They’re creepy, crawly and most definitely disliked by the general population, particularly by those of us who have heard the statistic (that may or may not be true) that says you can never go anywhere without being within five feet of a spider. You’re bound to run into some of them during your travels, and they may not always be the friendly house spiders you’re used to tossing out the door. Here’s the five most dangerous in the world.
The black widow is one of the most well known dangerous spiders and can be found just about everywhere in both North and South America. They’re also responsible for thousands of visits to the emergency room every year. You can usually spot them by their distinctive hourglass shape on the abdomen, but you may not want to get close enough to take a peek. The bite, which is barely painful by itself, can later cause severe cramps, nausea and difficulty breathing. However, most healthy adults who are bitten recover with no harm done.
Another widow makes the list. This brownish spider, with an orange hourglass on its abdomen, lives in the southern and western United States, Caribbean, Asia, Africa, Australia and the Mediterranean. It hangs out indoors, around clutter, under cars and in thick flora. Yes, that’s a lot of places you can run into one. The venom of a brown widow is twice as lethal as a black widow’s, but again, usually doesn’t leave any lasting marks on healthy adults.
Brazilian Wandering Spider
Remember the news story a few years ago, in which a family in the United Kingdom bought some bananas, and out crawled hundreds of tiny, venomous spiders? Those were Brazilian wandering spiders. Their bites can cause irregular heartbeat and failure of the nervous system. In a strange twist, though, scientists are looking at the possibility of using the venom as a way to treat erectile dysfunction.
Funnel Web Spider
Leave it to Australia, land of all things deadly, to be home to an incredibly terrifying spider. There are some non-poisonous members of this family of spiders hanging out in North and South America, but their poisonous relatives have taken up residence in Australia. They’re big, aggressive and deadly, and the antidote to their venom only works if you act fast and get to the hospital.
The Chilean recluse spider is actually the most venomous recluse spider, even more so than the brown recluse, which many think is as dangerous as a black widow. The spider is typically brown with a black, violin-shaped marking. It’s frequently found in houses, garages and generally anywhere they can find a warm, dry spot in the regions of Latin America and some parts of California. Bites can cause skin ulcers that take years to heal, rashes, renal failure and other systematic failures. Death typically occurs in 3–4 percent of bites.
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