Often confused with hobo spiders, the brown recluse is one of only a few spiders that can be dangerous to humans. Find out how to identify a brown recluse spider and how to avoid getting a painful bite.


  • Brown recluse spiders are also sometimes known as “fiddleback” or “violin” spiders due to markings that look like a violin on their cephalothorax.
  • They have 6 eyes rather than the usual 8. These eyes are arranged in three pairs.
  • Brown recluse spiders have quite small bodies, only reaching about 1cm (0.375 inches) in length.
  • The abdomen of the brown recluse is uniformly colored, as are the legs, with no bands or markings on them.
  • Brown recluse spiders make webs to lay eggs in and to rest. They don’t spin them to catch prey, so in general they’ll be in crevices and out-of-the-way, darker areas.
  • While they’re not aggressive spiders, a brown recluse may bite if threatened. Not all species of brown recluse are venomous, though.
  • They can go for 6-12 months without eating.
Brown Recluse Spider


There are several species of brown recluse spider that are venomous and harmful to humans. It is very rare to be bitten by a brown recluse, however, and even more rare that you would need serious medical attention after being bitten.

Brown recluse spiders have very small fangs, so even if you do get bitten, they are only able to release a small amount of venom. Because their fangs are so small, they can’t bite through clothing, reducing your chances of a harmful reaction even further. If you do get bitten by a brown recluse, here are some signs and symptoms to look out for:

  • Inflammation and pain at the bite site, although you may not even have felt the original bite.
  • General nausea and sweating.
  • Itching and fever.
  • Occasionally a necrotic lesion can develop.
  • In serious cases, jaundice, seizures and kidney failure can occur.

If you think you have been bitten by a brown recluse spider and have any of the above symptoms, contact a medical professional and, ideally, bring the spider with you. 

If you have an infestation of brown recluse spiders in your home or yard, take care to wear protective clothing such as gloves when gardening or cleaning out cluttered areas. Taking preventive measures such as keeping areas around your bed free from potential hiding places will also reduce your risk of being bitten by a brown recluse spider.


Brown recluse spiders are currently found in about 16 states, mainly in the Southeastern and South Central regions of the USA. Interestingly, they mainly owe their spread to human activity, often being transported from place to place via furniture in moving trucks.

If you see a brown recluse spider in your home, the chances are that there are plenty  more nearby. This spider gets the name “recluse” because it prefers to hide away and stay in dark, undisturbed places. As it’s also nocturnal, this means that you likely won’t see how many are actually infesting your home. 

It might be difficult to find every brown recluse spider in a property but tidying clutter and sealing up cracks and crevices can go a long way in discouraging them from taking up residence inside your home. They may also be attracted by a food source, so eliminating other insect or pest issues you may have will make your property less desirable. Other things you can try are using essential oils or sticky traps to catch the spiders but if you have an infestation of brown recluse spiders in your home and you want the most effective solution, call a professional pest control company for help.