Brown Recluse

What is it?
First Aid

What is a brown recluse?

A brown recluseThe brown recluse is a type of spider with a poisonous bite that can be found in parts of the Midwestern and Southern United States.

Brown recluse spiders do not live in Northern New England and it is unusual to find one here. It is possible for a brown recluse to be carried into the region from another part of the country—most likely inside a cardboard box or in furniture.

The brown recluse prefers to live in dry, dark, quiet places and rarely bites humans.

The brown recluse has six eyes (three pairs), unlike most spiders, which have eight. It usually has a violin-shaped mark on its back, but not always.

What are the symptoms of a brown recluse bite?

A brown recluse bite doesn’t always hurt right away. It usually will cause some redness and itching, and many bites do not ever cause more than that. Sometimes a bull’s-eye or halo shape will form around the bite area, but you cannot identify a brown recluse bite by the shape or appearance of the bite area.

In more severe cases, a bite can kill the cells around it, leaving deep sores that can take a long time to heal. These bites can also cause fever and chills, muscle and joint pain, and rashes.

What should you do if you think someone has been bitten by a brown recluse?

It is very unlikely that you will be bitten by a brown recluse in Northern New England. If you think you have been bitten, call the poison center at 1-800-222-1222, chat online or text POISON to 85511. If you can safely capture the spider or take a picture of it, we may be able to identify it. Take care not to get bitten again.

Last Updated: Friday March 4th 2016