Branson Riley Carlisle, a 5-year-old boy from Albertville, Alabama, was bitten by a spider on Sunday morning. Though the boy’s family rushed him to a nearby hospital just hours after being bitten, Branson Carlisle passed away from the effect of the spider bite.
The boy’s family is said to be crushed by the loss of beloved Branson. They laid him to rest Wednesday afternoon at Memory Hill Cemetery in Albertville, after a funeral service at Free Life Worship Center in Boaz, Alabama.
Jeff Stanford, pastor at the Free Life Worship Center, told local news outlets that once he was at the hospital, Branson’s reaction to the venomous spider bite only continued to degenerate.
Stanford said that the Carlisle family hired a pest control specialist to come to their home every month but, as the temperature has dropped recently, spiders have moved indoors in greater numbers.
The spider that caused the Branson Riley Carlisle tragedy was known as a “brown recluse,” or Loxosceles reclusa, a spider of the type pictured above that earned its name due to its generally shy and unthreatening behavior.
According to the site BrownRecluseSpider.org, the brown recluse is attracted to dark and concealed spaces in houses and buildings. The brown recluse may also find shelter inside boxes, under books and furniture — all areas where it remains hidden from the human beings and other occupants of the house where it chooses to live.
But when the brown recluse feels threatened, it will bite. This can occur when a person inadvertently invades the brown recluse spider’s hidden home, or if a person were to touch the spider.
Old and seldom worn clothes and shoes are often prime spaces for brown recluse spiders. Experts advise carefully checking older clothes and items that have not been worn for some time before putting them on.
If a brown recluse spider is hiding in the clothes, the wearer is likely to suffer a bite, which carries a dose of toxic venom and can lead to severe, even fatal, allergic reactions, as in the case of Branson Riley Carlisle.
Other situations where a brown recluse is likely to bite, according to the BrownRecluseSpider.org site, are when a child is playing by crawling underneath furniture — a bed or table for example — or when the brown recluse climbs into a bed at night and a sleeping person rolls over on top of the spider.
The circumstances under which Branson Riley Carlisle was bitten by the spider were not made public. Death from spider bite is rare in the United States, killing between six and seven people annually.