What’s the first thing that comes to mind when you think of brown recluse spiders? If you’re like most people, it’s probably something along the lines of “dangerous” or “venomous.” But there’s a lot more to these spiders than meets the eye.
Brown recluse spiders can deliver a nasty bite and are considered one of the most dangerous spiders in the US. But they’re also shy, reclusive creatures that prefer to stay hidden away in dark corners and aren’t aggressive unless they feel threatened.
Because brown recluse spiders are nocturnal, they’re not often seen during the day. When they are active, they’re usually found in dark, secluded areas like closets, attics, and basements.
Also known as the violin spider, the brown recluse gets its name from the dark brown violin-shaped mark on its back. This mark is used to distinguish it from other spiders, as there are many species that look similar. The brown recluse is a small spider, with its body only growing to be about a quarter of an inch in length.
So what do brown recluse spiders eat? And what kind of habitat do they prefer? Let’s take a closer look.
What Do Brown Recluse Spiders Eat?
If you’re worried about brown recluse spiders in your home, you’ll be glad to know that their diet consists mostly of insects. This includes crickets, cockroaches, and silverfish. While they will occasionally eat larger prey, such as lizards and mice, this is not their preferred diet.
Simply said – brown recluse spiders are hunters. Unlike web-building spiders, brown recluses actively search for their prey. They go after their prey rather than waiting for their prey to come to them. They wait at night to ambush their victims, using their venom to subdue them. This paralyzes the prey and makes it easier for the spider to eat.
The brown recluse’s fangs are small and delicate, so they can only puncture the skin of their victims if they’re pressed against it with a fair amount of force.
This typically happens when the victim is asleep or unaware of the spider’s presence. Similar to most spider species, brown recluses can survive for long periods of time without food. They can go for several months without eating.
Where Do Brown Recluse Spiders Live?
Their name gives it away – brown recluses like to stay hidden and secluded. They’re most commonly found in the central and southern United States, although they have been known to turn up in other parts of the world as well.
You’ll usually see them hidden in tiny drawers, basements, under baseboards, attics, and storage boxes. They like to stay in dark, quiet places that are unlikely to be disturbed.
When outside, they typically stay close to the ground in areas of tall grass or under rocks. You can also find them along with overgrown vegetation, along woodpiles, or in other areas where there are a lot of insects.
While they’re not aggressive, brown recluses will bite if they feel threatened. If you see one in your home, the best course of action is to call a professional to have it removed. Trying to remove it yourself could result in a bite, which can be dangerous.
While they don’t use their webs to capture prey, they will build webs to protect their egg sacs. These webs are usually found in quiet, undisturbed areas like closets and basements. These webs are usually behind large pieces of furniture or in other hard-to-reach places.
The Dangers of Brown Recluse Spider Bites
On a general note, these spiders won’t attack humans. They may be hiding inside your home, not to attack or bite humans but to escape the cold weather outside. However, they will bite humans if they feel threatened or if their egg sacs are in danger.
Their bites can range from being relatively harmless to causing serious health problems. The venom of a brown recluse spider is necrotic, which means it can kill skin tissue. This can lead to an open wound that is slow to heal and may result in a scar.
Using home traps, baits, or resorting to pest control companies are all options to get rid of brown recluse spiders in your home.
Reasons Why Recluse Brown Spiders Find Their Way to Your Home
There are three reasons why brown recluses may find their way into your home:
- To escape the cold weather outdoors
- In search of food
- To build a web to protect their egg sacs
To prevent these spiders from entering your home, it’s important to seal any cracks or crevices on the outside of your home. This includes weatherstripping doors and windows and repairing any holes in screens.
It’s also a good idea to keep your home clean and free of clutter, as this will make it harder for spiders to find places to hide. Vacuuming regularly and storing items off the floor will help to deter spiders from making your home their own.
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