7 Most Dangerous Spiders In Costa Rica

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🔎 Where to find?: Tropical regions and dense forests, found in 350+ countries & islands.
☠️ Are They Poisonous?: Yes
🕷️ Costa Rican spider fact: these spiders can kill a mouse with only 0.00000021 ounces of venom.
🍞 What do they eat: consume leaves, flowers, and insects.

Spiders In Costa Rica

Costa Rica is home to one of the world’s most dangerous spiders, the Banana Spider, as well as many other deadly species. While many of these spiders will stay away from humans, it is wise to keep your eyes peeled when wandering through this part of South America.

Poisonous Spider in Coasta Rica
Poisonous Spider in Coasta Rica

Costa Rica is mostly known for its glorious beaches, vibrant culture, and delicious cuisine. However, while you are enjoying the perks of this beautiful country, you may want to be aware of the dangers that could be lurking beneath your feet! As well as golden sands and coffee beans, Costa Rica is the renowned home of some of the world’s most dangerous species of spiders. If you’re not a creepy-crawly fan, this article might just give you the shivers! 

It is a wise idea to familiarise yourself with these eight-legged beasts before your travels to South America so that you know what to avoid when exploring the various jungles, gardens, and beaches. Most of the time, the spiders in Costa Rica will try to avoid coming into contact with humans however, there is always a chance that you may bump into one on your travels.

This article will guide you through the 7 most dangerous spiders in Costa Rica and what to do if you get bitten by one. 

Brown recluse spider in Costa Rica

Source: Live Science | Location: Costa Rica

At the top of our list is the brown recluse spider, which can be identified by its long, thin legs and violin-like markings on its back.

Brown recluse spiders are largely nocturnal and try to avoid busy, tourist areas; however, if you happen to explore one of Costa Rica’s more quiet areas, you may run into one. 

Brown recluse spiders like to make their homes in dark, dingy areas such as behind sheds and under log piles- be careful when moving logs from the ground or squeezing into small spaces. Brown recluse spiders are not actively aggressive but have been known to bite humans in self-defense. Their bite is not fatal but can cause severe vomiting, dizziness, and pain.

These effects will not kick in straight away and most victims will not realize that they have been bitten at first because the spider’s fangs are so small. 

And did you know? the brown recluse is the only spider that has 3 pair of eyes(total 6 eyes) 👁️ 👁️ 👁️ 👁️ 👁️ 👁️ (cite: Wikipedia)

It is wise to seek medical attention as soon as you realize you have been bitten by a brown recluse- if left untreated, bites can become infected and cause gaping wounds. These wounds can reach up to 2cm in depth and span up to 20cm across the body.

This is really not the kind of look that you want to come back from a holiday with! 

Size: Small

Venomous: No

Habitat: Dark, secluded areas

Seek medical treatment if bitten: Yes

Black widow Spider

Source: Unsplash | Location: Monteverde, Costa Rica | Captured by: Adrián Valverde

Everyone knows of the infamous Black widow spider, or maybe you have heard of the superhero? Either way, Black widows are a creature that you definitely do not want to come across on your trip to Costa Rica.

There are actually three varieties of Black widow spiders that are all native to Costa Rica, so there is a pretty high chance that you will see one!

Black widow spiders are well known for devouring their partner after mating, proving just how monstrous they can be! They have a distinctive look: a shiny black body with prominent red, hourglass-shaped markings on their abdomen. The most dangerous black widows are the females, who can be incredibly dangerous if threatened.

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The venom of a female black widow is said to be almost 15 times the strength of that found in a rattlesnake. Black widow venom contains neurotoxins, which will attack your nervous system and cause tremendous pain. 

Do you know? there have been incidents where the black widow spiders have killed large snakes.

Source: Science Daily

Symptoms of a black widow bite include breathing difficulties, paralysis of the diaphragm, dizziness, nausea and blackouts. Many people will require urgent medical attention if they are bitten by a black widow spider. Black widows only tend to attack when provoked so, as long as you keep an eye out and make sure not to threaten their habitat, you should be able to get through your trip without receiving a bite. 

Size: Small

Venomous: Yes

Habitat: Rainforests and green lands

Seek medical treatment if bitten: Yes

Golden silk orb weaver 

Golden silk orb weaver 
Source: Wikipedia | Golden silk orb weaver in Costa Rica

Golden silk orb-weavers are one of the most spectacular-looking spiders on this list. These spiders have distinctive banana shaped bodies with round yellow markings and weave webs that have a golden sheen finish. The spiders may be pretty to look at but you don’t want to get too close! 

Female golden silk orb weavers can grow up to 3 inches long, making them one of the larger spider species that you will find in this part of the world. The spiders work incredibly hard to weave webs that can span up to 2 metres and are 8 times stronger than steel!

These impressive nets can easily trap birds and other small mammals, which the spiders wrap up and eat. You will find golden silk orb weavers in swamps or shady areas and they like to be left alone. 

Golden silk orb weavers have a toxic venom that produces neurotoxins that attack the nervous system. Despite the intensity of their bite, it is not nearly as dangerous as many other species on our list and these spiders only bite when threatened. A golden silk orb weaver bite can cause redness and blisters that will disappear after a few days. 

Size: Large

Venomous: Yes

Habitat: Dark, swampy areas

Seek medical treatment if bitten: No

Brown widow in Costa Rica

Brown widow in Costa Rica
Source: Wikipedia | Brown widow in Costa Rica

The difference between brown widows and their black cousins is that these spiders are far less striking to look at. Brown widows do not possess the bold, red marking of a black widow and instead have brown bodies with black markings. Brown widows also have geometric shaped markings on the underside of their abdomen. 

These spiders are mainly found in sheltered, isolated spots in cities. They seem to be particularly fond of abandoned garages and old storage areas and will make their homes away from human life. While they are less known than the black widow, the bite of a brown widow spider is actually much more poisonous, yet less painful.

Although their venom may be more poisonous, the brown widow injects less venom in each bite, than a black widow, making the bites less intense. Brown widow bites can be painful but are never fatal. Only female brown widows will bite, with males hardly ever biting people. 

Size: Small

Venomous: Yes

Habitat: Small, quiet places

Seek medical treatment if bitten: Only sometimes

Brazilian wandering spider(also known as phoneutria boliviensis)

Brazilian wandering spider in Costa Rica | Source: Shutterstock

If there is one spider that you definitely do NOT want to cross during your time in Costa Rica, it is this beast! The Brazilian wandering spider, also known as the Banana spider, is one of the larger spiders on this list and is considered to be one of the most dangerous spiders in the world.

As per the latest report, “Guinness World Records declared this Costa Rican spider as the most poisonous spider in the world.”

Brazilian wandering spiders can be easily recognized by their large bodies and legs that can grow up to 6 inches! The underside of the Brazilian wandering spider’s fangs is a bold red, to warn off any unlucky predators or people who may cross its path. 

Where to find Brazilian wandering spiders in costa rica?

These spiders are mainly found living amongst banana plants and will occasionally appear within banana shipments, resulting in an unfortunate day for whoever has to handle the boxes! Unlike most other spider species, Brazilian wandering spiders do not spin webs. Instead, they run around the forest floor, directly attacking their prey. 

Brazilian wandering spiders have an extremely venomous bite that has been known to be fatal to humans. The symptoms of a Brazilian wandering spider bite include convulsions, increased heart rate, pain, nausea, blurred vision, and high or low blood rate. If you are bitten by one of these spiders you will need immediate medical treatment. It is rare for Brazilian wandering spiders to attack humans and medical treatment makes it unlikely that the bite will be fatal. 

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Size: Large

Venomous: Yes

Habitat: Banana plants, forests

Seek medical treatment if bitten: Yes

Tarantulas

Brachypelma Albiceps | Scary Tarantula in Costa Rica

If you have a fear of spiders, tarantulas may just be something from your nightmares! These furry creatures are well-known for being scary and can be found all over Costa Rica. The country is home to an array of Tarantula species including the Costa Rican Tiger Rump, Costa Rican Bluefront Tarantula, and the Costa Rican Zebra Tarantula. The species all have distinct appearances but have largely the same habitats and behaviors. 

Despite their menacing appearance, Tarantulas are not the most dangerous spiders on this list. Tarantulas are very shy and will only attack humans when threatened. Their bite contains a mild venom that will hurt at first but has no severe side effects. The scariest thing about these spiders is their frightening appearance- it is extremely rare that they attack humans! 

Tarantulas like to make their nests in dry areas within the forests of Costa Rica. Tarantulas like to live beneath the soil and will bury themselves in the ground, only to come out at night time to hunt. 

Size: Large

Venomous: Yes

Habitat: Dry rainforest

Seek medical treatment if bitten: No

Tropical orb weaver

Tropical orb weaver captured in Austin Texas | Source: Pixabay

The Tropical orb weaver spider is indigenous to most parts of the United States, including Costa Rica. These spiders are a dark brown color, with brown or grey abdomens and black triangular markings on their backs. The female tropical orb weavers tend to be much larger than the males with the female spiders growing up to nearly 1 inch. 

Tropical orb weavers can be found in forests, orchards and citrus fruit groves and spin distinctive spiral-shaped webs that can span up to 6 metres! These webs are used to catch their prey, which then wrap up in the silk and consume. The tropical orb weavers spin their webs during the night and will remove them before dawn. 

Tropical orb weavers do possess a venomous bite however, it is not harmful to humans. The spiders will only attack when threatened and tend to stay away from busy areas and will only hunt at night. 

Size: Small

Venomous: Yes

Habitat: Forests, orchids, fruit plantations 

Seek medical treatment if bitten: No

Frequently Asked Questions about Spiders in Costa Rica

What is the most dangerous spider in Costa Rica?

The Brazilian wandering spider (phoneutria fera) is the most dangerous spider in Costa Rica, and the world! Its venomous bite can be fatal to some people and requires immediate medical attention. 

How many species of spider are there in Costa Rica?

There are around 20,000 species of spiders in Costa Rica.

Are there any poisonous spiders in Costa Rica?

Yes, there are a number of poisonous spiders in Costa Rica that could require medical treatment. The most poisonous is the Brazilian wandering spider, the bite of which could kill!

What is the biggest spider in Costa Rica?

The biggest spider in Costa Rica is the golden silk orb weaver, the legs of which can grow up to 12 centimeters. These spiders spin a distinctive golden web and can be found in dark, swampy areas. 

What to do if you get bitten by a spider in Costa Rica?

If you get bitten by a venomous spider in Costa Rica, it is always best to seek medical attention, even if the bite is not dangerous. The most urgent bites will be those from Brazilian wandering spiders or balck widows, which should be treated in the hospital immediately. 

Where will I find spiders in Costa Rica?

Most of the spider species that live in Costa Rica reside in quiet areas, away from humans. If you wander into the forests or jungle, you may come across some Brazilian wandering spiders or tropical orb weavers. 

How do I avoid spiders in Costa Rica?

Spiders in Costa Rica will actively avoid humans so, you won’t have to do much to avoid them yourself. If you do come across a spider in Costa Rica, make sure to keep a distance and try not to agitate it. Also, be careful when walking across the floor at night, it is at this time when spiders will be most active!

Interested in reading about Most Dangerous Animals in Costa Rica? Check out the list of the most dreadful animals of Costa Rica.

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