Gut Rumbles

August 23, 2005

a brown recluse

brown recluse.jpg

I've written before about how much I like spiders. I believe that they are fascinating creatures and watching the mathemetical precision with which they build a web is impressive.

But if you ever see a Brown Recluse Spider, kill that sumbitch immediately. Everybody talks about Black Widows being bad, but they don't hold a candle to a Brown Recluse.

When I worked at the chemical plant, one of my operators had his nine year-old son bitten on the leg a Brown Recluse. The boy almost died, and he came within a hair of losing his leg because of the ensuing rot that occurred.

The doctors took a while to understand what happened to the boy, and they almost waited too long to figure it out. He ended up being okay, but it was nip-and-tuck there for a while. He was in the hospital for a month and had to undergo skin grafts to repair the damage that spider did to him.

I always liked a fire at night in the winter, and every house I've ever owned except the Crackerbox had a fireplace in it. But I NEVER went outside to gather wood without wearing gloves.

I was worried about two things: First, copperhead snakes, who like to crawl into woodpiles, and second, Brown Recluse spiders. They are not called a "recluse" for nothing, because they like dark, seldom-disturbed places. Like woodpiles.

I'm giving you some good, Southern advice here--- learn to identify those bastards and kill 'em when you see 'em. They are evil creatures.

And if YOU are ever bitten by one, or if you have a child bitten by one, try to take the dead spider with you to the doctor, so he knows what he's dealing with.

Otherwise, those damn things just might kill somebody.

(UPDATE: The picture I posted makes the spider look too big, almost like a Grandaddy-Long-Legs. A Brown Recluse is about the size of a nickel, no bigger. But they pack a wallop.)


The ffiddle back. Never been or known anyone bitten by one. We where taught at an early age to indentify a squash those bastards.

Posted by: gravdigr on August 23, 2005 01:05 PM

...AND don't forget, after a long hot summer, when you visit your closet to see what's there to keep you from freezing your ass off, CHECK EVERYTHING that you consider wearing. Those bastards LOVE closets also. I know 2 people who were brown reclused when things turned a little chilly, and they went through hell on earth!

Posted by: James Hooker, Ace of aces on August 23, 2005 01:06 PM

Or a pile of clothes on the floor. One got my wife that way. Attics are a perfect place for them so it is a good idea to fog it once in a while. They like to come downstairs from the attic in winter.

Posted by: Titan Mk 6B on August 23, 2005 01:13 PM

I always found screaming at the top of my lungs to be an effective method of dealing with my early life it brought my mother or father running....and in latter years, my husband. In any case, end of problem.

Posted by: Ruth on August 23, 2005 01:14 PM

Spideys are freakin cool...they eat tons-o-bugs, are cool looking and absolutely amazing creatures.

Posted by: The Wizard on August 23, 2005 01:15 PM

The Indiana State House has been infested with Brown Recluse Spiders and they cannot get rid of them.

Posted by: hoosierboy on August 23, 2005 01:28 PM

Got bitten by one while cleaning a bunch of crap from a basement once. Got me on the bicep area of my arm. Ugh! Had a big ugly open wound there that would not clear up for 4 months. Finally, one of the neighbors took me to his Grandma, who was an old hillbilly "herbalist". She made up a poltice of grated potato, a ground up asprin, some kinda herbs and slapped a piece of white bread over the top of the whole thing. Then she wrapped an old plastic bread bag over the whole mess. She made me come back everyday and she'd change it. Took about 2 weeks and it started to heal up nicely. The Doctor had been giving me antibiotics the whole time, which hadn't been doing anything I could tell. I went back to the Doc for a checkup with that mess on my arm and he about shit. Till he saw how nice it was healing! He said to keep it up because what he'd been doing hadn't helped. I've only got a small scar there now, after having a festering hole, the size of a quarter there for months. It looked alot like the picture you have.
Those little bastards are nasty.

Posted by: jmon on August 23, 2005 01:32 PM

See this is where my "irrational" fear of spiders, serves me well!

If I saw that UGLY thing ANYWHERE near my house, it would have to die! I never reach into a pile of clothes, wood pile, etc without being careful.


Posted by: wendi on August 23, 2005 01:45 PM

ick. I'm with Chablis...I just kill them bastards first..identify them later.

Posted by: Kelly on August 23, 2005 02:25 PM

Another indication that God drinks.

Posted by: robert on August 23, 2005 02:44 PM

The ones I really hate are wolf spiders; they're huge and brown and hairy and nasty.

One time I was getting ready to take a shower and after pushing the shower curtain aside, I reached up to turn the shower head away before I started the water. I froze - and screamed bloody murder - because not an inch from my hand was a wolf spider. My then four year old son came running and I told him to bring me the vaccum cleaner. I schlucked that sucker up, took the bag out, taped it up and threw it in the trash.....I just cannot squash something that big. It looked like it had bones.


Posted by: Trish on August 23, 2005 03:58 PM

My hubby got bit by a brown recluse on a sailboat. Fortunately it got the meaty part of his shin. He had an awful wound for a long time but he had it easy compared to most.

Posted by: Jilly on August 23, 2005 04:55 PM

The brown recluse that got me on July 4 was, with legs out, about the size of a quarter. Caught it and took it with me to the hospital, freaked them out when they found out it was still alive. Doctor loved it, as he used it to show the staff so that they could identify them if/when they ever saw them. I was incredibly lucky in terms of no rot, just a week or two of general misery from the bite. Had I not gone immediately to the hospital... Kill them when you see them.

Posted by: Laughing Wolf on August 23, 2005 05:03 PM

I like Ruths idea of screaming, but I am a guy and live alone so no attention there. I would rather have a copperhead tap me than a recluse spider. Have seen victims of both. The snake bitten fare much better.
It is also easier to hit the copperhead with the .45acp than the spider!

Posted by: TomR on August 23, 2005 05:21 PM

Guy I used to work with was bit on the right thigh when putting up hay. Made a big, nasty wound that took months to heal up.

And, just to make it more fun, every year for almost ten years that spot would fester again. That necrotic venom is nasty stuff.

Posted by: Mark on August 23, 2005 05:27 PM

Do these boogers live in Pennsylvania?
(pleasesayno, pleasesayno...)

Posted by: Stevie on August 23, 2005 05:36 PM

The Trash Guys found one near our trash cans a few months back. My father was out spraying any dark place a few that weren't....

Posted by: Symph on August 23, 2005 08:58 PM

Here's what the bite looks like:

Squeamish are advised to avoid this link.

Posted by: Indigo on August 23, 2005 11:18 PM

Duh!!! I didn't scroll down far enough to see the pic. Sorry, Rob.

Posted by: Indigo on August 23, 2005 11:20 PM

Saw a robin eat one once...hopped down out of a tree and gobbled right down after a couple of guys and I had thrown it from the jar it was in. The robin took two hops...and dropped over dead.

Posted by: No Mo on August 24, 2005 01:01 AM

My uncle was bitten in the middle of his back by a brown recluse while taking a nap on his couch. He went to the hospital and they did whatever it is they do...

In the end he had a hole in his back about the size of a quarter -- entirely from the corrosive venom (not from any cutting, in other words).

He lives in a NW Chicago suburb.

Posted by: Strider on August 24, 2005 10:16 AM

Spiders are cool all right, and beneficial -- but they don't belong in the house. Squash 'em when you see 'em, regardless.

I was bitten by a less notorious necrotizing-venom spider (yellow sac spider -- they were all over the place where I grew up) many years ago and got nothing but a temporary welt on my arm. I didn't even know until a couple of years ago what could have happened. And then again, there's a reason they're less notorious than the fiddlebacks.

The wound I still get flare-ups from is a bee sting on my chin from even before the spider bite.

As for No Mo's comment, I think he got that from the movie Arachnophobia.

Posted by: McGehee on August 24, 2005 10:22 AM

The wolf spiders are the good guys. They eat anything that moves including other spiders. Especially fun to watch one of them "hit" a large cockroach.

Posted by: emdfl on August 24, 2005 01:34 PM

I don't know if this would work for a brown recluse, but I was bitten by some sort of spider putting up hay one year. The bite was a huge rid spot on my shin, 6"x8". I tried everything, antibiotics etc. Doctor said there was nothing else to do but wait. My grandfather went to the grocery store and bought a couple of pounds of salt pork. Said it'd draw out the poisin. I was skeptical. But I wore a high sock over a piece of if for three days and the bite was gone. Nothing else touched it. Farmer's wisdom is sometimes the best.

Posted by: Ben on August 25, 2005 08:33 AM

I just thought you might have some interesting true information of a Grandaddy Long leg. We have HUMONGOUS ones In Ga. Thank you

Posted by: candace on October 14, 2005 11:14 AM
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