Brown recluse spider bites are not pleasant. Many harmless brown spiders are often mistaken for the brown recluse. Here is how to identify a brown recluse spider next time you are confronted with a brown spider.
Estimate the size of the spider. A brown recluse is typically 1/4 - 3/4 inches in total length, including the legs.
Consider the color. Brown recluse spiders are light brown or dark yellow in color.
Look at the body section below the spider's head. Brown recluses have a dark, violin-shaped area on this section, with the neck of the violin pointing away from the head (see picture). Note - other types of spiders have similar markings, so do not count on this alone as identification.
Examine the legs and abdomen. Brown recluses have no markings on their legs or abdomen.
Consider where the spider is found. Brown recluses typically like to hide. You might find them in boxes, piles of clothes, closets, or in beds in your home.
Look at the spider's web, if available. The web of a brown recluse spider is usually disorderly and messy, in an area where they will not be disturbed.