While it is unfortunate that large and hairy spiders exist, Massachusetts residents can at least be thankful that tarantulas and other inappropriately hirsute arachnids cannot be found in the state. Well, this is the case when it comes to tarantulas, anyway, as many residents of Massachusetts have learned from experience that surprisingly sizable spiders occasionally wander into homes in the state. One large and hairy spider species that is frequently found within homes in most areas of the country is commonly known as the Carolina wolf spider. Carolina wolf spiders are the largest of the wolf spider species in the US, and a quick Google search can help anyone understand why they are commonly mistaken for tarantulas. Another creepy spider species found in the northeast is commonly known as the eastern Parson spider, and this is the most commonly encountered species of ground spider found within homes.

According to an online site where citizen scientists provide photographic documentation of spider sightings wherever they may occur, the eastern Parson spiders have been spotted 117 times, and all but three of these sightings occurred within homes. This is not surprising considering that eastern Parson spiders are well known for dwelling near humans in residential areas. These spiders are in the habit of invading homes during the fall in order to seek a warm hibernation site, and they can be recognized by their ½ inch long body size and long legs, both of which are covered in thick flat-lying hairs. This species’ cephalothorax (main body where legs attach) is covered in black hairs, while its rear abdomen is covered in grey hairs. During the day eastern Parson spiders remain still within leaf litter, but at night they emerge to hunt prey. In addition to being fast they evade predators by moving in a zig-zag fashion, making them difficult to capture indoors. These spiders can hibernate both indoors and outdoors, and while their bites are reportedly quite painful, they may only be dangerous to those with an allergy to their venom.

Have you ever encountered a spider in your home that was too fast to catch?