Spiders In Mexico: 9 Venomous, Large, And Unusual Species

spiders in Mexico

If you’re wondering if there are many spiders in Mexico, the answer is definitely yes. There are over 2000 different species of spiders living there. But before you swear off ever visiting the country, remember that the vast majority of those are tiny arachnids that pose no threat to humans and which you don’t need to worry about. 

There are only three spiders in Mexico that are venomous enough to be harmful to humans and only a couple of other species big enough to cause concern. And then there’s one little one that just has a rather unfriendly defense mechanism!

We’ve listed the 9 biggest, most dangerous, and most unusual spiders in Mexico here so that you’ll know what to expect – and what to avoid – when you visit. 

Black Widow Spider

black widow spider
Photo by Unsplash

Arachnophobes might not want to hear it, but the venomous black widow spider has an extensive range. It lives on every continent except Antarctica and can often be found in Mexico to boot. They favor quiet, disused spaces such as garages, woodpiles, outhouses, and sheds. They will also sometimes make their webs inside houses, under furniture or on the underside of window sills. 

Because of their poor eyesight, black widows perceive both prey and possible threats by feeling the vibrations in their webs. So, it’s wise to be extra cautious in potential widow habitats. Despite their fearsome reputation, these guys are not actually aggressive and do not actively attack humans. They will only bite if startled or feeling threatened, and bites usually occur when humans come upon them by accident. 

If you’re unlucky enough to be bitten by a black widow spider, don’t panic. Simply seek medical care as fast as possible. The venom can cause muscle pain and spasms, intense abdominal cramps, excessive sweating, rapid heart rates, and shock. The majority of bites are not deadly but in rare cases, mostly when the person bitten is a child, elderly, or already unwell, they can be fatal!

Brown Recluse Spider

The brown recluse spider
Photo by Unsplash

The brown recluse is also known as the fiddleback or violin spider due to the shape of the markings on its back. It is probably the single most dangerous spider in Mexico and is well known for the unpleasant effects of its venom. 

A bite from this spider is not immediately painful and often goes unnoticed by the victim. However, soon after, they may begin to feel nausea, fever, joint and muscle pain, and respiratory distress. 

The venom also causes necrosis, which is when the soft tissue around the bite wound festers and dies. This can cause large, spreading lesions that go rancid and lead to blood poisoning. If left untreated, the spider’s bite can lead to organ failure, amputation of the bitten limb, and even death

Luckily, the recluse is a rather shy spider – hence the name! It avoids contact with humans where it can. It makes its web in quiet, seldom-used places like storage rooms and old boxes. However, it has also been known to nest inside unworn clothing, shoes, and bedsheets. That’s why most bites happen when humans put on their clothes or get into bed and accidentally press the spider against their skin. 

Hobo Spider

Hobo spider
Photo by Wikimedia Commons

The hobo spider is the third of our highly venomous spiders in Mexico. Luckily, like the black widow and the recluse, they are rarely aggressive towards humans and only bite when threatened. In addition, the danger posed by the hobo spider is now up for debate among zoologists…

Yep, the hobo spider’s venom was once said to have some of the worst necrotic properties around. But it is now thought that this was a case of mistaken identity. The hobo spider has a nondescript appearance. It can be various shades of brown and has no distinct markings. So, given its similar appearance to the aforementioned recluse, folk now think that whatever bite was reported wasn’t made by the hobo at all.

But, it’s still best to avoid this spider since its venom is toxic and can cause numbness and swelling of the bitten limb. The wound may weep or discharge fluids, and the victim may suffer severe headaches. The symptoms may be worse if the victim suffers an allergic reaction to the venom.

Mexican Wandering Spider

Mexican Wandering Spider
Photo by Envato Elements

Mexico’s biggest spider caused a stir back in 2013 when the previously unknown species was discovered living in a cave and old mining shaft in the Baja California Sur. While discoveries of new spider species are a fairly regular occurrence, it’s rare for such a large specimen to have gone unnoticed for so long. 

This one has legs up to 10 centimeters long and visible, red fangs that protrude from the front of the head, prompting the media to run wild with stories of massive-fanged spiders being discovered in the land of tacos and tequila. 

It took scientists four years to fully classify the spider, but eventually, they announced that it was indeed a new species and officially named it Califorctenus cacachilensis. It also came to be known as the Sierra Cacachilas wandering spider, named for the mountain range in which it lives.

The spider is a close relation to the notoriously deadly Brazilian wandering spider, but, luckily for Mexico, it is nowhere near as dangerous! One of the scientists who discovered the spider was bitten in the process and described it as painful (unsurprising given the spider’s fangs) but said it had no adverse effects. Further investigation into this new spider’s toxicity, habits, and behaviors is still underway.

Red Kneed Tarantula 

Red Kneed Tarantula 
Photo by Wikimedia Commons

Mexico holds second place for the most tarantula species in the world, after Brazil. There are estimated to be a whopping 66 species of the bad boys living in the country. However, since few people dedicate their time to seeking out and documenting the different species, there may be several more as yet unidentified. 

Mexico’s tarantula population is firmly on the decline because of the impacts of the exotic pet industry. Wild tarantulas are regularly trapped and smuggled out of the country to be sent to the US, Chinese, and European pet markets. The red kneed tarantula is one of Mexico’s most common and sought-after species, desirable for its striking appearance, long life span, and docile nature. 

When left in the wild, the spider lives in forested areas, where it makes burrows under rocks and tree roots to hide from predators and await passing prey. It isn’t aggressive, hence its suitability as a pet. However, if severely provoked or threatened, it can give a painful but not dangerous bite. Like most tarantulas, it can also defend itself by firing spiky hairs from its abdomen at its attacker.

Wolf Spider

wolf spider
Photo by Envato Elements

Wolf spiders are a hardy, adaptive species that can be found living in a variety of habitats across Mexico. You’ll see them in forests, fields, coastal regions, farmland, and homes. They can dig burrows like the red kneed tarantula and wait for passing prey, or they can actively hunt and chase would-be food. They are agile and fast, have excellent eyesight, and are prodigious hunters. 

For this reason, some people don’t mind having them inside their homes because they effectively keep down the numbers of other pests, such as crickets and cockroaches. That said, they can regularly grow to over 1.5 inches, so these aren’t a bijou critter to consent to having around by any stretch!

Don’t be too concerned if one does drop in to say hello. Despite their size, these guys pose little threat to humans. They are not aggressive and will not bite unless threatened or provoked. If they do bite, it can be painful but should not cause any more serious symptoms than mild swelling and irritation.

Green Lynx Spider 

Green Lynx Spider 
Photo by Envato Elements

At just under an inch long, the green lynx spider is the largest of the lynx spiders but tiny compared to some of the other arachnids on our list. It’s the prettiest of them though, with its patterned leaf-green body and paler legs covered in black spots and spiny bristles. It would be distinctive if you could find it, but this spider is usually very well camouflaged on the plants and cacti on which it lives.

This colorful little spider has made it onto our list of venomous and unusual spiders because of the unique defense method it employs during the birthing season. The female green lynx spider lays large egg sacks, which they then protect fiercely, spitting venom at any predator that tries to get too close. This makes them one of the only actively aggressive spiders on our list. 

They can spit their venom up to a foot away, and, although contact with it is not dangerous for humans, we would still advise keeping your distance. The venom becomes a little more effective on the infrequent occasions that these spiders bite people. Although it is still not deadly, a bite may result in pain, irritation, and swelling around the area of contact.

Woodlouse spider

Woodlouse spider
Photo by Wikimedia Commons

Often confused for a tick or a beetle, the woodlouse spider – also known as the woodlouse hunter spider – is remarkable for its elongated thorax and pale brown color scheme. They’re not a pretty customer but do their job pretty fantastically. That job? Hunting – you guessed it! – woodlice. 

In recent years, these guys have been reported across several regions of Mexico. That’s a new phenomenon, since they’re mainly known to reside in cooler regions further north – their main habitats so far have been the eastern coast of the USA and most of Europe and Russia. 

When it comes to bites, the woodlouse spider is a powerful customer. They’ve adapted to be able to pierce the thick exoskeletons of their preferred prey. They won’t ever aim to attack a human but will bite if handled and threatened. When that happens, the bite can be very painful and pierce the skin, causing itchiness at the site of contact for several hours.

False widow

False widow spider
Photo by Wikimedia Commons

The false widow looks a whole load like the black widow. Only, they aren’t quite as potent or formidable as their feared doppelganger. That said, these guys can cause a whole load of pain in human victims, because they have a similar venomous bite that’s capable of causing blistering and needling pain at the site of contact. 

They look very similar to the black widows, only they don’t have that trademark scarlet-red mark on the underside of their body. There’s still the same big, dark thorax and long front legs with a head that has protruding fangs. And they can grow to just about the same size. 

False widows have colonized just about the whole globe. They can be found all over Europe, across New Zealand, and, of course, in North America, in most US states and Mexico besides. Look out for their distinct triangular webs in dry, dark spaces.

Are there venomous spiders in Mexico?

Yes, there are several species of venomous spiders in Mexico, but only three have venom which is dangerous to humans: The black widow, the brown recluse, and the hobo spider. Luckily, none of them are aggressive and tend to avoid contact with humans. 

What is the biggest spider in Mexico?

The newly discovered Mexican wandering spider is the biggest spider in Mexico, with legs up to 10cm long. It’s only a recent addition to the list of spiders in Mexico, having only been officially documented back in 2013.

Are tarantulas common in Mexico?

Yes, Mexico is the second most common place for tarantulas in the world, after Brazil. It is estimated that there are 66 species of tarantula in the country. Some of Mexico’s tarantulas are popular pet tarantulas, and numbers are currently declining across the country because of demand from major pet markets around the world.

What is the most dangerous spider in Mexico?

The brown recluse is the most dangerous spider in Mexico. Its venom is harmful to humans causing tissue death, large wounds, and deep scarring. Bites from these can even be deadly if left untreated. 

Joseph

For more than 11 years, Joe has worked as a freelance travel writer. His writing and explorations have brought him to various locations, including the colonial towns of Mexico, the bustling chowks of Mumbai, and the majestic Southern Alps of New Zealand. When he's not crafting his next epic blog post on the top Greek islands or French ski resorts, he can often be found engaging in his top two hobbies of surfing and hiking.

View stories