Weird effects of spider bites

By Casey Frye, CCNN Writer

Brazilian spider
This is the Brazilian wandering spider, which is the most venomous spider known to man!

Whether or not you tolerate spiders, virtually no one likes the thought of venomous fangs biting them! Thankfully, the majority of spider bites are harmless to humans, usually just resulting in uncomfortable stinging sensations and swollen skin. However, some eight-legged critters can cause rare and wacky symptoms, like black skin, brown pee, and extreme sweating!

Necrotic arachnidism, a skin condition caused by spiders, may result in moderate symptoms like itching, swelling, and blistering. In very extreme cases, the tissue surrounding the bite will die off and give the skin a black appearance! However, experts estimate that only about 1 in every 5,000 cases of spider attacks leads to necrotic arachnidism.

Other times, their venom causes strange things to happen to human red blood cells (RBCs), which contain iron and a protein called hemoglobin necessary to transport oxygen. The poison can cause RBCs to rupture and spill everything into the blood plasma (the liquid part of blood). This can lead to hemoglobin breaking down and creating waste inside the blood, until it’s filtered out by our kidneys and into our pee, turning it brown!

Is this talk about spider venom causing you to sweat? Just be thankful it’s not because you were bitten by a black widow! You see, the venom from these black bugs with red hourglasses on their bellies can mess with our nervous system, which is the collection of nerves used to convey messages between the brain and body. Their venom tinkers with the nervous system and causes a person to sweat so furiously, they’ll leave pools of sweat in their wake!

If the Spider-Man movies were giving you fantastic ideas about spider venom and superhuman abilities, let’s just say you’re not going to be scaling walls and shooting webs anytime soon!

Image of Brazilian wandering spider courtesy of João P. Burini on Wikipedia.