The North American black widow spider is one of 31 species of Latrodectus spiders around the world. Female black widow spiders are typically dark in color, with a red-orange marking on the abdomen. On most black widows, that marking is shaped like an hourglass. If trapped, the black widow spider will often play dead or even throw silk at the threat and usually only bites if the threat continues. They’re often found in dry and dark places, so it’s imperative that you keep any trash or brush away from your home. If found in the home, it’s not surprising to find them in garages or basements, where they can be mostly undisturbed.
The black widow spider contains venom and it is 15 times as toxic of the venom of a rattlesnake. This is due to the latrotoxin in their venom, which can result in a number of adverse effects, including (but not limited to) muscle aches and spasms, abdominal cramps, and even tachycardia (elevated heart rate). The female black widow spider bites are dangerous to humans, but the male spider bites are not.