Ask a Naturalist: Are black widows dangerous?

Mar 2, 2021


Black widows are known for their shiny black body and a red marking on their abdomen. They are venomous spiders tend to hide in dark areas under rocks boards in sheds and under buildings. Black widow bites can be dangerous especially for young children and elderly people but fatal (or deadly) bites rarely occur. Symptoms of a black widow bite vary from person to person including but not limited to muscles cramps headaches nauseas vomiting and sweating.

If you were to get bitten seek medical attention immediately. While some people may not be severely affected it is always wise to err on the side of caution and get medical help as soon as possible.


As with rattlesnakes it is always smart to be aware of venomous spiders in your area. Keep in mind though that while black widows are venomous they are not as deadly as people tend to believe. Black widows tend not to bite with no cause; if disturbed they are likely to bite in defense. Most animals are more afraid of humans than we are of them. It is always wise to give them space to both keep you and the animal safe. 


Enjoy a fun easy craft that let's you move your spider up and down. Click here (or the image below) to follow the tutorial! 


Here's a fun game to play with kids with lots of energy! this game is very similar to hide-and-seek. The players will pretend to be insects and one person will be the "spider" with a blanket at the ready. The blanket represents the web. 

Additoinal Resources

Learn more about black widow bites here. You can also learn more about how to stay safe from them from here

Check out this UCANR publication to explore the black widow further and what to do if you are bitten by one. 

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