Spiders and Scorpions

Brown Recluse Spider

This species is one of Kansas Spiders that can inflict a serious bite. Though not deadly, the bite of a brown recluse may ulcerate and require removal of affected tissue by a physician. This species is common in outbuildings, upper boards, boxes, and other protected areas, and especially in little used, upstairs rooms and attics of homes, where it is dry and warm.

Black Widow Spider

This 8 to 10 mm long spider is familiar to most Kansans in name only. It is shy and seeks nesting sites in embankments, under stones, and in undisturbed areas around buildings. When alarmed, it usually attempts to escape rather than bite. The neurotoxic venom injected with the bite causes severe abdominal cramps, pain, nausea, sweating and trembling. It rarely causes death except in small children or the elderly. The black widow gained it name from the fact that the female sometimes eats the male after mating.

Orb Spiders

These spiders are very common around homes and outbuildings. At night, they can be found on their webs and nearby, but are hidden by day. Orb spiders vary in color but generally are gray or brown with banded legs.

Golden Garden Spider

Most Kansans have seen this showy spider in their gardens, flowerbeds and bushes. They are quite large and are contrastingly marked with black, yellow and silvery white. They usually hand head downward in the middle of their web. Kids of all ages enjoy tossing grasshoppers into the web to watch this spider attack and wrap its prey in silk.

Wolf Spiders

There are many species of wolf spiders but all are large with log legs. Body lengths around 1 inch are common. They run rapidly and capture their prey by hunting rather than trapping them in a web. They occur mostly in lawns and in the autumn they like to enter homes.

Jumping Spiders

Jumping spiders are also hunters. Most are black-marked with white and/or red and rarely exceed ó inch. They are equally attentive to the motion of a nearby fly or human walking across the room. They stalk their prey slowly and capture it with a sudden last-second leap. An ever-present trailing line of silk serves as a safety line in case a jump sends them flying into mid-air.

Longjawed Orb Weavers

This elongate spider is light brown with a yellowish abdomen. They are very common on low growing plants around ponds, streams, and rivers and many unnerve the occupants of rowboats as they climb up the oars.


Scorpions live under stones on sunny hillsides. They hunt insects at night, subduing them with a stinger located at the end of their long, jointed tail. Scorpions in Kansas are not deadly; their sting is much like that of a bee. Baby scorpions ride on their mother’s back for a length of time before going out on their own.