Jamaica is a diverse island in the Caribbean that offers beautiful beaches, reggae vibes, and possibly the best coffee in the world – Blue Mountain Coffee! It’s also a unique and special place on Earth thanks to its 1488 endemic species. There’s a lot to see, and we recommend visiting Jamaica at least once in your lifetime. But before you do, be prepared! Due to the tropical climate and diverse landscape of the island, Jamaica is home to snakes, giant centipedes and even poisonous spiders! (Recommended: Snakes in Jamaica).

None of those are reasons why you shouldn’t visit though. However it’s still important to know exactly what spiders in Jamaica are dangerous and which ones are not. Here we show you just that, alongside common spiders you can find here, how to avoid spiders in Jamaica and what to do if bitten.

Poisonous Spiders in Jamaica to Watch Out For

There’s a good chance you won’t even realize there are dangerous spiders in Jamaica. That’s because they are usually hidden in dark places or living in the forests.

In popular resort destinations like Montego Bay and Negril, hotels are very good at keeping spiders at bay – afterall who wants to share a room with these eight-legged creatures while on a bucket list vacation! (Recommended: Montego Bay or Negril: Which Should You Choose?).

But there are actually over 180 species of spiders in Jamaica. That includes four of the deadliest and most poisonous spiders in the world – the black widow, brown widow, brown recluse and banana spider. We show you what they look like, and how to avoid them below.

These dangerous spiders in Jamaica may look and sound very scary. But there’s no need to worry. Results of many studies have shown that thanks to the difference in size between spiders and humans, we are almost always going to be fine if we are healthy and seek out medical attention after being bitten.

1. Black Widow Spider

You can recognize this poisonous spider by the significant red hourglass shape on the underside of its abdomen alongside it’s shiny black body. Its size can range from 3 mm to 10 mm. But these measurements include only the size of the body. When you add the length of the legs, you get a…well, bigger looking spider!

The bite of a black widow can cause nausea, muscle pain, and problems with breathing, however most healthy people recover without complications after seeking medical help. But in the worst-case scenario, it can cause death especially with small children and the elderly.

Make sure you avoid putting your hands and feet near rock piles, wood piles, or any leaves and sticks – these are all places where black widow spiders like to hang out. If you need to spend time rummaging around in areas like this, wear gloves to prevent getting bitten.

These spiders, like all you will meet in Jamaica, will only bite when feeling threatened. So if you see one it is best to leave it alone.

If you don’t want to meet this creature…

  • Make a natural spider repellent: You can mix equal parts water and vinegar or essential oil. Either way, the scent should be strong enough to keep a black widow away. A good choice is a peppermint or lemon scent.
  • Vacuum your room: Make sure there are no webs left because without their webs they are lost. This silk structure serves as their home, protection and it helps with food sources. Don’t forget to empty the vacuum cleaner because eggs from any webs could still hatch!

2. Brown Widow Spider

The brown widow is one of the most poisonous spiders in Jamaica and the world. It differs from the black widow in its color but also in its personality. Whilst black widow females are very aggressive, brown widow females tend to withdraw and hide. And even if they do bite, they only inject a little bit of venom.

However this neurotoxic venom can cause death. Fifteen to thirty minutes after the bite, a person will feel muscular pain throughout their body. Symptoms of a widow bite also include trouble breathing, muscle cramps, anxiety, headache, high blood pressure, nausea, vomiting, sensitivity to light, numbness, and even seizures.

The brown widow has a brownish appearance. Other than that, it’s important to mention that their hourglass marking on the underside is orange.

How to avoid a brown widow:

Before booking your hotel, remember to read some reviews. Make sure the place is clean and that it is being vacuumed regularly.

You should avoid places where they are found such as garages, storage closets, inside old tires and shrubs.

3. Banana Spider

When we talk about how poisonous this spider in Jamaica is, we are referring to the females. That’s because males usually go unnoticed thanks to their dark brown color and are significantly smaller in size than females. Females can be 12-80 mm long, whilst males are only 0.5 mm long!

This species has many different names, but the most common is the banana spider. Why is it named after this fruit? Just one look and you can see the answer! Their often bright yellow color serves as camouflage because they tend to be found near banana leaves and fruit.

It is considered to be one of the most dangerous spiders in Jamaica. When you get bitten, you may suffer from salivation and irregular heartbeat.

How to avoid banana spiders:

Their usual location is outside, so you don’t have to worry much about avoiding them when in a hotel room or resort. They are also shy and tend to run away from humans.

But if you plan on spending a lot of time outside on your trip to Jamaica, especially in agricultural areas or forest, then you should wear long sleeves or use a natural repellent.

4. Brown Recluse Spider

The brown recluse spider is also called the violin spider because of the violin shape on its brown body.

Their most distinctive feature is their six eyes arranged in pairs. Since the violin shape can vary greatly, they can only be positively identified by their eyes. They have fine, short hairs that look like fur. Although their leg joints may have a slightly lighter color, this is not always the case.

Its bite can cause serious health problems and the venom is very dangerous – 15 times more toxic that a cobra! As the bite from this spider can be deadly, if you think you have been bitten by a brown recluse then you must seek medical attention immediately.

If you don’t want to meet this creature…

  • Avoid attics, garbage areas, and storage areas.
  • Use eucalyptus scent in your room.
  • Sprinkle diatomaceous earth in corners.

Common Spiders in Jamaica

With so many species, you can find spiders everywhere in Jamaica. So as a tourist, you should be able to know the difference between the deadly types and the ones that aren’t harmful.

Daddy Long Legs

Although this isn’t technically a spider, the daddy long legs (also called harvestmen) often gets mistaken for one due to their many legs, which are o twice as long as its body.

You can find it in garages, sheds, or houses. These insects love tropical and wet areas, so you are definitely going to meet this creature in Jamaica! But there’s nothing you should be scared of. This species isn’t dangerous or poisonous.

Huntsman Spider

You may not want to hear this, but there are huntsman spiders throughout Jamaica. Sometimes called the Giant Crab Spider, the Housekeeping Spider, and the Banana Spider (not to be confused with the venomous banana spider). This common spider is large but harmless.

Their leg span can be anywhere from five to twelve inches! Some believe that it’s bad luck to kill this spider, since it’s a good spider that kills harmful insects. They like to sit on trees, beneath stones and sometimes on the walls of buildings.

Common House Spider

You’ve probably seen a common house spider many times before. It has a drab color, and its body is only 6 mm long. Apart from its messy cobwebs, it doesn’t cause any problems. You can find it in places like closets and basements.

Don’t Forget to Pack:

So you see, spiders in Jamaica aren’t all a threat, and the dangerous ones tend to reside in non-tourist areas.

But you never know what you may encounter when going to a new country, which is why we’ve prepared some tips to help you get ready for any spiders you may come across in Jamaica.

  • Long-sleeved clothes

It’s important to think ahead when packing. Focus more on long-sleeved shirts and pants to protect your skin from contact with any spiders in Jamaica.

  • Shoes or slippers

These should definitely have a place in your suitcase because they can save your feet from a bite full of venom!

Spiders love dark corners and places near the ground, so covering the part of your body that is closest to these areas is crucial. Pack comfy shoes that won’t feel too heavy on your feet. Just make sure there’s no spiders in your shoes when you put them on!

  • Essential oils

Strong scents like lemon, eucalyptus, and peppermint can help discourage spiders visiting your room.

  • Chamomile tea

Throw a few tea bags in your bag! They take up very little space, and you can use chamomile tea bags to treat inflammation after a minor bite. However if you get bitten by any dangerous spider seek medical assistance.

  • After-bite cream

In many pharmacies you can get cream to put on insect bites to provide quick relief after an insect bite. It’s a simple must-have.

How to Treat a Spider Bite

The sooner you’ll start treating the bite, the better. So get to work.

First of all, wash the area with soap and warm water. Then apply something cold. An ice pack should help ease the inflammation. You can also use frozen vegetables or a wet cloth.

If possible, elevate the area and apply a cold compress to reduce swelling. If you are having pain, consider an over-the-counter pain reliever, and if there is swelling or itching, you can take an antihistamine.

When you know that the spider was venomous or the symptoms appear serious, immediately call a doctor.

Some people later treat the wound with white rum. Applied externally, it’s meant to take the sweat out and support quick recovery.

Our Final Thoughts:

Jamaica is home to a few dangerous animals and insects – unfortunately some species of spider fall into that category.

If you do find any spiders in your room, you shouldn’t try to handle them as they could bite back. If you’re staying in a resort, then we advise you leave your room and have the resort staff handle the spider issue.

However the chances of coming across a deadly spider in Jamaica is incredibly rare. This is a beautiful country which is well worth visiting – so book your flights and have fun!

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