The New York Times today published a story about what it feels like to be bitten by a black widow. In it, nature writer Jackson Landers details his scary experience as a human guinea pig, testing a new antivenin drug designed to help offset the spider's poison.
A previous chance encounter with the hourglass-shaped spider — which was hiding in his fishing shoes — is partially the reason Landers decided to volunteer his services. "I donned the shoes before walking to the edge of the water," he writes. "Within about a dozen steps, I felt a stinging sensation on the second toe of my left foot, as if there had been a thorn inside the shoe. Then the pain increased to about that of a wasp's sting. I sat on a rock and removed the shoe. The squashed remains of a spider were smeared across the insole."
To pass the time he continued fishing. That's when the venom began to kick in:
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That got us to thinking: What does it feel like to be bitten by other potentially deadly animals?
Here, for example, is how a young mother from San Diego described the intense pain of being bitten by a rattlesnake:
In one of the more horrifying descriptions of an animal attack I've read about, a man told the Guardian that he was almost torn into two by one of the Zambezi River's deadliest animals — the hippopotamus:
And what about the ocean's most fearsome predator, the shark? A 47-year-old German woman vacationing in Florida who had the misfortune of a shark encounter (the exact species is undetermined) said, "On a scale of 1 to 10, the pain was a 15."
Another shark attack victim, this time from Hawaii, described his experience a bit differently. He didn't feel a thing.
There's also the black piranha, whose unnaturally large jaw muscles allow the creatures to "exert bite force equivalent to 30 times its bodyweight, a feat unmatched in the natural world," according to the Daily Mail. People taking a dip in the Amazon have reportedly had their fingers and toes snapped right off thanks to the fish's prodigious chompers:
That brings us to the most painful animal bite in the world, which belongs to the bullet ant, a small insect native to Nicaragua and Paraguay. The insects "are known as bullet ants because victims of their stings claim that the sensation of being stung by one of these ants is similar to being shot," according to Yahoo:
Their bites are so powerful, in fact, that local tribes would use them to stitch up minor wounds. After placing the ant near the cut so that the creature bites down, they would immediately tear off its body, leaving its clamped head and mandibles in place as grotesque bio-sutures.
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