SANTIAGO – The rising temperatures the summer brings, makes not only people go out to enjoy the weather. The Chilean recluse spider is one of those animals we´d prefer not to have as company when we are bathing in the sun. It’s a venomous spider, whose bite in the worst cases can cause death.
Just three days ago, it made headlines again in Chile. A 16-year-old girl from Temuco was bitten by a Chilean recluse spider and was being held in the hospital with serious injuries. Once again, reason for experts to warn people, especially those in the more rural areas, to be careful during summertime, as these spiders, just as much as us, like to enjoy the warm temperatures. So, what is this Chilean recluse spider? How can you recognize it and what can you do when you get bitten?
CBS News lists the Chilean recluse spiders among the most venomous spiders in the world. Not something to be extremely happy about, considering the fact that there lives a Chilean recluse spider in fifty percent of the houses in Chile according to T13.
The spider and its bite
The spiders are brown and commonly grow between 10 and 40 mm in length. It´s body has the shape of a violin, according to some, which is why in some countries the recluse spider is known as the violin spider.
The Chilean recluse spider hunts at night and favors dark environments. Most people get bitten while for example reaching for clothes in their closet, having spiders hidden there, or when cleaning the garage. The spiders are not known to be aggressive, but as with nearly any animal: once it feels attacked it will bite. And when it bites, you´ll feel it.
Immediately after getting bitten your skin will swell, like a blister. The spot can grow dark with the hours, and the pain can increase. It is important to immediately apply ice and soothing crème before heading to the hospital. If possible, bring the spider that bit you, so doctors are able to help you the best way possible.
So whenever reaching for clothes, bedding, firewood or tools in your garage: check for spiders! Although attacks don´t happen too often in Chile, and “only” in 3 percent of the cases death appears, also this summer, it is better to be safe than sorry!
Editor-In-Chief Boris van der Spek is the founder of Chile Today.