When I was staying in the USA I was more than a little worried about brown recluse spiders. Brown recluses are closely related to black widows, and have nasty and possibly fatal bites. A local museum had a display case showing what brown recluses could do to their unlucky victims. Bitten areas can rot away, and the spiders lurk indoors.
It looks as if my spider fears were unjustified. Like most poisonous animals, the brown recluse isn’t really very dangerous at all.
“The family collected 2,055 brown recluse spiders during that six-month period, including some they found crawling on them as they slept, or stuffed clothes into the washing machine, or picked up the newspaper. The spiders were found in every room of the house, including “high human use areas such as bedrooms, kitchen, and bathroom,” according to the study.
Yet here’s the most astonishing part. During the six years that the family has lived in the house no one has received a single bite. Not even one.”
Myth and misdiagnosis are to blame for the spider’s reputation. It can cause horrible wounds, but it’s very unlikely.
This reminds me of a news item a couple of months ago about how the incredibly poisonous sea snakes are quite tame and friendly, so much so they’re gathered up in handfuls by ecologists.
I’d still rather avoid them.
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