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Black Widow Spiders are extremely poisonous arachnids (not insects). Their venom is 15 times as poisonous as the venom of the prairie rattlesnake. These venomous spiders are found in warm and temperate climates all around the world. They live in dark places, in drain pipes, under logs and rocks, etc. in North America from Florida and California to southern Canada. Their bite rarely kills humans.

The female will sometimes eat the smaller male after mating. She will lay 300-400 eggs. The spiderlings (baby spiders) are not poisonous but they are cannibals, eating each other.

Diet: Black Widows eat flies, moths, crickets, small reptiles and other small animals. Their fangs inject venom and digestive juices into the prey. This kills the prey and also liquifies its flesh, letting the spider eat it easily.

Anatomy: Females (about 1 1/2 inches across) have a black body with a distinctive red hourglass shape on the underside of the abdomen. Males are smaller (about 3/4 inch across) with longer legs and red and yellow markings. The females are much more poisonous than the males. Black Widows have a two-part body, strong jaws, poisonous fangs, and a hard exoskeleton.

Webs: Black Widow Spiders use silk to make tangled-looking webs, usually near the ground in dark places. The tips of the spider's legs are oily; this oil keeps them from getting trapped in their own webs.



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