SPIDER BITES – The Good, The Bad & The Fatal

It is estimated that there is almost four times more species of spider than the 40,000 already identified. Most of these are completely harmless and their bite would leave you with little more than a pin prick; if they would dare even bite you at all. Whilst mortality from spider bites is rare, certain species have the potential to cause a range of reactions, from skin swelling to multi-organ failure and urgent intervention is critical to survival.

Here is a quick reference guide to the ones you should steer clear of:

AUSTRALIA’S FUNNEL-WEB SPIDER

funnel web spider 1

To anyone out there with a fear of spiders, this is the one to look out for it is the only species known to attack unprovoked. The venomous toxins will have you feel like you’re drowning alive. The key to survival here is getting the anti-venom as quickly as possible, treat the bite area as if it were bleeding and get to a doctor ASAP.


Location:
South Australia and Queensland, under rocks
Personality: Aggressive
Appearance: Hairless brown
Bite: Painful
Reaction: Local hives, vomiting, heart racing, drowning alive.
Time to Treat: 15 minutes

 

BLACK WIDOW SPIDER

black widow spider 1

Famous for being 15 times more venomous than a rattlesnake the red geometric markings on the back and belly distinguish the black widow spider from the others. A bite from her will likely be in the warmer months and children and elderly are particularly at risk so get them anti-venom within the next two hours.

Location: Temperate regions around the world
Personality: Attack if disturbed
Appearance: Hairless, black and red
Bite: Stinging target lesion
Reaction: Whole body cramps and spasm
Time to Treat: 2 hours

 

BROWN RECLUSE SPIDER

brown recluse spider

This desert nightwalker with six eyes; found crawling into your bed looking for a place to sleep for the day; could leave you needing surgery. You should clean and elevate the area and try to reduce the swelling with ice packs. Depending on the size of the bite you may need to cut the skin to release pressure.

Location: United States
Personality: Attack if provoked
Appearance: Violin mark on it’s back
Bite: Painless
Reaction: Swollen black skin
Time to Treat: 4-12 hours

NEW WORLD TARANTULA

tarantula 1

The superhero of the tarantula world, this 4 species have developed with an armoury of spikes on their belly, thrown at victims with the aim of incapacitating them before an attack. Watch for their hairs entering your eyes, it can cause blindness.

Location: The Americas
Personality: A good friend to have
Appearance: Characteristicly hairy & brown
Bite: Painless
Reaction: Swollen black skin
Time to Treat: 4-12 hours

 

BRAZILIAN WANDERING SPIDER

brazilian-wandering-spider

Rather than spinning webs, armed spiders, spend their days wandering the forest floor hunting prey. If they lift their bodies up, get away fast, that’s them signalling an attack. You can find them in the forest or hiding in bunches of bananas.

Location: South and Central America
Personality: Hunters
Appearance: Like a large tarantula
Bite: Extremely painful
Reaction: Painful erection, dizziness and visual disturbances
Time to Treat: slow the reaction by calmly lying down

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It is estimated that there is almost four times more species of spider than the 40,000 already identified. Most of these are completely harmless...
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