We have heard of animal trainers that work with animals on movie sets in order to get a particular animal to behave a certain way for a scene. But what about movies that prominently feature spiders? Do these movies require spider-trainers to please the director? Do spiders have the intelligence to be trained by humans?
The answer seems to be “yes” as there are currently spider-trainers working in Hollywood today. How could a movie like Spiderman get made without training spiders? There is a way to train spiders, but as you can imagine, there is much education that is required in order to become a successful spider-trainer for the movies.
A trained entomologist by the name of Steven Kutcher is one such spider-trainer, and he is arguably the most sought after spider-trainer by production companies. According to Kutcher, he knows how to train a cockroach to scurry across the floor and then have it flip over onto its back. He knows how to make just about any creepy-crawly travel a particular distance and then stop. He can even train entire colonies of bees to swarm in particular directions. And he has been known to train flies to land in an actor’s mouth. Training a living creature to move towards life threatening areas, like a person’s mouth, is pretty impressive. In order to accomplish that feat Kutcher would have to train a fly to ignore its instinct for self-preservation.
Kutcher mentions that modern CGI could put him out of business, but luckily movie producers prefer to use the real thing if it is possible, and thanks to Kutcher, it is possible. Kutcher spends his spare time educating the public, especially the younger generation, about spiders and insects.
Do you think that even the simplest insects can become conditioned to behave in a certain manner?