Desert Brown Spider


Actual Size: ¼” to ½”

Characteristics: Tan to dark brown, possible violin marking behind the head.

Legs: 8

Habitat: Does not spin a web and prefers to live in rodent burrows or packrat dens. Can be found on paper, wood, and cardboard.


  • Similar to the brown recluse but lighter in color.
  • Lives within rodent burrows or packrat dens where insects may be encountered as food.
  • Can have a violin shape behind the head like a brown recluse spider, but is usually much lighter.

Desert Brown Spiders in Houston, TX

This desert brown spider is a recluse spider and the cousin of the brown recluse spider, sharing similar characteristics. Due to this fact, desert brown spiders are often mistakenly identified as brown recluse spiders. This uncommon spider is found in the dry environments of Houston, TX. It dwells in the wild, close to native vegetation, avoiding urban areas in the desert and even green lawns. Desert brown spiders are rarely found indoors, and spin irregularly-shaped webs in undisturbed areas. Bites from these spiders are rare but can result in a necrotic ulcer that can take several weeks to heal.

Desert Brown Spider Habitat

Like their cousins, desert brown spiders are reclusive, and not likely to take up residence within a structure. The desert brown spider is rarely found around urban areas with irrigated landscaping, preferring to stay in natural areas where it often may live within rodent burrows or packrat dens where insects may be encountered as food. Recluse spiders prefer to squeeze themselves into tight spaces and are found on rough surfaces such as paper, wood, and cardboard rather than smooth surfaces such as ceramic and metal. Desert brown spiders are hunting spiders that do not spin webs for the capture of food.

Desert Brown Spider Behaviors, Threats, or Dangers

The venom component of all recluse spiders is capable of causing necrotic skin damage. Fortunately, desert brown spider bites are rare and only occur when the spider feels directly threatened. Of medical concern is that desert brown spiders may seek refuge inside shoes, beneath clothes left on the floor, in gardening clothes, or gloves left in the garage. Although desert brown spider bites are rare, the venom can sometimes cause serious wounds and infestations should be taken seriously. Contact a professional spider exterminator for help with desert brown spiders.