Spider Bite Pictures

Dozens of Spider Bite Pictures Including Brown Recluse and Black Widow

Black Widow Finger Bite

Black widow spider bite
Two Small Fangs Equals Two Small Holes. Image © David O'Connor

Black widows have fangs, almost like miniature snakes. Soon after a black widow spider bite -- before any reaction starts -- you may be able to see two small holes like those in this image. Black widow venom can cause muscle spasms and heart disturbances but doesn't usually cause the infected sores that are blamed on brown recluse spiders.

Black widow spider bites are rarely fatal. The most common symptoms after a bite (besides the pain of the bite itself) are:

  • Abdominal pain
  • Muscle cramps/soreness
  • Soreness and redness around the bite
  • Irritability/agitation

High blood pressure is also common from black widow spider bites, although it rarely causes any problems for the patient. Most of the symptoms are treated individually. An antivenin (spider poison antidote) is available for black widow spider venom, but it's not really necessary for most victims.

Disclaimer: Any opinions expressed here are for educational purposes only and are not intended for diagnosis.

Classic Brown Recluse Spider Bite

Brown recluse spider bite
(Loxosceles reclusa). Image courtesy of the CDC

Brown recluse bites can go unnoticed, or they can lead to severe pain 2 to 8 hours after the bite. In some cases, patients report feeling a "pinprick" at the site of the spider bite.

In this image, four months after, the dry, dead circle of skin tissue on this woman's leg illustrates the classic look of a brown recluse (Loxosceles reclusa) spider bite.

Black Widow or Hobo Spider

Reader Suspects a Hobo Spider, But Could It be a Black Widow?. (c) Marie Weidner

A reader sent in a picture of a possible spider bite and described how the victim originally saw two small holes at the site. The two holes later became inflamed.​

A hobo spider was found in the victim's home. Could it be? Identifying spiders can be very difficult. Brown recluse spiders and black widow spiders are the most well-known, but lots of hairy arachnids look like hobo spiders.

The reader's description of two small holes next to each other sounds very much like a black widow bite. The truth is, we may never know. Indeed, this could be some other bug bite entirely or a skin infection.

Doc Says Brown Recluse Bite

Possible Spider Bite
Reader Says the Doc Thinks It's a Brown Recluse Bite. Image submitted by Michelle M.

Reader Michelle M. submitted this spider bite and isn't sure whether the spider bit her in the middle of the night or in the middle of doing housework. One thing's for sure, she doesn't know when—or how—she got the bite.

By now, most of my readers know that spiders are just one cause of raised lesions or boils like this one. There are lots of critters besides spiders that bite, and skin infections—staph, strep and MRSA are the favorites—can also look very similar (as these MRSA pictures illustrate).

In this particular case, Michelle says a doctor told her this was not only a spider bite, but specifically a brown recluse bite. I'm very skeptical of any doctor who purports to identify a brown recluse bite simply by observing it.

Tick Bite or Spider Bite?

One Doc Says Tick, Another Says Recluse - Will We Ever Know?. (c) Dayle Milton

Dayle never saw the bug, but what is it really?

I never saw what bit me, but I'm thinking it was a spider. I was at work and around 3:00 in the afternoon, I started feeling a stinging sensation behind my knee. I brushed at my slacks a couple times, then realized something was going on there.

When I pulled up my pant leg, I had something about the size of a large pimple. I tried to ignore it, but it kept stinging and stinging.... then the sting became accompanied by a hurt. I looked at it again and it was larger and I was thinking maybe I was getting a boil or something. Two hours later, it had flattened out and red was starting to spread a couple inches outside the area. This is what it looked like the next morning.

Dayle went to the doctor, which I think was a good idea. Docs weren't in agreement about what caused this bite. One thinks brown recluse while another thinks tick bite.

The next picture shows how doctors kept track of the swelling over a three-day period.

Is It Worse Today?

How to Measure Inflammation for a Possible Spider Bite. (c) Dayle Milton

The last picture showed a bite from an unknown bug. Dayle felt the bite and hoped it would go away. When it didn't, a visit to the doctor followed.

This picture is 3 days afterwards and shows where the doctors were tracking the redness. The first doctor wouldn't confirm anything—whether it be spider or tick. The second doctor immediately said "brown recluse" but I live in the Northeast.

I sent these pictures to my uncle, who's a doctor, and he thinks tick...but would a tick bite sting? The day after the initial bite, the whole bubbly area was extremely sensitive to touch, and it's become hard-feeling. I was bitten on a Friday, ran a temp of 101 on Saturday, 100 on Sunday, 99 on Monday and now on Tuesday it seems to be gone. I'm on 2 antibiotics and a steroid cream. The redness is starting to recede.

Dayle is right that brown recluses don't live in the Northeast. It's also pretty rare for a brown recluse to actively crawl up a person's leg while he or she is active and walking. They are called "recluse" for a reason.

Spider Bite with Fang Marks?

Possible Spider Bite
Reader Finds Two Holes in One Possible Spider Bite. Image submitted by Exodog

Reader Exodog submitted this spider bite with a theory of how the bite may have happened. Exodog is pretty sure this was a from a spider hiding in the bed—and seems a bit shaken about that prospect, I must say. Exodog wonders about the presence of two puncture wounds in what appears to be a single bite.

Fang marks, perhaps?

Could be, but I wouldn't want to meet the monster that has that big of a mouth. Those marks look pretty big and kind of far apart. On the other hand, we have another example of fang marks that came from a black widow spider (almost) caught in the act. Ultimately, who knows? Exodog could have been attacked in the middle of the night by a giant black widow or some sinister tarantula.

Measuring a Spider Bite

Draw a Line and Dare the Spider Bite to Cross It. (c) Angela Phillips

This image shows how a lesion can progress over time. Notice the line drawn around the lesion. That is a common method for keeping track of an expanding rash or area of swelling. Be sure to note the time and date when a line is drawn to know how fast the lesion expands. A note from Angela:

I didn't see the culprit that bit me. The bite initially resembled a mosquito bite. Three days later (and after antibiotics), it was the mess seen in the photo on the left. The photo on the right was taken ten days after the initial bite. I still have no idea what bit me (neither does the doctor). Fortunately [at the time of this submission] it's getting better and hasn't worsened. Sure would like to know what bit me so I can avoid it.

I like the fact that her doctor didn't simply blame a spider. I especially like the fact he didn't jump on the brown recluse bandwagon. Like most folks with lesions like this, Angela may never know what—if anything—bit her.

Any opinions expressed here are for educational purposes only and are not intended for diagnosis.

Spider Bite or Mosquito Bite?

Spider bite
At First It Only Itched then It Began to Hurt. Photo by Nancy Wells

Nancy thinks this red, circular lesion is a spider bite because of its target-like pattern. At first, she says, she thought it was a mosquito bite. She said the amount of swelling and itching led her to that conclusion. By the second day (when the photo was taken), she noticed pain and the circular pattern.

Nancy has treated herself with ice packs and cleaned the possible spider bite with peroxide. She says the swelling and pain subsided within hours, which may or may not have had anything to do with her home treatment. If her pain got worse or the target pattern grew in size or became even more like a bullseye, she would need to see a doctor. She would also need to seek immediate medical attention if she was experiencing fever, chills or nausea.

NOTE: The steps Nancy took to treat her bite are not recommended. You can treat a potential spider bite by following proper first aid for bug bites. If you’re not sure whether a spider caused the reaction you’re experiencing or if the symptoms don't go away after 24 hours, go to the doctor. If your symptoms get worse, go to the doctor or call 911.

Swollen Eye from Brown Spider Bite

Swollen eye from brown recluse spider bite
(Loxosceles sp). Image courtesy of the CDC

Any bug bite can lead to swelling from allergic reaction or envenomation. This swelling is 31 hours after a brown spider bite. There are several brown spiders, including the brown recluse (Loxosceles reclusa).

Not All Spider Bites Come from Spiders

Tick bite
This Tick Bite has the Classic "Bullseye" Blamed on Spiders. Image courtesy of the CDC/James Gathany

Not all "spider bites" actually come from spiders. This classic bullseye redness pattern comes from a tick bite rather than a spider bite. In fact, this patient later developed Lyme disease.

Possible Brown Recluse Bite

An Expanding Lesion Leads One Reader to Suspect a Spider Bite. (c) Chad Warren

A reader sent in this example of a possible spider bite. He mentioned in his email that this photo was taken one day after becoming aware of the "bite," and he believes that it looks similar to another picture of a brown spider bite.

An expanding lesion like this certainly could be a brown recluse bite, but there are so many other possibilities that there is really no way to determine what the lesion is from unless the victim seeks medical attention. Even if the victim sees a doctor, without a spider there might not be a diagnosis.

Brazilian Wolf Spider

Brazilian Wolf spider bite
(Lycosa raptoria). Image courtesy of the CDC

Unlike the nasty, oozing ulcers often associated with spider bites. Most confirmed spider bites lead to dry, dead skin lesions with a bluish color.

This wound is thought to have come from a Brazilian Wolf spider (Lycosa raptoria) bite.

Pain in the Neck

Is It a Spider Bite, a Mosquito Bite or a Vampire Bite?. (c) Julien from Washington, DC

Julien from Washington, D.C., sent this photo of what he originally thought was a mosquito bite. It was taken less than 24 hours after Julien first noticed it, but he didn't worry about it until his friends started pointing out the large bite on his neck.

Julien had not seen a doctor at the time of submitting this photo. If the bite is growing rapidly, blocking the airway or oozing pus, it needs to be evaluated by a doctor right away. If you have a bite and you aren't sure whether it's dangerous, it's not a bad idea to have your doctor evaluate it for you.

In this case, Julien wasn't even complaining of itching.

Julien did mention there'd been a large rainstorm in D.C. right before this occurred, and he wondered how that would affect the behavior of bugs, spiders and vampires in the area.

Blisters or Bites?

Reader Wonders What Caused Swelling and Burning Blisters. (c) Mirchelle Snyman

A reader submitted this picture taken about 24 hours after she felt a burning sensation in her leg. The leg began swelling during the night.

The blisters formed the next morning.

The reader thought this may be a spider bite, but no mention of a spider being found. In many cases, there is just no way to tell what caused a rash like this—certainly not with only a picture.

If a rash is causing discomfort or seems to be expanding, it's important to see a doctor. It's also important to see a doctor if you have a fever. Whether it's a spider bite or not doesn't really matter, what matters is that a rash of unknown origin is diagnosed (if it can be) and treated promptly.

Spider Bite Blister Day 5

Spider Bite Blister
5 Days After the Bite, a Blister is Forming. © Juliet B

The victim didn't feel the bite, but saw an ugly little uninvited house guest running around after this blister formed. This is the blister as it appeared 5 days from when she first noticed it. Notice how the blister is red, but contained. That's a good sign; a sprawling redness would indicate spreading infection.

Still, this is the type of thing we call doctors for.

Spider Bite Blister Day 9

Spider Bite Blister
9 Days After the Bite, the Blister is Bigger. © Juliet B

As the blister grows from this spider bite, the victim says she felt increasing pain that she attributed to the pressure. She also felt headaches and dizziness. Getting headaches or dizziness from a wound on the leg means there is either an infection or some sort of toxin traveling around in the bloodstream. Definitely a reason to see the doctor if you hadn't already.

Spider Bite Blister Day 18

Spider Bite Blister
The Bubble has Finally Burst. © Juliet B

After 18 days this blister has finally deflated and is on the way to healing. A wound like this can become infected, so diligently watch for new irritation or swelling. While the culprit was never identified, the victim of this bite attributes it to an 8-legged critter spotted in the house. She also says the outline of the wound remains over a year later.

Mysterious Blister on the Toe

This Blister is Certainly Not Athlete's Foot. Photo by Bridget Wuerdeman

Bridget writes that this blister has led to antibiotic therapy and is extremely painful. She doesn't provide a species or a spider to look at, which leads me to the same place I always go. Unless the spider is caught in the act, odds are we're looking at some sort of staph or strep infection.

Bridget was right in seeking help for this blister. She hoped that sharing it would help others recognize when a blister is more than ill-fitting shoes. Thanks to her for sharing.

Mysterious Blister Popped Against Doctor's Orders

The Doctor Said Not To, But Bridget Couldn't Handle the Pain. Photo by Bridget Wuerdeman

Bridget says she popped the blister after 3 days because she couldn't take the pain and pressure. She was advised not to by her physician, but did anyway. There's not really a right or wrong here, the blister would probably break and drain at some point, but you don't want to encourage it prematurely. She could have introduced another form of bacteria and possibly made the infection worse.

It turns out this is not a spider bite at all. It is a skin infection from MRSA. Hopefully, Bridget follows the rest of doc's orders, especially about taking all her antibiotics.

Blister Comes a Day Later

That's Going to Leave a Mark. (c) Sarah

The pain woke the reader in the middle of the night and developed into a bullseye pattern by morning. At the end of the day, it's a blister. The reader says it will go on to pop and leave her with a scar three years later.

She describes the scar as a "crater."

There's no way to identify what, if anything, bit her. She says there was never any major complications: no headaches or dizziness. The reader believes she may have acquired a bug or a spider bite from a pile of scrap wood chips she was shoveling the day before the bite showed up.

Infected Mosquito Bites

Infected mosquito bites
These "Mozzie Bites" Look Infected. (c) T. Critchley

This picture comes after a vacation on the island of Fuerteventura. The reader thinks that Mom's bites were from mosquitos and that this is an allergic reaction.

Based on the blisters, a reaction we see often here in the Spider Bite Gallery, I'm more inclined to think these bites have gotten infected (although, bites like this can blister without infection). This kind of a reaction warrants a visit to the doctor, and the victim might end up on antibiotics.

Poison Ivy or Spider Bite?

A Day in the Yard Leads to Pain and Inflammation. (c) Michele Bowden

A reader wonders if her husband's bad luck in the backyard is due to poison ivy or poison spiders. Her husband doesn't even sound convinced he got this (possible) bite while doing yard work.

Once again, this seems like a good reason to skip work. I find a lot of these reasons.

Spider Bite?

Possible spider bite
Small Red Sore Could Be Any Type of Bug. Image © Daniel Dainty

A lot of infected sores are identified—even diagnosed—as spider bites. In truth, unless you have a spider to identify as the culprit, the odds are against a spider bite.

It Could Be a Spider

Blistering Bite a Spider or a Burn?. Image courtesy of Nick from Alabama

Nick from Alabama is unsure what caused this blister, but he believes it is a bite. The blistering could be anything from a burn to a spider bite and if it grows, deserves a trip to the doctor. Burn blisters don't grow after a day, but bites can. Nick says he is "self-treating" this blister and it is "getting better." I'm not sure what that means, but I would keep an eye on it.

Spider Bite or Not?

Bite on the Hand Leaves Daughter Wondering. (c) Danielle from Binghamton, NY

Seven days after a bite, this victim's daughter wondered what could possibly have bitten her. It grew to this size in a week and skin began to peel away.

The truth is, the victim and her daughter might never know what it was. The victim doesn't remember feeling a bite, which doesn't mean there wasn't one. It could also be a staph infection.

If a "bite" like this doesn't go away, or if it gets worse, it's time to see the doctor. Folks with weak immune systems or complicated endocrine diseases like diabetes should definitely see their doctors when lesions like this show up.

What Kind of Spider Made This Bite?

A Red Raised Welt Is Little to Go On. (C) Shana, Lake of the Ozarks, MO

A welt showing up suddenly may very well be a bite—possibly even from a spider. But figuring out what caused the bite is nearly impossible without catching the culprit in the act. This bite on the back—shown five days after it appeared—was followed by fever and body aches for two days. The victim says under the skin is a walnut-sized hard mass and the site is hot to the touch.

This victim went to the doctor, not a bad idea when the bite is followed by symptoms like fever and body aches. If it turns out to be an infection, early treatment is better than waiting.

Is It a Spider Biting in the Night?

Probable spider bite on knee
Redness and Itching from Several Bites While Sleeping. Photo courtesy of Nancy

A reader contributed this picture of a small, localized rash near her knee. The rash is one of 4 itchy areas that came on in the night while she was sleeping. The irritations started out looking like mosquito bites then got worse. This is a good example of how "spider bites" may or may not be caused by spiders.

There are plenty of bugs out there that bite. Many are poisonous and lots of folks are allergic to various insects and even spiders. During a trip to the doctor for a similar bite last year, the reader was told these were most likely spider bites.

Whether treated as a spider bite or a bug bite, most rashes like this should go away without any help. If it keeps getting bigger, develops pus or a blister, or gets very hot, make an appointment with the doctor. If a bite like this is followed by shortness of breath, call 911.

Did a Bug Sneak Into this Reader's Boot?

(c) Gary Goode

This reader says he felt "something" in his boot on a train ride. Three hours later he feels his foot swelling and sees what he believes to be a bite mark on his foot.

That night he felt swelling all the way into his calf. By the third day, the reader thinks there is an infection in the lesion and the tissue is dying (necrosis). This picture was taken on day 6.

There's just no way to know for sure what, if anything, bit this reader. If there is a bite, the lesion could be from some sort of venom or it could be infected. There are just too many possibilities here, so a wound that swells, hurts, oozes or gets hot always warrants a trip to the doctor.

A Spider in the Night?

Possible Spider Bite
Itchy Red Lesion Leads Reader to Blame an Unseen Spider.

An itchy lesion appeared on the back of this person's leg. They believed the lesion was a spider bite and based that belief on the fact that it itches.

In reality, there are lots of things that can cause lesions like this. More common than spider bites would be skin infections—staph, strep or MRSA come easily to mind. Plus, spiders aren't the only critters that bite.

This person might be right about this being a spider, but no one will ever know. 

Quick-Acting Spider Bites Bicycle Rider

Or Maybe This Was Some Other Kind of Bug. (c) Philip Pugeau

This image is courtesy of Philip Pugeau. Philip relayed this account:

This is my spider bite I received at 6 pm, 9-24-09, close to Lake Baldwin in Orlando, FL. I was out riding my bicycle on a 30 mile trip, going down a sidewalk with small trees in a row in a neighborhood. The next moment, it felt like I got shot with a BB gun. That's what I thought for the rest of the 3 miles back to my car. Now, I've felt wasp stings, fire coral, bee stings, ant stings, etc, ... this thing really hurt and was way worse than a hornet. I feel bad for any insect that has to endure that, because it is some potent toxin.

It started out with a really small red dot, about the size of the little black area, then grew to a pea-sized lump in a few minutes. About an hour later, a quarter-sized area of swelling formed around the red dot, with a fist-sized redness around that. The next day the red dot turned white, with a dark red ring around it (probably the liquefied remains of my leg), and the large red spot started to appear like a hickey as in the photo that was taken at 30 hours after bite. It doesn't hurt now, but it did for a good 6-8 hours after it happened. I went to the walk-in clinic doctor; he prescribed antibiotics.

It's interesting that Philip mentions all the other types of bugs, but still attributes this lesion to a spider. We are almost conditioned to blame spiders for everything, when it's much more likely another critter got to Philip, especially since he was on the move. Philip will never know what bit him. It could have been a spider, but it could have been any number of other things -- including possibly a plant.

Chilean Recluse Spider Bite Blister

Chilean recluse spider bite
(Loxosceles laeta). Image courtesy of the CDC/Harold G. Scott

This blister formed within 24 hours of a bite from the Chilean recluse spider (Loxosceles laeta).

Brown Spider Bite

Brown recluse spider bite
(Loxosceles sp). Image courtesy of the CDC

An expanding area of dead tissue is a staple of brown spider bites. There are several types of brown spiders -- including the brown recluse (Loxosceles reclusa).

Late Night and the Morning After

The Only Sign of a Spider is the Target on Her Leg Left image shows a possible bite in the middle of the night; right image shows the same lesion the next morning. (c) Sarah

This reader shared her possible spider bite from three years ago. After a day of shoveling scrap wood and bark, she wakes from a good night's sleep feeling as if she'd been "kicked in the leg." When she woke, she expected to find a bruise but found this discoloration instead (left image).

By the next morning (right image), the discoloration has taken on a familiar bulls-eye pattern. Could it be a spider bite? It sure could. It could also be one of a hundred other types of bug.

At the end of the day, this lesion develops a blister, another common feature in spider and bug bites. It will eventually burst and leave the reader with a scar she described as a "crater" when I communicated with her three years later.

Little Spider Bite and Big Bruise

Unidentified spider bite
The Classic Bullseye Shape Leads to the Spider Bite. Image © Paul Collins

Look closely at this bullseye. In the center is a tiny red dot. It might have been a spider or maybe something else. It's hard to identify bug and spider bites without a bug or spider to look at. Either way, the treatment for bug bites is the same.

A Bite in Botswana

bite marks
Was it a Bat, a Fly or a Spider? Possible bite marks from an unidentified critter. AllTogetherGuy

A reader submitted this picture showing a bite he received in Botswana. The Spider Bite Picture Gallery is full of mysterious bumps and bruises that folks often blame on spiders. This image -- and the story that goes with it -- shows just how difficult it is to diagnose a spider bite unless the spider is munching along when you see it.

I did not see a doctor because I was not in any discomfort. I did ask several locals what they thought and opinions were split between a Tse-Tse fly and a spider. The wounds "sweated" for a couple of days so some thought that meant it was a spider. I am not so concerned if it was a spider, but I am worried if it was a bat since very serious consequences could develop years later.

Bats versus spiders versus Tse Tse flies? You'd think the size of the wound alone would sway you one way or the other. However, spiders can be large and bats can be small, so I can see how difficult it is to guess. The exotic nature of the region makes it even harder.

So what does one do in that situation? Look for the same thing you should watch for in any wound: signs of infection.

  • Oozing
  • Swelling
  • Redness
  • Fever/chills
  • Pain

White-Tail Spider Bite?

Unidentified Spider Bite
Unsure of the Culprit, Classic Bullseye Could Be Anything. Sue Shelley

The victim believes this is a white-tail spider bite. However, she has a history of reactions to bug bites. Without a positive identification of the bad guy, this could be almost any bug bite.

Spider Bite Bullseye

It May Be Small, But the Bullseye is Clear. (c) Jake from Atlanta

One of the things that sets bites -- whether from spiders or other bugs -- apart from infections is the "bullseye" pattern of discoloration. It's common in tick bites, especially those that later turn into Lyme disease. The bullseye can also be there for spiders.

This bite is small, but up close you can really see the pattern of red in the center surrounded by lighter color surrounded by a red circle. Jake from Atlanta says there are "teeth marks" in the center, but that isn't readily apparent from this picture. He also says this bite was followed by dizziness that lasted for more than 10 hours. This picture was taken the next day.

Jake hadn't seen a doctor by the time he submitted this picture. It's a good idea to see a doctor anytime a bite or a rash comes with dizziness, fever, headache, weakness or confusion.

Awake from the Pain

This Pattern Started in the Middle of the Night This is a little blurry, but shows an odd pattern of discoloration. (c) Sarah

This reader shares her possible spider bite from three years ago. After a day of shoveling scrap wood and bark, she wakes from a good night's sleep feeling as if she'd been "kicked in the leg." When she woke, she expected to find a bruise but found this discoloration instead.

By the next morning, it looked like it had a more common pattern of concentric circles, although it also had an expanding rash associated with it. The concentric circles are known as a bullseye pattern.

She isn't sure if she was bitten or by what, but the lesion progressed until it formed a blister. Three years later, she says there is a scar she describes as a "crater."

Any opinions expressed here are for educational purposes only and are not intended for diagnosis.

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