Friday, 22 June 2007

Dangerous Creepy Crawlies

It’s important to keep perspective when talking about Snakes, Spiders and Scorpions. After all, what have they got to gain from biting you, they can’t eat you ! If they bite or sting it’s because they are defending themselves (some are more aggressive than others) and feel that you are a threat to them, which you could be, we can kill them, even by accident, far easier than they can hurt us.


Many spiders can give a painful bite but there are only four species that are dangerous to humans:

Sydney Funnel Web
Black Widow / Redback
Recluse Spider
Brazilian Wandering Spider

Although anyone who is allergic can die from a reaction to a bite, whether it be from a spider or anything else, the four listed above are the only ones that can kill humans due to the strength of their venom and our bodies reaction to it. As far as I can ascertain their have been no deaths from these spider bites since the easy availability of antivenom. If you are bitten:

Clean the wound
Apply a cold pack
Take a painkiller
Go to hospital - quickly !

It’s an interesting fact that the ‘big daddy’ of scary spiders, the Tarantula is actually harmless to humans and can make a great pet. A bee sting is likely to hurt more than the bite from this beast !


Snake bites are extremely rare and hardly ever fatal. Even the most deadly snakes rarely inject enough poison to cause death. The most deadly snake, and the most dangerous snake are two entirely different concepts. Some of the snakes with the most toxic venom, ie: the most deadly, rarely bite people.

The Most Dangerous Snakes are those that kill the most people. Asian Cobra and Russell's Viper probably kill most of the people who die of snake bite annually in the world

If you are bitten:

Be Calm
Cover the wound
Bandage the limb tightly, starting nearest the heart
Immobilise the limb with a splint
Take painkillers, not aspirin
Get to hospital quickly


The chances of a scorpion bite being deadly is almost zero. For the worst cases antivenom is available. Some experts say there is no need to even visit a hospital following a scorpion sting. If you are bitten follow the same procedures as for a spider bite.


Despite what I have said many people have an irrational fear of Spiders, Snakes and Scorpions. Personally I have a slight fear of spiders, but scorpions fascinate me (I’ve spent time in the Sahara searching under rocks and bushes for them !) and snakes don’t bother me either way. Understanding is the way to enlightenment some guy once said (was it Budda ?) and I hope the above was of interest to someone, and maybe dispelled a few myths ☺

Mr. Burns: Quick Smithers. Bring the mind eraser device!
Smithers: You mean the revolver, sir?
Mr. Burns: Precisely.

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