Brown Recluse Spiders: Where They Lurk and What You Should Do if You get Bit

    March 14, 2012

The brown recluse spider is even more dangerous than the Black Widow because of the way its venom affects humans. Their venomous bites cause necrosis, meaning that the tissue surrounding the attack site dies and leaves its victims with nasty scars.

Bites typically take months to heal and can be excruciating.

Typical side effects that attack victims experience are dizziness, muscle soreness and fever. Very few people perish as a result of being bitten, those who do tend to be children and elderly individuals. Regardless, there is a real risk of death and proper follow up with a physician is crucial.


The following YouTube video covers Dave Losher’s frightful encounter with a brown recluse spider in his Illinois home in 2002. Dale almost lost his leg after his physicians failed to identify the spider that bit him; this caused the venom to spread and kill more tissue. The bite required doctors to remove a substantial amount of tissue; the wound was so big that you could fit a baseball in it:

If you have been bit and have already killed the spider, it is important to safely and securely bag the dead spider so that it can be identified by your physician or health care provider. As we reported in a previous article, the brown recluse has a marking on its back that looks like a fiddle:


By receiving immediate medical attention victims can reduce scarring and expedite the healing process; physicians will typically inject victims with steroids to accelerate the healing process.

Another risks that BR victims face is organ damage.

These spiders are most commonly found in dark, dank places where they can hide from humans; this is why they are named recluses.

Dr. Mike Leahy searches for a brown recluse spider in the following YouTube video:

Most encounters occur inside or around cardboard boxes, in attic or basement rafters, or in shelves or drawers where they can hide.

The best way to avoid these dangerous animals and protect yourself is to scan drawers and boxes before you reach into them. You should also avoid spiders that are putting on confrontational displays (lifting their front legs or showing their fangs). Furthermore, you should NEVER destroy their webs as this could provoke them to bite.