Difference between Snake Bites and Spider Bites

Key difference: The punctures of a snake bite are wider than the spider bite whose bite marks are almost next to each other.

Majority of snakes and spiders are not poisonous. However, there are quite a few that are. Venomous snakes can be found on every continent except Antarctica. Spiders are active hunters and rely heavily on their bites to paralyze and kill their prey before consuming it. They usually do not attack a larger prey but if they feel threatened, they will stand their ground and bite in self defense. A snake, on the other hand, does not rely on venom, and usually strangles their prey. Snakes do bite when they feel threatened or cornered. If snakes and spiders are left alone when threatened, bites can be avoided.

Snake bites and spider bites are not that much of a problem in developed countries, but in developing countries, they can be quite serious as medical care is not that readily available. It is estimated that a large number of bites are not in reported to the local authorities.

A snake can inject a lot more venom than a spider in a single bite. The punctures of a snake bite are a bit wider than the spider bite whose bite marks are almost next to each other. However, a snake might not inject venom into every bite, whereas a spider usually does.  A bite from a snake is more likely to result in death than a spider bite. Spider bites will cause pain and inflammation as spiders are adept in delivering toxins. However, they do not inject the toxins deep enough into the skin to cause death.

A snake bite can inject about 450mg or more venom inside the human’s body. The bite of a black mamba, considered one of the most poisonous snakes in the entire world, can kill an average human being in about 30 minutes, when no anti-venom has been applied. While treating a snake bite it is extremely important to know which snake is the bite from, as only the correct anti-venom will neutralizes the venom.

Spiders, on the other hand, are fairly less dangerous. There are only 200 spider species out of the known 40,000 that are known to have serious, potentially lethal bites. While, the others do bite, and some have very nasty bites, their bites will usually have no serious medical consequences.

A comparison between snake bites and spider bites:

 

Snake Bites

Spider Bites

Fangs

Fangs wider apart

Fangs closer together

Bites

The outcome of snake bites depends on numerous factors, including the species of snake, the area of the body bitten, the amount of venom injected, and the health conditions of the victim.

Bites of a black widow spider show two marks which like marks of red fangs, the bite of the brown recluse spider results in the skin getting a red color and then the bite mark turns white.

Venom

Venom can include or will be a combination of cytotoxins, hemotoxins, neurotoxins, and myotoxins,

Venoms can include necrotic agents, neurotoxins, and agents such as serotonin.

Venomous species

Cobras, coral snakes, kraits, rattlesnakes and vipers.

200 out of 40,000 known species

Symptoms

Racing heart, fear, panic, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, vertigo, fainting, tachycardia, cold, clammy skin and possible anaphylactic reaction.

Pain from non-venomous spider bites typically lasts for 5 to 60 minutes while pain from venomous spider bites frequently lasts for longer than 24 hours

Treatment

  • Stop bleeding by applying pressure to the affected area's blood supply
  • Wash the bite area immediately (with soap if possible)
  • Apply antiseptic (iodine/Neosporin/triple antibiotic)
  • Bandage the bite loosely
  • Keep the affected area clean
  • Treat for shock (if necessary)
  • Transport to hospital
  • Treat for shock
  • Capture spider if safe/possible
  • Clean and expose the bite
  • Transport to hospital

Statistics

A study estimates that 421,000 envenomings and 20,000 deaths occur worldwide from snakebite each year, these figures may be as high as 1,841,000 envenomings and 94,000 deaths.

There were about 100 reliably reported deaths from spider bites in the 20th century.

Image Courtesy: zanawer.blogspot.in, circusofthefreaky.blogspot.in

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