11 Spiders To Avoid On Your Gap Year

Written by: Dave Owen

Let’s talk about spiders. Spiders are terrifying. They spin threads through our nightmares, slip out of sight just as we turn out the lights, and apparently can’t stop making suicide leaps into our mouths while we sleep.

A trip to exotic warmer climes comes laced with concerns of the creepy crawlies we might encounter during our adventure. Here are some spiders that you’ll absolutely want to avoid at any cost.

Yellow Sac Spider

Found: North America, South America, Australia.

Size: Between 5 and 15mm

Avoid it because: The bite of the yellow sac spider can, in some cases, cause necrosis, which means it basically kills your flesh. It may be responsible for more bites than any other spider species out there.

Wolf Spider

Found: North America, Europe, the Arctic Circle. Basically everywhere.

Size: Between 1 and 3cm

Avoid it because: It literally runs after its prey, reaching a top speed of two feet per second, and its large fangs make bites pretty painful. They’re surprisingly cute, though.

Fringed Ornamental Tarantula

Found: India

Size: 20-25cm

Avoid it because: It’s bloody massive! It can move quickly, is fairly aggressive, and its venom can cause intense pain and extreme muscle cramps.

Redback Black Widow Spider

Found: Australia (other varieties exist all over the world)

Size: 1.5-2.5cm

Avoid it because: It’s one of the deadliest spiders in the world. Its super-concentrated venom can cause severe muscle pain, cramps, and spasms. Luckily medical treatment means death is extremely unlikely.

Mouse Spider

Found: Australia

Size: 1-3cm

Avoid it because: Its venom is a neurotoxin that can cause muscle spasms, vomiting, and swelling of the brain. It wasn’t uncommon to die of a bite before an anti-venom was developed in 1981.

Brown Recluse Spider

Found: The USA

Size: 0.5-2.5cm

Avoid it because: Its venom is necrotic, sometimes resulting in large open wounds that can require skin grafts or even amputation. It’s small, and can easily get caught inside your clothes.

Brown Widow Spider

Found: Africa, North America, Japan, Australia, more

Size: 2.5 – 3.5cm

Avoid it because: Its venom is twice as powerful as the black widow, which can make symptoms all the worse. Thankfully it’s not aggressive and only injects a small amount when it bites.

Brazilian Wandering Spider

Found: South American, Central America

Size: 10-12cm

Avoid it because: It’s officially the most venomous spider in the world. A bite can cause loss of muscle control, which can result in asphyxiation, intense pain, and, in men, a prolonged, painful erection. It’s aggressive, too. Luckily an anti-venom exists.

Goliath Birdeater

Found: South America

Size: 25-30 cm

Avoid it because: It’s the biggest spider in the world. Look at it! But it’s actually fairly harmless, its main line of defence being irritating hairs, and its bite surprisingly feeble.

Giant Huntsman Spider

Found: Laos

Size: 25-30cm

Avoid it because: It’s frickin’ huge! By leg span it takes the largest spider crown, and it can run incredibly fast to hunt its prey. It’s a killing machine! Thankfully it’s not really harmful to humans at all apart from giving us terrible night terrors.

Sydney Funnel Web Spider

Found: Australia

Size: 5-10cm

Avoid it because: Its venom is an extremely potent neurotoxin that has the potential to kill within 15 minutes of the bite. An effective anti-venom makes death less likely, but a bite will still be incredibly unpleasant.

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