Everything There Is To Know About Black Widow Spiders

Black widow spiders are arguably some of the most famous of their kind in the world. Many have heard horror stories about the dangers of the species, but are they as bad as they seem on the outside? Everything there is to know about black widow spiders sure showcases them in a new light.

Spotting a black widow spider

When it comes to spotting black widow spiders, it turns out that males and females are pretty different. The females are the ones who look like the spiders most of us imagine with their shiny black bodies complete with a red hourglass shape on the underneath of their abdomen. However, this shape can also be yellow or orange, depending on the species. On the other hand, males tend to be smaller and lighter in color. While they might have a pink or red marking, the males are usually half the size of a female – a quarter of an inch long compared to their half-inch size.

Where do they live?

Believe it or not, but black widow spiders live just about everywhere in the world. They’re found in most of South America, Africa, Australia, Asia, Southern Europe, and North America. In the latter, they typically stick to the west and south but have been known to travel to other countries in packages or on food. Black widows tend to live fairly close to humans in dark corners both inside and outside the home. They also spin webs in grasslands, deserts, and forests in the hopes of catching a passing meal.

What do black widow spiders eat?

One thing many believe they know about black widow spiders is how females eat males after reproducing. Amazingly, this isn’t the case. Instead, it’s usually newly hatched black widows who eat their siblings for instant energy. Once they’re grown, black widows spend their time eating most flying insects that get caught in their webs, with there being a few cases of the spiders catching and eating lizards and snakes. Black widows will also eat other spiders if they get the chance. They do this by injecting a venomous bite that paralyzes their prey.

Are they dangerous?

Being larger than the males means that female black widow spiders are more dangerous. In fact, it’s been reported that their bit is 15 times stronger than a rattlesnake, but there’s a catch. They don’t inject as much venom, meaning that even though the bite is painful, there’s a good chance it won’t be dangerous unless they bite an already vulnerable person such as the elderly or a child. The effects differ between all 31 species of black widow spiders. However, they typically cause pain and swelling alongside muscle aches and difficulty breathing for a few days.

When it comes to spiders, most want to keep as far away as possible. However, it turns out that black widow spiders might not be as dangerous as the creatures they have been made out to be all these years. Still, it’s probably best to leave them be if you find one.