The hobo spider comes from the family of funnel web spiders. These are spiders that construct a web that has a funnel shape structure. They wait for their prey at the end of the funnel only lunging for insects after they make their way deep into the web.
This spider is commonly found in the Pacific Northwest of the United States including Wyoming, Washington, Oregon and California. It can also be found in Alaska and Yukon which is a Canadian territory. It got the name hobo from the fact that it likes to inhabit railroad tracks. They spread throughout the States by from the rail tracks which carried them everywhere.
Do Hobo Spiders Bite?
Hobo spiders can cause significant concern with their bites but the concern is more about the pain of the bite rather than any venom. These spiders are not dangerous so the consequences are not serious. Following its scientific name Tegenaria Agretis, most people concluded the “Agretis” means aggressive. But it only means rural area. Plus hobo spiders are not prone to biting people unless they do it in self defense or when catching prey. Self defense in this case means the spider is trapped against your skin.
How to identify a hobo spider
The spider is not very distinct to make it stand out with its ordinary brown color. It has a maximum body length of 1.4 centimeters and width of 4.5 centimeters. The abdomen is oblong and its legs are flawlessly tapered. Although the spider doesn’t seem to have any distinct markings it has some sort of dark pattern on the back that is clearly visible at very close quarters.
They are not good climbers so they create their webs near dark crevices. Their webs have a back exit at the funnel which they use to escape into the dark crevice or other protected areas. Typically hobos love damp and dark cracks outdoors. During the mating season the male spider roams these areas looking for a female to mate with.
Hobo spiders are commonly confused with Brown recluse spiders which have a venomous bite with a necrotic effect. The recluse spider bite needs medical attention.
Symptoms of a hobo spider bite
Confirmed hobo bites are rare and few in between because these spiders are not your typical biters. Where their bites have been identified they tend to be painful, cause redness and minor skin irritation. Some people bitten by a brown spider have reported necrosis around the affected area but this is more consistent with the recluse spider’s bite than the hobo spider according to scientific research.
Because this spider is not venomous there is no standard treatment procedure. But the CDC has general tips to follow in case of any spider bite if one doesn’t know whether the spider is poisonous or not. They include
- Wash the bite site with plain soap and water
- Apply a cold compress on the area in case of swelling
- Go to the doctor immediately
- Keep calm and try to identify the spider
The hobo spider is not a danger to society, and being an outdoor spider it would rather limit human interaction as much as possible.