It’s so sad in “bug ID groups” how often someone shows a spider they already killed “just to be safe,” like, you couldn’t scoop it into a jar until you knew?

And there just AREN’T any spiders dangerous enough that you have to kill them first. There is no spider that just up and kills you with a bite. Even the world’s most venomous is only that dangerous if you have an unusual sensitivity to it or a heart condition. Nobody has died of a black widow in decades.

People do the same shit with snakes and I do not get it. What do they think will happen if they fail to chop the head off every “deadly” snake they see chilling outside? It’s gonna teleport into their house and murder them? What about all the ones living in the area that they just didn’t happen to see? What’s the difference? Death penalty for daring to accidentally enter a human’s line of sight?

Wehhhhh I have kids and dogs” well maybe you should monitor them when they’re outside if you live where there might be deadly wildlife, genius

I’ve politely explained the danger level of spiders to probably hundreds of people but never have I just been instablocked for it with no further explanation, that is a new one

the hostility in the comments on this is unreal in places and honestly really saddening

i want actual sources

“Almost all brown recluse spider bites heal nicely in two to three
months without medical treatment at all. Also the long-term medical
outcome is excellent without treatment.”

“Black widow spider bites can be dangerous, especially to young children
and elderly people. Hospital treatment is sometimes needed, but fatal
bites are rare.”

“Most so-called spider bites are caused by something else.”

“a national study found that nearly 30 percent of people with skin lesions who said they had a spider bite actually had methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus
(MRSA) infections. [other causes included] fleas, bedbugs, and other viral and bacterial infections”

“Only when the
spiders were being pinched between two fingers (with the mouthparts
already positioned right up against their ‘attackers’) did biting start
to become a more common, last-resort tactic”

According to the Australian Museum, the number of human deaths from authentic spider bites of any kind in Australia since 1979 has been zero.
“ (this was published before 2016)

(this was published in 2016:)

“A 22-year-old man has died after being bitten by a poisonous redback spider … in what is believed to be the country’s first fatality from a spider in almost 40 years. “


For reals,

1) Almost everybody I know who thinks every spider they see could be a brown recluse has no idea what a brown recluse actually looks like. Usually, they see a wolf spider and freak out. First off, if you SEE IT, especially during the day, and ESPECIALLY out in the open, IT IS NOT A BROWN RECLUSE. They are called recluses for a reason. I saw my first brown recluses in April, when I was out in the middle of the desert, with a bunch of actual entomologists, and they specifically went looking for them. We found a few with a black widow under a rotting log. They are small. They are NOT actually brown (in my opinion). They are so shy it was hard to even photograph them.


This is an actual brown recluse, minding her own business and just wanting to be left alone.

But she looks HUGE, you say? Well, under the log, there was also a dead one I could easily pick up:


The way to identify brown recluses: count their eyes. They have three pairs of two eyes (six total). Here’s a super crappy “enhance” for you:


This eye pattern is unique to brown recluses.

2. It is impossible to identify a spider based on a “bite” or other injury. If you go to the doctor and are told you have a spider bite? Get a new doctor because they don’t know what they’re talking about. But your cousin got bit by a brown recluse and half her leg rotted off and she almost died? Sounds like she actually had a staph infection, unless she saw a brown recluse, identified correctly, with her own eyes, in which case, okay fine, she got bit by a brown recluse. And then got a staph infection which caused all her problems.

3. RE: snakes — DO NOT TRY TO KILL A VENOMOUS SNAKE. Worried about your safety? That’s fine! All you have to do is NOT TRY TO KILL VENOMOUS SNAKES. Want to know why I’m yelling this? It’s not just because I’m a bleeding heart dirty hippie naturalist. It’s also because almost every snake bite happens when somebody TRIES TO KILL A VENOMOUS SNAKE. But don’t take my word for it! Check out this quote from National Geographic [link]


I don’t know how widespread this news story was, but fairly recently, a man in Corpus Christi, TX killed a rattlesnake. The rattlesnake then proceeded to bite the man. The man had to get 26 doses of antivenom and he still almost died. If you see a dangerous animal that can kill you, WHY ARE YOU APPROACHING IT FOR ANY REASON? Do you also run at mountain lions with a shovel???

And again, as with the brown recluse, most people couldn’t recognize a venomous snake if they needed to. I am getting real tired of my neighbors freaking out and sending emergency alerts to the entire neighborhood warning everyone about the plague of rattlesnakes we apparently have, and include photos of mutilated garter snakes. These same people complain about seeing bugs, lizards, and mice in their yard/garage and have an exterminator poison everything. HEY maybe you wouldn’t need an exterminator if you hadn’t KILLED ALL THE SNAKES who eat bugs, lizards, and mice.

Here’s the first (and so far, only) Coral Snake I ever saw. It was at a nature sanctuary during a family nature day I was doing outreach for. One of the kids saw it in the woods, told everybody at the tabling area, and everybody dropped everything to come watch. This Coral Snake was eating another snake (probably an earthsnake). Coral Snakes are venomous. Does that mean they are dangerous and you should kill every one you see? NO. Heard the shock tactic stories about how no hospital carries coral snake antivenom anymore and therefore if you get bit by one you will die and therefore you should kill every one you see? NO!!! We all stood a respectful distance away from the snake, admired her, and let her eat her lunch in peace. Nobody was at a risk of getting bit. And neither are you because Coral Snake fangs are so far back in their mouths you could only get bit if you literally stuck your finger down one’s throat. 

If you’ve never seen a snake in the wild, there is one thing you should know: They do not want to be near you. I am not super lucky with seeing snakes. I only saw my first large snake in the wild this spring. And I only saw it because it was trying to get away from me the second it saw a human was nearby.

Here is a beautiful Plain-bellied Watersnake, completely harmless. Sweet thing swam into the creek and hid under a pile of wood.

You are only in danger of getting bit by snakes in two situations. The first being, you’re trying to kill it (don’t). The second being, you surprise it and it attacks because it’s terrified of you. So, just don’t surprise snakes. If you’re going to tramp through tall grasses, make a bunch of noise. Walk slowly. Don’t put your feet anywhere you can’t see them. Still afraid? Then don’t walk in tall grass. The end.

Obviously, I have opinions about this. It’s fine to be afraid of animals. But that doesn’t mean it’s okay to kill them, especially when they are dangerous and could hurt you when you approach. Just leave them alone. If you don’t want a snake in your yard, call the snake removal person. I guarantee there is one in your neighborhood or nearby. On rare occasions a snake showed up at my house when I was a kid, my snake-phobic mom would have me put it in the neighbor’s yard. I scooped it up with a bucket, and took it next door. It’s not that hard! 

August 6, 2018

I’m a clumsy jackass who spends too much time close to venomous spiders.

I have been bitten by black widows. Twice! I have been bitten by brown widows. Also Twice! These are confirmed, I-saw-myself-get-bit-because-I-did-something-that-made-the-spider-feel-threatened, bites (half the time, stepping on the spider
barefoot because I didn’t know there was a spider there, once falling on the spider, once not realizing there was a spider in the leaf that I was crunching up)

It’s not pleasant, I get a hot raised welt and maybe a day or two of a mild fever.

But it’s nothing compared to the giant, red, irritated lump and two-weeks-long itching I get from mosquitoes.

You know why I love spiders?

They want nothing to do with you and everything to do with eating mosquitoes.

You know what carries awful diseases? Mosquitoes. You know what wants to follow you and get all up in your business? Mosquitoes.

Look at this beautiful brown widow girl:

You know what her web was full of? PESTS.

This pretty girl isn’t a pest. She’s an exterminator. She’s protecting my family from west nile virus. The least I can do is give her some space or relocate her away from high traffic areas if she’s cutting down on the flies and mosquitoes around my house.

Also just go look at the Wikipedia page for almost any kind of spider. A friend of mine recently asked if we were scared of wolf spiders in the US the way they are in Australia – I said no because I’ve never even heard of them being a problem here. Turns out they were thought to cause necrosis (like recluses) but further studies suggested that it was probably staph infections (like recluses).

The spiders in my house mostly catch fire ants that try to get inside! I still have scars from the swarm that got into my house and covered my entire hand when I picked up a bag of cat food in the closet and didn’t realize it was covered with hundreds of fire ants. Know what I don’t have? Scars from spider bites. Because I have never had a spider bite

Re: Wolf Spiders, in case y’all didn’t see my fairly recent Wolf Spider/Black Widow post:

I take a lot of photos of bugs, so I can upload them to iNaturalist, contribute to science, and keep track of all the friends in my yard (I checked my species could today–over 800 species!). One very important factor in identifying insects, spiders, plants, and many other organisms is SIZE. And I do carry a ruler with me, but I rarely have the patience to take it out of my pocket. So my finger ends up in a lot of photos to give a sense of scale (have you noticed my “finger for scale” [link] tag?). Which means my finger ends up next to a lot of large spiders, like this lady Wolf Spider. Which means, sometimes ambush predator spiders like this lady think my finger is prey. Which means, I get pounced on. I have never been bit by a wolf spider. I have harassed a LOT of wolf spiders. They Do. Not. Bite. Humans.

I think your Aussie friend was thinking of Hobo spiders (they look similar to wolf spiders, easy mistake!). And also, completely harmless. So much so that @buggirl put one on her face [link to her post with face spider]. 

Spiders are Friends
Down with Mosquitos (seriously the gallinippers we have in Texas are huge and they’re horrible)

Still August 6, 2018!