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Poisonous and Venomous Spiders, Snakes and Insects in the Bahamas, Jamaica & the Caribbean Whilst On Vacation

Updated on April 21, 2018

Caribbean vacations and holidays may never be the same again. There are many poisonous spiders and venomous snakes in and around the beautiful Bahamas islands, although not on every island.

Deadly biting insects await the careless traveller, whose vacation could transform into a nightmare.

The tropical weather of Jamaica and the Bahamas make these places an ideal breeding ground for some of the worlds deadliest creatures.

Venomous snakes and poisonous spiders can kill. Here are some of the scary and potentially dangerous creatures that await you on your Bahamas vacations.

Brown Recluse Spider
Brown Recluse Spider

Brown Recluse Spider

The 700 islands of the Bahamas and Jamaica are a tropical paradise. The venomous spider named the Brown Recluse Spider is a vicious yet still a very shy creature. The picture shows a venomous bite from this spider which has been left untreated.

The Caribbean Brown Recluse Spider is shy, but packs a powerful punch. They are found within the home in cupboards, under beds, and amongst dry laundry.

They usually bite when someone inadvertently puts on their clothes with the spider nestled inside.

The venom is more toxic that a rattle snakes bite. Cheap vacations in the Bahamas can turn into a deadly battle for life with tropical spider bites.

This venomous spider can be found throughout the Bahamas and Jamaica. Also known as the Violin Spider, this creature is only approximately 1cm - 2.5cm in size. The initial bite may not be noticed by the victim as the bite is so small.

Not all bites will be poisonous, but you never can tell.

The poison is hemotoxin, which actually destroys soft tissue. The bites become itchy within 1 - 8 hours, then after 12 hours, pain will begin to develop along with redness and possible swelling of the bitten area.

Over the next few days skin lesions will develop and can grow to over 25 cm in diameter. The wound can become gangrenous with the possibility of a limb being amputated.

These wounds are painful and may take over a year to heal.

If at any time you think you may have been bitten by a spider, seek medical attention. Do not take chances not only can your Jamaican vacation be ruined, but your life could change completely.

NB: Attacks by venomous or poisonous insects, reptiles or arachnids are rare.

Banana Spider

The Caribbean poisonous spiders known as the Banana Spiders or the Brazilian Wandering Spiders are lethal.

The Guinness book of records has them listed as the most venomous spider in the world. They are nocturnal spiders whom forage through the undergrowth at night for food.

They reside is moist places such as under logs, in rock piles or cellars, and are usually found close to human habitats. This is the spider which has ruined many vacations in the Caribbean.

The neurotoxin from the Banana Spider can cause pain during an erection and can lead to impotency.

The initial bite will be painful, and swelling and reddening around the bite mark will happen in minutes. Muscle spasms will follow shortly afterwards, intense pain will rack the body as the venom begins to flow through the blood system. Paralysis will begin to take hold as the venom attacks the respiratory system.

This leads to asphyxiation then a painful and slow death.

This all only takes from as little as two hours. If anyone has been bitten by this beautiful yet very deadly creature, run like the wind to the nearest medical station, your life depends on it.

Caribbean vacations are out of this world and can blow your mind, just take care with any insect bite that you may receive.

Fer-de-lance Snakes

Venomous snakes have never really been a problem in the Caribbean. Occasionally a tourist on vacation may be bitten by a non-venomous snake.

The sighting of the odd Fer-de-lance or Lance Head snake may be a bit worrying though.

The fer-de-lance snake has hemotoxin venom, which can cause nausea, loss of weight, black outs, loss of memory and even temporary paralysis.

Treatments for this snake bite are readily available, although there have been no reports of a person being bitten by one of these in the Caribbean for years.

There are only a few islands which do have land snakes on them, St. Lucia, Martinque, Guadaloupe, and Trinidad are the reportedly the only islands that are home to snakes.

The snakes on these islands are not meant to pose a threat to tourists at all. Do not believe what you see in the movies, not all snakes hunt humans. Snake bites are rare, but they do happen.

Poison Dart Frogs
Poison Dart Frogs

Poison Dart Frog

There are many species of brightly colored poisonous frogs in the Caribbean and Jamaica areas. The Poison Dart Frog, or Poison Arrow Frog, only measures approximately 1.5 cm, but carries enough toxin on its' skin to kill twenty men, or at least 10,000 mice.

Poisonous frogs present no immediate threat to humans, unless they are touched, which whilst on vacation in the Caribbean, some tourists have been known to stroke these deadly creatures, not realizing the potential danger.

Venomous frogs secrete poisons onto their skin to deter predators. It is said that the poisons are taken from the millipedes and other insects that they eat, as the frogs cannot produce their own poisons.

Medically, one of the toxins they produce can be used as a painkiller and is said to be more than 200 times more potent than morphine.

The Poison Dart Frog was used by natives on their spear heads to poison and kill their quarry.

If you touch one of these frogs accidentally, quickly hop to the nearest medical centre for help. These frogs can kill, so do not take it lightly.

Be careful if on vacation with young children, the bright coloring often temps children to pick up these frogs.

TOURIST WARNING: Express Kidnap Gangs Operate in the Caribbean.

Scolopendra Gigantea

This is a very big, scary, and dangerous centipede. This massive centipede reaches an amazing 29 cm in length, that is nearly 1 foot long.

This meat eating monster eats tarantula spiders, birds, lizards and even bats. The fast moving centipede is able to outrun a small child and is found more usually in Jamaica.

The venom of this impressive beast is delivered through two modified claws from around the head.

The young of this poisonous animal are black with red heads. The extremely potent venom will cause severe itching, redness and extreme swelling. Chills and sweating will follow soon afterwards and a weakness will overcome the victim. Fatalities are rare from this over sized insect, but they are scary and will deliver a vacation wrecking bite.

People on vacation in the Caribbean often leave their brains at home and become careless, it is at this time that most bites happen.

Giant African Land Snail

This is a deadly snail which can kill humans. The chances of being hunted down and killed by this timid beast are very rare. But it has been known to kill through infections.

The snail is described as a pest as it devastates crops and the USA has began exterminating it where ever it shows up in America.

Just one of these snails in an area will produce a total colony of thousands within a year.

The Giant African Land Snail carries at least eight different parasites which can infect animals and humans.

The major known disease they carry is rabies, which is carried in the snails dung. Dogs have died from eating a single snail. The dung left behind, if touched by human hands can transmit rabies.

The land snails can grow up to 7 cm tall and over 20 cm in length, the shell is conical in shape. Some nations keep them as pets whilst others use them as a food source.

Screw Worm
Screw Worm

The Screw Worm

This may be the devil re-incarnated. This little demon is neither venomous nor poisonous. There are five types of screw worm, and only one type flies. The maggots from this flying insect are the actual screw worm, and they eat living flesh, not like normal maggots which only eat the dead flesh.

The female Screwworm will lay almost 3000 eggs within her life cycle, which is only 20 days.

These maggots are usually laid in an open wound, no matter how small, even in the navel of newborn animals and humans. The maggots hatch within hours and begin to burrow into the soft flesh as they eat their way into the body. If a person scratches the wound, the maggots 'screw' deeper. These maggots are the cause of many deaths annually.

In 1998, a woman came back from a vacation in Trinidad and complained to her doctor within days about vomiting and headaches. After an x-ray, 94 of these maggots were taken from inside the back of her neck. They had apparently entered through a mosquito bite. If they were not removed, they would have killed the woman by eating into her brain.

If you have been to the Caribbean on vacation and suffer from abnormal headaches or pain in areas where a wound ( even the smallest bite form a mosquito ) has occurred, go to the hospital for an x-ray.

Screw Worm Larvae Puncture Hole
Screw Worm Larvae Puncture Hole

Screw Worm Eradication Measures

South America used to be infested with the screw worm, it killed herds of cattle, sheep, and many people. An idea was launched to infiltrate the screw worm population with specially bred infertile screw worm adult flies.

This would reduce the number of pregnant screw worms whilst they mate, which is between 4 -5 times in their 20 day life. Billions of these infertile adult screw worms were bred and released into the air. It worked.

South America is now free from this pest. Mexico, Jamaica and other places are not. Factories in South America produce billions of these adult screw worm flies every year to eradicate this demon of a pest. They are exported to other parts of the world as the eradication process of a very dangerous creature progresses.

Do not underestimate this creature. The screw worm is on Americas most wanted list. If this insect is suspected of being alive or infecting animals or humans on American soil. the authorities at the highest levels are notified and actions are implemented within hours. Be warned, it is dangerous and will kill without mercy.

The maggots are only under the skin for five days. If they do not leave the skin as they should do within five days, there is little hope for a person with a minimum of 250 flesh eating maggots crawling further under the skin. Even cheap vacations in the Caribbean can resort in death if a person is not careful.

Follow this free link to a sister presentation to discover the insect that kills over 3000 people each day, and is rife around the Caribbean. The killer mosquito.

TOURIST WARNING: Human Kidney Harvesting in the Caribbean.

If you have been on vacation to the Bahamas, have you encounted:

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    • profile image


      7 weeks ago

      The thing is, most of the venomous animals listed here are more inland up in the mountains of Jamaica, and I am pretty sure most tourists would rather be at the beach (even though my country has rich history ,_, ). Most of these animals are not really camouflaged (poison dart frog, banana spider, etc). When you think about it, it is not as scary as it sounds. You just have to be aware of your surroundings and to not touch anything that looks suspicious.

    • profile image


      4 months ago

      In addition to the irrational fear of being bitten by a brown recluse (a spider which most people will never encounter in all their days, despite the untold, yet uninformed, claims to the contrary), you have messed up the "banana spider" bit here.

      First, the image you show is an orb-weaving spider. They are venomous, of course, but they don't bite humans. They are huge, and so, easy to spot, and they stay in their webs all the time. You would have to corner it somehow to get it to bite you, and even then it might not... (See Ralph's comment here too.)

      The Brazilian wandering spider is, however, aggressive and venomous, and so your description of it is more accurate here. But its natural habitat is the forest floor, and again, it's not a spider a person is likely to encounter during a lifetime, especially not on a simple vacation.

      I grant that both spiders are known colloquially as "banana spiders", but there are significant differences between them. So either put the right image of a Brazilian wandering spider up, and spare the poor orb-weaver; or, better yet, remove all talk and warnings of spiders from this article completely.

      No one has anything to worry about from them here...

    • profile image


      8 months ago

      Shuffle your feet when entering the water.

    • profile image


      10 months ago

      I live in the Bahamas and most of these I have never seen in the Bahamas except the banana spider and they are always extremely visible

    • profile image


      20 months ago

      The Brazilian banana spider or Brazilian wandering pic is wrong. That’s a “golden orb weaver”.

    • profile image


      20 months ago

      Please tell me where in the Bahamas these things are found and Jamaica is in the Caribbean not apart of our Island nation.

    • profile image


      2 years ago

      I was born and raised in the Bahamas and know for a fact many of these animals are not found here and this article is very misleading

    • profile image


      2 years ago

      a spider bit me in Jamaica but I'm okay thanks to anti venom it released neurotoxin I was grasping for breath I bearly open my eyes and I was at the hospital


    • profile image


      3 years ago


    • profile image


      6 years ago

      I jut got back from Jamaica in February. Hands down the most gorgeous place I've ever been. I'm only 14 and I did everything I could there. Everything they say in this is blown way out of proportion. If you have planned a vacation there deffinantly go. You'll have a great time. The only thing that happen to me is I was snorkeling and I reached to grab a shell and was stabbed by a sea urchin but all I had was 2 little bumps. And they are gone now. Just be careful about sticking your hand into crevices in the coral rocks. They also have lion fish.

    • profile image


      6 years ago

      I've been to Jamaica before. Just like Australia and every other country, including America, it has dangers. But articles like this blow it way out of proportion. Sure things can happen, and do sometimes. It's not too often though. People wouldn't live there, and it certainly wouldn't be a vacation destination. If you disagree then maybe you should look into some of the terrors local to America. Some of the most aggressive snakes in the world being an easy example.

    • profile image


      6 years ago

      i am sooooooooooooooo lucky my grandma toled me about this'I COULD HAVE DIED.

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      i wanted to go there but now i changed my mind because people poop in the water

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      Umm really did I just pay five grand to go die?

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      In July, I was in Westmoreland, Jamaica and was bit by "something" that was near a rock - we were in shallow water, but didn't see anything. You could see two small puncture wounds - within 5 days I devopled a huge blister which through the venom spreading popped up in other areas trying to shut down my extremeties. The venom apparently is slow attacking. After seeing that sea snakes in Jamaica are not poisonous, I'd really like to know if anyone has any ideas of what it could be. Symptoms: Dizziness, fatigue, severe pain in blister area, followed months later by sever chest pains and breathing difficulty. Doctors thought snake and have been treated for the venom.

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      You mentioned nothing about the assassin bug or kissing bug. Probably 20 million people in Latin America are infected with chagas disease due to this terrible scourge. In Mexico, the assassin but that carries chagas disease is mostly restricted to southern Mexico but there are a number of varieties of assassin bugs and some have a very painful bite. My wife was bitten here in Guaymas, Sonora, Mexico.

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      uite interesting information...However, it is to be clarified that Jamaica does not have dart frogs. We have huge toads called "Bull frogs" They secrete a poison only when threatened but they are very common in some areas..

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      Screwworm!!! Yuck. I never heard of it before. thanks for the heads up, I wanted to go to Jamaica before your article, now I am rethinking.

    • profile image

      nor syafiq 

      8 years ago

      scorpion poisonous are danger than a spider

    • Jennie Demario profile image

      Venture Boyz 

      8 years ago from Floating in the clouds

      This is horrifying in disgusting. Thanks, now I won't be able to sleep lol. You have definitely just justified my fears of the wilderness.

    • Ingenira profile image


      8 years ago

      Awesome information, and scary...! Voted up!

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      Informative hub!!!!

    • Carolyn2008 profile image

      Carolyn Gibson 

      8 years ago from Boston

      This is a very interesting hub. I learned so much, and intend to be more careful the next time I travel out of country. Thank you for bringing this to our attention.


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