Black widows build their tattered webs under logs and large pieces of bark, in stone crevices, in trash heaps and outbuildings and deep in clumps of heavy vegetation. Distinctly triangular head, catlike pupils, heat-sensitive pits between eyes and nostrils and danger squirting from two very special fangs, hinged to swing downward at a 90-degree angle from the upper jaw. Mild pit viper bites hurt, swell, turn black and blue and sometimes form a blister at the site. Short, fixed fangs in the front of a small mouth make it all but impossible for coral snakes to bite anything on humans other than a finger, a toe or a fold in skin, and they often have to hang on and chew a few seconds to do damage. Since it takes up to 12 hours for serious signs of the venom to show up, you should find a doctor as soon as possible.
s, don ’t lik e or lizard o you? f you i ons e the risks t scorplly, ar e of I ures , nakeswhat, rea ok at som reat s idersl,one. But close lo sp t a ’re no Let’s tak ea gero us c dan you s. State the most in the U n ited 30 BOYS’ LIFE F MAY 2009 NAME: Black Widow Spider (Latrodectus mactans) RANGE: Every state except Alaska. SIZE: Body is about 1⁄2 inch long. CHARACTERISTICS: Shiny black with a red NAME: Brown Recluse Spider “hourglass” on the bottom of the abdomen. (Loxosceles reclusa) VENOM: Little or no pain, redness or swelling RANGE: Common in the South and Midwest, but they at the bite site to start, but a small, red bump probably exist in all 50 states. may form later. Within 30 to 60 minutes, how- SIZE: Reaches about 11⁄2 inches across. ever, the venom attacks. Severe muscular CHARACTERISTICS: Pale brown to reddish, with long cramping often centers in the abdomen and slender legs and usually with a violin or ﬁddle shape on back. Anxiety becomes intense. Headache, the top front portion of the body. nausea, vomiting, dizziness, heavy sweating VENOM: Within one to ﬁve hours, a painful red blister are common reactions. appears where the fangs did their damage. Watch for TREATMENT: Stay calm. Clean the site of the development of a bluish circle around the blister the bite, and apply ice (or something cold) and a red, irritated circle beyond that — the charac- periodically. Find a doctor. teristic “bull’s-eye” wound of the recluse. The victim NUMBER OF PEOPLE KILLED: 0 to 4 every year. might suffer chills, fever and weakness. THE FACTS: Only the female black widow is TREATMENT: Stay calm. Clean the site of the bite and seriously venomous, and she packs the most keep it clean, and apply ice (or something cold) periodi- deadly venom in the United States. Victims cally. Find a doctor. almost never feel the bite, although some have NUMBER OF PEOPLE KILLED: 0 to 1 every year. reported immediate sharp pain. But then the THE FACTS: Instead of building webs, recluse spiders terrible cramps start. Victims say it feels like come out at night to hunt. They don’t mind living near they are going to die, but black widows kill few humans, and they can live under furniture, within curtains humans. Those who die are almost alw
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