Crushed

Just a week ago, one of my colleagues shared that she was nearly fully recovered after being bitten by a brown recluse spider. While she felt barely a pinprick, within hours she was feeling much larger effects: sweating and dizziness. Now this lady is tough as nails, but she spent four weeks recovering.

Here in the Ouachita Mountains, all sorts of venomous creatures are commonplace whether they’re rattlers or scorpions or spiders — brown recluse and black widows included.

Having come in from my Sunday photo safari, I took off the leggings I wore as a guard against mosquito and chigger bites. Needless, to say, I was stunned to find the crumpled body of a spider INSIDE one of the legs.

Its thorax had been crushed and its silk glands and other innards were firmly attached to the fabric. Its mouth end, palps extended, were facing toward my leg. My husband and I checked for bites and needless to say, we are keeping a close eye out for any symptoms.

We are just hoping this will be one of the majority of bites classed as “medically insignificant.”

(UPDATE: No ill effects!)

9-4-2016 Legging Spider 6.jpg

What a healthy, living recluse looks like. Taken yesterday on the front porch.

9-4-2016 Brown Recluse.jpg

Rattled

We know living where we do that venomous snakes are just part of the package. We’ve seen or heard copperheads and diamondbacks on occasion, but not in our yard. Not ’til a couple of weeks ago that is. We know we have snake burrows under the front porch which house nonvenomous long Eastern coachwhips and hognose snakes. So looking down off the deck, there was a new snakeskin pattern coiled in the grass. “Hey!” I yelled to my husband. “We’ve got a new snake and I think he’s venomous!” He spotted the rattle — and right then we had our first timber rattler — or at least the first one we know of.

Timber rattler
Timber rattler curled up in a warm spot on the south side of the house.

Weekly Photo Challenge: The Sign Says

Nature has its signs too. The orange hourglass on the underside of the black widow says look, but don’t touch.

Orange hourglass is a clue to her identity.
Black widow spider found hanging around near the house while doing yardwork this morning. She’s the second one we’ve seen in about a week.

Other signs:

And the big sign challenge: http://dailypost.wordpress.com/2013/05/31/weekly-photo-challenge-the-sign-says/