Are Granddaddy Long Legs Poisonous or Dangerous?

Are Granddaddy Longlegs Poisonous or Dangerous - Granddaddy Longlegs
© Krysja/

Written by Taiwo Victor

Updated: January 24, 2023

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You’re probably aware of the many things said about Granddaddy long legs, also known as harvestmen. Perhaps you’ve heard that these strange creatures are spiders or that they’re so venomous that people are lucky their fangs aren’t too long to do any harm. But are Granddaddy long legs poisonous or dangerous? Spoiler alert: not everything you hear is true. While the origins of these myths are unknown, one thing is for sure: Granddaddy long legs are neither spiders nor poisonous. They aren’t known to bite humans and are not dangerous to households. While their venom isn’t harmful, they can still bite us, but the chances of them doing so are limited to none.

Are Granddaddy Long Legs Spiders?

Here’s something that will probably come as a surprise: Granddaddy long legs both are and aren’t spiders. There are three common types of Granddaddy Long Legs: an araneomorph spider known as the pholcidae, a harvestman known as the opilione arachnid, which isn’t a spider, and the winged spider, also known as craneflies or tipula oleracea.

In this topic, we focus on the harvestmen. If ever you’re wondering, Granddaddy and Daddy long legs are not father and son. They are the same species, and eat the same diet. Harvestmen have only one pair of eyes, whereas spiders have six to eight. Harvestmen are incapable of spinning silk or weaving webs. They ambush predators instead. While granddaddy long legs have eight legs like spiders, they can self-amputate them as a protective strategy against predators. Unfortunately, they do not regrow once detached.

Granddaddy Long Legs Bites

Are Granddaddy Longlegs Poisonous or Dangerous - Granddaddy Longlegs

Granddaddy long legs use their fang-like mouthparts to chew their food.

©Rob Hainer/

When it comes to Granddaddy long legs, you might as well be more frightened of being bitten by a ladybug. These creatures lack venom glands, fangs, or any other means of subduing prey. They feed on rotting plants and animals, occasionally killing tiny species when the opportunity arises. They use their fang-like mouthparts like crabs or scorpions called ‘chelicerae’ to grasp and chew their food. But what about humans? There is nothing to worry about Granddaddy long legs biting you. They are probably more afraid of you than you are of them.

There is a long-held urban myth that daddy long legs are one of the most venomous spiders, yet their fangs are too tiny to penetrate human skin. Unfortunately, this is not the case. A minor bite from a daddy-long-legs spider is still possible, although very unlikely. 

Are Granddaddy Long Legs Dangerous to Humans?

Are Granddaddy Longlegs Poisonous or Dangerous - Granddaddy Longlegs

Granddaddy long legs are not at all dangerous to humans.


Granddaddy long legs are not dangerous to humans. If you find harvestmen in your house, you don’t necessarily have to get rid of them. They may be an unsightly annoyance, but as previously stated, they aren’t known to harm humans and won’t cause any noticeable damage to your home.

The persistent belief that the daddy long legs has the most toxic venom of all spiders has no scientific data to support this claim. The myth probably sparked observations that they would kill and eat a redback spider. Even for insects, their venom is not particularly strong. The truth is, they’re not aggressive toward humans, and even if they could be, they wouldn’t go out of their way to bite us.

Harvestmen are sometimes referred to as “daddy long legs” because of their long legs, which allow them to avoid predators readily. When handling one, the most frightening thing that can happen is having one or more of its legs fall off. This process is known as autotomy. Unfortunately, because the legs are vital sensory organs, a daddy long legs’ loss of legs can be rather devastating. Meanwhile, it will manage to flee. If that technique fails, it resorts to a last-ditch defense. Daddy long legs release foul-smelling, foul-tasting compounds that are unappealing to most predators.

Granddaddy long legs can be beneficial in the home and garden. They are omnivores who eat spiders, insects, worms, and snails, as well as bird droppings and fungi. However, they are primarily nocturnal and prefer to congregate in basements, cellars, garages, and wood heaps.

Are Granddaddy Long Legs Poisonous?

Are Granddaddy Longlegs Poisonous or Dangerous - Granddaddy Longlegs

Though Granddaddy long legs have fang-like mouthparts, they are not poisonous.


When discussing spiders or other arachnids, people often confuse the meaning of “poisonous” with that of “venomous.” While most spiders are venomous in the sense that they can harm you by injecting their venom, they are not poisonous because they do not affect you when you touch or ingest them. Granddaddy long legs may have fang-like mouthparts, but they do not inject venom as a real spider does. They are also far from being poisonous.

Some pet owners are concerned because their dogs and cats may have eaten Granddaddy long legs on purpose. You don’t have to worry if this happens to your pets. They aren’t poisonous to any mammals, so they are unlikely to cause any adverse reactions to your pets. However, these arachnids have developed some unusual protection mechanisms against predators. To begin with, they have a series of stink glands that they use to deter them. When disturbed, they will curl up and play dead.

How to Avoid Granddaddy Long Legs Bites

Granddaddy long legs are usually harmless to humans but can become bothersome if they cluster. It’s best to leave them alone if they aren’t causing an issue to avoid bites. Contact a local pest control firm if you have a problem with them in large numbers or any other nuisance pests. They can thoroughly inspect your property and create a treatment plan tailored to your needs.

Once again, it is better to handle these critters the same way you would any other harmless species: leave them alone. You might try capturing them beneath glass and moving them outside if they’re in your house. But, tales aside, they’re hardly a threat.

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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, tech, and finance. When I'm not working, I enjoy playing video games with friends.

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