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Hey Spiderman, Here’s What Really Happens When a Spider Bites You

In The Amazing Spider-Man, Peter Parker’s well-known story feels like déjà vu all over again: Radioactive spider bites outcast teen. Powers grow. Tragedy befalls. Responsibility and heroism ensue.

But Pop Omnivore would rather look at the spider than the man. No arachnid, no matter how special or nuclear-infused, will help a person scale walls and spin webs. But what can a real spider bite do to a real human being?

To find out, we asked Dana DeRoche, an arachnid specialist at the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History, which spider species have the worst—and weirdest—bite.

The Brazilian Wandering Spider
“The Brazilian wandering spider [lives] in large swaths of South America,” says DeRoche. “It’s just about as big as a tarantula, but it’s not as robust and a little less hairy. It’s the color of a mouse, and it’s very aggressive. Usually creatures try to run away from you; this one won’t. It behaves like a scorpion. A lot of poorer folks have a roof and three walls instead of four, so [the spiders] come right in. If you get bitten by one of these and you don’t go to the hospital, you’re dead. It will kill you.”

Black Widow

“Usually not fatal,” says DeRoche, “but small children, the elderly, the sick—they might have a real problem.”
With black widows, it’s usually the female that’s dangerous. They have larger venom glands than males, and more potent venom. Still, black-widow bites rarely kill, especially if medical treatment is found immediately. Typically a bite will result in severe pain, which sets in after about 20 minutes and can last for several days, though the worst of the pain is typically in the first eight to 12 hours. Cramps, dizziness, and nausea may occur. In the worst cases, the bite causes a dangerous rise in blood pressure.

The Brown Recluse

“A bite from a black widow doesn’t give you a huge sore,” says DeRoche. “But a brown recluse’s will. It makes the skin and tissue around the bite die. You usually don’t realize you’ve been bitten because it doesn’t hurt at the time, and then you see the effects. Sometimes people have to get plastic surgery. It’s usually (90 percent) not fatal.”
So even without medical treatment, the recluse’s victims tend to live, albeit with a crater-like indentation radiating from the bite mark.

Honorable Mention

Australian Redback

“It’ll bite you quick,” says DeRoche, “and it’s poisonous.”
Though redback bites haven’t killed in a person in more than 50 years, they can result in excruciating pain and intense swelling around the puncture wound. In exceptional cases—usually when the victims are very young, very old, or very sick—the bites can cause nausea, infection, and even seizures.

Of course, these are all physical changes. Are there any spiders whose bite can change your state of mind or mental capabilities?

“[Spider bites don’t have a] weird effect like if you eat mushrooms or something,” explains DeRoche, “but maybe, if you’re really sick, you might experience [delusions] with some of these. It might also be possible for some of the neurotoxins to give you continuing health problems. It may depend on where you’re bitten, or how long it takes to go to the doctor.” Putting ice on the bite can help while waiting for medical treatment, which could comprise anything from a tetanus shot to anti-venom, depending on the size and type of the spider.

– Kastalia Medrano

Comments

  1. Dharon
    Nepal
    June 28, 9:36 pm

    If we all became spiderman then after 10 years later lets meet at great wall of china ok ;-) hehe

  2. kishan
    INDIA
    June 14, 2:19 pm

    I think that is possible to react as a spider and it is not nessesary that it will bit you…..
    but as my mind we need reaserch on some thing like spider’s DNA , human’s DNA ,spider’s retrovirus ,spider’s and human’s genetics creation ,thers mind working, their body working, their natural changes in body, etc………
    If we are succesed in combination of spider’s and human’s DNA, human body acssept spider’s genetic species, change working of mind as spider and some ather possibilities then we have, a human can behave as a spider, a human can become a spider

  3. under the mask
    over here
    May 30, 10:53 pm

    It’s always been my dream to become Spiderman. Not because of his amazing powers, I just want to use them for the greater good. So someone please help me, tell me how I can become that hero.

  4. Jacob
    May 8, 6:41 pm

    It is possible to become the amazing spiderman…. But very, very unlikely. What has to happen is when a spider bited you, first, if you want all the effects spiderman can do, you have to find a spider that is cross breeded with 6 rare spider types. Then, if you do find one like that, the spider has to extract a RetroVirus into your body/cells and the virus has to connect to ALL of your cells so the RNA can replace your DNA. If this dosnt happen however, there is a chance you could die. Its very risky but it is possible. Unlikley though.

  5. arun
    gurgaon,india
    April 21, 2:43 pm

    is it possible to become spiderman after bitting by spider if it is then name that spider??????

  6. Spider-man
    USA
    April 8, 10:29 pm

    A spider from a cross species is different from a radio active spider. If you were to be bitten by a spider that contained radiation, you would possibly die within the next 5 days from the radiation.

  7. Nana
    Virginia
    November 5, 2013, 1:49 pm

    It is in fact possible to become cross-specie d with a spider as anything that you can imagine can actually become a reality. I’ve always wanted to become spider man WITHOUT the retrovirus and A spider has almost bit me 7 times and i believe that if I let the next one I see bite me I will become spider man.This is a proven fact and it’s WWWWWWWAAAAAAAAAAAAAAYYYYYYYYYYYY safer than getting the retro virus since hypothetically speaking if your blood type and DNA aren’t compatible with the spider that bit you your cells will reject the spider DNA, your immune system could fight it off by more than likely it will spread throughout your whole body as an infection and will probably kill you depemding on the spider. Here’s what you can try it’s called the apathy theory: if you keep saying, writing, or thinking something will happen it is actually eventually going to happen. So here’s how it works there are 2 ways to do this A: say, I(Full birth Name) will become spider-man/ cross specie d with a spider by(specific Date or time) forever even in the after life. B: Argument form- You: I’m gonna be spider man
    Friend: No you won’t
    You: yes i will
    continue doing these for about a month or two EVERY DAY and before you know it you will be wall crawling in no time.

  8. Rabin Newar
    INDIA (Assam)
    September 22, 2013, 10:22 am

    Spider bit me m feeling pain bt I get something
    Different m looking fast more than my frnd m nt say any one wht I do? Plz help me

  9. Rabin Newar
    INDIA (Assam)
    September 22, 2013, 10:20 am

    Spider bit me m feeling pain bt I get something
    Different m looking fast more than my frnd m nt say any one wht I do?

  10. Anonymous
    Somewhere
    July 7, 2013, 2:19 am

    I agree with Casey, it didn’t mention anything about radioactive spiders that might give some Spiderman powers. Trust me, research “Is it Possible to Become Spiderman?” on Google. Science says it is actually possible!

  11. quinndimapilis
    Philippines
    July 5, 2013, 10:49 am

    how about the retro virus that came from spiders?
    Spiders have retrovirus right?

  12. Joseph
    Somewhere
    June 1, 2013, 12:13 am

    I think a radio active/cross specie genetic spider bite you possibly it could change your heart beat then that would affect your blood flow

  13. pradeep
    india
    May 30, 2013, 3:41 pm

    i am spiderman

  14. bobby
    nigeria
    December 18, 2012, 2:02 am

    So if Am biten by a sipder am not gonna have any super engry or shoting web?

  15. Haariharan
    Kuala lumpur
    November 29, 2012, 6:46 am

    What happen when spider bite

  16. Haariharan
    Malaysia
    November 29, 2012, 6:43 am

    what happen when spider bite we change to a real spiderman

  17. Elyse
    Somewhere
    October 2, 2012, 2:46 pm

    Does a Radioactive Spider bite hurt you?

  18. [...] Hey Spiderman, Here’s What Really Happens When a Spider Bites You (newswatch.nationalgeographic.com) [...]

  19. Casey
    Somewhere
    July 18, 2012, 1:57 am

    Yes, but the spider was radio active through cross species genetics, so although that this couldnt happen, with the right testing and “Cross species Gentics” its quite possible to have an effect of energy or rush of being exited and hyper.