I don’t know if you guys have noticed, but I have a particular fondness for spiders. I find them to be the most interesting bugs as well as one of the most misunderstood. Now, since I tend to research them so extensively, it’s led me to be a tad paranoid and scream whenever I see one in real life, but I really do find them fascinating! Can you blame me? From the Brown Recluse to the Darwin’s Bark, every spider I find seems extraordinary in one way or another. Today, I’m going to introduce you to yet another amazing arachnid: the Brazilian Wandering Spider.
Some of you may have already heard of this spider under a different name: the banana spider. For those of you who are familiar with it, I hope you don’t mind me ranting about how absolutely incredible this spider is. For starters, it has the most potent spider venom of any other spiders in the world. You thought the brown recluse was bad? It’s easily overshadowed by the Brazilian wandering spider. This spider’s venom can kill over 200 mice with the amount of venom it produces in one bite. Thankfully, since the spider usually injects a small amount of venom per bite because its jaws were designed for small prey, it’s not 100% lethal to us humans, but it is still extremely potent. However, without proper care and anti-venom, you can pretty much say goodbye to your time here on Earth.
But wait! I’m not done talking about its bite yet. In addition to being the most venomous, Brazilian wandering spider bites also cause, and let’s stay mature here, erections. However, I’m not talking about your typical, temporary erection; the erection that results from a banana spider bite is not only painful, but lasts up to many hours. This applies to women too. But can you imagine being a grown man and having a painful erection for 5-6 hours? Talk about agonizing pain AND embarrassment. Fortunately, one good thing originates from this characteristic. Researchers are attempting to use a specific portion of the venom to create a medicine to help those with erectile dysfunction. There’s always a silver lining, right?
Before I forget, I’d also like to explain the origins of this spider’s several names. Brazilian wandering spider stems from their odd nocturnal habit of wandering around the forest floor at night instead of resting in a shelter or spinning a web like many other spiders. Banana spider originates from their nature to commonly hide in banana bunches to ambush their prey. Armed spider (what the Portuguese call it) comes from their, well, intimidating arms (as in weapons) that act as both a defense and attack mechanism. For relatively uncommon spiders, these little (well, rather large, actually) guys sure do have their funny habits, don’t they?
So, what have we learned today? One, if you see a Brazillian wandering spider and can’t catch it without getting hurt, then kill it or get the heck out of there (they can’t survive long outside of their natural habitat). Two, if you are bitten, snap a picture of the spider, catch it, and (even if you can’t fulfill the first two) get medical attention ASAP. And three, spiders are really intriguing bugs and should be appreciated a bit more! 🙂