How to Identify Spiders in Utah

How to Identify Spiders in UtahUtah is home to hundreds of spider species, thanks primarily to the state's diverse mix of climates and natural settings that range from broiling deserts to mountainous alpine forests. Depending on what part of Utah you are in, there may be crab spiders, jumping spiders and wolf spiders, as well as funnel and orb weavers. But it is the dangerous arachnids that deservedly receive the most attention, including black widow spiders, hobo spiders and tarantulas. Learning how to identify these spiders can help keep you safe.


Difficulty: Moderately Easy


Things You’ll Need:
  • National Audubon Society Field Guide to North American Insects and Spiders
Step 1
Beware of black widow spiders, which have potent venom. Black widows are only a 1/2 inch to 1 ½ inches long. They are found throughout Utah, typically under rocks, piles of wood or other sheltered spots outdoors. Females have a red hourglass shape on their stomach. Males are smaller and feature bands of yellow and red and spots on their back.
Step 2
Watch out for the funnel-shaped webs of hobo spiders, a European immigrant that arrived in northern and central Utah in the 1980s. Brown in color with a body length of 1/4 to 5/8 of an inch, hobo spiders resemble common house spiders with one key difference: a poisonous bite.
Step 3
Avoid surprising tarantulas. These large hairy spiders, which can have a leg span of 4 inches and body measuring nearly 3 inches long, tend to cluster near Topaz Mountain in Millard County. Although tarantulas usually will try to avoid a confrontation with humans, they may signal their attention to attack by lifting up their front legs and hissing.
Step 4
Seek medical attention immediately if you are bitten by a black widow spider or hobo spider. Getting prompt treatment can avert potentially serious health problems.
Step 5
Familiarize yourself with the spiders that live in Utah by studying field guides and online resources. This will help you learn to identify and avoid dangerous species.

Tips & Warnings

Sticky traps used to capture rodents and insects also work well for controlling spider populations in and around your dwelling.
Although the feared brown recluse spider is not found in Utah, a relative called the desert recluse has been seen in the desert areas around Saint George.

Article Written By Kirk Brown

Kirk Brown is an award-winning freelance writer with two decades of diverse media experience. A former newspaper reporter and editor, he also was managing editor of an acclaimed scuba diving magazine. Brown has written scripts for more than 50 half-hour TV programs focusing on technology and health topics.

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