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Oklahoma is home to a diverse group of spiders. While most spiders are considered venomous, only a few species are of major concern health wise. Here are a few spider varieties we watch for in Oklahoma.
Black Widow spiders are the most venomous spider in the United States, their venom being many times more toxic than that of a prairie rattle snake. The females of the species are the ones that the most care needs to be taken around as the males are not considered dangerous. Female Black Widow Spiders are Black with a red hourglass figure underneath their abdomens.
Black widows prefer darker sheltered areas such as basements and crawl spaces; garages and barns. They also love clutter so the neater your home the better. These spiders will make a meal of what they can get their fangs into, and whatever is unlucky enough to get trapped in their web: mosquito's, grasshoppers, mice, lizards, and snakes are fair game.
Black widows are most commonly seen at night as they are nocturnal. They love warmer weather and are usually seen Spring to Fall and go into hibernation in the winter months when it's colder.
Brown Recluse are also a dangerous Oklahoma native. They are dark brown in color and are known for their violin shaped marking on their back. Thus their nickname "fiddle back".
Brown Recluse usually like to set up housekeeping in sheltered areas like basements, crawl spaces, attics, window molding crevices, boxes, and under furniture. They prefer places that are not often disturbed. Shoes and seldom used clothing can be a great hiding space for these spiders.
Fiddle back bites generally are painless at first but that doesn't mean they are harmless. The sting will be felt generally six to eight hours after the initial bite and can be very painful. A small blister will develop that can turn into an ulcer eating away at the flesh underneath. Other symptoms like fever, restlessness and trouble sleeping may also occur.
These spiders are considered a running spider, instead of catching their prey in their web like the Black widow they chase down roaches, small insects and spiders much like a wolf would chase down their prey.
The Oklahoma Brown Tarantula may seem a fearful site, but are actually fairly docile. Because of their size many people are fearful of the; but their venom, if they bite at all, has about the same effect as a bee sting and are not harmful to your health.
They are nocturnal and shy around people. The females actually never leave their burrows, so the males only tend to venture out simply to find a little female company. Tarantulas favorite food to dine on are bugs like crickets, grasshoppers, cicadas, and caterpillars.
September in Oklahoma means Tarantula migration, and these gentle giants can be seen crossing highways and are spotted more frequently.