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12 Common Spiders in Washington State

Known as the Evergreen State, Washington is home to large forests and several volcanoes. The state also contains over 950 spider species! While some species are rare, these 12 common spiders are frequently seen in Washington State.

12 Common Spiders in Washington State

From harmless house spiders to spiders that are potentially deadly, you can find all kinds of arachnids in Washington. These are some of the most commonly seen species in the state.

1. Yellow Sac Spider

Yellow sac spider on a leaf
Yellow sac spider on a leaf

Scientific Name: Cheiracanthium

These pale yellow or cream-colored spiders are frequently seen in eastern Washington and the Seattle area. While they’re usually found in gardens, they may wander into homes when temperatures drop in the fall. It’s one of two potentially dangerous spiders in Washington.

Yellow sac spider bites are initially painless, with symptoms appearing after 2 to 8 hours. Bites usually cause swelling and blistering and are sometimes accompanied by other symptoms, like headaches or a mild fever. If bites aren’t treated, they can become infected.

2. Woodlouse Hunter

Woodlouse hunter spider on a rock
Woodlouse hunter spider on a rock | image by Mvuijlst via Wikimedia Commons | CC BY-SA 3.0

Scientific Name: Dysdera crocata

Some spiders have varied diets, but the woodlouse hunter mostly feeds on woodlice! You can spot it in any area where woodlice are found, beneath rocks, logs, and leaves. They usually live in silk nests, but leave their nests at night to search for prey.

Woodlouse hunters have orange and brown bodies and typically measure somewhere between 0.35 and 0.59 in long. They have large fangs and will sometimes bite humans. While these bites can be itchy and painful, they don’t cause any serious medical problems.

3. Johnson’s Jumping Spider

johnson’s jumping spider
Johnson’s jumping spider at rest | image by Adam Gerritsma via Flickr | CC BY-ND 2.0

Scientific Name: Phidippus johnsoni

Sometimes called the red-backed jumping spider, this spider is black with a bright-red abdomen. It’s an agile jumper that’s known to pounce on its prey! Even though it’s an active hunter, it builds tube-shaped nests that provide protection during bad weather.

While this spider eats a variety of insects, including flies, moths, and cicadas, it also eats other spiders! Female jumping spiders are even known to eat males after mating. It’s a hairy spider that can be anywhere from 7 to 13 mm long.

4. Giant House Spider

Giant house spider on the wall
Giant house spider on the wall | image by Tom Trelvik via Flickr | CC BY-SA 2.0

Scientific Name: Eratigena atrica

Many house spiders are tiny, but the giant house spider is one of the largest spiders found in Washington. Its body can be as long as 0.73 in, and its leg span can be anywhere from 0.98 to 2.95 in. These spiders are reddish brown, with dark brown makings on their backs.

The giant house spider was introduced to the Pacific Northwest region around 1900, and it’s only become more common since then. While it originally lived in caves, it’s usually found in people’s homes. It likes to hide in attics and behind cupboards, but its size makes it hard to miss!

5. Mouse Spider

mouse spider on the floor
Mouse spider on the floor | image by richard pigott via Flickr | CC BY-SA 2.0

Scientific Name: Scotophaeus blackwalli

Even though the mouse spider is native to Europe, it’s very common in the Pacific Northwest, especially in Washington. This hairy, brown and gray spider is usually somewhere around 9 to 12 mm long. It gets its name from its resemblance to a mouse!

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These spiders are scavengers that often feed on dead insects. You can typically find them inside homes and in other man-made structures, especially in the fall and winter. While it can move quickly, it usually sprints a short distance and then stops before moving again.

6. Black Widow

black widow on the ground
Black widow on the ground

Scientific Name: Latrodectus mactans

Black widows are intimidating looking spiders that can be dangerous to humans. Female spiders have long legs and bodies that are around half an inch long. These spiders tend to avoid humans, but their venom can cause severe reactions, especially in children and elderly adults.

These spiders are frequently seen in eastern Washington, but they are rarer in the western portion of the state. They usually have shiny black bodies and red or yellow-orange markings on their backs. Male spiders tend to be smaller and lighter than females and sometimes have pink markings!

7. False Black Widow

false black widow spider
False black widow spider on the ground | image by Nikk via Flickr | CC BY 2.0

Scientific Name: Steatoda grossa

While you can find black widows in Washington, many reported sightings are actually of the false black widow! This spider is known by many names, like the dark-footed comb spider and the cupboard spider. It has a dark, glossy body like the black widow, but it doesn’t have bright-colored markings.

The false black widow isn’t considered to be dangerous, but its bites can be very painful. It has an unusually long lifespan for a spider and can live for up to six years. They prefer warm temperatures and usually hide inside homes during colder months.

8. Spitting Spider

A spitting spider
A spitting spider | source: Rob Mitchell

Scientific Name: Scytodes thoracica

True to its name, this spider is a spitter! It has silk glands that are connected to its venom glands, which it uses to spit silk threads that immobilize its prey. When it attacks larger prey, it may spit several times.

Since the spitting spider prefers warm temperatures, it’s often found inside Washington homes during the fall, winter, and early spring. When temperatures rise, it likes to hide beneath rocks and wood piles. It’s fairly small and usually measures around 3 to 6 mm long.

9. Deadly Ground Crab Spider

Deadly ground crab spider isolated on white
Deadly ground crab spider isolated on white | image by victorengel via iNaturalist | CC BY 4.0

Scientific Name: Xysticus funestus

With its broad orange body and curved legs, this spider definitely resembles a crab! While it might sound dangerous, it doesn’t pose a risk to humans or pets. It’s very shy and tends to run away when humans are near.

This spider can walk sideways and backwards, which makes it even more crab like! It’s an active hunter and can usually be found lurking on flowers and leaves. The deadly ground crab spider typically stays in one place and feeds on small insects that wander nearby.

10. Gray House Spider

Gray house spider
Gray house spider in house corner | image by Geoff Shuetrim via Flickr | CC BY 2.0

Scientific Name: Badmuna longinqua

This spider originated in Australia, but it’s made its way to Washington state and many other parts of the world. It’s a medium-sized a gray spider with hairy brown legs. It usually lives in human homes, but since it likes to hide in crevices, it’s rarely seen.

The gray house spider weaves zig-zag shaped webs that look a little like ladders. It spends a long time building its web and usually lives in the same web for its entire life.

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11. Cat-Faced Spider

Cat-faced spider
Cat-faced spider | image by James St. John via Flickr | CC BY 2.0

Scientific Name: Araneus gemmoides

Also known as the jewel spider, this is one of the most unusual looking spiders in Washington state! It has a large body that’s shaped like a gem. Female spiders are usually around 4.5 to 5.5 mm wide and 5 to 7 mm long, but males are much smaller.

These spiders like to build webs in closed spaces, like sheds and garages. They’re also drawn to lights. While female spiders die shortly after laying their egg sacs, these sacs can contain hundreds of spider eggs!

12. Hobo Spider

Hobo spider
Hobo spider | image by Géry Parent via Flickr | CC BY-ND 2.0

Scientific Name: Eratigena agrestis

Hobo spiders are common all across Washington, but they can vary in size and color. It’s usually brown and can be anywhere from 7 to 14 mm long. They build funnel-shaped webs and are typically seen in and around homes.

In the past, people thought this spider was dangerous, but experts now believe it’s harmless. Currently, it’s not listed as a venomous spider by the CDC.