A Black Widow Spider entered my world yesterday… Heard of them? A bite from this spider is heavily feared. Their venom is 15 TIMES STRONGER THAN A RATTLESNAKE… And for those living in America I have some bad news…they are common throughout the USA and right at home in Southern California… “Oh that’s fricken’ wonderful!” Says all my SoCal readers. The venom is a neurotoxin and the most powerful are the latrotoxins… which take their name from the group of widow spiders known as Latrodectus. The most toxic of these latrotoxins, alpha-latrotoxin, hijacks the poor victims own nervous system.
They don’t always inject venom when their fangs pierce our flesh but if they do… it causes severe muscle pain, nausea, and paralysis of the diaphragm which effects breathing. It is only the female black widow spiders that are venomous and look completely different to their brown widow males. The female pictured here has the red hour glass symbol on them. HOW FREAKY IS THAT?? …Like sands through the hour glass…so are the days of lives. (Sorry.) She bites you and the clock is ticking…literally. If bitten seek medical help immediately. Small children, the elderly, and those with low immune system are most at risk. Here’s what you can do until medical help arrives:
- Cleanse the wound thoroughly. That will help to reduce infection, or prevent it.
- Apply an ice pack. That will relieve swelling and irritation, and slow down venom circulation.
- If a spider bit your arm or leg, keep the limb elevated and tie a tight bandage to prevent venom spreading.
- For the same purpose, move as little as possible until medical workers reach you..
Many spiders produce toxins to help with their own hunting, but they make such a watered-down version that they’re not harmful to most people. Female black widows on the other hand, have quickly evolved SUPER concentrated venom that can kill a person. About 2,200 people report being bitten by a black widow yearly, but most recover within 24 hours with medical treatment.
Black Widow Spider bite.
The spiders aren’t aggressive unless threatened and only bite in self-defense. The good news is that they don’t usually like the inside of our homes like other spiders but the bad news is they prefer dark places around our homes. Why? House lights draw insects meaning more variety for their diet! Nutrition is important for survival! So, search for messy webs around the garage, doors, overhangs, vents, basements, attics, where there is clutter etc.! For those of you asking, we aren’t actually on their diet plan… But wait til’ ya hear how they dine!! OMG its fabulous you’ll love it!
SO what happened to you??!! I can hear the caring souls asking about me. Precious. Ok… so you know how the Black Widow Spider got her name? Black widows are involved in a macabre and violent mating ritual… No. This has nothing to do with what happened to me. … Seriously? I can’t believe that entered your mind… Hey! It’s me! : ) (I love when Han Solo said that. Soo me.) Ok so I was crawling under a house looking for an animal… I went under, and I came out. I did this 3 times. Guess what I put my hand on the third time right at the entrance…? A female Black Widow… I looked down and guess what she had just done? Anyone? She just finished mating with a male… As the name suggests, and for those of you that don’t know, … wait for it, the Female Black Widow spiders sometimes kill and eat their partner after mating… Yikes! I don’t know if it has anything to do with the males performance. Hahaaaa! Sorry. : ) And get this, after killing their prey, to feed, black widows puncture their prey with their fangs and inject digestive enzymes into the corpse turning them into soup! By using these enzymes, and their gnashing fangs, the spiders LIQUIFYYYYY… their prey’s body and then suck up the resulting fluid. … OMG ISN’T THAT AWESOME??!! What was sort of a mood was God in the day he created the Black Widow Spider.
So she had just done the horizontal lambada with her mate and he was now dead… Well at least he got off before he, got off…? Anyway, I put my hand on her after this. I didn’t squish her, sort of cupped her but my skin made direct contact. Guess what happened? She didn’t bite me??!! My thoughts on this, she was totally zonked, also known as passed out, after bumping uglies with her date… in addition to then killing him with a lethal hickey, followed by administering liquefying enzymes into his body. Meaning MY timing, and performance…was perfect! : )) Whadaya think?
Female Black Widow Spider much bigger than the male.
So the big question, do we as humans have anything further to worry about regarding the black widow spider? According to a recent study the painful bite and lethal venom of black widow spiders have been evolving rapidly over the years. They produce ample amounts of highly potent venom to the point that these spiders are even crafting stronger webs to handle ever-bigger prey. As for why black widows have evolved such potent venom, it’s believed that it is to expand the spider’s diet. Black widows can even consume small mammals and reptiles… Lets hope they don’t evolve too much more or we may just end up as a bowl of soup!
Australian Red Back Spider captures lizard.
Chapter 2 on Spiders coming shortly… I’ll get into the real reasons people are petrified of spiders and I will also show you something that will blow your mind. Something I’ve never seen before…