It's the stuff of nightmares. Giant, hairy spiders with legs as long as your arm crawling around Wisconsin, terrorizing fishermen, and swimmers alike. But don't worry, it's not the end of the world – it's just a huge, disgusting Fishing spider.

Ok, so my above statement may have been a tad dramatic, but I seriously hate spiders and this thing is NASTY.

Bill Mattes via Facebook
Bill Mattes via Facebook

What is a Fishing Spider and Why Are They Taking Over Wisconsin?

I spend a lot of my free time in Wisconsin, and I have since I was born, but I have NEVER encountered one of these MASSIVE spiders before, and I hope I never do.

While Fishing spiders may look like something out of a horror movie, these eight-legged critters are actually quite harmless – at least to humans. According to this article from UW Milwaukee,

even though most of their diet is made up of aquatic invertebrates, these large spiders are hefty enough to catch tadpoles and small fish (as one website said, “They’re big enough to saddle up and ride”).  Because they’re found near water, they’re often called “dock spiders.”


Apparently, Wisconsin's fishing spider problem is nothing new. Here's proof from 2014...

Fishing spiders are actually quite helpful to have around, as they help control the population of pests that can harm crops and gardens, but that doesn't make them any less creepy.

Fishing spiders can grow up to three inches long, with leg spans of up to six inches. They have fuzzy, brown bodies and long, thin legs that allow them to move quickly across water and land. And while they're not venomous, they can still give you a good scare if you're not expecting to see one.

How to Keep Fishing Spiders Out of Your Home

Fishing spiders typically hang out in warm, wet areas but they are attracted to clutter too. If you ever needed an excuse to keep your home neat and tidy, this is definitely it.  It's probably a good idea to seal up any cracks or gaps in your home's foundation, walls, windows, and doors too so these huge spiders don't decide to move in and make you burn the whole place down.

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