Spiders are polarizing creatures. Some people find them gorgeous and keep them as pets.
But spiders scare many people. So much so that many people go under total panic on seeing them, especially on seeing the brown recluse spider.
There are a lot of myths surrounding the brown recluse spider. And one of them is that it’s lethal.
But can a brown recluse spider kill you? Can it kill your dog? What are your chances of dying if the brown recluse spider bites you?
Keep reading to find the answers.
No, Brown Recluse Spiders Won’t Kill You!
Brown recluse spider bites are painful. As per healthline.com, “if you don’t get medical attention asap, the bite wound will develop skin necrosis.”
Skin necrosis is the condition where the bite wound develops an infection.
But even then, a bite from brown recluse spiders won’t kill you.
Because the venom that it carries is simply not strong enough to kill a living being as big as a human.
Brown recluse spider bites won’t kill a baby either.
Hence, there’s no need to panic.
If a brown recluse spider bites you, then use an antiseptic cream on the bite wound and go straight to a doctor for treatment.
You’ll be fine!
But you should get rid of brown recluse spiders in your home to prevent more of them creeping inside.
Why Do Brown Recluse Spiders Bite Humans?
Spiders are shy. They’ll do whatever they can to avoid human contact.
But there are certain situations when the brown recluse spiders can bite you. However, these conditions are when it feels under threat.
Brown recluse spiders hide in deep dark corners of your home.
And when you’re getting rid of them or cleaning those places, and you don’t know they’re there then you can get a painful bite from the brown recluse spider.
That happens when you step on them barefoot, or when they’re pressed against your skin.
That bite is more of self-defense rather than a typical spider behavior.
Brown recluse spiders, and all spiders, do not willfully bite humans like mosquitoes.
Spiders are predators. They’re not parasites that thrive on human blood.
So, the chances of getting spider bites despite your home having a spider infestation is low.
What Happens When The Brown Recluse Spider Bites You?
Brown recluse spider bites are not immediately painful. In fact, the initial bite is painless.
Brown recluse spiders have small fangs. And when they bite you, you’ll feel a slight sting.
But if you don’t treat the bite wound asap, severe pain and infection will develop over time.
After 4 to 8 hours of the bite, the brown recluse spider bite starts to get bad.
Redness on the bite wound starts to appear. Then it’s followed by a burning sensation.
Some people can also feel that the bitten area is getting itchy.
Slowly, necrosis on the skin develops too. It means that the skin on the bitten wound starts to sink, and it gets dry.
The hemotoxic venom in the brown recluse spider causes that.
A slight crater forms at the center of the bite wound followed by a reddish-blue halo around it.
In most people, the venom of the brown recluse spider is restricted only to the bitten wound.
However, in some people, it may spread in their bodies. That causes the bite wound to expand.
Elderly and children can show severe reactions to brown recluse spider bites.
These reactions include shivers, dizziness, vomiting, and a bit of fever too.
So, please see a doctor asap if a brown recluse spider bites you. You’ll be fine.
Can Brown Recluse Spiders Kill Dogs?
Brown recluse spiders biting dogs and pets is a rare occurrence.
Outdoors, brown recluse spiders hide under the woodpiles, leaves, and underneath rocks.
Inside your home, the brown recluse spider will hide in places like the attic, basement, storage rooms, and even inside your shoes.
Brown recluse spiders avoid light, and they’re nocturnal.
They hide in places where you don’t frequent often. They can even squeeze themselves inside thin gaps and cracks on the walls and the floors in these dark places.
And the presence of one brown recluse spider indicates the presence of multiple brown recluse spiders in your home.
So, if your dog goes into those places, it can encounter a hiding brown recluse spider.
But the spider’s first reaction would be to run away and hide.
But in some cases, the brown recluse spider can bite your dog if the spider gets pressed against your dog’s skin.
And this is also a rare occurrence.
The brown recluse spider bite on a medium to large breed dog isn’t fatal.
Your dog will show symptoms like dizziness, lethargy, and lesions on the bite wound.
However, for a small dog, the bite from the brown recluse spider can be deadly
Hence, take your dog immediately to a vet if a brown recluse spider bites your furry friend.
But There Are Deaths Caused By Brown Recluse Spider
There are only two recorded cases of death caused by the brown recluse spider.
One in Alabama on November 23, 2019. A young boy died because of a brown recluse spider bite.
However, it’s only a single death caused by the brown recluse spider in a decade.
Rick Vetter, a top retired entomologist in the University of California Riverside, and one of United States’ best experts on brown recluses said, “it’s a happenstance and rarest of rare occurrence.”
The second death is recorded in Michigan in June 2018.
A 58-year-old healthy woman died because of a brown recluse spider bite.
In both cases, there were prominent bite wounds confirming bites from the brown recluse spider.
The responses in the human body that can cause death from a brown recluse spider bite occurs only in less than 1% of bites.
And out of these 1% cases, deaths are extremely rare.
No, brown recluse spider bites won’t kill you even though brown recluse spider is venomous.
Brown recluse spiders, like all spiders, are shy and avoid human contact. They bite when they’re pressed against your skin, and when they feel under threat.
However, seek immediate medical attention if you ever get a bite from the brown recluse spider.
Ignoring it will cause skin lesions which can get worse with time.
And brown recluse spiders won’t get onto your bed. They hide in places that have very few to no human footfalls.
But if there’s a spider infestation in your home, then there can be sightings of tiny spiders in the bed. Where do these small spiders come from? Are they dangerous?
To know more, read our guide on little spiders in bed.
Nang Chen is an Entomologist and Arachnologist who is associated with Vienna’s museum of natural history. He’s also a consultant with real estate groups, insecticide conglomerates and law enforcement groups as a forensic entomologist. Nang Chen holds an M.S. from South China University and he’s a regular contributor to our site.