5 of the Biggest Spiders in Vermont

Written by Kyle Glatz
Updated: June 29, 2023
© iStock.com/JasonOndreicka
Share this post on:


Key Points:

  • Vermont has some of the most snow in the state, so it’s easy to think there are not many spider species that could survive in the harsh climate.
  • There are five large species of spider that call Vermont home.
  • The dark fishing spider is the largest spider found in the state.
The Dark Fishing Spider is the largest spider in Vermont.

When Vermont is not buried under the most snow in any state, it’s a gorgeous place with diverse wildlife. Aside from large and deadly animals like moose and bears, Vermont is home to many spiders. Not only does this part of the United States have beautiful spiders like the daring jumping spider, but it also has a few large ones. Today, we will explore 5 of the biggest spiders in Vermont.

By the time you’re finished reading this article, you’ll know about the biggest arachnids crawling around the state and if they can do any lasting harm to you!

1. Dark Fishing Spider

dark fishing spider
The dark fishing spider can run across the surface of water or dive into the water to catch prey.


6,293 People Couldn't Ace This Quiz

Think You Can?
Scientific NameSizeDanger to Humans
Dolomedes tenebrosus3.5-4.5 inchesCan bite humans and cause a reaction similar to a bee sting.

The dark fishing spider is one of the scariest-looking arachnids you’ll encounter in New England, and it’s also the biggest spider in Vermont. This widespread spider is similar in size and coloration to some wolf spiders, a fact that can cause distress to people.

The dark fishing spider has a brown, gray, or brownish-gray body with light brown patterns across its body. Its legs have brown and black chevrons, and they are banded toward the ends, often with a reddish-brown or black pattern.

Like many other spiders, the dark fishing spider doesn’t want to be near humans. It will run but can deliver a bite that hurts about as bad as a bee sting when threatened.

2. American Nursery Web Spider

american nursery web spider
Male American nursery web spiders will tie females’ legs during mating to avoid being eaten afterward.


Scientific NameSizeDanger to Humans
Pisaurina mira1-3 inchesHas a bite that is mostly harmless to humans, with pain and swelling common.

The American nursery web spider has a very unique name and a large body. Concerning the latter, the spider can reach upwards of 3 inches in total length. The spider is sometimes confused with the wolf spider, a common large arachnid that can be frightening.  

However, this species carries its eggs with its mouthparts rather than attaching them to its back like wolf spiders. Also, when the spider senses that the eggs are going to hatch soon, it builds a very impressive, webbed nursery to contain the eggs. That’s where this spider gets its common name.

Interestingly, American nursery web spiders don’t use those amazing webs to lure and capture prey. Instead, they simply chase down their potential meals. They can be quite fearsome in the sense that they move quickly and can leap upwards of 6 inches at a time.

Yet, they are considered harmless to humans. On the rare occasion that they bite, you’ll feel pain and experience swelling at the site.

3. Six-Spotted Fishing Spider

The six-spotted fishing spider can catch fish more than five times its own size.

©Jukka Jantunen/Shutterstock.com

Scientific NameSizeDanger to Humans
Dolomedes triton0.35-3 inchesBites will induce swelling and some pain similar to a bee sting.

The six-spotted fishing spider is an arachnid that lives up to its name because it spends much of its time near water. The Dolomedes triton has very unique markings that will help you identify it. That is if you can get close.

For one thing, these spiders usually have a body color of gray, light brown, brown, or medium-dark brown. More importantly, they have light gray or cream-colored stripes that stretch the length of their bodies, including the abdomen. The abdomen will have light-colored spots on the dorsal side, but the cephalothorax has six dark spots on the ventral side.

The six-spotted fishing spider will typically skitter away from humans rather than force a confrontation. Like most other spiders, they can bite. While they aren’t too harmful to humans, a bite can cause pain and swelling. You may also hear these spiders called dock spiders, too. After all, they live near and hunt on the water.  

4. Forest Wolf Spider

Largest Wolf Spider - Carolina Wolf Spider
The forest wolf spider can reach nearly 50 millimeters long with its legs extended.

©Will E. Davis/Shutterstock.com

Scientific NameSizeDanger to Humans
Hogna frondicola0.5-2 inchesA bite will cause pain, itchiness, and swelling around the bite area.

The forest wolf spider can look similar to the six-spotted fishing spider at first glance. Yet, this wolf spider species is hairy and has distinct markings despite having a gray, brown, black, or grayish-brown coloration.

The forest wolf spider has a dark cephalothorax, often black, with a gray stripe running down the middle. Also, both sides of the cephalothorax have gray semicircles along the perimeter. The spider’s abdomen is often gray. Their legs may be light brown or gray, with a few long, spiky black hairs standing out from the rest of their hairs.

Wolf spiders are fast and dangerous to their prey. They can bite humans, but they’d just as soon avoid us altogether. The bites they deliver aren’t that severe. Mostly, they cause pain and itchiness with swelling.

5. Long-Bodied Cellar Spider

Female Cellar Spider Protecting Her Eggs
Cellar spiders are also called daddy long legs.


Scientific NameSizeDanger to Humans
Pholcus phalangioides1-2 inchesA bite may cause a mild burning sensation.

The long-bodied cellar spider is a common sight in most basements and garages throughout Vermont. Although these spiders have a rather small bodies, their legs give them enough length to be added to this list. They often measure between 1 and 2 inches long.

These spiders have translucent bodies with a light brown or grayish-brown color to them. Their cephalothorax has a marking that sometimes resembles a human skull. As such, they are sometimes called the skull spider, and they may be called the daddy’s long legs as well. The latter name is applied to several different species of arachnids.

Don’t listen to the myths, though. This daddy-long legs spider is not the most venomous spider in the entire world. It can bite you, but you’ll only feel a mild burning sensation.

Now that you know the biggest spiders in Vermont, you should know that they’re not all that dangerous to you. Instead, it’s best to watch out for black widows and brown recluse spiders, two of the most dangerous ones in the country.

Summary of The Biggest Spiders in Vermont

Here is a list of the biggest spiders found in Vermont:

RankSpider SpeciesSize
1.Dark Fishing Spider3.5-4.5 inches
2.American Nursery Web Spider1-3 inches
3.Six-Spotted Fishing Spider0.35-3 inches
4.Forest Wolf Spider0.5-2 inches
5.Long-Bodied Cellar Spider1-2 inches

Share this post on:
About the Author

I've been a freelance writer since 2013, and I've written in a variety of niches such as managed service providers, animals, and retail distribution. I graduated from Rowan University in 2014. When I'm not working, I enjoy playing video games, reading, and writing for fun.

Thank you for reading! Have some feedback for us? Contact the AZ Animals editorial team.