Spiders with Teeth

Holy cow Batman!

Spiders with teeth invade the UK!

Venomous Spiders found in Wokingham!

Man eating Arachnids in Reading because of global warming…

OK I made up that one about man eaters, but let’s get one thing straight… Spiders do not have teeth and all spiders, except for a few Uloborid weirdos, are venomous.

I know, that’s two things, but seriously paparazzi, really?

A few years ago, some small containers were found with three baby spiders in, one was labelled Brazilian Bird eating spider, apparently. A couple of large, adult tarantulas may also have been seen leaving the scene. The containers were found in Bateman’s Yard livery stable’s car park in Somercotes. What were the adults up to I wonder? Doing drugs? Having an affair? Off their heads on Spice? Oh my God, I can see the latest headline now…

Licentious Man-Eating Zombie Spiders found in Batman’s Cave.

See what I did there? See how press can, and often do, take 2 and 2 and make 104, or any number that will sell the most papers. Regardless of how many people get scared half to death because of their slight embellishment of the facts.

The Press… hate ‘em… uurrrrrrggghhhh!

Now, facts.

Like I said, uloborids, a small part of the spider family tree, are lacking in venom. The rest are venomous, it’s how they kill their prey, or ‘do lunch’. Yep, even Incy Wincy Spider, who is probably watching you now, has venom, and fangs with which to inject it. Be afraid, be very afraid…

No, seriously, don’t be afraid at all. If you’re in the UK reading this then do not be in the slightest bit alarmed. There may well be a venomous spider in your room, under your desk, crawling up the wall behind you. I just looked around and saw a couple, one on the window and one on the ceiling light. Both venomous, and lethal, if you’re a fly. Can they harm me? Nope. “But you said they were venomous” and they are, but the venom is so weak, it would not even be noticed by me, even if they had fangs strong enough to get through my skin, which they don’t.

This is the case for most of our native beasties, thankfully. I would love to have a spider build a web across every window in my house. It would mean I could leave all the windows open, and they would sort out the mosquitoes and flies that come in and bite me and the Mrs, or vom over any food we may have left uncovered for a nanosecond. Spiders are THE best, eco friendly pest control available, they don’t damage the environment, they don’t contain CFC’s and they are free.

My point is, because I knew you were going to ask… Why therefore do the press insist on saying “VENOMOUS SPIDER FOUND IN UK” when they all are (almost all). They might as well say “Tree seen with a leaf” It’s not news, it’s stating a fact maybe, but not news. Spiders are venomous, get over it. Can they hurt us? No, they can’t. So, stop frightening the public. It’s garbage reporting like this that makes people scared of spiders and gives them a bad name, which frankly is undeserved. Spiders do not hunt humans, honestly, they do not want to waste all the time and effort creating something to subdue their prey by jabbing it into you. Not even the ones that could if they wanted to.

Now, about those teeth. Spiders do not, I repeat, do not have teeth. Mahoosive great fangs, that have evolved from primitive limb like structures yes, but no teeth. Fangs are more like a spare leg with a hook on the end. A bit like another weirdo, the platypus. The males of the species have venomous spurs behind their webbed feet. Yep a mammal with venom and webbed feet. They also have a bill like a duck and they lay eggs. Platypus, you’re a freak.

Right, I’m off now, I just wanted to put people right on a few things. Like for example, Spiders are venomous, usually, but are not out to get you. They do not have teeth, and do not want to take chunks out of you. Finally, don’t believe everything you read in the papers… unless I wrote it, then you know you’re getting facts.

I almost forgot, what has this got to do with first aid. Well, some spiders, can bite you, so what’s the treatment. Can a first aider do anything?

DON’T SCRATCH IT!!!

Many bites will clear up within a few days if left alone.

The false widow spider IS capable of giving a bite, sometimes these can be painful. You’ll maybe see puncture marks on the skin, which can cause swelling and redness. It’s not the venom doing this, it’s your immune response.

Sometimes, bites may cause nausea, sweating and panic. This I’m afraid is down to you, not the spider. However, bites may become infected (DON’T SCRATCH IT). In some cases, cause a severe allergic reaction, anaphylaxis. You should seek medical help immediately if you have any severe swelling, or breathing difficulties, or indeed, any worrying symptoms after a spider bite.

False widow spider and keys

The false widow above was on my arm, not trying to hunt me down, and didn’t bite me. IF… it had gone inside my t-shirt, it MAY have felt trapped or threatened. Then it may have made me aware of his location by sinking its fangs in. Not because I was lunch but because he was frit.

First aid for spider bites

To treat a spider bite:

  • Wash the area with soap and water.
  • Apply an ice pack or cloth that is soaked in cold water for 10 minutes.
  • Elevate the affected area if possible, as this can help reduce swelling.
  • DO NOT SCRATCH and don’t burst any blisters that may have formed.
  • Avoid things you may have read on social media, like using vinegar, bicarbonate of soda, and DO NOT URINATE ON IT. Not only is that not going to help, it’s gross. Do not believe anything Mr Grylls tells you. He is not a Doctor, he has not studied venom, or the treatment of it. I have, so ner.