Most people feel that all spiders are generally unpleasant, but being able to differentiate between an unpleasant yet harmless spider and a deadly one is a crucial skill. The first thing you should do when attempting to identify a spider is to make sure that it actually is a spider. Spiders have two body segments, no wings, and eight legs. If the creature does not fit that description it is not a spider. Now that you have made sure you are indeed looking at a spider, here is how to decide whether it is dangerous or not.
Consider its Color
Spiders can be many different colors. They usually have a main color, which is often a shade of black, brown, or gray, but some spiders will also have a secondary color in the form of spots or other individualized patterns. Though less common, certain spiders have legs that are a different color than their bodies. All of these coloring details will help you determine the spider’s species. It is also important to examine the spider’s shape. Some spiders, like the brown recluse, have unique shapes. The brown recluse’s violin-shaped body makes it easy to identify. There are other species of spiders with similarly identifying features.
Inspect its Legs
You already know that spiders have eight legs, but you might not know that the legs hold other answers about the spider as well. The size of the spider’s legs in relation to the rest of its body is a good indicator of its species. Some spiders have really thick legs that are fairly short, but other spiders have long thin legs. While you are looking at the size of the legs, check to see if the spider has anything on its legs. Some species have tiny hairs, fur, or even spikes. These minute details will help you narrow down the species of the spider you have encountered.
Notice its Eyes
A good way to determine a spider’s species is by looking at its eyes. Unfortunately, it can be difficult to get a good look at them, particularly if the spider is a smaller one. If the spider is dangerous you will not want to get too close, so a good way to analyze its eyes is to take a photo of the spider, and then zoom it in until you can view them more clearly. Spiders can have four, six, or eight eyes. Be sure to look at the size, the arrangement, and the location of the eyes. These factors will help you determine which family the spider belongs to.
Examine its Habitat
Different species of spiders live in different places. Some spiders prefer well lit areas, and others stay in the shadows. Some spiders prefer basements or garages, and others make their homes in bathrooms. A lot of spiders spin webs, but there are still quite a few that do not. Even among web spinning spiders, different species build different styles of webs. These distinctive webs include traditional spider webs, tunnel webs, and unwoven strand webs. The habitat the spider has chosen can help you determine its species.
Some spiders are easier to identify than others, but since there are 35,000 species of spiders it is nearly impossible to keep track of all of them. Now that you know what information is important in identifying a spider, it will be easier for you to determine whether a spider is dangerous or harmless. Most spiders are harmless, but it is always a good idea to identify it before you get too close.