Which Spiders Bite Humans? A List of the Most Common Biters

Let’s face it. Spiders are pretty scary. They have fangs and venom that can cause serious health issues. So when you’re not careful around them, one bite can send you straight to the emergency room.

With this in mind, wouldn’t it be a great idea to learn which spiders bite humans? Being able to identify which among them is likely to sink its fangs on you can help you watch out for the truly dangerous ones.

Which Spiders Bite Humans? A List of the Most Common Araneae Biters

Spiders are feared because they bite and inject deadly venom. CC Image courtesy of GollyGforce on Flickr

Spiders and Biting

Technically, all spiders bite. It’s an essential part of how they eat and how they defend themselves. They do have fangs after all.

However, what you should keep in mind is that not all of these arachnids can penetrate human skin and not all of them have venom that’s strong enough to affect us. Most of them only have enough bite strength and venom to paralyze a tiny insect, not a human that’s a thousand times bigger.

So there isn’t really an answer to the question above. Instead, what you should be really asking is which spider species are the most common biters, the ones that have a high record of run-ins with humans.

Spiders that Commonly Bite People

Now that we’ve cleared up the real story behind spider bites, here’s a list of the most common perpetrators when it comes to biting incidences.

Black Widow Spiders

Let’s start with some of the most feared spiders in history, the Black Widows.

These arachnids are generally small, only measuring about 10 millimeters in size. They’re solitary and mostly live in dark secluded places like basements, attics and storage spaces. The most common black widow species sports a shiny jet black body with an ominous red mark on its abdomen, a pattern that oftentimes resembles an hourglass.

According to the Annual Report of the American Association of Poison Control Centers’ National Poison Data System, 1,631 cases of black widow bites were recorded back in 2015. This positions this spider high up in the bite list.

However, you should know that the black widow isn’t considered lethal anymore. Its reputation for being deadly has recently been thwarted by medical advances to anti-venoms and to studies on how this spider actually bites its victims. It turns out that deaths caused by black widows are very rare. In fact, AAPCC’s annual report stated that a grand total of zero deaths resulted from their bites.

But don’t get us wrong. Bites from this arachnid contain latrotoxin, which still makes it very dangerous. It can still cause severe pain and serious systemic symptoms like nausea, rapid heartbeats and abdominal cramps.

The Brown Recluse Spider

The Brown Recluse Spider is a tiny creature with only 6 eyes, compared to the usual spider’s 8. It’s sometimes no bigger than a penny, and it comes in musty, light or caramel brown with an upside-down violin shaped mark on its back.

The brown recluse loves to hide inside human houses. It thrives in isolated dry places like garages, cellars and woodpiles. With this, it’s been found to be responsible for 1,185 bite cases back in 2015.

Bites from the brown recluse can range from forgettable irritations to horrible body mutilations. Depending on the amount of hemotoxic venom involved and the area where the bite is found, the brown recluse can cause small skin lesions, high fever, nausea or necrosis where it can permanently damage your tissues and render some of them dead.

Tarantulas

Next, we have the fuzzy tarantulas. We’ve put these arachnids in our list because it has made its way into the AAPCC’s report.

Because of their pet status, there have been a great deal of bite cases committed by tarantulas over the years. All of these fuzzy arachnids are venomous, causing pain and extreme discomfort to their victims for a few days. However, deaths that resulted from their bites are also very rare.

These arachnid pests have caused a total of 50 bite cases in 2015, according to the AAPCC. That doesn’t sound like it can strike fear and paranoia, but it is enough to warrant careful handling when it comes to keeping these spiders around.

Other Venomous Spiders

AAPCC also cited 109 necrotizing spider bite cases. And some of these are caused by the following arachnids:

In truth, there are more necrotizing spiders out there, but their presence heavily depends on the place you live in. AAPCC never really mentioned which among the 46,000 species caused the 109 cases. That would be impossible, or at least extremely difficult to pinpoint. However, we do hope that you’ve learned which spiders bite humans, which among them are the most common biters that you should focus on eradicating first.

If you'd like to know the world's deadliest spiders, check out our post here.

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