The 11 Most Common (And Deadly) Spiders In The U.S.

The sight of spiders sometimes causes panic, especially to those who are arachnophobic. Truth is, most types of spiders aren't harmful at all—their prey is not you but insects. But, there are a few species you'd want to avoid. If you see other spiders that are not the usual house spiders, then you must be cautious. You wouldn't want to get bitten by poisonous spiders while doing your daily routine. Boost your survival skills by knowing a few of these crawling creatures.

Spiders: Knowing Common Crawlers from the Deadly Ones

1. The Brown Recluse Spider

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Adult brown recluse spiders, usually common in the south, reach about an inch in body length but some grow larger. A shape of a dark violin can be spotted on the topmost leg area with the tip pointing towards the abdomen. This gave rise to the brown recluse spiders' nickname, Fiddle Back.

What makes brown recluse spiders unique is they have a pair of six eyes instead of the usual eight. Spider bites from a recluse may cause significant cutaneous injury with tissue loss and necrosis.

2. The Black Widow Spider

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Fully mature black widow spiders can reach about half an inch in body length. They normally have a shiny black color with a yellowish orange or red hourglass mark or dot under the stomach area. You may come across black widow spiders in these places:

  • Underneath piles of rubble and wood
  • Inside hollow stumps
  • Underneath stones
  • Sheds
  • Garages
  • Crawl spaces
  • Untidy basements

Black widow spiders are among the most venomous spiders. Even a tiny amount of their venom immediately affects the nervous system. When they bite, a person may experience a severe reaction—manifested through nausea, abdominal pain, headache, fever, extreme blood pressure increase, and vomiting. The good news is black widow spiders do not bite people unless disturbed or threatened.

3. The Red Widow Spider

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Red widow spiders have a black abdomen with red spots, lined with yellow at the borders. All the rest of their bodies have a reddish-brown color. Typically, their underside has one or more tiny red marks.

They create spider webs in rosemary, palmettos, scrub oak, and other shrubs, mostly in central and southeast Florida's sand-pine scrub territories. Only the females bite and its venom, being a neurotoxin, leads to muscle spasms.

4. The Hobo Spider

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Adult hobo spiders have several chevron-shaped markings on their abdomen. They have a brownish color and can reach a body length of about half an inch. The males' mouth area has two large boxing glove-like parts. Females, meanwhile, have bigger abdomens. A hobo spider lives anywhere in the following areas:

  • Oregon
  • Washington
  • Wyoming
  • Idaho
  • Colorado
  • Montana
  • Utah

Spider bites from hobos form a blister after 24 hours. The blister breaks open later and turns into an ulcer with liquid oozing out after a day or two. A terrible headache is one of the frequent complaints in addition to weakness, nausea, damaged eyesight, short-term loss of memory, and fatigue.

5. The Funnel Web Grass Spider

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Generally, funnel grass spiders are grayish or brownish in color with dark and light stripes along the head. They have long spinnerets with a body size nearly an inch in length. Their webs are usually made near steps, foundations, window wells, low-lying shrubs, and in the ground. They are frequently seen in the Northwestern part of the U.S. The bite of these spiders is of low risk to humans.

6. The Brown Widow Spider

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Like the black widow, brown widow spiders have an hourglass-like shape at the abdomen — only it has an orange shade instead of red. Their color is tan or brown with a black accent marking. They actually look like immature black widows, and it takes an expert to tell the difference.

The most distinctive feature of this spider species from the others is the shape of their egg sac. They have a pollen grain shape instead of a little cotton ball.

7. The Wolf Spider

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An adult wolf spider may reach up to an inch or more in length. It has brown to grayish speckles and a distinct impression of a Union Jack on the upper stomach area. When laying eggs, the female spiders carry the egg sacs around, as they are attached to their spinnerets. Newly hatched spiders ride on their mother's back for several days. Like most spiders, wolf spiders prey on insects, but the bigger ones prey not just insects but lizards and frogs, too.

Wolf spiders are nocturnal ground dwellers. When they feel threatened, they run away swiftly and have burrows lined with silk to retreat into. A spider bite from a wolf spider is not fatal, but it is still venomous and may cause a reaction to those who are allergic to it. Its bite, however, is quite painful, similar to a bee sting.

8. The Orb Weaving Spider

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Adult orb-weaving spiders can grow to nearly an inch. They have a spherical abdomen, which is often colored with a light to a dark brown pattern. Another variety of orb-weaving, the golden orb-weaver spider, has the same round abdomen, but it has a purple-like color instead. These spiders may thrive in your garden during summer. You might discover their webs, which may reach a radius of more than 6 feet, between shrubs or buildings. A bite from orb weavers is nontoxic to people.

9. Cellar Spider (Daddy Long Legs)

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Cellar spiders are non-venomous fragile spiders. Their body measures up to a length of 2 to 10 mm and legs up to 50 mm. A common house spider, it hangs upturned in irregular, tangled, and messy webs found in damp and dark recesses, such as:

  • Caves
  • Loose bark
  • Beneath rocks
  • Deserted burrows
  • Undisturbed areas in buildings, such as cellars, thus the name “cellar spider”
  • In warm, dry places, like attics and household windows

10. The Huntsman Spider

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Also called giant crab spiders, huntsman spiders have a body length of about an inch or more. Their legs are quite long, as they reach around 5 to 6 inches, but a giant huntsman spider has legs 12 inches long! The two pairs of rear legs are considerably shorter than the two pairs in front. They have dark patches with a brownish beige color on its body.

Huntsman spiders are apprehensive and can move extremely fast going sideways if disturbed. It likes to live beneath flat rocks, peeling tree barks, and inside building roof spaces. They are a non-aggressive group of spiders and the bite from huntsman spiders is not toxic to humans.

11. The Tarantula

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On average, tarantulas measure 7 to 10 cm in length but are capable of exceeding 30 cm. Smaller tarantulas prey on insects, but like huntsman spiders, giant tarantulas prey on bigger animals like rodents, frogs, snakes, and bats.

Tarantulas commonly come in black or brown in color with distinguishable body hair, which they use as a defense mechanism against predators. They can be found in some if not all parts of:

  • California
  • New Mexico
  • Arizona
  • Louisiana
  • Texas
  • Arkansas
  • Missouri
  • Colorado
  • Kansas
  • Utah
  • Oklahoma
  • Nevada

Tarantulas thrive all over grassland and open desert areas with soils that are well-drained and dry. But, there are some species that survive in caves, cliffs, trees, including pineapple and banana crops. Although all tarantulas are poisonous, there has been no recorded data of any deaths caused by a tarantula bite. However, their bites are excruciatingly painful and can last for a number of days.

Watch this video by eHow on identifying spiders of the Midwest in the United States:

Spiders are generally not bad. Many species of spiders are not even aggressive and only bite when provoked. Yet, it is still better to know more about spiders, especially those that are venomous. If you are knowledgeable about them, you can easily take the necessary precautions to keep them and yourself out of danger.

What's your take on spiders? Let us know in the comments below!

Up Next: Guide To Venomous Spiders

The contents of this article are for informational purposes only. Please read our full disclaimer.

Editor's Note: This post was originally published on March 12, 2016, and has been updated for quality and relevancy.

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