Wild Fact #588 – The Littlest Hobo – Hobo Spider

Photo by Dr. Lee Ostrum (http://www.family-protection.com/)

It is the middle of the week and I figured it would be a good time to discuss a dangerous animal.  But first, I will be very happy if anyone that isn’t my family member catches “The Littlest Hobo” reference in the title.  For the record, today’s dangerous animal has nothing to do with a wandering German Shepard.  No Ma’am, today’s animal is a spider found in North America called the Hobo Spider.  In case you were wondering the Hobo Spider belongs to a large group of spiders with over 500 members, worldwide.

Even though the group they belong to is quite large this particular Hobo is not.  Actually, if you want to know how big they are, you just need to look down at the fingernail on your pinky finger.  You are looking at your pinky right now, aren’t you?  Okay, I will wait until you are finished.  Not that big of a spider, eh?  Well, don’t let their small size fool you since the littlest Hobo Spider is able to deliver quite the punch if they get a hold of you.

Photo by Dr. Lee Ostrum (http://www.family-protection.com/)

Just how bad is a Hobo Spider bite?  Well, there are some conflicting opinions to the severity of this spiders bite.  From what I can tell though, it appears as though they may cause lesions on the skin.  In fact, some scientists figure that a large number of spider bites thought to be a result of the Brown Recluse Spider (I am sure you have seen those nasty e-mails showing the ugly results of this spider bite) was actually caused by the Hobo Spider.  A few other symptoms of Hobo Spider bites include intense headaches, vision problems and just a general sick feeling.

Luckily, the Hobo Spider doesn’t appear to be very aggressive and will only bite if they feel that their life or the survival of their egg sac is in jeopardy.  Even then, many scientists believe they don’t inject their venom 100% of the time.  Personally, I wouldn’t take that risk considering the impacts from a tiny spider bite seems to be pretty uncomfortable.  So the next time you are walking around the Pacific Northwest, be on the lookout for the Hobo Spider.

Thanks for reading today’s Wild Fact!  See you tomorrow.

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