Death From Snake Or Spider Bite Is Extremely Rare

By Gregory Myers on Tuesday, May 6, 2014
“Spiders were around long before humans, and it is likely they will be around in some number far into the future, even if humans are not.” —Leslie Brunetta & Catherine L. Craig, Spider Silk

In A Nutshell

Spiders and snakes creep us out and are probably near the top of many people’s lists of fears. However, their bites are among the least likely killers. In the United States you have about a one in 50 million chance of dying from snake bite. And since the dawn of modern anti-venom, death from spider is almost nonexistent. Even in Australia there have been no reported deaths by spider since 1979.

The Whole Bushel

The things that creep and crawl along the ground—they are almost a primal fear in humans. They slither, they move on way too many legs, it seems unnatural. This has caused us to have great fear of creatures like spiders and snakes. Many people would say they are one of the things they fear the most, and the misconception that you can easily die because of a snake or spider is very widespread. However, you are much more likely to die in an automobile accident, or even get struck by lightning.

When it comes to snakes, many of them are not even venomous and not all of those who are present a significant threat to humans. And while countries like the United States may not have many poisonous spiders, even in Australia they’ve got a pretty good handle on the whole snake bit thing. The reason for this is anti-venom and current medical technology. Unless someone is out in the wilderness and too far away from a hospital, in all likelihood they will be perfectly fine. Venomous snakes are also capable of controlling whether they actually inject poison when they bite you. When they decline to actually poison you, it is known as a “dry bite.” Studies have shown that for some snakes the percentage of dry bites is as high as 50 percent.

As for spiders, many people are under the impression that spider bites are common, but they are not. In truth, that freaky apparatus with too many legs creeping across your floor is much more scared of you than you are of it. After all, humans are quite huge in comparison and spiders gain nothing from attacking us. Experts have found that in many cases people misinterpreted other things as spider bites, and suggested that doctors should spend more time learning what bites are caused by what insects. Of course, some spiders are capable of biting humans and will do so if provoked. However, even in the cases of the most dangerous spiders in the world, they won’t really have a realistic chance of killing you before you can get to a hospital. In Australia there have been no reported spider deaths in many, many years.

This doesn’t mean you shouldn’t get medical attention if you believe you have been bitten by a venomous snake or spider. If that is the case you should call emergency services and get anti-venom for it. The anti-venom is the key though. Now that we have the technology, unless you are miles from any civilization or hospitals, we’ve just about got the poisonous snake and spider problem licked.

Show Me The Proof

University of Florida: Department of Wildlife Ecology and Conservation: Venomous Snake FAQs
Burke Museum: Myths About “Dangerous Spiders”
Arthropod Ecology: Spiders do not bite