With its laid-back island atmosphere, beautiful beaches, and tropical climate, Hawaii is a paradise that travelers from around the world flock to for relaxation and adventure. From calm blue beaches or exciting big surf, to volcanos and lush green forests filled with exotic flora and fauna. Hawaii is truly a paradise.

Being away from home brings some unknowns though. So you may be wondering what, if anything, is lurking on this island paradise that you should be concerned about. Such as spiders.

Hawaii is home to some venomous spiders that can bite and cause you harm. It’s relatively rare, but it does happen. If you’re spending most of your time on the beaches or your resort, you’re most likely to be safe. However, if you’re spending time in the forests or residential areas, perhaps visiting friends or a restaurant, then you should be aware that you could find spiders.

We’re going to take you through everything you need to know about spiders in Hawaii, what to look out for, and what treatment you need if a spider bites you.

Keep reading so you and your family can stay informed, safe, and have a fantastic vacation in Hawaii. (Recommended: The Best Hawaiian Islands for Families).

Are There Spiders in Hawaii

What Types of Spiders are There in Hawaii?

Hawaii is home to over 200 different spiders. There are around 77 species of spiders that have been introduced to Hawaii in the past 200 years. But, there are 126 species of spiders native and endemic to Hawaii – that means they are found nowhere else in the world.

Most of the introduced spider species have come through produce shipped to Hawaii, and it’s impossible to now eradicate them from the islands. Luckily they pose minimal danger to most humans and haven’t drastically interfered with Hawaii’s ecosystems.

Native Hawaiian Spiders

Native Hawaiian spiders generally stick to areas unaltered by humans, such as forests and mountains. Therefore, you won’t see many of them unless you step off the beach and away from your resort.

While all spiders are venomous, most native Hawaiian spiders are not dangerous to humans and would prefer to stay away from humans altogether. However, one spider that goes against the norm is the Jumping Spider, which can bite you and cause a lot of pain and swelling. We talk more about those in our section further down looking at dangerous spiders in Hawaii?

Happy Face Spider

The most famous and reclusive native Hawaiian spider is the Happy Face Spider, which is known to live in rainforests but is rarely seen, especially by tourists. You’ll need to see a picture to appreciate how it got its name.

Photo by Steve Wells

Introduced Hawaiian Spiders

Many introduced spiders to Hawaii can be found living around homes, in rotting wood, dark crevices, and sometimes around town; you will also find them in forests. If you’re rummaging around a dark area, or can’t see where you’re putting your hand, then consider at least wearing gloves. If you see a spider web, don’t walk through it either.

Several dangerous spiders have been introduced to Hawaii, including black widow and brown widow spiders – we explain these dangerous spiders in the next section.

While not venomous, there are a few giant and scary-looking spiders running around that you may want to stay away from.

Cane Spider

Be on the lookout for a large hairy spider with a body about the size of a tuna can. This is a cane spider and it is the biggest spider in Hawaii. It does prefer living in cane fields but will visit homes on occasion. If you find one it’s most likely going to try and run away, it’s really fast.

However, if you try to provoke it, it may bite you and inject venom on rare occasions. However, there are no long-term effects from its venom.

(c) benjamynweil

Orb Weaver Spider

Orb weaver spiders are particularly interesting for the size and complexity of their webs. You will find their webs spanning trees or buildings, and if torn down, they will happily rebuild their web every morning. They spin a large circular web of 6 ft or more, and sometimes the web can even reach 19 ft!

So if you see a huge spider web spanning trees or buildings, you know there is an orb weaver spider there; however, they’re not dangerous to humans.

What Dangerous Spiders are There in Hawaii?

You need to stay away from four dangerous spiders in Hawaii, three of which are very venomous and will require treatment by a doctor.

Western and Southern Black Widow Spider

Just like most of the world, the black widow spider has made its way to Hawaii. There are two slightly different species of black widow present in Hawaii, the western black widow and the southern black widow.

The females of the species are larger and have a distinctive black and red coloring, though sometimes this can be yellow or white. They’re also known to eat the smaller male after they mate with him.

You will most often find the black widow spider in fields, gardens, or forests. They may, however, venture into homes and create their distinctive messy web.

They don’t like to venture away from their web, so they are not looking to harm you. However, if provoked, they will bite and inject venom. The venom may not kill you if you’re a healthy adult, but it does require treatment. The venom becomes more of an issue for sick adults or small children and can be deadly.

Black widows are more inclined to bite you as a defense rather than running away. Brown widow spider prefer to run away as their defense. However if they feel threatened or they think their eggs are in danger, both spiders can be pretty aggressive.

Brown Widow Spider

Brown widow spiders have also been introduced to Hawaii and are much more common than the black widow spider. They have very similar characteristics to the black widow, such as being nocturnal and the fact smaller males often get eaten after mating. The brown coloring ranges from light to dark brown and the hourglass markings are closer to orange than red, as is found in the black widow.

The brown widow spider is not as toxic as the black widow; however, the bites still cause issues for humans and should be treated. Technically the brown widow’s venom is more venomous, but it injects less than the black widow.

The brown widow is more common because it’s perfectly happy to build its web around humans and in urban areas. You will find its web outside your home, in playgrounds, in parks, and gardens.

Brown widows don’t especially like to bite. Most bites occur when you disturb or press up against the spider, and it’s just naturally defending itself.

Jumping Spider

The Hawaiian jumping spider is less of a concern than the black and brown widows on the island. However, a bite can cause pain, redness, swelling, and even blistering. You can likely treat these symptoms yourself with the treatment options we’ve provided below.

Most jumping spiders are only going to be found in the rainforests, so they are not a concern unless you go hiking and step off the path.

How Do You Treat a Spider Bite?

Symptoms of a Spider Bite

The venom from spiders can cause severe muscle pain, spasms, and abdominal pain for up to a week. It could lead to death in some cases, though it’s not likely to happen to a healthy adult.

Other less common symptoms include nausea, vomiting, difficulty breathing, excessive sweating, weakness, and swollen eyelids.

If a child is suspected of being bitten by any kind of spider, you should immediately take them to an emergency room. Children are much more susceptible to spider bites due to their size.

Treatment of a Spider Bite

If your symptoms are relatively minor and not caused by a known dangerous spider, you can treat them yourself. However, consider seeing a doctor, either way, just to be careful.

  • Wash the area with soap and water.
  • Apply a cold compress or ice pack to reduce swelling.
  • Take an over-the-counter pain reliever such as Tylenol.
  • If possible, elevate the area to reduce swelling.
  • Apply an antibiotic cream, such as polysporin.

If you have severe pain or your symptoms get worse, go to see a doctor immediately. An emergency room would be your best option to be immediately seen.

Your doctor may provide additional treatment.

  • Muscle relaxants.
  • Strong pain killers.
  • Antivenom in extreme cases.
Are There Spiders in Hawaii

Our final thoughts

Hawaii is a beautiful and natural place. There can be many dangers in nature, but being aware of your surroundings and being careful will keep you safe in most situations.

Something else to consider is that spiders are not the only thing you need to be watch out for in Hawaii. So ensure you read up further on other things that could harm you and how best to stay safe – such as snakes in Hawaii, as we’ve written about before.

The majority of tourists come and go from Hawaii without ever being bitten by a spider. So don’t let the fear of spiders stop you from visiting this island paradise. Plus if you never plan to leave the beach or your resort, there is very little danger in Hawaii.

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