DANGEROUS SPIDERS IN FLORIDA
(Home for the most dangerous spiders on earth)
Generally, spiders are greatly feared animals and most people see them as terrifying and highly dangerous although these little animals rarely represent a major threat to humans. Even so, there are some spiders that can cause serious damage to humans if they feel threatened. All spiders are venomous, but some are considered to be more dangerous than others because of their aggressive venom or the quantity of venom they tend to inject into their victim. Such venomous spiders can inflict harmful bites and leave serious consequences to the bitten person. Presently, there are two dangerous spider species in Florida.
These are the widow spiders and the brown recluse spiders. Each species prefers dark, secluded areas such as attics, sheds and old closets as their habitats and they tend to hide under rocks and wooden boards. The symptoms of widow spider bites are similar. They all include muscle rigidity of the abdomen and legs, nausea, swelling and burning sensation in the area of the bite. The widow spiders are nocturnal and tend to hide in dark places, and they are frequently secluded in their web during the day. Only female widow spiders are dangerous and they vary in size as they can grow from 8 to 15 mm.
There are four types of widow spiders that inhabit Florida:
1. THE BROWN WIDOW
The brown widow is an introduced species while the other three are native to Florida. Its color is usually medium brown although some of them may be dark brown or light brown. It is highly timid and it rarely bites. Nevertheless, the brown widow reproduces quite rapidly and this can create quite a problem since they can spread around one’s home in a very short period. Unlike the black widow, it is less inclined to inject large amounts of venom into its victim, although its venom is twice as potent. This is why anyone with a poor immune system should be careful when it comes to the brown widow spider.
2. THE SOUTHERN BLACK WIDOW
The black southern widow spiders (also known as the black widow) are black in color and have a bright red hourglass marking on the underside of their abdomen. They are not aggressive but they will bite if they feel threatened. The black widow’s bite feels like a pinprick and sometimes the bite can be recognized by a reddish area around the bite.
3. THE NORTHERN WIDOW
The Northern widow can also be recognized by an hourglass marking on the underside of its abdomen, but this marking looks incomplete in these spiders since the top half and the bottom half are separated. It typically has a row of red dots running down its abdomen. These spiders are also not aggressive and they only bite if they feel threatened and if they are disturbed.
4. THE RED WIDOW
The head and legs of the red widow are red and its abdomen is black with rows of red or orange dots. This spider can only be found in central and southern Florida. Its existence outside of Florida is unknown. They are also nocturnal, which means that they are only active during the night and they typically act like any other widow spider. Another dangerous spider species in Florida is the recluse spider, and this spider can also be found worldwide. Recluse spiders are usually sized from 6 to 12 mm. The color of their abdomens can vary from tan to dark brown. It is a specific kind of spider since it has only six eyes, as opposed to the normal eight eyes in other spiders.
Three types of recluse spiders have been found in Florida:
- THE BROWN RECLUSE SPIDER
- THE MEDITERRANEAN RECLUSE SPIDER
- THE CHILEAN RECLUSE SPIDER
Recluse spiders bite if they feel threatened and since they prefer hiding in dark places it is not unusual to find them tangled in clothes, making it easy for them to feel disturbed and threatened. A recluse spider’s bite varies in intensity, since the bitten person may not even feel it or it may leave serious damage such as severe necrosis.
Serious symptoms usually include severe pain and the appearance of blisters which can leave deep scars on the skin. Any encounter with these spiders should be taken calmly and, in case of a bite, it is of great importance to seek prompt medical attention. In any case, it is very useful to know which spider bit you, so you can react as soon as possible if it was a venomous spider.