With a body roughly the size of a dime, mature female Black Widow Spiders are shiny, jet black and usually have a red to orange hourglass-shape mark on the underside of the abdomen. They are most likely to attack when provoked or accidentally touched. Males are smaller and less likely to bite.
The poison of a female Black Widow Spider is 15 times greater than that of a rattlesnake, but a Black Widow Spider bite is rarely fatal. The spot of the bite will become swollen and painful, and the venom can cause headaches, nausea, weakness, back spasms and other painful symptoms. Children, the elderly and sick individuals are at greatest risk from dying from a Black Widow Spider bite. Anti-venoms are commonly available and very effective.
These spiders prefer dark, undisturbed areas. They often hide out in basements, attics, garages, wood piles and in closets where clothes and boxes are stored.
Black Widow Spiders are found throughout the United States.
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