Poisonous spider in Jonkerk | RTV Johnstreek

27-11-2021 15:00

Region – Junkerk has been working hard for the past few months on trail vetters in Jantam. Everything has been re-painted and the walls and floor have been refurbished. RTV-Zaanstreek is in the building, and this week when I went to pick someone up I saw a spider crawling on the snow white wall. In a hurry I took a (bad) picture of the animal on my mobile. Subsequent research has shown that this is not a spider that sits comfortably in your hand.

By David Sluice

The spider on the wall belongs to the family of ball spiders because it (usually) has a bullet-shaped abdomen. The English name is ‘False Widow’ because it bears some resemblance to the frightening black widow, which is a highly venomous spider that rarely occurs to us, but sometimes comes from distant places. Now all spiders have venomous glands to paralyze / kill their prey, but these are generally harmless to humans. However, some bites can cause (most) pain to people. But this breed is very annoying, but will only bite if it feels threatened.

For many years I also kept the official Dutch name of the spider ‘Great Steadota’ as a guest at home. He stays in the room where the water meter is located. The spider has been on the rise in the Netherlands in recent decades and occurs on many continents, including Australia. Many bite incidents are known there, and the bite is also scientifically investigated. The effects of the bite cannot be ‘mild’. For example, a 22-year-old woman who was bitten experienced dizziness, vomiting and severe pain. Other cases of bite include palpitations, muscle cramps, fever, and difficulty breathing. But it varies from person to person.

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Fortunately, there is an antidote in Australia. It is derived from horses that are immune to spider venom. This story is not meant to scare the reader, but it is intentional. All spiders are useful and have found their place in nature, including the large steatoda. But a little respect for this octopus friend!

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