According to a message that is currently going viral on Facebook, a new deadly spider is spreading across the USA. Supposedly, five people in the last week have died after being bitten by this new “spider from hell”.
The message, which includes an image of the supposed hell spider, claims that one bite from the spider is deadly and that the government is working on an antivenom.
However, the claims in the message are utter nonsense. There are no credible news reports about the spider related deaths mentioned in the message. Nor are there any official warnings about the “deadly spider” or any news about the government’s alleged antivenom development.
Moreover, the spider depicted in the image is neither new nor deadly. In fact, it is a relatively harmless woodlouse spider.
Woodlouse spiders live under logs, rocks, woodpiles and in leaf litter. They may also be found in houses. They are rather timid and usually run away from people but they can bite if handled. Bites can reportedly cause localised itching but will not lead to any long-term medical problems. Bites from woodlouse spiders are certainly not fatal.
The image used in the hoax warning was stolen from an October 2015 post about spiders published on the University of Nebraska–Lincoln website.
The fake warning comes from a Facebook profile that spews out a constant stream of puerile nonsense.
If the post comes your way, do not spread it further by sharing it. And be sure to let the person who posted the message know that the information it contains is untrue.
An example of the hoax:
NEW DEADLY SPIDER SPREADS ACROSS USA
THE SPIDER FROM HELL. FIVE PEOPLE DIED THIS WEEK DUE TO THE BITE OF THIS DEADLY SPIDER. THIS SPIDER WAS FIRST SEEN IN SOUTH CAROLINA IN JULY SINCE THEN IT HAS CAUSED DEATHS IN WEST VIRGINIA, TENNESSEE AND MISSISSIPPI. ONE BITE FROM THIS SPIDER IS DEADLY. US GOVERNMENT WORKING ON A ANTI VENOM AT THIS TIME PLEASE MAKE YOUR FAMILY AND FRIEND AWARE