I really didn't want to write this story. Talking and/or thinking about large spiders gives me some serious heebie-jeebies.

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According to Radio Iowa, "Unexpected patrons have occupied a restroom at a Page County park near Shenandoah — black widow spiders."

I mean, I know we have spiders in Iowa and the black widow variety appears in the United States, but excuse my French when I say WHAT THE ACTUAL FRICK!?

For those unaware, Smithsonian Magazine tells us just how poisonous these creatures are: "Black widows are the most venomous spider in North America. Their venom is about 15 times stronger than rattlesnake venom and uses a chemical called alpha-latrotoxin to overwhelm nerve cells and cause immense pain. When the alpha-latrotoxin reaches a person’s nerve cell, the nerve dumps all of its signaling chemicals at once, overwhelming its neighbors. In addition to pain, a bite can cause swelling around the wound, severe cramping, sweating, and chills."

While seeing one or two of these creatures can happen at this time of year in the Hawkeye State, the sheer number that popped up in the Park County restroom is what concerns county conservation director, John Schwab.

This is what he told the news outlet:

There’s probably an estimate between 20 and 30, which is a pretty good population. So just for safety until we get them cleared out, we’ve closed off the bathrooms. ... The numbers that we saw was kind of what triggered us to say, ‘We need to do something about this.’ It could have been something as simple as a spring egg sack that hatched and all the spiders decided to hang around.

Any particular reason for the small population showing up remains unknown, but Schwab added that isolated and grassy areas are what likely provided the suitable habitat for the creatures.


He also said that "his department has treated the interior with insect foggers that will eventually be vacuumed and treated again."

So, in other words, no need to worry about a local population of black widows expanding throughout Iowa.

Thank GOD.

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