Hobo spiders (Tegenaria agrestis) are known as "hobos" because of their frequent presences on railroad tracks. These funnel-web spiders originated in western Europe and currently also reside in the United States, particularly in the Pacific Northwestern region and its surrounding areas. Hobo spiders also frequently inhabit Canada's British Columbia province.
These long-limbed spiders usually are an inch long or less, according to the University of Idaho Extension. Their bodies are made up of several different colors. Their legs are yellowish-brown and their undersides are brownish-gray. Hobo spiders' cephalothoraces are brown. The cephalothorax is where their limbs connect to the rest of their bodies. Physically, hobo spiders are close to their fellow funnel-web spiders.
Funnel Webs and Habitat
When setting up residence, these nocturnal arachnids gravitate toward outdoor environments. They seek out splits, holes and fissures that can provide the framework for their funnel webs. Their webs resemble thin sheets and usually are located in crevices below plants, rocks, wood and even bricks. These prey traps, true to their naming, are usually shaped similarly to funnels. Occasionally, if the landscape calls for it, the webs are made to be flat.
Hobo spiders are drawn to many specific types of spots -- think basement window wells in residences, openings in the dirt of yards and underneath decks. If a hobo spider is inside of a man-made structure, there's a good chance he'll be either in the basement or on the first floor -- not much higher. Climbing is definitely not hobo spiders' strongest suit, after all.
The males of the species have tendencies to wander around, and because of that sometimes end up in the most inopportune of locations -- whether in the middle of a pile of toys or in a tall stack of towels.
Hobo spiders are venomous arachnids, and because of that, it is crucial to exercise the utmost caution when in their presence. If you or anyone you know experiences a bite from a hobo spider, urgent medical assistance is a must. Although these bites do not always hurt, they can lead to a bevy of unpleasant and potentially dangerous symptoms, according to the University of Idaho Extension. Some of these symptoms are joint aching, vision issues, headaches, blisters and skin redness.
- Washington State University Urban IPM and Pesticide Safety Education: How to Identify (Or Misidentify) the Hobo Spider
- University of California Agriculture & Natural Resources: Hobo Spider
- Utah State University Cooperative Extension: Hobo Spiders
- Montana State University Extension: The Hobo Spider
- University of Idaho Extension: Hobo Spider