The black widow spider can be found on every continent except Antarctica. Its venom is toxic and painful, leaving victims to feel the effects long after the bite. Following is a transcript of the video.
Venom 15 times stronger than a rattlesnake — the black widow spider. What happens when it bites?
All black with a red hourglass, just bigger than a paperclip. Only the female can bite humans. The bite may feel like nothing more than a needle prick.
Within 15 minutes localized cramps will begin. Black widow venom hijacks the victim’s nervous system.
The thighs, back, and shoulders are usually the first muscles to suffer stronger spasms. The venom causes the nervous system to dump all of its neurotransmitters.
Pain becomes more severe — causing the abdomen to have a board-like rigidity.
Black widows have a cocktail of neurotoxins that enhance the effect of its main component alpha-latrotoxin. Together they cause paralysis and destruction of the nerve endings.
Increasing pain and cramps
Pregnant women may go into labor
Morphine and barbiturates may be used to ease the increasing pain and convulsions. Though the venom’s effect on breathing may make painkillers more dangerous. The only antivenom uses potentially harmful horse proteins, making it a last resort. The black widow’s bite is rarely deadly for healthy adults.
Pain and symptoms begin to subside. Most recover completely within 3-5 days. Weakness and occasional spasms can persist for weeks and months, though. Different species of black widows can be found on nearly every continent. But it seldom bites unless threatened or protecting its eggs.