ABOUT THE SITE AND AUTHOR
My name is David W. George. I have been interested in spiders, scorpions, snakes, and other reptiles since I was a child. I am not a biologist, herpetologist, entomologist, arachnologist, or any kind of trained professional on any of the species listed on this site. I did however feel that there was a need for this site.
I currently reside in Florida, which is home to several venomous animals. I decided to put this site together after several occasions in which I, or members of my family, had encountered venomous animals and did not even realize it.
The Dusky Pygmy Rattlesnake incident:
My mother had a run-in with a venomous snake after living in Florida for several years. One day when she was outside she noticed a small, dark-colored snake in her driveway. My mother, who is not fond of snakes, was afraid that this one was going to crawl into the garage. Based on the size of the snake, she assumed (like many that get bitten by this species) that it was harmless. Since no one else was home at the time, she grabbed a broom and attempted to sweep the snake out of the driveway, into the grass. Rather than crawling away, the disturbed snake turned and struck at the broom. My mother thought that it was just a feisty, little snake and continued to try and sweep it out of the driveway, despite the snake's repeated strikes at the broom. Finally, my mother gave up, and decided to ask a neighbor for help. The neighbor came over and removed the snake - which turned out to be a Dusky Pygmy Rattlesnake. Fortunately, my mother wasn't bitten. She did, however, put herself at risk because she didn't realize that the little snake she was trying to sweep into the grass was a venomous one. When she learned that the snake was venomous, she was shocked.
Discovering Brown Widows:
On a separate occasion, my wife (then fiancé) was telling me about a pretty spider that had built a web inside her screened in porch. When I went to her house, her children, knowing that I liked spiders, took me out on the porch to show me the spider and the web it had built. What I saw, was a relatively small spider, hanging upside down in an irregular web. The spider itself was a creamy color, with black and yellow legs, and an orange-red hourglass on the underside of its abdomen. Seeing the red hourglass, my first inclination was that it was a widow spider, but the only type of widow spider that I was familiar with was the black widow, and this spider certainly wasn't black. I immediately started searching the Internet for information on widow spiders and spiders of Florida. My searches resulted in a lot of web sites with information on Black Widow spiders, but very little about the species that I had encountered. In my search for information about the mystery spider, I was fascinated to learn that there are three different species of Black Widow spider as well as a Red Widow spider. Finally, I happened on a site with information pertaining to a Brown Widow spider. I'd never heard of a Brown Widow spider, but the description seemed to match the spider that was living on my wife's porch. What I really needed to find and help me identify it was a picture of one. Having the common name and scientific name for the spider, finding a photo of one was rather simple. Sure enough - there was a brown widow spider living on my wife's porch. Learning that they are fairly common, and are often found around homes in garages, porches, and sheds, we decided to search and find out how many Brown Widows were sharing my wife's home. We first searched the porch. We carefully searched underneath patio furniture, the grill, and all ledges. We found several webs and several egg sacs. It was very apparent that we had more than just one visitor. Having learned that the Brown Widows were nocturnal, and active at night, I went on the porch at nighttime to survey. We found 16 Brown Widow spiders living on the porch. We found several more in the garage and on the shed in the back yard. Some of the ones we found were in the bottom of the children's box of toys in the garage. I took pictures of some of the Brown Widow spiders, their egg sacs, and their webs and posted them on my website. We told friends and family about the Brown Widow spiders and gave them the URL to the pictures. We gave them the information we'd learned about these spiders. We had a universal reaction from everyone that lived in our area.
1. None of them had ever heard of a Brown Widow spider, even though some of them had lived
in Florida their entire lives
2. All of them carefully searched their own patios, porches, and garages
3. All of them found at least one Brown Widow
These situations, and the safety of my own family, motivated me to gather information about the venomous animals found in Florida, and are what started this entire website. I wanted to learn about every venomous animal that lived in Florida, and I wanted a place where my friends and family could go to learn about them as well. Therefore, Venombyte.com was born. I expanded upon the idea, and decided to not limit the site to just Florida's venomous animals. After all, my entire family doesn't live in Florida.
The information on this site was gathered, organized, and compiled from many different resources. I wanted to take available information and put it together in a format that was readable and easily understandable. A wanted photos to accompany the information, and I wanted everything to be written on a level that children, including my nieces and nephews, could read and understand. A little education can go a long way.
For more information about me and my personal interests, visit my personal pages.
This site was developed using XHTML 1.1 and CSS 2. By using these standards, I've dropped support for some older browsers in favor of designing web pages using standards that will make it accessible to as many people as possible. Users of older browsers may not see the site layout as it is intended to be, but should still be able to read every word of every page. Users of browsers supporting the XHTML standard (IE 5+, Opera 5+, Netscape 6.2+, Mozilla 1+, and gecko-based browsers) will be viewing this site as it was designed and intended to look.