What Do Spider Bites Look Like?

Reviewed on 8/25/2020

Spider bites often take longer to heal than other insect bites.
Spider bites often take longer to heal than other insect bites.

The appearance of a spider bite varies depending on the type of spider causing the bite. Spider bites often take longer to heal than other insect bites.

Some common features of spider bites are as follows:

Other possible symptoms that may occur include the following:

Brown recluse spider

The spider is brown in color, 1 inch long, and nonaggressive. The bite appears as a red or purple ring resembling a target or bull’s-eye.

There can be blistering that may worsen without treatment. It can lead to tissue death and cause fever and chills. The bites by this spider may need medical attention.

Black widow

This spider is shiny and black with a red hourglass-shaped mark on its stomach.

The bite marks appear as two puncture marks on the skin.

Some systemic signs and symptoms of the bite are as follows:

In some people, a bite by a black widow can make you very sick, and hence, it needs immediate medical attention.

Hobo spider

Bite of a hobo spider may go unnoticed initially, but pain and numbness usually develop after around 15 minutes. It progresses to turn red and eventually becomes hard and swollen after around eight hours. There may be oozing from the wound, and it eventually turns black. 

Other systemic signs and symptoms may include the following:

Tarantula

Tarantula’s venom is usually not dangerous. Their bite feels similar to a bee sting. Following a bite, a red rash may appear with swelling and itching.

Other systemic symptoms are as follows:

Brazilian wandering spider

The bite of Brazilian wandering spiders is extremely painful. There is swelling, redness, warmth, and pain around the bite site. It can lead to tissue death, profuse sweating, and drooling of saliva. Emergency treatment with antivenom is required.

Wolf spider

Wolf spiders are around 3-4 inch long and look similar to tarantulas. Their bite can tear the skin and cause pain, redness, and swelling. It can take up to 10 days for it to heal.

Camel spider

It is sand-colored and have large jaws that can leave a deep wound on the skin. These spiders don’t produce venom, but you may get an infection due to the open wound.

You may also experience swelling around the bite wound and mild-to-intense bleeding. 

Jumping spider

They are small, about half an inch, and hairy. The most common type is black with white spots. Its bite feels similar to a wasp sting. An allergic reaction to the spider venom can occur. Symptoms include the following:

Are spider bites dangerous?

There are over 3,000 different types of spiders in North America. The bites of most of the spiders are not dangerous. Their bites may appear red with itching and usually heal in around a week on their own.

The spiders that manage to bite through our skin and insert toxic venom can cause serious health complications. Immediate medical attention is required if there are systemic signs and symptoms, or if the bites turn into sores.

How are spider bites treated?

In most cases, nonvenomous spider bites may heal on their own or with simple home remedies such as: 

  • Cleaning the area with soap and clean water
  • Applying an ice pack on and off over the affected area for 10-15 minutes at a time
  • Elevating the area to reduce swelling
  • Taking an over-the-counter antihistamine (for itching) and painkillers
  • Cleaning the wound with an antiseptic
  • Applying antibiotic ointment to the affected area

Immediate medical attention is required if there are systemic signs and symptoms or if the bite does not heal or become worse. Bites by one of the following species require emergency medical treatment:

  • Brown recluse
  • Black widow
  • Hobo spider
  • Tarantula
  • Brazilian wandering spider

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References
https://www.medicinenet.com/spider_bite_symptoms_and_signs/symptoms.htm

https://www.webmd.com/skin-problems-and-treatments/ss/slideshow-spider-bites

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