The Misunderstood Black Window Spider

October 12, 2017

© Pimmimemom Dreamstime

It is Friday the 13th, which is a day steeped in superstition.  Some of these superstitions are harmless and quite comical and some are eerie.  For instance, not fearing a Black Widow spider sounds like crazy talk! But our fear of this venomous spider is not a superstition.  Their tiny fangs can deliver a potent venom equal to a rattlesnake and it's hard not to think about why they're called Black Widows as the male s of the species end up being killed by the female after breeding.  But there is some good news about Black Widows this Friday the 13th.  Black Widows are non-aggressive and will only bite in self-defense. And it’s only the female widow spiders you have to worry about, which can be identified by the reddish hourglass pattern on their black abdomen. In most cases, not even touching one is enough to get it to bite you. One study, found that black widows usually only bite if they’re pinched along the entire length of their bodies (as in being crushed). In the study, repeatedly poking the spiders with a finger did not warrant a bite, but instead led to them running away. You may have heard horror stories about black widow bites causing nausea, muscle aches, and even mild paralysis, but that’s a rare occurrence even if you somehow do get bit. Black widows don’t always envenom their bites, and even if they do, they can regulate how much they use per bite. According to the same black widow bite study previously mentioned, the creatures only tend to inject venom when they feel their life is being threatened. Otherwise, they often give a dry bite. And if you are bitten by one, seek medical help immediately and remain calm. A majority of bites that do occur are not serious.  Out of all 1,866 black widow bite cases reported to Poison Control Centers in 2013, only 14 of them resulted in any severe symptoms and nobody died. Of course don't go looking for a black widow to try this on your own and definetly keep your children away from them.  Just let them continue to capture and dine on insects.

SOURCE: Lifehacker

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