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America's Most Dangerous Spiders: The Black Widow & Brown Recluse

Updated on December 19, 2010
Balck Widow's red hour glass
Balck Widow's red hour glass
The Deadly Two
The Deadly Two
The Brown Recluse
The Brown Recluse
Brown Recluse
Brown Recluse
After several hours of a Brown Recluse bite
After several hours of a Brown Recluse bite
About 7 days after the Brown Recluse bite. The dead skin is gone, exposing underlying tissue.
About 7 days after the Brown Recluse bite. The dead skin is gone, exposing underlying tissue.
Skin grafted over bite site months later
Skin grafted over bite site months later
The Non-Brown Recluse very common on the West coast-same family, but harmless species
The Non-Brown Recluse very common on the West coast-same family, but harmless species

Worse than a rattlesnake bite

California has some nasty looking spiders. Black Widow spiders are common and what look like Brown Recluse spiders are most likely non-Recluse most commonly found in the Midwest and South\Southwest. Both prefer warm and dry climates and hidden locations away from  people. The BW prefers dark areas.

Of the two nasty looking insects, it is the Brown Recluse that has venom far worse than a rattlesnake bite. The venom of the Brown Recluse causes destruction of the human skin and then can cause infection in underlying tissue. This can happen within 25 days of the bite. The Black Widow venom is much less dangerous and most will only suffer for several days. But it all depends on a person's health and their reaction. In a weakened state, either spider bite can produce serious results that one would not imagine.

The bite of a BW is akin to a pinprick, while the Brown Recluse has a bee sting-like bite. Either may leave fang marks. Many people do not even realize that a BW has bitten them until swelling occurs or worse symptoms occur. This is usually within 20 min. The same is true with a Brown Recluse until a red-like skin disorder develops within a few days. The skin disorder is actually the venom killing the tissue and subsequent worse infections that must be addressed in the worse cases. In these cases, skin grafts must occur where the dead skin developed making recovery last months.

Both spiders are nocturnal and like dark areas to live in. Both produce an array of bite symptoms from swelling, vomiting, muscle soreness, difficulty breathing and many more. If there is paid and redness around a particular part of your body for no explicable reason, consider these critters, especially, if you recall working around their environment.


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    • perrya profile imageAUTHOR


      6 years ago

      Sorry, no love for spiders here.

    • profile image

      Sancho Panza 

      6 years ago

      Spiders are not insects. They are arachnids. The dramatic images you posted are the result of infection after the bite due to neglect, not of tissue destruction from the venom. Just wanted to make sure this is clear since our arachnid friends already have such a bad reputation. They are beneficial creatures who consume large numbers of flies, mosquitoes, cockroaches and many more disease-carrying pests. Love the spider, she is your friend.

    • perrya profile imageAUTHOR


      7 years ago

      That is a good bet!

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      I found a spider on my gate. It had woven a huge web by the time that I even noticed his presence. I captured it and brought it inside my house only because it looked different, kind of out of the ordinary. Not your everyday spider. Plus I thought to myself, if I don't capture it and it is in fact deadly i would feel horrible if someone got bit and i no i could have prevented it. Its orange and black, it has two white spots on its undercoating. It has a very large furry like back and 8 very pointy legs. Could this very well be a poisonous spider?

    • perrya profile imageAUTHOR


      8 years ago

      True, but the venom of a Brown recluse is utterly toxic to human flesh. Like battery acid.

    • patdmania profile image


      8 years ago from waterford, mi

      Good Hub! I like the pictures. I think it depends on what rattlesnake your talking about. Some have very powerful venom.


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