Business Insider Edition

3 Bolivian boys let a black widow bite them, hoping they'd turn into Spider-Man

Jacob Sarkisian , Business Insider US
 May 30, 2020, 07:42 PM
The black widow is one of the deadliest animals in the world.
Getty Images/Sony Pictures Releasing
  • Three Bolivian brothers were left in hospital after provoking a black widow spider into biting them.
  • The boys, aged 12, 10, and 8, were hoping that the bite would leave them with superpowers like Spider-Man, Telemundo first reported.
  • Instead, they were transferred to a children's hospital after suffering fevers, tremors, and muscle pains and were discharged a full week after getting bitten.
  • Ministry of Health official Virgilio Pietro shared the story during a coronavirus briefing as a warning to parents, saying: "For children, everything is real, movies are real."
  • National Geographic reports that while black widow spider bites are not fatal - and that they only bite in self-defense - their venom is 15 times stronger than a rattlesnake's.
  • For more stories go to

Three boys from Bolivia let a black widow spider bite them in the hopes of gaining Spider-Man's powers, but they ended up in hospital instead.

The brothers, aged 12, 10, and 8, were herding goats in Chayanta when they found a spider, Telemundo first reported after a Ministry of Health official revealed the details at a coronavirus briefing.

The official, Virgilio Pietro, said that the three boys repeatedly poked the deadly spider with a stick until it bit each one of the brothers in turn. They believed the bite would give them superpowers.

Their mother found them crying, and they were soon transferred to a hospital after visiting a nearby health center. They began to suffer fevers, tremors, and muscle pains and were therefore transferred a third time to the Children's Hospital in La Paz.

They were treated there and, a week after they were bitten, were finally discharged.

Telemundo reported that Pietro detailed the story during his briefing as a warning to parents: "For children, everything is real, movies are real."

According to National Geographic, black widow spiders, one of the most feared breeds in the world and the most venomous in North America, have venom 15 times more powerful than a rattlesnake's.

National Geographic also says that black widows only bite in self-defense, and that while their bites are not usually fatal, children are most at risk along with the elderly and infirm.

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