Every been bitten by a Brown Recluse Spider?

I think I have. Twice.

The latest one has sent me to the doctor. I went last night. They where not sure if it was a Brown or not. Those spiders are not supposed to exist at this altitude. But my Mom was for sure bit by one years ago in Denver. The last time I think I was bit on the arm.

Anyway, it’s on my ankle, right over my Achilles tendon. It’s a lesion about ¾” long by ¼” wide. It looked necrotic at first and was leaking pus. It seems to be a little better today.

I also have a bunch of either broken capillaries, or blood leaked into the lower left side of my foot. It’s quite red. And my lower left calf is a little red.

I am either very sensitive to some other type of spider, or it was a Brown Recluse.

As I said, I’m am not asking for advice. I have been to a doctor and they gave me some anti-biotics.

I’m just curious if anyone else has been bitten, and what it was like.

Using Google image search and the term “spider bite,” you will find a number of photos ranging from informative to informtive-yet-disgusting.

I think I was, once. Damn thing didn’t stop to pose for pictures — I was exiting through a wooden add-on structure of an old brick house in Athens GA and as I opened the back door something hopped down and landed on my forearm, brown, relatively small, multi-legged, and as I went automatically to swipe at it with my left hand it bit and hopped onwards. An hour later as I was driving down the road it was stinging and there was a 2-inch circle of odd whitish skin around the bite, which had opened and expanded to look like a small bedsore, necrotic and ulcerated, with black skin edges.

Stopped at a drive-in clinic, a Doc-in-a-Box kind of place, and was given an antihistamine. It got no worse and in a couple days was just a scabbed sore, then nothing.

Been there, done that. That’s why I went to the doctor.

Unchecked, these bites lead to amputation.

A Brown Recluse bite for some looks like you would rather be dead.

Anywho. I suspect -

  1. It wasn’t a Brown, and I’m am very sensitive to some other spider.

  2. It was a Brown, but I’m not that sensitive to them.

  3. It was a Brown and he just didn’t get me very good, was small, whatever.

  4. Something else bit me, and I infected the wound by scratching it.

I suspect, and hope it was #1 or #4. I really hope those little son of a guns aren’t lurking around here.

Very similar to my latest experiance. I got bitten on the forearm. Seemed to take forever to heal.

I was working on the addition to our house when whatever it was got me. I think.

We do have what I think are Wolf spiders running around. Next few I see, I’m going to capture and take a closer look. Our two cats get most of them. I see a spider about once a week.

Make that previous eperience.

I really want to find out what these things are. The pictures I’ve found points the finger at the Brown. But they are not suposed to be here. And the pictures don’t quite match up. But they are the closest. I rarely examine them. I’m gonna start.

I’ll capture the next one instead of the old flusherino.

Non-recluse spider bites can lead to lesions via infection. Spiders aren’t the tidiest creatures, and it’s not like they brish and floss their fangs’n’pedipalps.

They CAN, but they don’t automatically do so. Some folks are more sensitive to brown reclude and hobo bites than othgers.

If you live in northern Illinois or anywhere in Iowa, and you see a capture a brown recluse, this guy wants it. (it’s also a good resource for identification)


Well, I had some kind of bite or sting on my face when I woke up one morning about five years ago. It started as an angry red welt. After I had gotten to work, I went to the bathroom and checked it out in the mirror. The thing was hot to the touch, and a large blister-like core was rising. Just to see what would happen, I took one finger and pressed down on the core…suddenly the bathroom began doing the calypso and I almost passed out from the pain.

I went to the emergency room (which was only two blocks away from my office) and told them I’d been stung or bitten by an unknown critter. I don’t remember what kind of medication I was eventually given, but I do recall that two of the ER interns were debating ferociously as to whether a scorpion or brown recluse was responsible.

I am pretty sure my father was during a camping trip. He developed this ring that rotted out in the center over a week or so. That said, I have heard that doctors can’t really diagnose most spider bites. It can be a lot of different injuries with associated infections. You can never be sure.

I have not, but my sister MAY have. As mentioned, one simply cannot be sure unless you catch the little bugger. There aren’t supposed to be brown recluses in El Paso, but an arachnologist at NMSU told me that there are spiders in the same genus that live there. The bite didn’t follow the typical pattern, as it took much longer than usual to turn necrotic. It was pretty nasty.

What is done to keep them in check? I’m not aware of any way of stopping the venom from running it’s course. Obviously one needs to keep oportunistic infections at bay, but can anything else be done?

The wikipedia article claims that there is a test to detect the venom of the BRS in a wound, but it doesn’t cite anything. Anyone know anything about this? I know the docs took a biopsy from my sister’s leg and ran test(s), but were only able to confirm that it was indeed an arthropod bite.

No bites. No recluses here in downstate NY (except people - we have loads of that kind). But we grow some big healthy garden spiders, some of whom even sport the fearsome fiddle-like marking. But it’s on the bellies, not on the backs as with the recluses. Climbing down the stairs to the local train station I frequently pass 4 or 5 of the big mamas, bobbing gently in their orb webs in the river breeze.

When googling pictures of spider bites, be careful. We thought we had my mom’s “bite” outright fingered, because we found some pictures that were claiming to be brown recluse bites, when really, they were pictures of MRSA, an antibiotic staph infection, which is what she had. When googling pictures of spider bites, try to make sure they come from a hospital or doctors’ Web site, or even better, something that ends in .edu (doctors screw up on Recluse bites about as often as everyone else does).

There’s been a lot of furor over Brown Recluses lately, but when you find them at high altitudes, they’re usually dying because they somehow got imported from elsewhere. Colorado doesn’t seem too far off from their normal habitat, but unusual. They’re a low-land spider. You don’t normally, however, find Brown Recluses anywhere west of the Rockies except by accident.

Also, not all necrotic wounds are brown recluse bites, and not all brown recluse bites become necrotic. Necrosis is not a definitive diagnosis, at all, as we found out with my mother. My father, a medical professional, could have sworn this was a brown recluse bite, and it wasn’t. There were children in Arkensas or somewhere that ran around collecting brown recluses, with their FINGERS, and none of them got bitten - usually when you get bitten by a brown recluse, it’s being pressed against your skin, because it’s in a clothing item or shoe that you’re trying to put on. Otherwise, they rarely bite.


In my stories, I use coins to describe spider size. What I mean is that the diameter of the spider and its legs are about the same as whatever coin. Just to clarify…

In the apartment that I grew up in, I’d have to go to war with those bastards every Fall and Winter. They’d just move in. I’m talking several dozen PER YEAR. And they weren’t wolf spiders or any crap like that either. Textbook fiddlebacks.

Ever got in a fight with a dozen and a half baby (bit smaller than a dime) plus their very angry mama (bigger than a quarter) armed with a rolled up magazine, a can of boric acid, and a blue streak that can only be described as “epic?” Try it sometime.

Those buggers are fast too. Mean as hell to boot. Probably 25% of the time it wouldn’t run if I missed my first swing. It’d jump to the side then spin about to charge at me. Guess that might explain why my reflexes get comments to this day.

I remember one time my sister and I were putting up the christmas tree. Was an old cheap fake one. We’d had it for years. Kept it in the box we got it in. I’ll never forget it. I reached in with both arms (wasn’t wearing a shirt even) and pulled the tree out. Then when I reached in to get the little branches and stuff I noticed a monster one on the inside of the box, on the side nearest me. It was HUUUGE. Goddamn thing made eye contact with me. That’s how big. Not really exaggerating either. It was probably a bit smaller than a half dollar. That was a really bad fight because it went after my 6 year old sister when I pissed it off.

One night while I was asleep I felt a pinprick on my collarbone about an inch from the end closest to my sternum. That’s the thick end. It didn’t really wake me up but an hour or two later I brushed a hand across it and there was a knot about the size of an English pea that was REALLY painful. The knot swelled into about the size of a walnut, with a BB-sized scabby hole in the middle. About a week or so later, I scratched the scab off and this corruption oozed out. It kept oozing until the swelling was totally gone. The thing would reinflate, I’d scratch and “milk” it again. This lasted maybe 4 days or so.
Around then, I was at football practice and I landed on that shoulder. The sound was like having a tooth pulled at the dentist. That wet crunchy sound. Just from falling onto my shoulder, the thickest part of my clavicle snapped. The doc said that it’s rare for one to break there since it’s the strongest part of the bone.

My theory is that the toxin killed the blood vessels feeding the bone matrix and weakened it enough to snap when it took an impact.

I also had another tiny little painful knot that swelled to maybe orange-size on my knee. Same process as before. The first “milking” used an entire roll of paper towels.

Done a lot of reading on the things. Hobo spiders, BRSs, and fiddlebacks are all names for the same spider. They love houses. LOVE houses. Shoes, closets, blankets, things like that are heaven for them. They like being cozy and do NOT like being disturbed.

Their venom is still damn near a mystery. It’s a pain in the ass to harvest and there is not much studying going on regarding the stuff. Nobody really knows what all the venom does, much less why it does it. The effects vary quite a bit from victim to victim.

Fascinating creature, really. Not exactly on my Christmas card list, but I do have a lively respect for the fellas.
Also, for those that may wonder why, I did not seek medical attention at the time of the bites because I was young, ignorant, and poor as dirt. 'Course in hindsight, I probably just saved myself some time anyway. BRS bite treatment is really a matter of steroids antibiotics and luck.

This thread needs a TMI warning.

Not that I mind but someone else might.

Thanks everyone.

Just an update. The lesion the back of my ankle has closed up and is getting better. I think the anti-biotics helped. Still on them of course.

Yesterday I took the last half of the day off of work to elevate the foot. Helped a lot. The redness on the other part of my foot (about 6 square inches, lower outside top) reduced in size. I think that it was caused by additional bites. Not infection from the first bite. But they are not anywhere as sever as the one on the back of the foot.