The hobo spider is one of a handful of dangerous spiders found throughout the United States, rivaled only by the black widow and brown recluse in its publicity. They are incapable of thriving indoors and are usually found outside under rocks and plant debris. Hobo spiders are native to Europe but can be found in the northwest pacific region of the United States where they are also known as the aggressive house spider. Their bites are believed to be extrememly dangerous like the brown recluse spider, but they are very rare.
If you are experiencing an emergency, contact the American Association of Poison Control at 1-800-222-1222 for free professional advice.
The hobo spider has two parallel gray marks running the length of its carapace. This is the part of a spider that looks like its head. There is a distinct triangular pattern running the length of the spider’s backside and it has very hairy legs. It's not a free roaming spider and usually found waiting for prey in its funnel shaped web. They also belong to a class of spiders known as ‘funnel web spiders’, where the web takes on the appearance of a small hammock wedged into a small crack or crevice. This allows the spider to retreat if it's being attacked and avoid being seen by predators and prey. Funnel web spiders are found all over the world.
Hobo spiders do not usually infest homes and prefer fields and outdoor areas. They will only bite if they feel threatened. If you see a hobo spider wandering about, it is most likely a male searching for a mate and sightings are highest between late June and October. Hobo Spiders have been reported in Washington, Oregon, Indiana, Montana, Wyoming, and parts of Utah. It is possible since their introduction in the 1920’s they have spread to neighboring states. Hobo Spiders can live under rocks, leaves, debris, in trees, retention walls, shrubbery, etc.
The hobo spider bite causes several symptoms and severe pain. Necrosis may occur in victims if left untreated. Necrosis refers to cell death and takes place in the immediate area surrounding the bite. It is extremely painful, but the venom is not believed to be lethal to humans. As the skin begins to degenerate, burning sensations, nausea, and dizziness may occur. It is often compared to the brown recluse spider bite.
To avoid getting bitten, make sure you wear gloves when doing any outdoor work and shake any shoes left outside before putting them on. Be wary when picking up rocks or fallen limbs. Spider bites are often misdiagnosed - they are extremely rare and there is a lack of reliable data regarding the hobo spider and the effects of its bites on humans. If you are confident that you were bitten by a hobo spider, try and catch it (without destroying the specimen) so it can be taken in for identification. Seek medical attention as soon as possible and wash the bite with soap and water.