daddy long legs spider on a log

You might have heard the myth that daddy long leg spiders are the evillest on the planet, but that’s simply untrue. These gentle giants aren’t dangerous to most animals; turning one into a snack won’t harm your dog. Please keep reading to learn everything you never wanted to know about the daddy long legs spider and its toxicology reports.

What Are the Daddy Long Leg Spiders?

Daddy long legs are often called spiders. However, they are technically not spiders. Yes, they have eight legs and resemble a spider. But they lack the ability to make silk and produce venom. Those two factors are the main ones that define a spider.

The term “daddy long legs” stems from these insects’ long, skinny legs and small brown bodies. You’ve probably seen these creepers hanging around your house, and you’ve almost certainly seen one or two near your basement door or crawling around in the garden.

Types of Daddy Long Legs

Three main species get the daddy long legs name. One is an araneomorph spider that goes by the scientific name Phocidae. The other is a type of harvestman spider called the opinion arachnid and isn’t a spider. There’s also the winged spider, a cranefly, or tipula oleracea, which are Diptera family spiders that can fly.

daddy long legs spider on a carpet
Image courtesy of Pixabay

How They Defend Themselves

Daddy long leg spiders have delicate bodies because of their large and slim size. However, it would help if you didn’t underestimate them in a fight. While they may seem dainty, they’re powerful and deliver a nasty bite.

The daddy long legs are known for their potent survival abilities. They can sever their limbs to escape predators and keep opponents at bay by spinning them into silky webs until they’re restricted enough to bite safely. They’re so powerful they can easily beat a redback spider—one of Australia’s most feared venomous spiders.

They’ve also got a nasty reputation as the most venomous spider in the world, but even if their venom was lethal—which it isn’t—their fangs are too small and short. They could never penetrate the 15 layers of cells that make up our skin. So while the bite might hurt, it’s unlikely to be lethal unless you catch a nasty infection in the wound.

Are Daddy Long Legs Poisonous If Eaten?

Adam Savage of the MythBusters bravely stuck his entire arm into a container full of daddy long legs and lived to tell the tale, minus a few negligible prickling sensations on the skin. Truthfully, daddy long legs are passive towards humans and wouldn’t go out of their way to bite you even if their fangs could pierce your skin.

A study published by Professor Greta Binford and Pamela Zobel-Thropp debunked the pervasive daddy long legs myth by proving that their venom is only effective against other insects and doesn’t threaten you or your dog, whether biting or eating them.

Final Thoughts

There are many dangerous things in the world, and it’s just good news to find out that Daddy Long Legs aren’t on the list of things trying to kill you. Daddy long legs are safe to have around, and they even help curtail the populations of widespread pests like mosquitoes and flies. Thankfully, they’re as safe for our pets as ours.


Featured Image Credit: Pixabay