Campers find a northern black widow spider in Brown County

BROWN COUNTY, Wis. (WBAY) – Over the weekend, campers found a spider over the weekend at Bay Shore County Park in Brown County, south of Dyckesville.

Tuesday an expert at U-W Green Bay confirmed it is a Northern Black Widow Spider.

“Certainly the black widow has a powerful venom, its venom is neurotoxic and it can be extremely painful, it's a very unpleasant experience if you're bitten,” said Professor of Biology, Michael Draney.

Draney said the black widow is still rare in our area, and the chances of you getting bitten are slim.

“It is possible that we're seeing more black widows now because of our warmer winters and our warming climate, the northern widow is at the northern edge of its range so this is about as cold as it can tolerate,” said Draney.

Draney wanted people to know the black widow is actually reluctant to bite. Its main defense mechanism is to play dead.

“It's pretty easy to recognize a black widow because of the really shiny black skin that they have, the adult abdomen is about the size of a grape, so it's fairly large compared to a lot of the other smaller spiders that you will find indoors or underneath boards, their abdomen may be the size of a pea rather than the size of a grape,” said Draney.

If you see one, he said, it's best to just leave it alone.