A Black Widow Spider Hid In A Bag Of Grapes & Bit A Woman, Making Me Not Want To Eat Fruit Anymore
The past few weeks have seen some pretty terrifying spider-related stories, but this one might take the cake. Not only did it happen stateside, but the circumstances are so mundane it could have happened to any of us. A Vermont woman was bitten by a black widow spider that was hiding in a bag of grapes she had purchased at a local supermarket and taken home with her. A black widow spider. To most people, that's the mother of all poisonous spiders, a spider that's unparalleled in its formidability and synonymous with death. But somehow, the woman is completely fine — was it a miracle?
After buying groceries at a Shaw's in Colchester, Vermont, the 21-year-old woman reached into the bag of grapes, prompting the black widow spider to crawl up her arm and bite her, her mother told Vermont's WPTZ news. The mother and daughter were able to catch the spider and take it with them to the hospital, where the woman was treated and released the next day.
"The next day?" You might be thinking in disbelief. Though the woman's health will be monitored for the next few months, it turned out that the black spider bite wasn't such a big deal after all.
Most people think of the black widow spider as a cunning, sinister predator just lurking and waiting to pounce on a poor unsuspecting victim. Their reputation is so infamous that even pop stars use them as metaphors for being femme fatales, like Iggy Azalea does in her aptly-titled song "Black Widow," and Scarlett Johansson plays a Marvel superhero named after the spider.
But the truth is that the spider's predatory abilities are only a threat to other insects. And, yes, females sometimes kill and eat their partners after mating, giving them their morbid-sounding name, but in general, black widow spiders are pretty non-aggressive.
According to National Geographic, black widow spiders rarely attack humans unless it's in self-defense, like when they're agitated... or about to be popped into someone's mouth along with a grape. And even when they do attack, it's not necessarily game over for you. Although black widow spiders are considered the most venomous spiders in North America (and their venom is believed to be 15 times stronger than a rattlesnake's), their bite is actually not that dangerous, and most people who are bitten suffer mild effects.
When bitten, one might experience muscle aches, nausea, and difficulty breathing, but they're usually back to normal in three to four days.
Gayle Finkelstein, a Northern New England Poison Center official, told WPTZ about what a typical bitten person will experience:
You'll go into the emergency room, they'll monitor you for blood pressure, heart rate, and pain obviously, and then they'll treat for the pain with either pain medications or a muscle relaxant, and then they'll look to see if the pains get worse and the symptoms get worse. If it's a severe case they would require anti-venom.
But severe cases in humans are rare, mostly limited to infants, elderly people, and those with weakened immune systems.
So the notorious black widow spider isn't so dangerous after all, huh? Someone might want to tell Iggy Azalea, so she can change the name of her song to "Golden Poison Dart Frog," because those things will definitely kill you.