Ah, the spider. The arachnid has been demonized in books, movies, television and various other media forms, from giant versions looking to wipe out humanity to normal-sized ones insisting on taking a bite out of anybody. Yet spiders play an essential role in our ecosystem, and eat many insects that would otherwise ruin our lives. Some 40,000 spider species exist, and very few are a threat to humans. However, it’s still a good idea to have a working knowledge of venomous spiders, something you can add to your growing list of survival skills! Let’s check out a few of our eight-legged friends that require ER visits if they bite ya:
The mere mention of this spider’s name is enough to send chills through most, and while many spider species are region-specific, the Black Widow is found all over the North American continent. Primarily found in the southwest, Black Widows have poor climbing skills and prefer cluttered areas, such as wood piles. They also enjoy building webs between objects. Adult Black Widows are shiny black save an hourglass-shaped red or orange mark on the underside of the abdomen. Their bodies are generally 1/2 inch long.
Also called the violin spider, the Brown Recluse is commonly found in the southern and Midwestern United States. Brown in color except for a violin-shaped marking on its head, this spider has six eyes instead of the typical eight. Bodies are between 1/4 to 3/4 inch in length. Fond of leaf and rock piles, the Brown Recluse also likes sheltered areas, such as the underside of logs. If indoors, you’ll find them in closets and similar places.
Found throughout the Pacific Northwest, the Hobo Spider is large and brown with clear yellow markings on its abdomen. Similar-looking spiders have bands on their legs, but the Hobo does not feature such markings. Adult bodies are 1/3 to 2/3 inches. These spiders enjoy retaining walls, window wells and foundations, as well as stacks of firewood and bricks. Indoors, you’ll find them in closets, behind furniture, on window sills and under baseboard heaters and radiators.
While the bites of the above spiders are serious (Brown Recluse and Hobo) or fatal (Black Widow), the venom of numerous other species pose little risk to humans. These include Funnel Web Grass spiders and Trap Door Spiders. The venom of spiders such as Black House and Wolf Spiders are poisonous, but not lethal.
As with most creatures, spiders rarely attack unless provoked!
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