A Few Unfriendly Spider Types
Anyone suffering from arachnophobia may well consider all the 40,000 or so different species of spiders to be unfriendly, if not necessarily dangerous. Many of us have little fear of some of the tiniest spiders we encounter, but are uncomfortable around some of the larger ones, even when they are harmless, and we are always on the lookout for the venomous spider types.
While many, and perhaps most spider types are venomous, only a relative handful pose any danger to humans, and some of those that do are often less a threat than commonly assumed. In this article, several of the more well known venomous spider types are described, starting with a spider we see quite often but don't consider to be much of a threat, and ending with one which, as scary as it looks, is also not much of a threat.
Venomous But Harmless - We'll start with the familiar daddy-long-legs, sometimes found in our homes but more often in the yard or garden, going about their business, whatever that may be. The business of the daddy-long-legs happens to be eating insects, and sometimes other spiders, including in some instances, venomous spiders. It has been said that pound-for-pound, or in this case milligram-for-milligram, the bite of the daddy-long-legs is the most venomous of all spider bites. We are not in any danger because the mouth and fangs of this little character are too small to puncture human skin, plus this spider is more curious than aggressive. The "most venomous" tag turns out to be somewhat of an urban legend. For a small spider though, its bite is quite toxic, though not to humans. If one were capable of biting us, we would probably feel some irritation and maybe even momentary pain, but not much else.
Bad - Moving on to some of the bad actors, our list of unfriendly spider types continues with the yellow sac spider, found in southern regions of the United States. This is one of the family of long-legged sac spiders which for the most part are very beneficial from an agricultural standpoint. While the bite of a yellow sac spider could be quite painful, it is generally regarded as being only mildly venomous
The class of funnel-web spiders contains some bad characters, one of the worst being the Sydney funnel-web spider, a native of Australia, and known to have delivered a fatal bite at times, though it is small children who are most at risk. Adult humans could die from its bite also but seldom do, and since the introduction of an anti venom 30 years ago there have been no fatalities. Another funnel web spider, found in the western part of the United States is the hobo spider, generally considered to be one of the more venomous spiders found in the US. A hobo spider bite is considered to be medically significant, and almost always quite painful, but rarely fatal. The hobo is an aggressive spider, but usually tries to avoid contact with humans.
Very Bad - A truly bad actor is the Brazilian wandering spider. There are a number of wandering spider species, living mainly in the tropics, and most are at least somewhat venomous The Brazilian wandering spider however is considered to be the world's most venomous spider. Since these spiders roam at night and hide during the day, they are often picked up or encountered by accident. There are quite aggressive, inhabit highly populated areas, and therefore considered to be quite dangerous.
The Feared Black Widow - The best known of the venomous spiders in the US is no doubt the black widow. Although its bite is highly venomous, fatalities are few. Young children and the elderly are most apt to suffer severe reactions to a black widow's bite. Its bite can be quite painful however. Fortunately, the black widow is not an aggressive spider, and will usually only bite in defense or if accidentally disturbed.
A Reclusive Spider Type - Another scary spider living in the US is the brown recluse. This spider is well named as its preference seems to be that of leading an undisturbed life. Not aggressive, the brown recluse will usually flee from humans, but can deliver a very painful bite if accidentally picked up or caught up in clothing or bedclothes. Most brown recluse bites tend to be rather minor, but in some instances the symptoms can be quite severe.
Tarantulas - No list of unfriendly spiders would be complete without mention of the tarantula, which is a bit unfair as the tarantula, as fearsome as it looks, can make a fine pet. The tarantula's bite is venomous as is the case with most spiders, but the venom is not particularly potent and tarantulas are rarely known to bite humans unless mishandled or provoked. If a tarantula does bite, protein mixed in with the venom may sometimes cause an allergic reaction in a human, and some humans are also allergic to the tiny hairs covering the tarantula's body, which can be an irritant.