Wednesday, June 08, 2005

The Spiders of Pennsylvania

There are only a couple of really troublesome spiders in Pennsylvania. Perhaps the scariest of them all is the brown recluse spider. In addition to neurotoxic effects that can cause nausea, fever, chills, as well as other symptoms, the brown recluse's bite will also cause the tissue around the bite to grow gangrenous and die. This entire process, I have heard, is extraordinarily painful. Luckily for Pennsylvanians, there are few of these dangerous spiders around, and your most likely shot of running into one is if it makes a home in a box and gets shipped here.

The other scary spider is of course the black widow, that sexy arachnid with the black carapace and red hourglass on its belly. The good news is, when it first bites you, it won't hurt all that much. The bad news is that its venom is highly neurotoxic and will make you very sick. The bite of the black widow has been known to kill, but usually only infants and the elderly.

Beyond those guys, Pennsylvania is pretty safe. The worst you can expect out of a spider bite is a little pain, maybe a little nausea. I was a bit scared last night when I got bit by some little brown spider, but I survived, and I am stronger for the experience. I think its my first spider bite -- it felt like a bee sting. It was wierd too, as my hand was bitten when I swatted it, even though it was crawling on my leg.

5 comments:

Anonymous said...

That sounds scary, but not as bad as when you are a postal carrier who opens a mailbox to find a large spider, as big as the end of your finger being eaten by another spider twice his size. Moral of the story? shake your mail out before you look through it.

Anonymous said...

Yes, the brown recluse spider is scary but the most poisonous spiders in PA include the Wolf spider and the black widow spider with getting bitten only with a little pain and symptoms like appendicitis. I've had appendicitis before it hurts.

kenneth said...

You need to do some more research, the wolf spider bite is hardly comparable to a recluse, in fact the most common variety of wolf spider found in PA is going to give you little more than some redness and swelling in the bite area. The recluse can cause some very nasty gangrenous tissue breakdown, Even if you are not an infant. Some people have also encountered bad reactions to the venom of the recluse causing them to need steroid medication as a part of the healing process. Wolf spiders are not a concern. Also the term venomous spider is a bit misleading, as all spiders can deliver venom to the bite, however some simply can't deliver it through our tough skin while as others certainly do but cause not serious effect due to either their own size and small ammount of toxin or the general weakness of the venom in the first place. Some snakes are the same way, for example did you know that a common "garter" snake actually secrets venom? However it is delivered from the rear of the mouth via a chewing motion as opposed to the "hypodermic" needle fangs from most venomous snakes in pa such as a copperhead or timber rattler.

Anonymous said...

Yea, the wolf spider is not poisonous. Hurts like a mother, but no medical attention compared to brown recluse is necessary.

Anonymous said...

Ugh!! I hate spiders!! Gives me chills just thinking about one.