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Black Widow Spiders

The female black widow spider is considered the most venomous spider in North America. Female black widows sometimes kill and eat their counterparts after mating, in a macabre behavior that gave the arachnid its name.

Geographic Region

Black widow spiders exist in temperate regions throughout the world. They are primarily found in the Southern and Western United States.

Natural Habitat

Black widow spiders can be found in dark, dry shelters such as barns, garages, basements, hollow stumps, rodent holes, trash, brush and dense vegetation.

Weather Conditions

Temperate outdoor weather is most suitable to black widow spiders, but they will seek warm dwellings in the winter.


Although their venom is extremely poisonous, black widow spiders are nonaggressive and bite only in self-defense. Only the female black widow is dangerous to humans; males and juveniles are harmless.

Unique Characteristics

  • Female black widow spiders usually have a reddish hourglass shape on the underside of their abdomens.
  • Male black widows frequently have yellow and red bands and spots over their backs.