Brown Recluse Spider Bite Almost Blinds Texas Christian University Student

    March 14, 2012
    Heather Campobello
    Comments are off for this post.

Nikki Perez, a student at Texas Christian University, was nearly blinded by a bite from a brown recluse spider. The brown recluse is one of the most dangerous spiders in North America.

This specific arthropod’s population continues to spread with the warming of the planet and may lead to a rise in attacks: “a changing climate could make parts of Wisconsin, Michigan, Indiana, Ohio, Pennsylvania, New York, Nebraska and South Dakota suitable for it. It’s not the amount of space that’s changing, but the area it covers.”

Despite the alarm, only one or two pople die every year from BR bites.

Perez has suffered greatly after the spider sunk its fangs into her at the Amarillo airport. Her head swelled to twice its size, she lost part of her ear from necrosis, she was in the hospital for five days, and she had to receive skin grafts.

Nikki before and after the attack:


The following picture shows the horrific damage that the bite did to her ear:


The brown recluse has a violin shaped marking that makes it easy to identify. Lucky for Nikki her mom is a nurse and was aware of the severity of the bite.


The recent attack has spurred rumors that Portland is infested with brown recluses.

After seeing these photos I wouldn’t be surprised if there was a resurgence of Arachnophobia.

OMG, the school I teach at just sent out an email about brown recluse spider bites. I didn’t need the after photo. I won’t be eating today.(image) 18 minutes ago via web ·  Reply ·  Retweet ·  Favorite · powered by @socialditto

I keep on watching these brown recluse spider videos http://t.co/toqeExJF(image) 27 minutes ago via dlvr.it ·  Reply ·  Retweet ·  Favorite · powered by @socialditto

I awoke to a brown recluse spider on my bed. I’d post a pic, but I eviscerated it w/ a copy of Sports Illustrated. Who says print is dead?(image) 1 day ago via web ·  Reply ·  Retweet ·  Favorite · powered by @socialditto

Some guy got bit by a Brown Recluse spider, and one family had a rat infestation *shivers*..I couldn’t do it! I’d abandon my house, keep it!(image) 1 day ago via Twidroyd for Android ·  Reply ·  Retweet ·  Favorite · powered by @socialditto

Just killed the biggest, ugliest spider I’ve seen in years. Probably a brown recluse… (shiver)(image) 2 days ago via Twitter for iPhone ·  Reply ·  Retweet ·  Favorite · powered by @socialditto

Found a spider. Looks like a Brown recluse, but I’m not sure. Any arachnologists follow me? Or spider enthusiasts? https://t.co/IiHYpeDO(image) 5 days ago via WindowsLive ·  Reply ·  Retweet ·  Favorite · powered by @socialditto

Would you know what to do if you were bitten by a poisonous brown recluse spider?(image) 4 days ago via TweetDeck ·  Reply ·  Retweet ·  Favorite · powered by @socialditto

A2NEWS: Dust Off Your Pest Control Techniques The Brown Recluse Spider Is Active Again.spider pest control.Transonic… http://t.co/N0DqR2X1(image) 5 days ago via HootSuite ·  Reply ·  Retweet ·  Favorite · powered by @socialditto

  • http://webpronews.com Jane

    The first photo of the speckled spider in your article… is NOT a Brown Recluse Spider! You are a source of misinformation sharing that photo as a BRS.

    • Fred

      It is you that is wrong. That is the classic brown recluse spider in all her pics. No mistaking the upside down violin. I should know as I work under houses every day of the week and make it my business to know whats under there.

    • PRM

      Ughhhh…yes it most certainly IS a BRS. In fact, it is a classic photo of a brown recuse or “fiddleback” as they are sometimes referred to. You need to learn how to identify siders yourself looks like….wow.

  • Jana

    It’s Texas Christian University, not Christian Texas University.

    • Joe

      Where does it say Christian Texas University? Looks to me like it says Texas Christian University.

  • Elie Robinson

    Christian Texas University?

  • http://webpronews.com David

    When I was in first grade in a New Orleans Public school two of my classmates of spider bites. One of my classmates died from a Brown Recluse and the other from a Black Widow Spider. Needless to say that traumatized me about death at such a young age. Many years later I becams a nurse and one of my co-workers son had been bitten at her son`s nursery. when she showed me his bite on the second day I immediately told her it was a Brown Recluse Spider bite and if she did not bring him to the ER now he could either lose the arm or die!

    • Rob

      Really, that’s unusual that someone should die from a black widow bite. They are poisonous, but most people only get sick, unless they have an allegic reaction or are already in poor health.

  • Dakota

    who cars

    • http://yahoo pat


    • Melissa

      who automobiles?!!!! Learn to spell, or keep your comments to yourself. Duh!

    • wayne

      u will when it happen’s 2 u

    • wayne

      u will dum ass when it happen’s 2 u .

  • Renell Annett

    I know how horrible once tiny bite can be, my former husband was pickiing up some limbs and holding them close to him, he felt a small bite but thought nothing of it. Half an hour later a reddened swollen area began on his stomach, it started to spread so I told him I would see a doctor, as he is allergic to bee stings.
    The doctor called me at work and wanted to know who our surgeon was. I was blown away, why a surgeon? I had never heard of this spider. I was explained to that he may have to have a skinn graft, how potentially deadly the venom is, 17 times that of a rattler, that was enough for me. I contacted or surgeon and he said to ice the area, to keept ice on it till he saw him in the am and not to move around, if in pain take Tylenol.
    In the am, the doctor agreed it was the bite of the brown recluse, I thought wonderful. The treatment was ice, to keep the venom from getting in the blood stream, and Depakote. It took over a month for the thing to go down, meanwhile the doctor didn’t want him to break a sweat, so it was a time of concern, would he end up having a skin graft?
    As the welt shrunk and the area was drying up it became very clear that he was very lucky, the bite and dead tissue was that of a pin head, and it just flaked off one day, redness abaited.Very lucky man.
    I watched a documentary on this small but deadly spider that likes to be in boxes, dark places and I store alot of belongings in the garage. I double glove and am so scared.
    I learned from that story that a child of eight was bitten, and she did not live to get to the hospital.
    What a terror, It is deadly, it is small, and it is in Ohio. I am in central Ohio.
    We also have the Wolf Spider which I need to study on, I am told it is very nasty.

    • KEVIN

      wolf spiders are very common here in texas. They aren’t nearly as deadly as a Brown Recluse. They’re sting is like a bee sting, and they’re not that likely to attack you. What is annoying about them though, is that if they feel threatened, they will shoot their hairs out like projectiles, and they itch worse than if you rubbed your body with a fiberglass towel.

    • liz

      Melaleuca oil. Get it from a company called Melaleuca or from a health food store. It works every time. Apply as soon as you can after the bite. Then of course see your er dr.

  • Jan

    As I’ve said before- in my opinion, the only good spider is a dead spider. My husband is a nurse and down here in the South, where the brown recluse is prolific, they get people coming in with some awful wounds from the bites. The key is to get help asap!One man got bit on his back and by the time he went to the hospital, 1/3 of his back tissue was necrotic.

  • http://webpronews Wendy Shell

    We have them EVERYWHERE here in Columbia Missouri. I’ve heard every house in our town has about a bucketful in it! My father-in-law was bit by one, on his face, while sleeping! His doctor got right on it with steroid injections and antibiotics. Now, you can’t even tell he was ever bitten.
    Check under your covers before getting into bed. If you have remodeling done, they will come out from behind the walls, so look out. Get rid of cardboard boxes, and store things in plastic. They love wood and cardboard.

  • Luis Mares

    Oooooook, so her mom’s a nurse, it would’ve been nice to continue with the critical information that should’ve followed, like what to do in case one is bitten and is SURE it was a Recluse! Is there any over the counter medicine one can have readily available if such a situation should happen etc. With all 3 of the other comments you sure have a long way to go to be doing this type of reporting. Not mad, but hope you can take criticism!

  • bill

    i hate these god forsaken spiders. im scared of them…..soooo unbelievably scared!

  • Intellibronc

    The problem is, the earth is NOT warming, it is actually cooling and has been for over a decade. Nice try alarmists.

  • hawk

    you get nailed by one of these nasty bastards, get some activated charcoal, (walmart, target, etc.) break open the capsules and make a wet poultice. place directly on the bite and change every few hours.

    • tonigking

      With any bite that manafests quickly (swelling, redness, pain) Ice immediately, stay calm, don’t get the blood pumping faster and go to the nearest emergency care center. If at all possible take the dead spider with you. Don’t risk the fallout if it is a Recluse.

  • April

    They are also known as “fiddleback” spiders.

  • Bob

    Please remember that not all spiders are Brown Recluse and are important creatures and should not be killed. They eat other insects and without them we would be overrun. Most spiders are harmless so before you get out the rolled up newspaper please make a positive ID.

    • KEVIN

      very true. if it werent for spiders, the world would be unlivable, due to the enormous population of insects.

      • Chrys

        The only good spider is a dead spider… if its in my house its dead… if its ouside it can live

  • shawn

    I lived in a house infested with brown recluse. The name is appropriate. They are reclusive. They can hide incredibly well and when they are out in the open, they can move very quickly. Spraying for them is not very effective. The exterminators suggested putting the glue traps under anything they can crawl up (bed posts, dressers…anything you can). And always shake out your clothes, shoes and bedding. The best way I found to get rid of them is by using a blow torch. Of course you have to be very careful not to catch anything on fire that they are in or around. And use common sense. The blowtorch could be more deadly than the spider if not used responsibly.
    If you are bitten, see a doctor immediately. The reaction depends upon the amount of venom injected, the location of the bite and of course your own health. My father-in law was bitten but did not have a reaction other than a small wound.
    I live in Michigan now and I hope they don’t follow me here. Scary, sneaky animals.

    • liz

      Melaleuca oil. Get it from the Melaleuca company or a health food store near you.

  • saucemeister

    Does anyone know of the timeline between bite and the symptoms that are described? Thanks!

  • Cheryl

    If I see a spider in my house it is dead. Most of the time I leave them alone outside but inside my house they are DEAD and I dont care what kind they are.

  • Missy

    My bestfriend died of complications of a brown recluse spider bite in 2003.

    • Dianne

      I was bitten by a brown recluse spider in 2003!! I’m still alive but VERY sick and in terrible pain, all the time. It was a NASTY-looking site and it had to be surgically debrided about 6 months later. Now, I’m on permanent disability and my pain medications barely take the edge off anymore. I was given a diagnosis of fibromyalgia, at first, when the pain didn’t go away but I actually got a positive LYME DISEASE test in 2006. Most of the doctors I’ve talked to seem to think I might have had dormant Lyme in my body and the spider bite set it off but I recently read a story about someone who got Lyme from a black fly so I’m seriously starting to believe that I got Lyme from the spider bite. The problem with Lyme Disease is that the government agencies still refuse to acknowledge that “chronic” Lyme Disease exists and, according to their guidelines for treatment, 6-8 weeks of oral antibiotics will cure it! NOT TRUE! I need long-term IV antibiotic treatment but I don’t have a doctor nearby who is willing to take the chance of going against the “protocol” for treatment because they risk losing their license AND most insurance companies won’t cover it anyway. My doctor tried treating me with 5 months of oral doxycycline right after I got the positive Lyme result but it didn’t help a bit. So…I continue to take strong narcotic pain medications that are slowly killing me and, eventually, they won’t even help me anymore. If Medicare ends, I might as well curl up and die because I can barely afford to live on my Social Security income now. Worrying about losing Medicare doesn’t help with my pain situation and if this pain gets any worse than it already is, I won’t be able to function AT ALL. Sorry for the long post! I’m just so frustrated, fed up, and IN PAIN!!! Thanks for listening to my rant.

  • Bob Boyle

    I was bitten by a Brown Recluse Spider in Kansas. Fortunately there was someone with me who knew what to do.
    1. Go to the emergency room pronto. They will give you a shot for toxins.
    2. Take antibiotics and Benedril as prescribed.
    3. See your family physician as he/she may recommend you not go back to work for a day or so.
    My father-in-law was bitten by a “Fiddle Back Spider” (Same critter). Being a tough cowboy from Wyoming he ignored it. The poison destoyed the muscle all the way to the bone.
    Someone recommended I see a chiropractor for some vitamins. Horse pucky. Taking just antibiotics for about 5 days did the job. All signs of the bite (a large blister) were gone after a week.
    Be proactive and don’t waste time after the bite.

  • PRM

    If your house is infested…and a lot of them are…get on eBay and buy a case of those glue boards used to control mice. Set one along the wall in every place you can imagaine. In closets, on the walls on each side of doors, behind entertainment centers, under cabinets, etc. In 6 months or so, you will have a pretty good grasp on controlling the spider infestation. It’s about the only way to control the nasty bastards.

  • two daggers

    10 years ago my wife almost lost her right foot from a BR bite. a good Dr. saved it.

  • Jeffrey

    I got a bite from one of these little monsters many years ago. I was the first week of duck season and my waders had been hanging in the garage all year…..he was in there. Bit me on the ankle, it was horrible. If you have stuff in you attic or garage spray with light vinegar and wisk or hand vac. The like dark undisturbed places, hence the name “recluse”. BTW these are little spiders.

  • Kevin

    If you’re bitten by a BRS immediately head for the hospital!!! if I was bitten by a spider or snake and I believed that it was potentially poisonous I’d kill it and bring it with me to the hospital so they could confirm what it was that got me….While I’ve never been bit by a BRS or BW I did get stung in the palm of my hand by a scorpion while camping in the mountains outside of Tucson when I was in high school….that sucked!! Thankfully it was a big scorpion, which meant that it wouldn’t kill me, but my hand hurt like hell for three days, worse than any broken bone, sprain etc. that I’ve ever had.

  • V. Martin

    These spider bites ain’t no joke. I got bit by a spider that had been hiding in my folded sweat pants. It got me on my “shin”, my whole leg from the knee to the ankle swelled up, and my foot turned outwards. I immediately went to see a dermatologist who told me that I was bit by the brown recluse. I got lucky because all I was left with is a quarter-sized dark spot on my shin where the spider bit..a little reminder of its toxin.

  • October Mist

    Two of my coworkers were bitten by a brown recluse at the hospital where we both worked. Both went to the ER. One was a nurse so she knew to seek immediate care. The other was a CNA who did not realize she had been bitten until some time later. I was told u can put cider vinegar on the wound to temporarily slow down the venom and to ice the site, but it is imperative that u seek medical attention STAT. Hope this helps.

  • Sharon

    In Homosassa, FL , my mother (passed away 4 years ago) was bitten by the BRS in the early 90’s. It bite into her heel and we thought she was going to loose her foot the damage was so severe. It took months for it to heal and a lot of medication. She went to the hospital almost immediately after it got her, but it was still to late to stop the damage. I now live in Clermont, FL and we have found many a BRS in the yard (lots of wood) captured and killed, and we have learned to be very careful now.

  • Butchboy

    I got a nasty bite in NM on my thigh in 2001. My thigh nearly doubled in size and the pain mad walking almost impossible, so I went to the Dr.. He said it was a BR bite. He commented that my alcoholic body (fifth of 80 proof daily for years) was saturated enough to keep the toxin in check enough that I didn’t need antibiotics. Not the way to fix any problem, but consider myself very lucky (I have since stopped drinking altogether).

  • Rob

    Not trying to be alarmist, but a few months ago I heard of some guy in California being bitten by a funnel web spider. Those spiders are native to Australia, but I guess with the world growing ever smaller with air and ship transport, it’s not just people that are migrating. The funnel web spiders are the most venemous in the world and are far more aggressive than either the black widow or brown recluse.

  • Kerry

    I got bitten by a brown recluse while sleeping when I lived in tulsa. I found him dead in my bed the next morning and remember slapping at something during the night. My arm swelled up to about 3 times it’s normal size around the elbow and up. There was a red circle with a “bullseye” in the middle. I went to a dermatologist who immediately knew what it was and got me on Prednisone ASAP. I have never been so sick in my life. It took months to finally heal. I was told I was lucky and could have had my arm eaten away if I had ignored it.

  • Tina Huckabay

    A brown recluse is a female and a black recluse is a male you get alot of damage from a brown recluse thats for sure i got a bite from a recluse as i was on my bed it almost killed me and got i got a major staph infection from that bite that lasted a very long time i was very lucky thanks to the dear lord up above that i did not get a major scar.You get a bite from a black recluse your dead there is no chance at all if he bites you.

  • Tina Huckabay

    A brown recluse can be very deadly i know because i had one bite me several years ago. I was sleeping and all of sudden i feel this sting on my leg and see the brown recluse try to run off the bed i had a fly swater handy and killed it.This spider bite almost killed me i got a major staph infection that lasted for avery long time.But thanks to the dear lord up above my leg did not scar i was very lucky. A brown recluse is a female and a black recluse is a male. If a black recluse bites you your dead there is no recovery from his bite.

    • Trina

      That’s not correct at all. Male and female Brown Recluse are marked the same. Males are just much smaller. I’ve seen females the size of half dollars with legs sprawled and neither is more venomous than the other. Whether a male or female bites you, provided you are not immunocompromised, recovery is always likely. Treatment must be sought quickly as possible to avoid staph and further necrosis of tissue which could result in loss of digits, severe scarring and nerve damage.
      There is no such thing as a Black Recluse…That’s from World of Warcraft. There are Black Widows, for which there are color differences between males and females, but they have limited range in the US and are found outside.

  • http://@yahoo.com sandra gregory

    My ex-mother-n-law got bit by a br n 1990. Poured bleach on it right away, and all went well.

  • Trina

    They are NOT “attacking”!! I hate this sort of sensational crap. No one is more terrified of Brown Recluse Spiders than I am but even I know they don’t “attack” people! This article makes it sound like we’re about to become extras in a remake of Arachnophobia! They bite because they feel threatened. Accidentally squishing one with a body part because it was hiding in a shirt, coat, shoe, pillowcase or hat is enough to get bitten. They are not going to run people down and attack them with venom they need to kill prey.
    That being said, a Brown Recluse bite is nothing to joke about. They cause necrosis of tissue, can lead to virulent staph infections and in some rare cases cause the body to overreact to future cuts turning them into huge weeping ulcers. So, KEEP YOUR ROOMS CLEAN! Reduce clutter and improve organization to reduce hunting opportunities and habitat for the recluse. Learn to identify their webs, too as they are quite distinctive.

  • liz

    My grandson was bit by one in Alaska. Evidently they travel in suitcases. The necropsy (whole in sking that gets bigger and looks like the skin is eating itself) was the clue. We put melaleuca oil on it (just happen to be a distributor). Then took him to the hospital. The er doc said keep using the oil. Time line – a 8 days before the oil leg getting worse – swollen = red – oozing bigger sore. 2 days later no sign of bite at all.