Dangerous Spiders in Florida
Even though deadly encounters are rare, the following types of spiders in Florida can be dangerous for humans:
Black Widow (latrodectus)
This black and red spider builds her webs at ground level and feeds mainly on insects and other spiders. She prefers piles of stones, deadwood and abandoned animal caves, but can also be found in barns, garages, cellars and sheds, where she finds perfect hide-outs.
Although Black Widows are not considered aggressive, they can bite if they feel threatened. At first, this bite is not very painful. After 1–3 hours, however, the pain intensifies. Cramps, dizziness, nausea and high blood pressure may occur. The good news: If bites are treated in time, the death rate is less than 1%. Only the females can bite. Black “Widowers”, on the other hand, are harmless to humans.
Brown recluse spider (loxosceles reclusa)
Florida´s brown recluse spider is rarely found in the wild. Instead, she prefers dark, dry corners in garages, sheds, basements, piles of wood or under stones. This spider has also been found in shoes and work gloves.
When threatened, she may bite, which is not particularly painful at first. However, since the spider “liquefies” prey with her venom, tissue destruction and increasing pain can occur – sometimes in conjunction with nausea, convulsions and headaches. In the worst case, the bite can lead to a sepsis. Deaths, however, are rare among healthy adults.
Brown violin spider (loxosceles rufescens)
As its other name “Mediterranean recluse spider” suggests, this species does not come from Florida, but from the Mediterranean and the Middle East. For laymen, it is hardly distinguishable from the brown recluse spider, and their behavior is similar. This spider likes dark, damp places where she can avoid people and hunt for cockroaches and silverfish.
Her bite is not only painful, but also leads to slow-growing necrosis and inflammation. However, accidents are rare, as this spider species leads a well-hidden life – for example, in deep tunnels or shafts. So far, only one death by the brown violin spider has been confirmed.
Chilean recluse spider (loxosceles laeta)
Originally from South America, this recluse spider is considered the largest and most dangerous subspecies. So far, however, she has rarely been found in Florida.
Her bite is accompanied by severe, stabbing pain and leads to tissue destruction around the bite site within hours. In the worst case, death can occur due to liver failure. Although no antiserum is known, the death rate is only 3–4%.
In addition, the Chilean recluse spider, like her relatives, lives rather withdrawn. She prefers dark, hard-to-reach places and only bites when she is pushed into a corner or in danger of being crushed.