Are Daddy Long Legs Poisonous or Dangerous?

Written by Taiwo Victor
Updated: November 1, 2022
Image Credit CsaboPhoto/Shutterstock.com
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Perhaps you might have heard about the old myth that daddy long legs are one of the deadliest and most venomous spiders out there, but they have very short fangs that cannot penetrate human skin. However, this is merely an urban legend.

So, are daddy long legs poisonous and can daddy long legs bite?

Daddy long legs, also known as cellar spiders, contain venom and possess fangs, but there has been no evidence of their fangs being too short to cut through human skin or of their venoms being deadly and poisonous to humans.

In reality, daddy long legs are not poisonous or dangerous to humans and are not known to bite.

Do Daddy Long Legs Bite?

Are Daddy Long Legs Poisonous or Dangerous - Spiders
The term daddy long legs is sometimes used to refer to crane flies as well as cellar spiders.

Magnus Binnerstam/Shutterstock.com

Are daddy long legs poisonous to other creatures?

Daddy long legs do not bite often, and despite the myth that they have very short fangs that hinder them from biting and delivering their venom into human skin, this has never been proven. Yet, daddy long legs – or cellar spiders – have weak jaws that make it difficult to cut through the skin.

That is to say, daddy long legs could bite, but it may not cause too much harm due to their weak jaws.

Daddy long legs, however, are fierce enough when it comes to hunting their prey and even crawl above other spiders on the food chain. The cellar spider’s venom may not be as strong as other spider species, such as the brown recluse, so it is not a huge help in catching their prey.

Yet, daddy long legs have a unique way of fooling other spiders to land as their food. They will wobble their web to attract other spiders expecting a helpless insect at the source of the vibration, only to find out that they will end up as the cellar spider’s dinner themselves!

Cellar spiders wrap their prey up and then deliver venom to immobilize them.

Are Daddy Long Legs Poisonous (Venomous) to Humans?

Are Daddy Long Legs Poisonous or Dangerous - Spiders
Daddy long legs are not dangerous to humans.

by pap/Shutterstock.com

Can daddy long legs bite people? They rarely bite, and daddy long legs poisonous venom is not particularly strong enough to affect humans. Thus, daddy long legs are not dangerous to humans. The legend claiming daddy long legs are deadly spiders has never been proven.

Still, given the lack of scientific information about the deadliness of a cellar spider’s venom, there is no reason to believe that it’s true. Apart from the fact that they often do not bite, daddy long legs are also known to have short fangs and weak jaws that may hinder them from causing painful bites on human skin.

The myth that says the short fangs of daddy long legs keep them from delivering a deadly, venomous bite also proves false as brown recluse spiders have the same short fangs, dubbed “uncate” by spider experts. Yet, brown recluse spiders are notorious for their venomous bites.

Though daddy long legs are generally harmless to humans, their spider webs can look quite intimidating! Cellar spiders create frightening webs as they often live within proximity with other cellar spiders, weaving a vast web of unsightly spider communities within residential homes and commercial buildings.

Daddy long legs are often encountered in basements, hence their common name “cellar spiders.” They can also be seen in garages, sheds, and other similar places. Daddy long legs commonly settle inside homes, hanging their belly up from ceilings and different corners of a room.

An encounter with them is quite common, but since they pose no harm to humans and are, in fact, helpful in keeping other dangerous insects at bay, a sight of one or two cellar spiders can perhaps be tolerable.

Are Daddy Long Legs Poisonous?

Are Daddy Long Legs Poisonous or Dangerous - Long-legged Spiders
Though they contain venom, daddy long legs are not poisonous.

LFRabanedo/Shutterstock.com

Can daddy long legs bite? Daddy long legs are not poisonous to humans, yet, they contain venom. Contrary to popular belief, the cellar spider’s venom should not cause concern. Cellar spiders contain venom that is not strong enough to affect humans and your house pets. In fact, there have been no studies yet about how the cellar spider’s venom can affect mammals.

Rather their venom is used mostly to subdue prey that’s mostly small insects and spiders.

The daddy long legs’ defense mechanism is not to use its bite or venom, but instead to vibrate its web quickly to deter or confuse predators. As for humans, they rarely attack when threatened.

The name “daddy long legs” is quite confusing for some because it encompasses three different groups of insects –the harvestmen, crane flies, and the cellar spider, which is the only true spider among the three.

Like most spiders, the daddy long legs spider is not known to pose any threat to humans, whether in terms of spider bites or venom. On the other hand, the harvestmen are poisonous, but they too do not pose any threat to humans.

Crane flies also join the bandwagon, containing neither venom nor poison.

Are Daddy Long Legs the Most Dangerous Spider?

A myth suggests that daddy long legs are the most venomous spiders on the planet, but apart from the lack of scientific studies to prove it, it is also unlikely. Daddy long legs poisonous venom glands hold venom, but these are not strong enough to cause any harm or damage. As such, daddy long legs are not the most dangerous spider.

Daddy long legs have short fangs that help them bite and kill their prey. However, these fangs are rarely used against humans. Cellar spiders are beneficial to humans, despite their unpleasant webs. Daddy long legs feed on other spiders and harmful insects such as flies and mosquitos, keeping human habitats free of pests.

How to Avoid Daddy Long Legs

As daddy long legs are not harmful, the only reason you should avoid them is to keep yourself from disturbing them. Unlike other spider species that bite in self-defense once threatened, daddy long legs will more likely hide or run away. Cellar spiders are most likely to vibrate and wobble their webs violently to scare people away when confronted.

They do this as their defense mechanism, which means that, unlike other spiders, they do not rely on their bite and venom for self-defense.

Are Daddy Long Legs Poisonous or Dangerous - Spiders

CsaboPhoto/Shutterstock.com
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About the Author

For six years, I have worked as a professional writer and editor for books, blogs, and websites, with a particular focus on animals and finance. When I'm not working, I enjoy playing video games with friends.

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