Venomous Texas Spiders: Which Two Species to Look Out For

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Texas is home to lots of spiders, but luckily, only two species are considered dangerous. Maybe it’s the “ick” factor of spiders, but as with other venomous creatures, many people tend to be overly concerned about them. Only two of the 900 species of spiders in Texas are actually dangerous, and both of them are quite not typically aggressive. While, unfortunately, bites can occur, they are rare and usually the result of accidentally coming into contact with these Texas spiders.

Except for one family of spider species, all spiders actually possess venom glands. Luckily, the majority of spiders are not dangerous to people. The only spider species that can be harmful to humans in Texas are the Black widow (Latrodectus mactans) and the Brown recluse (Loxosceles recluse).  

The Black Widow

Venomous Texas Spiders: Which Two Species to Look Out For

Photo: Flickr/Bill Bumgarner

Black widow spiders are known for the female’s shiny black body with the red hourglass design. They also have the tendency to eat their mates, but according to the Houston Zoo, “this is actually a misnomer as the action implied rarely occurs.” The black widow is considered the most venomous spider in North America.

Black widows have a potent neurotoxic venom which can be very dangerous to people in poor health and in young children, however, their bite is rarely fatal to humans. Black widows are commonly found in dark, dry areas such as garages, barns, stumps, and even outhouses! Be careful if you spot these Texas spiders.

The Brown Recluse

Venomous Texas Spiders: Which Two Species to Look Out For

Photo: Flickr/Mike Keeling

The brown recluse is the most common of the brown spiders, and it’s found from Nebraska to Ohio, as well as across the south from Texas to Florida. The brown recluse is part of the Loxosceles genus of spiders. It is identified by the violin-shaped markings on the top of their cephalothorax (fused head and thorax). Brown recluses also often hide in dark, dusty places, like under piles of wood or even inside homes.

Well-Adapted Hitchhikers

Venomous Texas Spiders: Which Two Species to Look Out For

Photo: Flickr/Mike Keeling

“Brown recluse spiders get around by hitchhiking on furniture boxes and other items from infested structures,” according to the Illinois Department of Public Health. They are hardy spiders who can go for long periods of time without eating, which works well for their “hitchhiking” habits.

Like most spiders, the brown recluse typically only bites when disturbed, and most of the time people don’t know that they’ve bothered one until it’s too late.  The Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Program reports that “this may happen if a spider is caught in bedding or clothing. Fortunately, 90 percent of bites heal without medical attention or scarring.”

Have you ever been biten by any Texas spiders or come to close to one for comfort? Tell us about your experience with Texas spiders!