Spiderus's sweet wife Spindella.
  • The Looney Tunes Show: In the season 2 episode "Itsy Bitsy Gopher", Bugs and friends are afraid of a big spider that appears in their house, believing it to be a deadly African sand spider. After failed attempts to kill the spider, Gossamer appears looking for Webster, his pet spider, whose species mimics the African sand spider but is harmless. Unfortunately, that's not the spider that's in the house.
  • Tumble Leaf: Pine the porcupine has friendly spiders who spin thread and yarn for her to knit with.
  • A CBBC cartoon called Spider! was about a boy who befriended a spider he found in the bath.
  • The Itsy Bitsy Spider is a four-eyed arachnid who is befriended by Leslie, a little girl. Regardless of how nice he is, he's the target of the wrath of a stubborn exterminator.

    Real Life 
  • Grammostola rosea, also called as "Chilean rose tarantula"note , is a tarantula species originated on Chile, which is basically a hand-size haired tarantula which is nice, friendly and harmless. This is probably the only spider that is considered as a pet and is usually treated as that in this country as well in various parts of the world, usually as "exotic pet". Truth in Television as the spider used in various movies and series as pets is the Grammostola rosea, as in the Home Alone example.
  • ''Brachypelma Hamorii, aka the "Mexican redknee tarantula" is also a very docile species of tarantula that is similarly a hand-size creature that can easily be handled by humans.
  • One of the benefits you'll often hear about having spiders around is that they'll get rid of all the other bugs you don't want around. This makes them friendly (or at least helpful) for humans, but not so much for insects...
  • Spiders in general are not exactly friendly, but at the same time most won't attack you unless you give them a reason to. Most spiders, even infamously dangerous ones like the black widow, much prefer to skitter away from humans than bite them on sight. (Evolutionary logic: poison is costly, don't waste it on non-prey if possible.)
  • Jumping Spiders are about the size of a dime and have a quartet of Puppy-Dog Eyes framed by four tiny eyes. Many of them, particularly the Zebra Spider, have such good eyesight that they are highly aware of humans in their vicinity and will take notice of you and even twirl around to follow your finger, which makes them come off as rather friendly and playful (and yes, they're harmless — they're just wary that you might be a threat and don't want you to sneak up on them).