Mexico is by far the biggest tourist destination spot for Americans. It’s fast and convenient to get to, and there is a huge variety of different options for whatever you want to do. You can rest on the beach, trek through the jungles and find ancient temples, or enjoy the famous nightlife.
However as we know from personal experience, wherever you go in Mexico, you will find spiders. So if you want to avoid the scariest – or indeed find where the most interesting live – keep reading to see all the information you need on spiders in Mexico.
Below we show you some of the most common species of spiders in Mexico, then explain which spiders are poisonous and the biggest spiders in Mexico. We then look at the spider situation in Mexico tourist destinations like Cancun, Cabo, Mexico City and others.
What Common Spiders live in Mexico?
Mexico is home to roughly 2000 species of spiders. Most of them are tiny and will not harm you but can still frighten you if you find them crawling around in your bed or you walk through a web that gets stuck to your face in the jungle. Sounds horrible, and it is! (Recommended: Snakes in Mexico).
Some of the most common species of spiders you will find in Mexico are listed below.
We’re afraid to say that tarantulas are the most common type of spider you will find in Mexico, with at least 66 different species.
However tarantulas are not aggressive and do not spin webs for you to run into. Instead, the spiders will dig burrows in the ground and wait for prey. They can become enormous though, so they can be frightening, but they are very docile if you don’t try to handle them.
Unfortunately, the demand for pet spiders is high. As a result, many tarantulas in Mexico are actually becoming endangered because of this high demand.
Mexican Jumping Spider
There are many jumping spiders in Mexico, so don’t be surprised if a spider is actually jumping towards or more likely away from you. None of them are dangerous to humans and are not aggressive at all. Jumping spiders can be found in almost any habitat, whether that’s fields, forests, or in a hotel.
One interesting jumping spider is the bagheera kiplingi spider, which is mostly vegetarian. So unlike other spiders in your home that may be keeping it free of insects and bugs, this spider is not helping you in any way, and likely won’t be in your home due to its diet. Being a vegetarian makes this spider exceptionally unique in the spider world.
Poisonous Spiders in Mexico: The Four That Are Dangerous to Humans
Four spiders in Mexico are venomous enough to cause concern to humans. If you are bitten by one of these, you should seek immediate medical assistance, especially if you have other health concerns that a spider bite could exacerbate. You should also seek medical attention if your young child is bitten or if you are elderly.
1. The Black Widow
Black widows can be found on almost every continent, and they do live in most parts of Mexico, so you need to be careful. Luckily for most healthy adults, you don’t risk death by being bitten. Still, you may be in for pain, spasms, abdominal cramps, sweating, rapid heart rate, and various other issues.
You can recognize this poisonous spider by the significant red hourglass shape on the underside of its abdomen alongside it’s shiny black body. Its size can range from 3 mm to 10 mm. But these measurements include only the size of the body.
These spiders are not aggressive unless they perceive you to be a threat to their eggs or themselves. When protecting their eggs, they are incredibly aggressive and will bite. They are generally found in more rural areas, so you likely won’t meet one if you stay in hotels and large cities.
Black widow spiders will make their homes in cool, dry, and dark places. These nests could be found under steps, rocks, gardens, and anywhere in the countryside. So be mindful when putting your hand into a dark space in a rural setting, because you could find a spider hiding there. This could even include a dark cupboard that you haven’t been into for a while. So feel free to shine a light in there first.
2. The Brown Widow
The brown widow spider is pretty similar to the black widow, though it’s slightly smaller and is of course a cream to brown color. Also, the markings on its belly are generally less distinct than the black widow. Still, we wouldn’t suggest spending too much time studying spider bellies, or they might bite you!
While the brown widow’s venom is more potent than the black widow’s, the size of the brown widow causes it to inject less venom into humans, which typically makes them less dangerous than the black widow. As a result, the symptoms caused will be the same as the black widow but to a lesser severity.
Something different about the brown widow is that it’s much more comfortable in an urban setting. So you will find them venturing into cities, especially in playgrounds and even your hotel.
The brown widow is even less aggressive than the black widow, so most bites are caused when the spider is pushed against your skin. You might accidentally touch it when in a playground, or it may be in your loose clothing.
3. The Brown Recluse or Fiddle-Back
There have been many sightings of the brown recluse across all of Mexico, and locals and tourists have reported bites. Some of the bites have been especially nasty, and even some tourists have been bitten in their hotel room beds. So be especially vigilant to check your bed before getting in and shake out any clothes that were just sitting around.
Their most distinctive feature is their six eyes arranged in pairs. They have a violin shape on its brown body, but the violin shape can vary greatly so they can only be positively identified by their eyes. They have fine, short hairs that look like fur. Although their leg joints may have a slightly lighter color, this is not always the case.
Bites from the brown recluse are generally not felt initially, but your symptoms will start to develop soon afterward. For example, you can feel nauseous and begin developing a fever, as well as having pain in your muscles and joints. In addition, you may start having respiratory problems, and the area around the bite could begin to decay and die.
If left untreated, the area around the bite that has died may turn into spreading lesions and deep wounds, which can become infected and require surgery. In the more extreme situations, the venom can cause organ failure or require amputation of the limb where the lesions and wounds are spreading, or it could lead to death.
The brown recluse is not aggressive and wants to stay away from humans. However, it does like to make its home in unused places inside your home, such as storage sheds or in dark cupboards you seldom go into. It also favors your clothing to hide in, so that could include clothes you’ve left sitting around, shoes, and even bedsheets are a favorite for them.
4. The Hobo Spider
Like many dangerous spiders, the hobo spider is not aggressive and will try to stay away from humans when possible. Its appearance is very generic, that of a tiny brown spider. There are no unique markings or abilities that set it apart from other tiny brown spiders. It can even be mistaken for the brown recluse.
General symptoms of a hobo spider bite include numbness and swelling in the area. The wound may weep or discharge liquid, and you might get severe headaches. There is some debate whether the venom of a hobo spider poses similar risks as the brown recluse. The hobo spider’s venom risk is still being studied as to whether it can cause additional and more severe symptoms.
Hobo spiders like to be in the dark, which could be in gardens or under your house, under rocks or fallen trees. When they venture inside, they still want to be in the dark, so expect to find them in basements or any area that stays dark and hidden from too much activity.
Are there any big spiders in Mexico?
You’ll often find really big spiders that aren’t especially venomous, but their bites can still cause damage due to the size of the spider and their big fangs. They’re also reasonably scary to see running around or even running towards you. In some cases, they might even be jumping at you.
We can attest to first-hand fright of opening a garbage bin and having three giant spiders bounce out! So keep your eyes peeled for places spiders could be waiting and consider if you should really put your hand there.
Alongside tarantulas, here are four big spiders in Mexico to watch out for:
1. Mexican Wandering Spider
The Mexican wandering spider is the biggest spider you will find in Mexico. Its legs can be up to 10 cm long, and it’s body is roughly the size of a baseball. It has a brown body, with a yellow abdomen, and It has visible red fangs. It was only recently discovered so you likely won’t see one unless you go looking for it in caves in Baja.
The bite of the Mexican wandering spider is painful, but the venom it injects has no lasting effects. So aside from being on the scarier side, you are reasonably safe if you do get bitten by one of these.
2. Red Kneed Tarantula
The red kneed tarantula takes its name from the fact it has bright red “knees”, or sections on its leg. The rest of the spider is black. It can have a 10-inch leg spread and lives for up to 18 years, which is significantly longer than most other spiders.
It lives mainly in deserts or scrublands and does not spin webs. Instead, it will dig burrows under rocks or tree roots. So don’t go digging around in these areas if you don’t want to find a tarantula!
This tarantula is not dangerous to humans and is very docile, however, if you provoke the spider it will bite you and it will hurt. The venom it injects will not be enough to cause problems for most people. Its other defense mechanism is firing spiky hairs from its abdomen. However, these only cause mild irritation and sometimes allergic reactions from people.
3. Wolf Spider
Wolf spiders can often be confused with tarantulas due to their appearance and size. They are smaller than a full-grown tarantula, with a leg span of around 3 inches but are still a formidable spider to find.
They can be found in most environments including forests, fields, coastal regions, farmland, and even your house. Luckily they aren’t spinning webs, but like the tarantula they create burrows and hide in them. If found in your home, they are likely keeping the cricket and cockroach population down for you.
Wolf spiders are not aggressive and do not pose any serious risk to humans. However, if you provoke them, they will bite you. The bite of a wolf spider is painful, but the venom is mild and at most will cause irritation and swelling in the area.
4. Green Lynx Spider
The green lynx spider’s body is only an inch long. However, it’s big enough to make our list and has an interesting defense mechanism. It’s green like a leaf, so it can easily blend into the forest, your garden, even on cacti. You will likely not be able to spot it unless really searching.
The female will aggressively protect its eggs, spitting venom at you if you get too close. It can spit venom as far as a foot away. Luckily the venom is not very effective against humans. However, if it actually bites you, the venom becomes slightly more of a problem, causing pain, irritation, and swelling in the area.
Will You Find Spiders in the Tourist Hotspots of Mexico?
Spiders in Cancun and the Riviera Maya
There are limited reports of spiders in the Cancun and the Riviera Maya region, especially in high-traffic resort areas. It’s unlikely that you will encounter any dangerous or giant spiders if you stay within a resort.
This is true for Tulum as well; it’s in the same region and has minimal reports of spiders in the resort areas. Mexican resorts are doing a fantastic job of keeping you safe while in their areas. It’s only when you venture out that you may have issues.
The further you travel in the Riviera Maya and the more rural you venture, the more likely you will find spiders. This is mainly due to the resorts spraying insecticides to keep spiders away.
There are reports in the general Yucatan region of black widows being present since around 2015. There are also minimal reports of tourists being bitten in hotels, however, these are not recent reports.
You can come across common house spiders and jumping spiders throughout homes and buildings in Mexico though. (Recommended: Scorpions in Mexico).
Spiders in Puerto Vallarta
Spiders in the Puerto Vallarta resorts are very uncommon. The resorts are spraying to keep any kind of spider or insect out of the resort area. None of the towns have reports of any kind of spider problems.
However, you will find many tarantulas and giant spiders along the roads in some rural areas, such as if you travel to Yelapa or other towns south of Puerto Vallarta.
Spiders in Cabo San Lucas
Cabo is at the southern end of the Baja peninsula, and Baja is home to many spiders. Most resorts will be spraying and making sure the tourist areas are safe and free of these. However, when outside the resorts, whether on an adventure or at a beach, you may start seeing more spiders.
As with most locations, the further outside the tourist spots you go, the more spiders you will see, so be careful when visiting unknown areas in Mexico. There are also two spiders that are native to the Baja area that you should be aware of.
Baja Brown Recluse
Baja has its own version of the brown recluse, the Baja brown recluse spider, which is one of the most dangerous spiders you can encounter in Mexico. Previously found in the North, it has started to migrate south. So it’s a distinct possibility that you could run into one in Cabo. See the full description above on venomous spiders in Mexico for more information on brown recluse spiders.
Stay clear of any tiny brown spiders you see.
Baja is home to its own type of tarantula, the Baja tarantula. As with most tarantulas, it will be found in burrows by tree roots or under rocks. It should not cause concern for you, but be careful if putting your hand around rocks or tree roots as you may find one, and it could bite you.
Spiders in Mexico City
There are almost no reports of dangerous or big spiders in Mexico City. You may run into some common house spiders but nothing really of interest and nothing to be concerned about.
Spiders in Guadalajara
Guadalajara is not a spider hotspot. The only spider to be slightly concerned about is the black widow. However, this spider is not common, and there are no reports of black widows or spiders in tourist areas such as the Guadalajara resorts.
So as with all other regions, the resorts should be safe. It’s only when you venture outside those areas that you need to be careful. Though you shouldn’t be fearful of spiders in this region, as mentioned, there are minimal reports of problems.
How do you treat a spider bite?
No matter what spider you think you’ve been bitten by, you should consider seeking medical treatment to ensure you are safe. You can also confirm any treatment options you can perform at home to lessen any symptoms.
Symptoms of a spider bite
- Redness, pain, and swelling.
- Nausea and vomiting.
- Tremors and sweating.
- Increasing pain over the first 8 hours.
- Fever, chills, and body aches.
- A small red bite mark that starts to turn into an open sore.
Treatment for a spider bite
- Wash the area with soap and water.
- Apply an antibiotic ointment, such as polysporin.
- Apply a cold compress to the affected area.
- Elevate the area if possible.
- Take OTC pain medication such as Advil if you have pain.
- Take OTC antihistamine if you have itching or swelling in the area.
- Immediately see a doctor if the bite starts to worsen or even turn into an open sore.
As far as spiders go, Mexico is just as safe as the United States when staying in resorts or traveling around to adventure destinations. Therefore, you should not have a larger fear than usual of spiders when visiting Mexico. However, you should be aware that spiders are more common in some areas.
Take the time to check your bedding, clothes, and shoes for any spiders. Also, make sure you aren’t sticking your hand into areas that spiders may be hiding without first checking. Otherwise, you may be bitten, which best case scenario will just be painful.