Which Types of Dangerous Spiders Should You Worry About?
The most common question people ask about spiders is: “Are they poisonous?” The fact is that most spiders are “poisonous” because they contain venom. The main part of a spider’s mouth is its fangs, which it uses to inject venom into its prey (e.g., other spiders, insects, and arthropods) to paralyze and kill it. The venom contains enzymes that dissolve the prey’s insides so that they spider can suck up the nutrients. Of all spiders, only two are something to ever worry about: the black widow spider and the brown recluse spider.
Black Widow Spider
The black widow spider is commonly found in the southern United States. They build webs in places with a lot of debris such as under woodpiles, fences, and eaves; and sometimes they live in outhouses and outdoor toilets. This spider is black in color with an easily-identifiable red hour-glass shape underneath it on its abdomen. While this spider is often feared, it rarely bites or causes severe reaction. However, many people have run into their spider webs or placed their hand on them inadvertently.
People bitten by a black widow usually don’t notice. It causes nothing more than a pin prick if felt. Within an hour, one may notice faint red marks and slight swelling. Over time, pain may intensify and the bite may cause stiffness in limbs. Severe cramps and abdominal pain, along with profuse sweating, is a good signal to seek immediate medical care. Symptoms typically go away on their own, but an anti-venom is available for those who suffer from an allergic reaction to the bite.
Desert Brown Recluse Spider
When bitten by a brown recluse, one may experience a stinging sensation. Within eight hours, redness and intense pain typically occurs. Over time, the symptoms can worsen and result in a dark blue or purple colored area around the bite, a deep sore or ulcer, and in severe cases, tissue that begins dying around the bite. There’s no anti-venom available for brown recluse bites.
Few spiders are large enough or venomous enough to cause harm to humans. In the rare case that someone is bitten by a black widow or brown recluse, it’s important to recognize common signs and symptoms. When reactions are severe, prompt medical attention must be sought.
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