Itsy Bitsy Spider
Recently, we have received an e-mail from our reader, Ivana Benić, related to spiders. Specifically, Ivana found spiders in her holiday home in the foothills of Velebit mountain, which resembled the black widow (Latrodectus tredecimguttatus), one of the poisonous species of spiders in Croatia. After a detailed analysis, we concluded that this really was a female black widow. The females of this species can inflict a dangerous bite, while the males are smaller and their jaws cannot penetrate human skin. The bite is very rarely fatal, but receiving an antidote on time will significantly lessen the severity and duration of symptoms.
However, there is no reason to panic! Black widows are peaceful animals by nature and following a few simple rules is enough to reduce the possibility of being bitten. First, when walking through tall grass or during garden work, it is necessary to have appropriate shoes, and possibly long pants. Second, leather gloves when weeding your garden or turning over stones. Last but not least, if your working clothes or shoes are left unused for a significant time period, it is good to inspect them, in case a spider is present.
Black widows rarely leave their web, unless they are disturbed. In fact, most bites occur when the spider is accidentally disturbed. Therefore, the black widow is not prone to bite without provocation.