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Are neon spiders poisonous?

Are neon spiders poisonous?

Neon spiders are brightly colored spiders that have recently gained popularity as exotic pets. Their vibrant colors and striking patterns make them stand out from other spiders. Despite their appearance, most neon spider species are not considered dangerous or medically significant to humans.

The origins of neon spiders

Neon spiders belong to a variety of different spider families, but some of the most popular include species like the cobalt blue tarantula, the Mexican redknee tarantula, and the Mexican fire leg tarantula. Most originate from tropical regions like Central America, South America, Africa, and parts of Asia.

While their common name refers to their bright colors, the term “neon spider” is not a taxonomic classification. It simply refers to any spider with vibrant, fluorescent-looking colors. The brightness of their coloration comes from physical structures on their exoskeletons that reflect light. Their coloring may help them camouflage in their natural environments or serve as a warning to potential predators.

Are neon spiders venomous?

Most species of neon spiders do produce venom, as venom is an essential spider trait for subduing prey. However, the venom strength varies greatly between different neon spider species. Many popular pet spider species have venom potency similar to a bee sting and are not medically significant.

Some neon spider species possess more potent venom, such as the Brazilian wandering spider and the banana spider. Their bites can cause severe pain, nausea, vomiting, and other symptoms in humans. Anti-venom treatment may be required for severe envenomations from these spiders.

Here are some of the most common neon spider species and their relative venom levels:

Common Name Scientific Name Venom Potency
Cobalt blue tarantula Haplopelma lividum Mild
Mexican redknee tarantula Brachypelma hamorii Mild
Mexican fire leg tarantula Brachypelma boehmei Mild
Brazilian wandering spider Phoneutria fera Potent
Banana spider Phoneutria boliviensis Potent

Bites from neon spiders

Most neon spiders have small fangs and cannot penetrate human skin. If they do manage to bite a person, effects are usually limited to minor pain and redness around the bite site.

Larger species like wandering spiders and banana spiders can puncture skin and deliver potent venom. Their bites typically cause immediate, severe pain and swelling. Other symptoms may include:

  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Abdominal cramping
  • Sweating and goosebumps
  • Salivation
  • Blurred vision
  • Dizziness
  • Breathing difficulties

These spiders have neurotoxic venom that affects the human nervous system. Without antivenom treatment, symptoms may persist or worsen over several days. In rare cases, the venom can trigger seizures, heart disturbances, or respiratory paralysis leading to death.

First aid for neon spider bites

If bitten by a known potent spider like a wandering spider, immediately seek emergency medical care. While waiting for help:

  1. Wash the bite area with soap and water.
  2. Immobilize the bitten limb and keep it lower than the heart.
  3. Apply a cold pack wrapped in cloth to help reduce swelling.
  4. Monitor vital signs like breathing, consciousness, and circulation.
  5. Do not cut the bite open or try to suck out the venom.

Antivenom can rapidly reverse the effects of venom and is the proper treatment for potent spider bites. Other supportive treatments like IV fluids, pain medication, and oxygen may be provided by doctors as well.

Precautions around neon spiders

To stay safe around neon spiders:

  • Leave spiders alone and do not handle them intentionally.
  • Supervise children and pets around spider habitats.
  • Seal and secure all spider enclosures.
  • Check clothing, shoes, bedding before use.
  • Install insect screens on windows and doors.
  • Use caution when cleaning sheds, garages, attics where spiders may hide.
  • Hire an exterminator if needed to control infestations.

With proper precautions, neon spider bites are uncommon. Their bright colors advertise their presence and deter accidental encounters. Still, exotic spider pets should only be handled very carefully by experienced owners.


Most neon spiders have mild venom at best and are harmless to humans. However, certain species like the Brazilian wandering spider can inflict very painful and medically significant bites. Their neurotoxic venom requires emergency care and antivenom treatment in some cases. Practicing good spider safety habits allows enthusiasts to appreciate their vibrant beauty without risk.