How to Identify a Brown Recluse Spider

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.

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Identify Brown Recluse Spider

Step 1

Estimate the size of the spider. A brown recluse is typically 1/4 - 3/4 inches in total length, including the legs.

Step 2

Consider the color. Brown recluse spiders are light brown or dark yellow in color.

Step 3

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.

Step 4

Examine the legs and abdomen. Brown recluses have no markings on their legs or abdomen.

Step 5

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.

Step 6

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.