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Are Wood Spiders Poisonous?

Wood spiders are not a species, but a group of spiders that tend to reside in the woods. In general, most wood spiders are not poisonous to humans, although there are some potentially dangerous species like the black widow that are occasionally found outside.

are wood spiders poisonous

But when we’re talking about wood spiders, the vast majority of people think about the Huntsman spider (Sparassidae). These spiders do have venom, but the venom is not poisonous to humans and should not cause a lot of damage to a human unless you’re allergic to spider bites.

Important Note: This is general information for entertainment purposes only. If you have been bitten, seek professional medical attention immediately. Always have professionals identify and manage your pest control needs.

Are Wood Spiders Poisonous?

The majority of spiders that we think of as wood spiders are not highly venomous to humans. However, some wood spider species can be poisonous to humans.

Let’s take a look at some common wood spiders and if they are poisonous or not.

1. Are Huntsman Spiders Poisonous?

Huntsman spiders, or Sparassidae, are perhaps the most common spiders we think about when talking about wood spiders.

Huntsman spiders are not poisonous to humans, and even though they do carry venom, their bite will not result in a lot of damage to humans.

The majority of bites by this spider will result in minor irritation or pain on the bite location. Some bites of this spider might result in headaches and minor nausea, but nothing more than that. The effects of the bite should go away in a couple of hours without treatment.

These spiders are known for their ability to catch animals of prey using their wit. They’re ambushing spiders, which means they don’t use webs to catch their animals. Rather, they’ll wait for the prey to come by, and then ambush it to surprise it, and kill it with its venom. They’re very good hunters, especially at night.

Huntsman spiders are not aggressive to humans, and will usually not attack you if you come close to them. However, they will bite if they feel threatened or if you try to handle it. If it bites, don’t panic – most bites will be painful but should not cause major problems (unless you have an allergic reaction).

Related: How Many Yearly Deaths are there from Spider Bites?

2. Are Black Widow Spiders Poisonous?

The black widow spider is also sometimes found in the woods, along with several types of black widow spiders (northern, western, southern). Black widows like to hide in logs and piles of trees, so be careful when accessing these areas.

Black widows are moderately poisonous to humans. A bite from this spider might result in nausea, on-site pain, headache, dizziness, sweating, difficulty breathing, and other systemic symptoms. 

In children and the elderly, a bite from a black widow might cause more severe problems and might even cause death. If you or anyone who has been bitten by this spider experience severe symptoms, then you should call emergency as soon as possible. The sooner the bitten person is treated, the better it will be.

Black widows are one of the wood spiders that you want to be wary about. Don’t touch them, and don’t try to put them in your hands. Even though they’re not necessarily aggressive towards humans, you should still be wary of them. They’re reclusive and tend to hide when they see a human, and will only bite if they feel threatened.

You will recognize a black widow by its typical red, hourglass-like shape on the back of its black body. They preside all over North America and parts of Africa and Europe.

3. Are Brown Recluse Spiders Poisonous?

The brown recluse spider is found in central and south North America and is commonly found both indoors and outdoors. This spider is known for loving dark areas where it can have some space and peace.

Brown recluses are poisonous, as their bites might result in damage to internal organs, including kidneys and liver.

The good thing, however, is that it is quite rare to meet a brown recluse, and it’s even rarer to get bitten by one. It’s important to recognize the brown recluse if you see one – you’ll be able to recognize it by its violin-like shape on its back. If you see one, it’s best to steer clear of it.

The brown recluse is not a spider that many people think of when talking about wood spiders. Still, they might be present in nature and woods, especially in dark, hidden areas of the wood. That’s where you might want to avoid touching these areas and avoid getting bitten this way.

Can a Wood Spider Kill You?

It is very unlikely that a wood spider, even the more poisonous species like the brown recluse or the black widow, can kill you. The risk that they’ll bite you is quite low, and if treated early, the bites don’t tend to cause a lot of damage.

However, for the elderly and small children, bites from more potent wood spiders can be dangerous and potentially lethal, especially if not treated promptly. That’s why these two groups of people should avoid all contact with these spiders and avoid areas where these spiders usually preside.

The good thing is that all wood spiders tend to avoid human contact as much as possible. They’ll hide and keep themselves away from humans whenever they can, although, on occasion, they might not always be able to do it.

In the majority of cases, bites by wood spiders such as the black widow or the brown recluse might cause pain, nausea, shortness of breath, dizziness, and other problems that might go away on their own after a few hours. Bites from Huntsman spiders are not as dangerous, as there might only be a pain at the location of the bite and some other minor symptoms.

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Conclusion

Wood spiders are found all across the woods and tend to hide in rotting logs and in hidden areas. Many of these spiders are ambushing spiders, which means they tend to hide in holes and hidden areas, so you might not be able to spot them at all.

Bites from wood spiders are extremely rare. And even if they do happen, they are very rarely lethal – most bites will cause minor to moderate symptoms, which tend to be treated successfully if they’re addressed promptly.