Spider bites. They’re widely feared, commonly misunderstood, and blindly accepted as fatal in all circumstances, which unfortunately leads to the viral-like widespread fear of spiders in the human race. Let’s find out why this is all kinds of wrong.
Spiders won’t bite you unless you actively terrorize them and provoke them to do it, such as chasing them with your shoe into a corner and leaving the creature with no choice, or by accident, such as putting your shoe on when a spider is inside. If you get bitten, it’s either an accident, or you deserve it, and you won’t even get more than a bit of swelling and some localized stinging, save for a few exceptions that I’ll get into later.
Spider venom is meant to subdue and kill other insects, or creatures the size of insects. We are hundreds of times bigger than any insect a spider is going to need to kill. The venom is, normally, highly ineffective to our bodies simply because we’re not bugs, and we’re so big, and our immune system fights the venom rapidly after it’s injected. Of course, there are exceptions to this rule, which are understood by science.
"But Kamoe, black widows and brown recluses are deadly!" No, black widows aren’t deadly to healthy adults, but they can be dangerous to children and the elderly because of the weakened immune system being unable to fight the venom. If you’re healthy, a black widow bite will make you nauseous, might cause some cramping around the bite area, and a small dot of dead skin around the actual bite. Brown recluse bites are painful, and will result in a condition called Loxoscelism, which causes the bite to become necrotic. Necrotic tissue, when left untreated, can progress into necrotizing fasciitis, and lead to sepsis or toxic shock syndrome. This process is slow, if you realize you were bitten by a brown recluse, seek medical attention because it COULD become much more complicated. However, with treatment, the bite will not be fatal. Those horror stories of people dying by horrible necrosis from a brown recluse bite are because they were too stupid to go to a hospital when the necrosis was small enough to be managed, they waited until they developed a large case of arachnogenic necrosis and blamed it on the spider.
Sydney Funnel Web spiders get their own paragraph because they’re unique. They’re highly aggressive, and very dangerous. Why? Their environment is hostile. They compete with many other predators for their prey items, they need defense against potential predators trying to eat THEM. The venom is strong enough to kill an adult without immediate treatment. Why is the venom so powerful against humans? It’s literally a coincidence. The proteins and toxins in the venom just HAPPEN to be extremely dangerous to primates. Thankfully, after the antivenom was made widely available, there has not been a single death attributed to the sydney funnel web spider since.
Repeat after me: TARANTULAS. ARE. NOT. DEADLY. Tarantulas are very big spiders, they look imposing and dangerous, but they are anything but, UNLESS you provoke them. Tarantula venom can vary from “doesn’t hurt at all” to “you’d wish you were actually dead” but none of it will kill you, because it’s not MADE to kill you. No one has ever died from a bite from anything in the Theraphosidae family, that means anything that is scientifically identified as a tarantula. Tarantulas also will not bite without sufficient, and I mean SUFFICIENT, provocation. As a first line of defense, they’ll run. If they cannot outrun it, some species will resort to flicking irritating hairs from their butts, they’re like fiberglass to your eyes and lungs, getting them in your eyes can damage your lense, and even cause blindness, in your mouth and nose will cause your nose to itch and burn, and your throat can close up, on the skin they cause an intense rash. If the hairs will not deter you, which I’m sure they will, they will rear up, and throw a threat posture with their legs in the air and fangs bared, then begin to strike with their legs FIRST, if the false strikes fail to deter you by then, they will resort to a bite and evenomate accordingly. Some species, typically found in south america or in africa/europe, will stand their ground to a threat and skip straight to the threat posture with false striking first, then a real bite. Some species will even hiss while in the threat posture. A tarantula, or any spider for that matter, will do WHATEVER it takes to preserve it’s venom, as venom is very precious to the animal.
Just remember, a spider has MUCH better things to do than waste it’s venom on you because you feel like poking it. If you see one, just leave it alone, unless you know how to safely handle them.