Desert Brown Spider


Actual Size: ¼” to ½”

Characteristics: Small, dark brown and black bodies with a dark spot behind their head.

Legs: 8

Habitat: Clings to tall grass and foliage in humid, shaded environments. Typically carried indoors on clothing or pets.


  • Most likely to bite in spring, summer, or fall. 
  • Can transmit Lyme disease, which may cause long-term health effects. 
  • Has a dark spot behind their head called a dorsal shield. 

Desert Brown Spiders in Anaheim

The desert brown spider is related to the brown recluse spider and shares similar traits, often leading to misidentification. However, desert brown spiders are lighter in color and don’t always have the distinctive violin-shaped marking behind their head. These uncommon spiders are native to the dry environments of Anaheim, living close to natural vegetation while avoiding urban areas and lawns. They rarely venture indoors, instead spinning irregular-shaped webs in quiet, undisturbed areas. While their bites are infrequent, they can cause necrotic ulcers that may take several weeks to heal.

Desert Brown Spider Habitat

Similar to their cousins, desert brown spiders are reclusive and typically avoid living inside buildings. They are seldom seen in urban areas with irrigated landscapes, as they prefer natural surroundings. Desert brown spiders often inhabit rodent burrows or packrat dens where they can find insects to eat and shelter, as they don’t spin webs themselves. These spiders have a tendency to hide in tight spaces and are commonly found on rough surfaces like paper, wood, and cardboard rather than smooth surfaces like ceramic and metal. They are also hunting spiders and don’t create webs to catch their prey.

Desert Brown Spider Behaviors, Threats, or Dangers

All recluse spiders, including the desert brown spider, have venom that can potentially cause skin damage. While bites from desert brown spiders are rare and usually only happen when the spider feels threatened, they can result in a necrotic ulcer that takes several weeks to heal. If you think you have been bitten, seek medical attention. It’s worth noting that these spiders might seek shelter inside shoes, clothes on the floor, gardening attire, or gloves left in the garage, which is where most people get bitten. If you think you have brown desert spiders on your property, contact your local spider exterminators to remove them quickly.