Don’t let the name fool you, because dock spiders are not exclusive to docks – though you can find them there, too. They make their homes in the cracks and crevices of the waterfronts and shorelines of the globe, and although they may be terrifying to look at, they’re harmless to humans…for the most part. Here are five facts about dock spiders that will make your skin crawl:
1) Where do dock spiders live?
Dock spiders live in moist areas, such as under leaves, at the edge of bodies of water, and near streams. They can also be found in lawns, fields, and other grassy areas. Dock spiders are often mistaken for black widows or brown recluses because they look similar. The most distinctive difference between dock spiders and these dangerous species is the shape of their abdomen. Dock spiders have a bulbous abdomen with a long thin tail coming out from underneath it.
2) What do they eat?
Dock spiders eat a variety of insects and other small animals. They also occasionally prey on frogs, lizards, birds, and snakes.
3) How big are they?
Dock spiders are tiny! They are only 2-3 millimeters in length. This makes them one of the smallest arachnids. Dock spiders also only have eight legs, which is unusual for an arachnid. Most arachnids have eight or more legs.
4) Are dock spiders dangerous or poisonous?
Dock spiders are not dangerous to humans, but they can produce a painful bite with their venomous fangs. Their bites typically only cause pain and itchiness for an hour or two, but there have been some cases of allergic reactions. Dock spiders may also release a string of web from their abdomen when disturbed, which may cause people to mistakenly believe they were bitten by a brown recluse spider.
5) How to get rid of them
There are many reasons why you might want to get rid of dock spiders. They can be a nuisance, and their webs can be hazardous to pets and humans alike. One of the ways you can get rid of them is by spraying them with insecticide or boiling them alive in hot water!
Fun facts summary
1) Dock spiders are one of the only arachnids to have a poison gland. All other arachnids inject venom through their fangs.
2) Dock spiders eat by injecting small amounts of digestive enzymes onto their prey, which liquefies it, allowing them to suck it up with their straw-like mouthparts.
3) The bite of a dock spider is not dangerous to humans unless the person is allergic or has an open wound where the spider injected its venom.
4) Dock spiders live in warm temperate regions like South America and Africa, but they can also be found in North America as well. They often build webs on docks and other wet areas close to water.