You’d be surprised sometimes where the world’s deadliest creatures are found and that surprise would probably extend to the US where most of us think a sanitised and civilised society couldn’t possible hold any hidden dangers from insects.
The US however has several poisonous spiders and whilst worldwide, few spiders cause deaths with any regularity, an average of around four to five people die each year after being bitten by an American spider. Forget Hollywood
’s take on poisonous spiders for many of them are reclusive and are known to attack, only if provoked. So what are the ones we should look out for and where will we find them?
Top of the list is the Brown Recluse Spider or Violin Spider which is found in the southern US from the Atlantic across to the Pacific. As its name would suggest, this spider hunts by hiding away and trapping unsuspecting insects as they pass. They’re also not that big and for these reasons you may not see them until it’s too late so be careful rooting around in dark corners and to be on the safe side, wear gloves. The bite can be painful and leads to a condition called necrosis where the toxin in the spider’s venom dissolves human tissue, leading sometimes to gangrenous wounds if untreated. Death occurs mainly from septicaemia caused by the infection of the wound site.
Black Widows are the next most dangerous and are the dream of film makers with their evil looking form; black shiny bodies with a vivid red patch and, of course their name and reputation for devouring their mates. Interestingly, they’re not as dangerous as Hollywood would make out and the chief danger is to young children, old people and the sick. Their venom is a neurotoxin and can slow the heart, lower blood pressure and cause breathing difficulties.
Hobo spiders are more aggressive and have been known to bite with little or no provocation. They live in arid parts of the western US and frequent the ground levels of homes and other buildings. Their bite is painful but often goes unnoticed initially. Eventually the bite turns to a blister which bursts revealing necrosis of the flesh around the bite. Other symptoms include migraine, dizziness and fatigue.
Probably the most troublesome spider is the Yellow Sac Spider which hunts at night and is fond of biting sleeping humans. Whilst not particularly poisonous, they can cause pain and tenderness and which lead to skin conditions around the site. It’s thought that the Yellow Sac Spider causes more bites to humans each year in the US than any other insect apart from mosquitos and ticks.
So we’ve brought you yet another warning tale of avaricious arachnids. As with all of the world’s biting pests, a little common sense and precautions will reduce your chance of being one of the unlucky few who succumb. Don’t have sleepless nights over spiders in America and certainly don’t cancel that wonderful break to the USA
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