How I Unknowingly Killed a Spider That Might Be One of the Deadliest in the World

So I was enjoying myself, writing a silly little Pokemon-themed post about Ezra, my brave little ninja kitty, killing a small cockroach for me. I was sitting on my bed when out of the corner of my eye I saw Ezra on the floor chasing something else. Something BIG.

I screamed.

Sure, that spider doesn't look too big...until I mention that the water bottle next to it is a 2 liter water bottle

It was the absolute BIGGEST SPIDER I have EVER seen in my entire life. It was huge; even compared to Ezra it looked formidable. It dawdled on spindly legs beneath my bed, with Ezra following it, fascinated and curious. Without thinking, I lunged and yanked a thrashing, kicking Ezra out from under my bed before she could get to close to it. If there’s one thing life in Costa Rica teaches you, it’s that you should never assume something isn’t poisonous, and I’ll be damned if I’m going to let my baby kitty eat a gigantic spider.

I tossed Ezra out of the room, slammed the door, and stood panicking at the end of my bed. My primary thought was that the spider had crawled into the space between my headboard and mattress, but on closer observation, I noted that it had hidden up against where the floor meets the wall. I pulled my bed as far away from the wall as space would allow (while still leaving enough room for me to open the bedroom door and escape if disaster occurred), and stood staring at the thing. I could see its pincers snapping. My skin erupted in gooseflesh and involuntary shudder wracked my body.

Holy….fucking….shit. How was  I supposed to kill this thing? At home, when plagued with the threat of various spiders and centipedes, I often called upon the fearless talents of my younger sister, who dispatched the offending creatures with ease. Well, good news for Erin: I think I can handle the spiders in States now…

I called my two best guy friends. They were both too busy living their lives to come to my apartment and kill a spider for me. One of them suggested I throw a shoe at it, which led me to ponder: did I have any shoes that were big enough?

I dug through my armoire and snatched one of my biggest, heaviest gym shoes. I threw it at the spider. I missed. The spider went on gnashing its pincers, more or less unfazed.

I stopped for a moment to think, wheels and gears turning fierce and fast in my brain. I knew my shoe was heavy and big enough to kill the spider, but I needed to get very close to the spider to get enough strength into the swat. I had a broom in my living room, which I could swing at the spider, but the bristles weren’t hard enough to kill it. And that’s when it clicked.

A momentary stroke of genius

I positioned myself against the wall, raised my weapon, and brought the heel of my shoe down on the spider with a resounding THWACK. The spider floundered and I stuck again…and again..and again. Until I noticed two of its legs had been smashed off.  It wasn’t until I stopped swinging that I realized I had been screaming the whole time. I immediately went downstairs to eat comfort food and drink several beers.

Killed the shit out of it

I updated my facebook status about my valiant slaying of Sir Spider, and I googled “Costa Rica Spiders” and posted this picture, which looked very similar to the body of the spider I had just killed. The image didn’t specify what kind of spider and was simply tagged “big spider.” I quickly received a response from an acquaintance who lives  in one of the more tropical  areas of Costa Rica.  He wrote:

“This is a brazilian wondering spider. It’s the deadliest spider in the world. Also no anti-venom I’m pretty sure. Only good thing is small

The photo I posted on Facebook

fangs!! Check your shoes always I had one near my flip flops once.”

At first I thought he was joking. A Brazilian Wondering Spider? Puh-lease.

Then I wikipedia-ed it. He wasn’t lying.  It was a real spider. In fact, here’s the part of the Wikipedia entry:

Phoneutria, commonly known as Brazilian wandering spiders, armed spiders (“aranhas-armadeiras”, as they are known in Portuguese), or banana spiders (not to be confused with the relatively harmless species of the genus Nephila), are a genus of aggressive and highly venomous spiders found in tropical South and Central America. These spiders are members of the Ctenidae family of wandering spiders.

The Brazilian wandering spiders appeared in Guinness World Records 2010 as the world’s most venomous spider.

HOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOLY SHIT. So I googled “Brazilian Wandering Spider” and checked the images. While some of the spider pictures bore little resemblance (and frighteningly enough, dwarfed) the spider I had killed, some of the other photos looked uncannily like my victim.

Unconvinced one way or the other, I recalled the strange way the spider had moved. The way it had scuttled across the floor away from Ezra was VERY distinct. So I looked up youtube vidoes and found this.




Aside from the part where the spider stands up and waves its legs in the air, this spider moves VERY MUCH like the one I killed. It even hid in the shower corner much like my spider hid against the wall.

I can’t tell you one way or another if I did indeed kill a Brazilian Wandering Spider, or if  I simply killed a REALLY BIG normal spider.

One thing I CAN tell you: I’m not getting ANY sleep tonight.

4 thoughts on “How I Unknowingly Killed a Spider That Might Be One of the Deadliest in the World

  1. I enjoyed your post. You may have had a wandering spider. I have discovered two in my house in the mountains of the Central Valley at different times. I believe that our wandering spider is a bit smaller than the Brazilian, but in that family and also poisonous. I’ve been chasing another in my house tonight, trying to catch it alive to study it, but the damned thing keeps jumping or scurrying away as I approach it (and it’s fast). This one is really big – probably about 4″ total length. The wandering spiders are characterized by their mouths and the waving “arms.” Also, their legs have distinctly lighter bands at the joints.

  2. I saw one of those spiders inside my bathroom yesterday. I was exiting the bathroom door and I saw it next to the wall, very close to my leg. I grabbed an insecticide and prayed it all over her/him but it wouldn’t die, so I brought my broom and tried to kill it and she tried to attacked me, just like the one in the video. The Australian Funnel-Web spider which is also one of the world’s deadly spider is very aggressive as well. I wonder why they like the bathrooms. Is it that they come into the house through the bathroom/shower pipe. I screamed the whole time. You go to sleep praying that no one will break into your house not knowing that a more deadly being lives inside with you!!! Many thanks for sharing. All the best!

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