This morning our dog chased a wolf spider across our apartment before we were able to get it.

Wolf spiders have always freaked me out due to their sheer size.

This isn't Australia, we don't have many large spiders.

Wolf spiders can get up to 1.5 inches in length, this is just their body not including their legs.

They look scary, but are they harmful?

Are wolf spiders venomous?

Yes, wolf spiders are venomous, but not scary to humans venomous.

According to Terminix, "Wolf spiders produce a venom designed to paralyze their prey (normally a small crawling insect), but, in the case of the wolf spider, this venom is not especially toxic to human beings. Generally speaking, a wolf spider bite is no more dangerous or painful than a bee sting."

It got me thinking, are other spiders in New Jersey venomous to insects, but not to humans?

Are daddy long legs spiders and are they harmful?

I grew up thinking that A. daddy long legs weren't spiders and B. they were very, very venomous, but their fangs were too small to cause damage to humans.

The first point is sort of confusing.

We use the term "daddy long leg" to refer to multiple creatures.

Most of the daddy long legs are harvestmen, which are considered "not true spiders," but do belong to the class "arachnida."

Some people refer to cellar spiders as daddy long legs, but technically they're not.

Cellar Spider vs Harvestmen

True daddy long legs, harvestmen, do not have any venom glands. However, cellar spiders do have venom and can bite people. The venom is not potent enough to harm people.

According to the National Library of Medicine,

"Except for two small groups in the arachnid family, all spiders have poison glands and release their secretions into their venom sacs near their chelicerae. However, the majority of spiders do not bite humans and except for a few cases, they are not harmful to the human being or other mammals."

Which spiders in New Jersey are harmful to humans and pets?

The most common venomous spider in New Jersey is the black widow spider.

A Black Widow Spider spinning a web in an oak tree.

While black widows are venomous to humans, fortunately, their bites are rarely fatal.

The brown recluse spider is not native to New Jersey but can be found in the state.

I have heard that the brown recluse is one of the most venomous spiders in the country, which has always had me terrified of them.

According to multiple sources, there have been no confirmed deaths associated with a brown recluse bite.

With all of that being said, spiders are very beneficial to our ecosystem. They are great for gardens because they eat many insects that want to chomp down on your garden.

So next time you see a spider scurry across your floor, rather than getting a shoe out get a cup to catch and release.

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