How To Identify Poisonous Spiders

By Subodh / February 18, 2013

Spiders are found everywhere, except Antarctica where it’s too cold for them to exist. As long as there are other animals around, like small bugs and even slightly larger mammals, spiders will thrive. With their beautiful silvery webs that readily trap insects and their potent venom, these arachnids are true and sometimes vicious survivors.

Why the Concern about Spiders?

You should be wary of these 3 species – black widow, brown recluse, and the hobo spiders. These are three of the most venomous spiders around. A person stung by any of these three creatures could experience any of these symptoms: pain, rashes, headache, nausea and vomiting, fever, or high blood pressure. The scary part is that some individuals are more sensitive than others, and they might react severely from a spider’s bite. A serious reaction is called “anaphylaxis” and anyone who is reacting badly to a sting should be treated right away to avoid coma or death. The most susceptible age groups are the youngest and the oldest.

Identifying Poisonous Spiders

Even if you’re scared of spiders, it’s still better to have some knowledge about how the most venomous types look like. This way, in case you see them hanging around, you can avoid them or call a pest control specialist for help.

1. The Black Widow

The females of this species are known to eat their mates. This is why they are known as “black widow” spiders. The widow (Latrodectus) is readily recognizable in photos because it has a gleaming black body with an orange-yellow to red hourglass mark on its abdomen. But it might be harder to distinguish personally. (It is not advisable to approach a spider that you do not know because you might get attacked.) Black widow spiders are usually found in the southern and western regions in the U.S. They prefer to stay hidden in clutter, woodpiles, rocks, or thick foliage. Inside the home, these creatures usually hide in shady and rarely disturbed areas, like a dim corner in an infrequently used room. The widow leaves a bite mark, usually a pair of puncture marks on the skin. The bite is very painful and the victim will experience the pain slowly spreading to other areas of his body.

How To Identify Poisonous Spiders

2. The Brown Recluse

This type of spider is common in southern U.S. states and are also known as the fiddleback or brown fiddler because of the characteristic violin-shaped symbol on its head. Perhaps the most common way that people identify the brown recluse (Loxosceles) is through the injury it inflicts. The bite of the recluse is not very painful. Oftentimes, the tenderness is confined to a small area. But then, a pustule or blister-like injury will slowly appear on the site of the bite. This gradually becomes an open injury or lesion that takes a long time to heal. The recluse’s necrotic venom destroys skin and even muscle tissue, and an injury will grow even bigger, some reaching diameters of more than 10 inches, without medical intervention. Tissue necrosis is a serious condition that might result in death or permanent scarring.

The brown recluse is not an aggressive spider. It will only sting if it is disturbed. Since it hides in clutter, piles of clothes or shoes, a person might accidentally disturb or hurt it. It is then that the spider bites. Outdoors, the recluse prefers to stay in secluded, dark areas.

3. The Hobo Spider

Although it is different from the Australian funnel-web spider, the hobo spider also creates a cone-shaped web to catch prey. It will silently and patiently wait for a creature to wander into its web, and then it attacks. The hobo spider is common in the western U.S., and it’s considered as an aggressive arachnid. Even with the slightest disturbance, this spider will bite. Many believe that its aggression is because of its poor sense of sight. Outside, hobo spiders live in dark recesses or stone cracks. Indoors, they can be found in walls or woodpiles.

The hobo spider can cause an injury that is almost similar to what the brown recluse produces. The main difference here is that the sting of the hobo is not painful. However, a blister will form and then become an open injury. The ulceration is slow to heal and the victim will experience severe headaches that could last for as long as seven days.