The Scariest Types of Spiders in the World

Voting Rules
Vote up the most terrifying species of spider you hope to never encounter in the wild.

One of the most common fears any person has is Arachnaphobia: the fear of spiders. Even people who aren't afraid of them don't really like having them around. They are creepy, they are crawly, and many of the scariest species of spiders are downright deadly. There are millions of types of spiders all over the globe, but the scariest spider species are those that are dangerous to humans. Plus, you always seem to find spiders in the worst places.

That being said, many people fear the Tarantula due to its size and ugly look, but those giant critters are usually not a threat in any way. Some of the deadliest spiders in the world are much smaller, but pack a deadly venomous bite. Spiders dangerous to humans tend to be about the size of a quarter and while we are in no way their prey, they will bite if threatened.

A spider's venom is designed to incapacitate or kill its prey, which can be anything from small insects to larger animals including mice, lizards, and small birds. They aren't wrapping us up in their spider-silk and sucking out our blood, but that doesn't mean their venom won't take down a human, which is saying something given our sheer size in comparison to them. Most spider species aren't harmful to us, but the ones on this list should be avoided at all costs. They are dangerous, scary, and many are downright ugly, but above all else, they can be deadly.

Photo: Judy Gallagher / Wikimedia Commons / CC-BY 2.0

  • Size: They can reach a length of up to 1.89" (48 mm).

    Location: Tropical regions of South America with a single subspecies found in Central America.

    Distinguishing Features: Many examples possess a dark linear stripe on their dorsal pedipalps with a single black line running along the dorsal carapace. They also have disturbingly large fangs comparable to their body size.

    Why You Should Be Scared: Their venom contains a potent neurotoxin, which can become deadly by causing a loss of muscle control and breathing problems resulting in paralysis and asphyxiation. The venom also causes intense pain and inflammation following the bite. These spiders should be avoided at all costs due to the pain they cause, but some subspecies will bite without delivering venom in what is called a "dry" bite. It is believe they do this to conserve venom, but this also means that they tend to have a full supply at most times.

    712 votes
  • 2
    805 VOTES

    Sydney Funnel-web Spider

    Size: Can reach a size of 2 inches (5 cm)

    Location: Literally, on your back right now!!! Sorry, it had to be done. They are native to Eastern Australia and are most often found within 62 miles (100 km) of the city of Sydney.

    Distinguishing Features: Instead of weaving a web meant to trap insects, they weave a tubular burrow with collapsed tunnels.

    Why You Should Be Scared: If one of these nasty little buggers bites you, you should find some antivenom as fast as possible. Their venom is composed of a compound, which makes it highly toxic to humans. When they bite, they tend to strike multiple times—delivering enough venom to kill with each strike. Children are at a higher risk than adults due to their size. There has been one recorded case of a small child dying within only 15 minutes of being bitten.

    805 votes
  • 3
    875 VOTES

    Brown Recluse Spider

    Size: 0.24 to 0.79 inches (6 to 20 mm).

    Location: Southern and Central North America.

    Distinguishing Features: Most examples are a light brown, but some can be dark-brown in color almost looking black.

    Why You Should Be Scared: The Brown Recluse Spider is one of the most feared of all spiders due to their highly necrotic venom. If a person is bitten, they generally don't need to worry about death, but rather about receiving a mutilating scar thanks to the dead tissue resulting from the bite. If left untreated, the necrosis can spread over a wider area requiring surgery and even amputation in severe cases.

    875 votes
  • 4
    765 VOTES

    Size: The largest of the species can reach a length of 1" (2.5 cm).

    Location: Wolf Spiders make up more than 2,300 species and are spread across the globe.

    Distinguishing Features: Wolf Spiders do not weave webs, but instead, hunt their prey on the ground.

    Why You Should Be Scared: Wolf Spider venom causes a great deal of swelling, itching, and pain at the bite-site with some subspecies' venom resulting in necrosis. Necrosis causes tissue to die and rot away, which is incredibly painful and damaging to anyone who gets bitten. When threatened, Wolf Spiders will bite and continue to inject venom until they are emptied. 

    765 votes
  • Black Widow Spider
    Photo: Ken-ichi Ueda / Wikimedia Commons / CC-BY 4.0
    680 VOTES

    Black Widow Spider

    Size: 0.5" (13 mm) in length.

    Location: Black Widow Spiders are distributed worldwide and contain 31 recognized species.

    Distinguishing Features: Black Widow Spiders are typically black across their entire body and legs with a large, red hourglass shape on the underside of their thorax.

    Why You Should Be Scared: A Black Widow Spider's venom contains a deadly latrotoxin, which can result in severe muscle pain, abdominal cramps, tachycardia, and muscle spasms. Bites are not typically considered life-threatening, but are incredibly painful. Death can occur in rare cases, but those deaths are often attributed to the Mediterranean Black Widow subspecies. The spiders are unusually aggressive and will deliver a full dose of venom on most strikes.

    680 votes
  • 6
    544 VOTES

    Redback Spider

    Size: Relatively small only reaching a length of around 0.16" (4 mm)

    Location: It is believed to have originated in the south Australian and Western deserts, but now exists across the entire continent, Southeast Asia, and New Zealand.

    Distinguishing Features: Most possess a red band along their abdomen. The females are typically black while the males can be a light brown.

    Why You Should Be Scared: Given all the deadly animals in Australia, the Redback Spider holds the distinction of being the animal historically responsible for requiring antivenom treatment more than any other animal on the continent. There are between 2,000 and 10,000 bites occurring annually and the venom causes intense pain in humans and represents a greater threat to small children and the elderly.

    544 votes