• Brown Recluse Spider - The brown recluse spider typically
resides in dark places such as wood piles or in closets.
They have 3 pairs of eyes as opposed to the majority of
spiders that have 4 pairs of eyes. Brown recluse spiders can
be identified by the black violin shaped pattern on its back
with the violin pointing toward the spider’s abdomen. Brown
recluse bites usually do not cause pain at first, but over time
the bite site can become painful and the symptoms may
increase from minor to a large size wound that needs
• Black Widow Spider - The female black widow spider
has a red or orange hour glass on the underside of her
abdomen and she is much larger than the male black
widow spider. Female black widow spiders can inject
much more venom than their male counterparts. Bites
from the black widow spider can cause immediate pain
and symptoms can progress to include sharp pain in
the large muscles of the body. Persons experiencing
these symptoms should be seen in a medical facility
where appropriate treatment can be provided.
• Brown Widow Spider - The brown widow spiders found in
Alabama range in color from tan to brown and sometimes
have varying shades of gray. They have an orange or
yellow hour glass on the underside of their abdomen.
These spiders can easily be identified by the egg sacks
they produce that are spiked and look like mines or
sandspurs. Venom from brown widow spiders can cause
symptoms similar to the
black widow spider, although
symptoms are sometimes
more localized at the site.
• Bites from most nonpoisonous spiders may cause redness, irritation at the site and
various degrees of pain.
• Symptoms from poisonous spiders range from mild to severe and depend on the type
of spider and the amount of venom injected during the bite.
• If the spider is captured or dead, try to rule out the brown recluse and widow spiders.
• If you think that you have been bitten by a brown recluse or widow spider or if you are
having symptoms, call the Poison Center at 1-800-222-1222 for specific
There are many different types of spiders throughout the United States and the world.
Spiders have 8 legs or 4 pairs of legs as opposed to insects that have only 3 pairs of legs.
The body of the spider is composed of 2 main segments - the head and abdomen that are
connected by a small waist. This is different from the body of insects, which have 3 main
Spiders vary in size, amount of hair on their bodies and living conditions. Most spiders
have some sort of venom to kill their prey. However, the type of spider venom varies
between spider species and most spiders are not considered poisonous to humans.
Worldwide it has been reported that there are several hundred different types of spiders
that have caused significant bites. In the United States the number is significantly reduced,
and poisonous spiders found in Alabama include the brown recluse spider, black widow
spider and the brown widow spider. These spiders are usually not aggressive and bite
when they become threatened or when their living space is interrupted.
Spiders are often misidentified. For example, a large number
of spiders are brown in color and the Wolf spider is often
mistaken for the brown recluse spider, especially since the
bite from a Wolf spider can cause destruction of skin tissue.
Daddy Long Legs are often thought of as belonging to the
spider family. But this is not true. They are not spiders and
do not have the 2 body segments of the spider. More
importantly and contrary to previously reported, the Daddy
Long Legs is not poisonous to humans. Their mouth is
actually too small to inflict a harmful bit to humans, but is
used effectively on their food sources.