Brown Recluse Spider Bite – Pictures, Stages, Symptoms, Treatment


Brown recluse spider bite is one of the most feared arachnid bites in the world. It is a fact that spiders are usually harmless. There are approximately 20,000 different species of spider known in United States. Out of these 20000 species there are only 60 species that is capable of biting humans. Within this small range of arachnids only four kinds of species are said to be dangerous to humans. These four species include ‘aggressive house spider’ also known as ‘hobo’, the ‘yellow sac spider’, glossy ‘black widow spider’ and brown recluse spider. It is recorded that the black widow spider as well as the brown recluse spider bites are associated with various symptoms and seldom cases of death.

Facts about brown recluse spider

According to reports, deaths associated due to bite from brown recluse spider is seldom and usually seen in children below the age of seven years. These spiders are usually found on Midwestern as well as Southeastern region of the United States. Apart from these regions the existence of these spiders is rare. The occurrence of this category of spider in states such as Florida as well as California as paves way for controversies. Most experts also believe that such spiders are not endemic to these regions. Sometimes the arachnid species may also traverse to other regions of the country through private cars, luggage, etc that travelers usually carry.

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There are less than 10 species of spiders found in non- native regions or states. Most sighting or non – native spiders in a particular state is due to mistakes or confusion occurring because of similarities shared between thirteen other spider species of the same family.

Brown recluse spider category can be further divided into different other sub- categories. Out of these spiders the most commonly found recluse spider (non- brown) is believed to be desert recluse. The desert recluse spider specie is usually found in regions such as Texas, California etc. To your information there is no death ever reporting attributing to non- brown recluse spider bites.

Characteristics of brown recluse spider

The distinctive characteristic of brown recluse spider is its violin pattern seen on the back of the cephalothoraxes or the body. The violin pattern is unique in spectrum of spiders as the base of the violin is shaped at the head of the arachnid and the neck of the violin is to the rear. These spiders may appear to be yellowish– tan or may also have dark brown body with even darker legs. This species is named as Loxosceles which means six eyes. This is another distinguishing feature as most other spider’s species have eight eyes. This unique characteristic of brown recluse spider is lost while a general man sees a spider as it has minute eyes which cannot be seen casually; you need to minutely observe its eyes.

Habits of brown recluse spider:

These spiders are usually not aggressive and attack an individual only when they feel threatened. This happens usually when they are pressed again human skin and that is when they try to penetrate the human skin. Usually any kind of spiders seek dark and warm corners and crevices for their dwelling. They look for dry places such as attics, storage room, closet or other areas which are less visited by humans. There are other spots such as basements, woodpiles, old storage etc.

Causes of brown recluse spider bite :

It is believed that the brown recluse spiders are usually venomous and the potential of its venom is also sometimes compared to that of rattle snake. However, it causes lesser harm or symptoms as compared the influence of rattle snake venom. This is because that quantity of this venomous substance is injected in insignificant amount when a brown recluse spider bites. The venom of such spiders is believed to have toxic affect on the cells as well as tissues of human body.

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Studies have indicated that this venomous substance found in spiders is actually collection of enzymes. Such enzymes may have different affects on the human body. For example of these enzymes, may cause hindrance or elimination of cell membrane which eventually counteracts the functioning of tissues causing localized breakdown of blood vessels, skin etc. This condition may also aggravate further to cause death of tissue which is also scientifically known as necrosis. It is also seen that the venom injected into victim’s body when the spider bites, also affects the nervous system.

Stages of brown recluse spider bite

Often, the brown recluse spider bites goes unnoticed as it is painless during the bite. In occasional cases, minor sensation such as burning, pain or itchiness is experienced at the spot where the spider sting is penetrated. However, other symptoms of spider bite starts occurring within two hours to eight hours from the time of the bite. It should be known that the bites can cause destruction of tissues at the affected region. Here are some symptoms that may be experienced by the victims:

• Severe inflammation or pain at the bitten skin region after approx 4 hours from the time of bite

• Intense itchy sensation

• Vomiting

• Queasiness

• Increased body temperature

• Muscle pain

Other physical changes that may be experience are also follows:

• Reduction in platelet count

• Blood clots

• Acute kidney damages

• In seldom cases the brown recluse spider bite leads to death

• Blisters or rashes are said to be one of the most common symptoms of spider bite

• Necrosis

• Serious necrotic lesions of destructive nature


Treatment for brown recluse spider bite


There are some home based treatments that can be adopted when a spider bites. But it is better to consult a certified doctor to prevent any harmful effects. However, here are some prompt measures that one can adopt when a spider bites.


• Applying hot cold compresses to reduce swelling and pain

• Wash the bitten region thoroughly with cold water and mild detersive

• Avoid any exhausting activity as this spread the venom in the skin

• One can use over the counter pain relief medicines such as acetaminophen for alleviating pain, only if the medicine is suitable for you


Though these above mentioned points are helpful in alleviating mild symptoms, their efficacy is not guaranteed. Hence, in case of a brown recluse spider bite, it is always better to consult a certified doctor.

 Brown Recluse Spider Bite Pictures

Check out brown recluse spider bite photos to find out how the bites look on the skin

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