All spiders can seem scary to some people but not all are equally scary. Various species of spiders live in homes, forests, and even deserts.
Some have an atypical shape while others have atypical habits which vary from weird to actually scary.
Often subject to myths, not all spiders that look scary are dangerous. Some are even harmless as they don’t bite.
On the other hand, there are a few spider species with weird looks that are actually venomous.
Knowing which scary-looking spider is actually venomous is important. It can be the difference between life and death in some cases or the difference between pain or no pain in the case of a bite.
The following species of scary spiders are found in different areas of the world. Some are just emerging which means their populations are increasing in different areas around the world.
Here’s what makes them weird from atypical physical traits to atypical feeding habits or sheltering habits.
Table of Contents
1. Goliath Birdeater
While a rare sight, Goliath Birdeates (Theraphosa blondi) are the largest spiders in the world.
Their size alone can scare those who spot them as these spiders are as large as tarantulas.
It was a few decades ago that the largest Goliath Birdeater has been found. It was an 11-inch spider of a mostly black color that proved scary.
This largest spider has been discovered in Venezuela, part of the natural Goliath Birdeater range.
Despite the largest specimen being discovered in Venezuela, the spider is prominent in Suriname.
Its large fans allow the species to feed on small birds and their eggs!
These long fangs are also useful for Goliath Birdeater spiders to catch frogs.
Both frogs and birds are difficult to catch. This is why the world’s largest spider prefers to feed on worms and other spiders, which are easier meals when it comes to catching and chasing effort.
Native to the rainforest, the spider is rarely an issue indoors.
2. Sydney Funnel-web Spider
Often named the world’s most venomous spider, The Sydney Funnel-web Spider (Atrax robustus) is a highly dangerous species.
This scary spider can even kill people!
It knows how to bite and inject all of its venom at once. The spider also knows how to bite multiple times, taking advantage of its long skin-piercing fangs.
While not that common, a bite of The Sydney Funnel-web Spider can be lethal, with confirmed cases!
Children and the elderly are considered vulnerable when it comes to the effect of its venom.
Immediate hospitalization is required in the event of a bite.
Male Sydney Funnel-web spiders are considered at least several times more venomous than their female counterparts.
Unfortunately, there’s no fast way of discerning between males and females, in case of a bite.
Sydney Funnel-web Spider bites rarely result in human death, on the other hand.
The limited range of the species reduces death risks as these spiders only come out in the city of Sydney, in the summer.
Antivenom is always close-by, in one of the city’s hospitals.
3. California Trapdoor Spider
Some spiders are so scary they make it into the Guinness Book of World Records.
It’s not the physical appearance that places The California Trapdoor Spider (Bothriocyrtum californicum) as a world record holder, but its strength.
Named the world’s strongest spider, The California Trapdoor Spider has a physical push strength of 38 times its body weight.
This strength is used to protect its underground burrow.
These spiders dig their way into loose soil in the warm Californian climate where they stack the entrance with vegetation, to create a structure similar to a door.
This structure is often attacked or investigated by all types of predators wanting to break in while the spider pushes against it with its strong body.
Female spiders may let males in without their fierce opposition to breeding.
However, males need to be fast as the female California Trapdoor Spider tends to eat the male soon after breeding, right in the burrow.
These types of spiders may be a common sight on lawns as they offer aerated soft soil females find easier to burrow in.
4. Giant Huntsman Spider
One of the scariest spiders in the world is The Giant Huntsman Spider (Heteropoda maxima). This is a species only found in Laos which scares people through its size.
Giant Huntsman Spiders grow to a length of up to 1 foot!
These long spiders have very long legs in relation to the size of their bodies.
Both the size and the scarcity of these spiders may make people run away when spotting them for the first time.
Actually meeting these spiders is a rare occurrence since they only live in caves.
It’s here they walk around damp dark walls with their pale yellow and black or pale gray and black bodies.
Spiders of this family are further known for their cannibalistic traits.
As with many species of spiders, they are mostly cannibalistic towards males as females eat them soon after breeding.
Even more, females can also eat their young, especially if there’s little available food in their caves.
5. Pantropical Huntsman Spider
A subtropical species believed to be of Asian origin, The Pantropical Huntsman Spider (Heteropoda venatoria) is one of the scariest spiders in US Homes.
It invades homes such as those in Sothern Texas and Florida, but not without reason.
This species is large, growing to over 5 inches in legspan. Its size alone is enough to scare most people.
However, the spider enters homes where it looks for food such as cockroaches.
As a result, there are 2 main reasons to worry when you see this spider in the house.
Apart from its scary appearance, this spider is also troublesome when it comes to its signaling your home may be infested with bugs.
Often seen as a beneficial species in its native range as it controls roach outbursts, this is a spider that may inspire fear.
Its hairy appearance, long legs, and pale gray patterned dorsum may even make it similar to a tarantula.
This spider is mostly problematic during the warmest days of the summer when it’s out and about looking for the next cockroach meal.
6. Brazilian Wandering Spiders
Also large, The Brazilian Wandering Spider (genus Phoneutria) can reach a size of up to 7 inches.
Even the smallest Brazilian Wandering Spiders measure at least 5 inches in legspan as adults.
More worryingly, this spider is highly venomous and even potentially deadly!
It lives in Brazilian forests, usually close to banana trees which also prompts its nickname of The Banana Spider.
While mostly found in Brazil, this large venomous spider may end up anywhere in the world with banana shipments.
As its name implies, it’s a wandering spider, coming out for food at night.
Its bite comes with serious side effects in most cases. Some Brazilian news reports state people bitten by the spider experience headaches, nausea, and even blurry vision.
One local report states that a man bitten by this spider made it to the hospital to eventually not being able to stand at all due to the effect of the venom impacting muscle function.
Another news report showed how the pain of the bite radiates from the area of the bite itself throughout the body and immediately leads to vomiting and nausea.
7. Black Widow Spiders
A venomous bite of the spider may even kill you!
While deaths following Black Widow Spider bites are rare, there are still plenty of instances where the effects are severe, especially without the right medical attention.
Antivenin is only given on occasion by doctors to victims of this dangerous spider.
Muscle relaxants are often the first medical solution but antivenin may be given to those with severe reactions.
Some of the most important aspects to remember with this species are how it looks like or even catching one and taking it to the hospital for the right treatment.
The good news is these scary-looking black spiders have quite unique appearances.
Mostly black, they stand out with the red margins on the lower abdomen, typically in the shape of an hourglass.
8. Brown Widow Spider
While not as venomous as The Black Widow, The Brown Widow (Latrodectus geometricus) is one of the most highly scary spiders in The United States.
As its name implies, this is a species that’s mostly brown, so you know you haven’t been bitten by The Black Widow.
A visit to the nearest hospital is still needed, on the other hand.
Some of the first symptoms of its bite include red skin, high levels of pain in the bitten area, and nausea.
This spider is well-established in its natural habitat.
It can be avoided by clearing debris and unused items around the house. This can be anything from old couches left out in the backyard to old cars that haven’t been moved in months or years.
Brown widow spiders like to take over these abandoned spaces for the shelter they offer.
While venomous, Brown Widows also have predators they like to stay away from.
9. Brown Recluse
Dominating a habitat in the lower part of the Midwestern United States, Brown Recluse spiders (Loxosceles reclusa) are venomous and bite.
Thousands of bites have been reported over the last few decades.
Information on the species has spread, however. This means people are more aware of the spider and less likely to handle it or to get bitten.
Not as venomous as The Brown Widow, The Brown Recluse rarely causes significant reactions. This is a spider that typically causes skin-level reactions.
This doesn’t mean its venomous bite isn’t painful or that the skin will not suffer.
Skin necrosis is one of the more common reactions that require medical attention.
Antihistamines are part of the common medical treatment for The Brown Recluse bite.
This spider can enter homes, basements, garages, and other man-made structures.
Luckily, it can be quickly identified by its long brown radial legs which signals it needs to be removed. Vacuuming it is a quick way of removing it from the house without handling it by hand.
10. Orange Baboon Tarantula
A species of African, Orange Baboon Tarantulas (Pterinochilus murinus) might have an orange appearance to signal their aggressive nature.
These tarantulas are large, growing to a size of around 4 inches, which already makes them scary,
A hairy body and hairy legs further make these types of tarantulas look scary. The good news is they aren’t dead when they bite, and they bite!
Orange Baboon Tarantulas are aggressive and fast runners. They can be defensive but don’t hesitate to bite when cornered.
The bite itself is described as painful.
Unlike other tarantulas, The Orange Baboon Tarantula goes for the bite even without an initial warning sign.
Other tarantulas may show a defensive pose or a threatening pose. They can mimic a bite or show different other warning signals.
The Orange Baboon Tarantula quickly goes for the bite instead.
11. Six-eyed Sand Spiders
Named after the sand-brown spots on its abdomen, this gray spider is native to South Africa.
The species is highly venomous and there’s no antivenom for its bite to this day, as not much is known about its venom.
Still, the worst part is that its venom can kill people, under certain circumstances.
For instance, an untreated bite that gets infected may kill people.
Several cases which required limb amputation have also been reported over the years.
The highly potent venom of the species allows the spider to catch large prey.
Its sand-like appearance means the spider relies on camouflage and ambushing techniques to catch its prey.
It can easily sit and wait for insects and bugs to pass by for hours at a time.
Even more, Six-eyed Sand Spiders (genus Hexophthalma) have been spotted biting and eating scorpions, which goes to show they aren’t afraid of larger prey, even if they can have a maximum of 2-inch legspan.
12. Red-headed Mouse Spider
One of the most toxic spiders in Australia is the Red-headed Mouse Spider (Missulena occatoria).
This is a species that grows to a size of up to 1.3 inches and has a scary red and blue appearance with shiny black legs.
A blue thorax and a red abdomen make the male look scary as this is an atypical spider appearance.
Females have dull coloring and are dominated by brown and dark brown nuance.s
The Red-headed Mouse Spider has a toxic bite.
While not truly venomous, the bite is still dangerous and painful. Cutaneous-level reactions are confirmed for the species.
A visit to the nearest hospital and a confirmation of the species’ identity can lead to antivenom medical treatment.
The antivenom made for the bites of other spiders proves beneficial for the bites of the scary-looking Red-headed Mouse Spider.
13. Anelosimus eximius
A species of Central and South America, The Anelosimus eximius is one of the weirdest and scariest spiders in the world.
It is also one of the few truly social spiders in the world, which means it lives in colonies.
A single colony can number tens of female spiders, all living together, with their offspring!
Spiders of this family show a high tendency of living together at all life stages.
They even take care of the offspring of another female spider and defend the colony together.
Much work needs to be done for proper defense as some of the largest predatory wasps eat their young.
The location of their colonies is always subject to change.
But the good news is these spiders only build colonies in the rainforest, often further out from inhabited areas.
They build their colonies in these humid forests where they establish and upkeep a larger spider web together.
14. Scorpion-tailed Spider
Native to Australia and Asia, the Scorpion-tailed Spider (Arachnura higginsi) is one of the most scary-looking spiders in the world.
While males look similar to other spiders, females have long tails and tapering bodies which makes them look similar to small scorpions.
These scorpion-like spiders also come in different colors. From bright orange to bright yellow or even black and red, these female spiders look like colored small scorpions.
There’s even a small white female Scorpion-tailed Spider, which looks completely different from most other spider species.
While they have a pincer-like tail, they can’t really use it similarly to scorpions.
They still build spider webs and rely on trapping small insects rather than running around for their next meal.
Tailed females of the species can typically be observed on the spider web itself.
Females rest in the middle or on the side of the web and wait for insects or spiders of other species to get trapped.
The shape and color of the spider are based on leaf mimicry tactics.
Females of the species look like curled dead leaves which means they are often hiding from predators in plain sight.
Yellow and brown females look like dying leaves while dark brown females may look similar to a curled dead leaf.
15. Whip Spider
Some of the strangest types of scary-looking spiders are Whip Spiders (Ariamnes colubrinus).
Their elongated legs make these leggy spiders something even Daddy Long Legs can’t compete with.
Known for having a very long first pair of legs, these legs are sensory organs which allow Whip Spiders to dissect various surfaces.
While large, these spiders have long legs and flattened bodies and can even climb vertical surfaces.
Even more, we’re now living in what’s known as a spider explosion time, a period in which this species shows high growth rates as it spreads around the world.
The spider was just first confirmed in 2018 in Greece to be the first confirmed in 2019 in The Middle East.
Spiders of this family are further known for being an actually old species that has just been discovered in areas of the world it expands its territory.
It turns out Whip Spiders were always present around human settlements but weren’t easily spotted, or described for that matter.
Whip Spiders are now identified by their scary-looking long legs which may make them appear more dangerous than they truly are.
Harvestmen or harvest spiders are types of arachnids and not actual spiders. While part of the same group of arachnids as spiders, harvestmen aren’t as well known.
It’s estimated that there are thousands of species of harvestmen around the world, most of which are completely undocumented.
These types of arachnids are also characterized by having very long legs in relation to the body, much like different species of spiders.
Harvestmen also come in different shapes, colors, and sizes, generally growing up to a couple of inches.
They can share the same habitat in woodlands or around inhabited areas with spiders.
The habitats and characteristics of each species vary.
Poor at defending themselves, harvestmen are often nocturnal, to avoid the eyes of most predators.
They can also use camouflaging colorings or bright warning colors that signal to predators they aren’t worth pursuing.
While often spotted in nests, these bugs don’t build spider webs. They feed on various types of insects, larvae, and insect eggs.
17. Camel Spiders
Part of the solifuges family, Camel Spiders are often seen as some of the most atypical creatures to be confused with spiders.
It was the Iraq invasion that determined all types of exaggerations when it comes to this species, such as its capacity to eat actual camel stomachs.
Growing to a size of up to 6 inches, these types of solifuges are true carnivores living in some of the most inhospitable places in the world.
They have a pale body with long pairs of legs, a flattened shape, and elongated mouthparts.
Their large mouths allow solifuges to eat different types of lizards and even small snakes apart from the more typical dietary choices such as small bugs and insects.