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Grass Spider vs Brown Recluse (Similarities & Differences)

The main difference between a grass spider and a brown recluse is that grass spiders have patterns on their backs, while the brown recluse will appear to be all brown. They’re quite similar in size, although the brown recluse will, most likely, appear to be slightly thinner than the grass spider.

Grass Spider vs Brown Recluse

Grass spiders are one of the most common types of spiders that many people encounter around their homes. They can be found in grasses and among trees, where they will create large-scale webs to catch their prey.

However, they are also often mistaken for more dangerous species, such as the brown recluse.

In this article, we’ll analyze the differences and similarities between a grass spider and a brown recluse spider.

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.

Grass Spider vs Brown Recluse

FeaturesBrown RecluseGrass Spider
1. Scientific NameLoxosceles reclusaAgelenopsis
2. VenomHighLow
3. ColorUniform brownSpotted brown
4. PatternViolin shaped mark on headIndistinct shades of brown and yellow, stripes on back
5. Body Size (not including legs)6 – 20mm14 – 19mm
6. HabitatSouthern USAAll of USA and Canada
7. Comes Indoors?RegularlyRarely
8. Type of WebTangled WebFunnel Web

Brown Recluse Spider Footage (Credit)

Grass Spider Footage (Credit)

Similarities

How are these two spider species similar?

1. Size

Both the brown recluse and grass spider are of a very similar size to one another, which makes them hard to separate at first sight.

Brown Recluse

Both might fit into your hand quite comfortably, so you probably wouldn’t be able to judge the difference between the two just by looking at their sizes.

Even though there are some crucial visual differences between these two species, it might be slightly more challenging for many people to see the differences between these two spiders at first sight. 

They both reach a body size of ½ an inch to an inch, so you might have a slight difficulty in finding the real difference at first sight. Their size enables both spiders to go after insects and smaller bugs, even though brown recluse spiders have more potent venom than the grass spider, which allows it to go after larger animals than itself.

2. Prey

Both of these animals are carnivorous, which means they’ll go after other animals, including smaller spiders.

Brown Recluse

This is especially true of brown recluse spiders, which will go after other spiders, even if they’re larger than them.

They have the ability to do so because they have a much more potent venom than the grass spider. A grass spider will find itself lurking around grasses and grassland areas and thanks to its large-scale webs, it will be able to catch all types of insects inside its webs. They will primarily eat smaller insects.

Both species are also quite opportunistic, which means they’ll waste no time in attacking or getting the food they can possibly find in their habitats. Sometimes, this means they will even go after human waste and different types of foods as well.

Related Article: Grass Spider vs House Spider

Differences

Despite the similarities, there are many more differences between these two species than you might think.

1. Hair

A grass spider will usually appear to be slightly hairier than the brown recluse, which will have little to no hairs on its body.

brown recluse

This means that the brown recluse will appear to be slightly smoother overall in appearance, and it will also be slightly slimmer as a result.

A grass spider will normally have a lot more hairs, but certainly not as many as a tarantula, for example. Still, it will have much more hair than the brown recluse, which could be a good way to help you spot the difference between these two species.

Related Article: What Do Brown Recluse Spiders Eat?

2. Color and Patterns

Brown recluse spiders are a more uniform brown color than grass spiders, which often have paterns on their backs.

A brown recluse, like the name suggests, will be entirely brown. Usually, it will have a violin shaped mark on its head and it will appear much smoother in appearance than a grass spider, which will also often be brown.

Grass spiders have line-like patterns on their backs, which should be one of the first signs that you should look for when deciding whether you’re looking at a grass spider or a brown recluse (note: A wolf spider may have similar markings to a grass spider).

The grass spider will also have indistinct shades of lighter yellow-brown as well as darker shades of brown on their body. 

Because of the hairier appearance, the grass spider will appear as though it is thicker than the brown recluse, but that will be mainly because of the hairs that the grass spider has on its body.

3. Webs

Brown Recluse

Grass spiders create funnel webs while hobo spiders build tangled webs.

Another key difference that you’ll see between these two species is that grass spiders tend to create larger webs, especially outdoors. These webs are placed just above the grass with funnels here and there that are meant to protect the spider and assist it with predating.

The brown recluse will also create webs, although these webs will appear much more irregular in shape. They will also not be found as easily as the webs of a grass spider, as they tend to be hidden in inside areas where almost no other species are able to access. So a good way to spot the difference between the two is to look at the web you’re dealing with.

Other Spider Comparisons:

4. Habitat

brown recluse

Grass spiders rarely come indoors while you are more likely to find a brown recluse in your house.

Grass spiders love the outdoors and will rarely enter our homes, as they will only do so if they feel threatened or if they have nowhere else to go. Outdoors, grass spiders prefer to live in grasslands where they will preside in their big webs where they’ll feel comfortable.

Brown recluse spiders are much stealthier in this regard. They’ll be very hard to spot or see because they tend to hide behind objects and inside holes where they will have all the peace, they need to live and thrive.  

That’s why a brown recluse in your home might be dangerous, and you should be able to see the difference between a grass spider and a brown recluse based on the parameters we’ve presented in this article.

Brown recluse spiders are found in the south of the US, while grass spiders are found all over the US and Canada.

Related Article: House Spider vs Brown Recluse

Which is More Venomous?

The answer to this question is obvious: the brown recluse is far more dangerous and venomous than the grass spider.

In fact, the brown recluse is often listed among the most dangerous spider species in the world thanks to its potent venom. Bites by a brown recluse spider might take several months to heal, which just goes to show how dangerous these bites can be.

However, deaths due to these bites are very rare.

If you get bitten by a brown recluse, it’s likely that you’ll experience symptoms minutes after the bite. Seek treatment and help from a health professional immediately. The quicker you find help, the less likely it is that you’ll experience long-term problems as described above.

On the other hand, bites from a grass spider are relatively harmless.

If you get bitten by such a spider, you might experience some pain and discomfort in the bite area, but you should not see long-term symptoms and problems like you might after the bite from a brown recluse. Grass spiders thus appear to be far more dangerous than they really are.

It’s still worth seeking medical advice whenever bitten by a spider.

Final Thoughts

Grass spiders and brown recluse spiders might appear to be similar, but there are quite some crucial differences between the two. It is crucial to spot the difference though because a brown recluse spider can be much more dangerous than a grass spider. 

Spotting the early symptoms of a brown recluse bite might help you get treatment faster and thus avoid the potential complications of such bites.

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