Banana spiders are one of the most feared and misunderstood creatures on earth. It would seem like the name “banana spider,” wouldn’t inspire fear, right? There’s nothing scary about bananas and the color yellow is a positive color after all.
However, these spiders can be dangerous in certain situations.
In this article, we’ll dive into what banana spiders are, if they’re good to be around, how poisonous they can get and if you can keep one as a pet.
What are Banana Spiders?
These fascinating arachnids get their name from their yellow-and-black coloring, which is similar to that of a banana. Although they are often feared because of their appearance, banana spiders are actually harmless to humans.
Despite their harmless nature, banana spiders can be quite aggressive when they feel threatened. They have been known to attack and kill other animals, including birds and small mammals. When they feel threatened, banana spiders will raise their front legs in the air and open their large mouths wide, revealing their sharp fangs.
Their bites can be painful and cause swelling and redness at the site. If you’re bitten by a banana spider, seek medical attention immediately.
What Do Banana Spiders Look Like?
They are large spiders, with adults reaching sizes of up to 3 inches in length. They have long legs which are covered in hair, and their bodies are typically a yellow or brown color. The hair on their legs helps them to camouflage into their surroundings, making them difficult to spot.
Banana Spiders are Expert Web Builders
If you’re lucky enough to see a banana spider in the wild, you’ll notice that they are expert web builders. Their webs can span up to 10 feet in diameter and are often used to trap prey. Banana spiders typically eat insects, but they have been known to eat small mammals and reptiles as well.
How Banana Spiders Got Their Name
Banana spider got their name from the yellow and white stripes on their body, which resembles a banana.
The scientific name for the banana spider is nephila clavipes from the Ancient Greek term Nephila which means fond of spinning. These species are also known by the names golden silk spider, calico spider and writing spider.
Banana spiders are found in North America, Europe and Asia. They are common in gardens, fields, and forests.
How Do Banana Spiders Move?
Banana spiders are capable of moving quickly thanks to their long legs. They typically stay close to the ground but can climb up trees and other vertical surfaces. They typically only travel short distances, but they have been known to travel up to several miles in a single day.
When banana spiders want to move quickly, they will run. However, they can also spin webs that they use to catch prey. When spinning webs, banana spiders will first release sticky silk from their spinnerets. They will then use their legs to push the silk out in a circular motion. Once the web is complete, the banana spider will wait for prey to become entangled in it.
Although they’re not known to be good swimmers, they can cross small bodies of water by web-walking. To do this, they will spin a web between two points and then walk across the web like a bridge.
Where Do Banana Spiders Live in the US?
Banana spiders are found in tropical and subtropical climates around the world.
In the United States, they are most commonly found in Florida and Hawaii. However, they can also be found in other states with warm weather year-round, such as California, Arizona, and Texas.
Banana spiders typically live in humid environments, such as rainforests, swamps and marshes. They build their webs in high places, such as trees, bushes and buildings.
What Do Banana Spiders Eat?
Known to be voracious predators, they will eat just about anything they can catch. Smaller insects and arthropods make up the bulk of their diet, but they will also readily consume lizards, frogs and even small mammals if given the opportunity.
Given their predatory nature, it should come as no surprise that banana spiders have a number of different methods for snagging their prey.
Some rely on speed and agility to chase down their quarry, whereas others build intricate webs that ensnare hapless insects that happen to stumble into them.
No matter what method they use to capture their food, banana spiders always inject their victims with a potent venom that quickly paralyzes them. This not only makes it easier for the spider to subdue and eat its prey but also helps to prevent the victim’s body from decomposing too quickly.
When Do Banana Spiders Mate?
Banana spiders mate during the late summer and early fall. The male spider will wrap the female in a web and then insert his pedipalps, or fang-like structures, into her body.
This process can last for several hours, after which the male will release the female and she will lay her eggs. Banana spiders typically live for two to three years.
Are Banana Spiders Poisonous?
Yes. Banana spiders are poisonous however, they’re not deadly. Aside from their large size and colorful appearance, they’re also known for their potent venom. This venom might not be serious in adults but it can be deadly for children.
Their venom can cause severe pain, swelling, and tissue damage. In some cases, it can also lead to serious health complications such as anaphylactic shock.
If you are bitten by a banana spider, it is important to seek medical attention immediately.
What Does a Banana Spider Bite Look Like?
A banana spider bite may appear as a small red dot on the skin. Within a few hours, this may develop into a raised, red welt that is painful and itchy. In some cases, the area around the bite may become swollen and tender to the touch.
Most banana spider bites will heal on their own within a few days. However, if you experience any severe symptoms, such as difficulty breathing or swelling of the face or throat, you should seek medical attention immediately.
If you are bitten by a banana spider, you can try the following home remedies to help relieve your symptoms:
- Apply a cold compress to the affected area to help reduce swelling and pain.
- Take an over-the-counter antihistamine to help reduce itching.
- Use a topical corticosteroid cream to help relieve inflammation.
If your symptoms persist or worsen, be sure to see your doctor or visit the emergency room.
Can Banana Spiders Be Kept as Pets?
Yes, banana spiders can be kept as pets. They make good companions and are relatively easy to care for. However, they’re still wild animals and should be treated with caution and respect.
If you’re thinking of adding a banana spider to your family, there are a few things you’ll need to consider as a pet owner.
First, banana spiders require a large enclosure. They are active hunters and need plenty of space to roam.
Second, banana spiders need a warm, humid environment. A tropical terrarium or vivarium is the best option for providing this type of environment.
Finally, banana spiders can be aggressive and may bite if they feel threatened. If you’re not comfortable around venomous animals, then a banana spider is probably not the right pet for you.
If you can provide a suitable home for a banana spider and are willing to take on the challenge of caring for one, then they can make amazing pets. They are fascinating creatures to watch and can be very affectionate towards their owners. Just be sure to do your research and purchase your spider from a reputable breeder or dealer.
However, if you think you’re not yet ready to take care of a banana spider, you can look into turtles and hamsters for pets that are stationary or confined to just one location at home.