Introduction: Spider Hunting!

Picture of Spider Hunting!

This will teach you how to locate grass spiders in the dark using only a flashlight. It's fun, fascinating, and simple. I let my sons, ages 12 and 7, demonstrate the technique.

Step 1: Tools Needed:

You will need a bright flashlight, and some short grass in a dark area. A camera or camcorder is optional if you want to show other people how fun and simple it is!

That's it, let's go!

Step 2: Shinin 'em Spiders!

Picture of Shinin 'em Spiders!

Place the flashlight (we are using a small LED flashlight, but most any should work) against your head at eye level and pointing toward the direction you are looking.

Shine the light on the grass in front of you about 6 to 10 feet away. You can find spiders much farther than 10 feet from you, but it is more difficult to walk up on them without losing exactly where they were.

Slowly turn your head back and forth and look for small "dew drop" like gleams in the grass. These are the eyes of the spiders reflecting your light.

Make a note of exactly where a gleam is located and walk directly to it, keeping the flashlight trained on that area. However, once you have pinpointed the location, it is not necessary to keep the light by your head because you will not likely see the reflection once you begin moving anyway.

Step 3: There He Is (or She, I'm Not Much on Spider Knowledge).

Picture of There He Is (or She, I'm Not Much on Spider Knowledge).

When you get to the place where you saw the gleam, you have to get real close to the ground because these guys are small, mostly about an inch in diameter or less. However, they are usually quite polite and hold still so you can find them.

Step 4: That's All There Is to It!

Now, watch the video where my sons demonstrate. It's, uh, very dark (duh) but you can see the important parts.


ZEKG55man (author)2015-08-16

Me and my brother are 12(me) and 7(him)

ceekay (author)2009-07-02

I'd like to find the BIG 2"+ spider was on my blouse yesterday .... walking toward my face ... After hollering out in shock, I flung it to my desk after which it ran away.... and I presume is possibly still in this room somewhere.

starforest (author)ceekay2015-03-03

Poor spider. It wouldn't hurt you. It more likely would run away, it probably now made a web in a forgotten corner and caches pesky bugs.

Thundertydus (author)ceekay2009-09-07

Only thing worse than poisenous spiders, is poisenous that are invisible crawling on you and burning; Ever think of that? Invisible spiders crawling on you while their on fire?

qualia (author)Thundertydus2010-09-30

dont do meth.

Thundertydus (author)qualia2010-10-09

Pfft, I don't take advice from LED firefighters.

BlackCrow8 (author)2015-02-09

You forgot the last step where once you locate the spiders you proceed to napalm strike the entire area!

klowe8 (author)2014-01-29

This is like the
"nope how-to" lol

Bigdawg (author)klowe82014-01-30

I know. It's information you want to know, but not really. Oh! Fascinating, there are thousands of spiders in my yard! OH! Wait, there are thousands... in my yard... *runs back inside and locks door*

MrKumquat64 (author)2013-07-03

I do this exact method. My friends have no idea how. It's pretty funny to watch them try to prove that I'm faking.

Jugglebug (author)2010-04-14

If you are hunting wolf spiders, as it seems to me from the comments and photos, you may find some of their trapdoors.  As you approach, the spiders will often run into their trapdoors and shut the lids.  It is very interesting to use a twig to flip the trapdoor open-
The spider comes up the tunnel, grabs the lid and pulls it back over the hole- very exiting to watch!

Once i held the door open with the twig, and the spider and I had a round of tug-o-war before i let it close the door- it was sooooo mad at me!

shishnit (author)2007-07-12

How common are the spiders in grass? This makes me not want to go barefoot anymore :\

Bigdawg (author)shishnit2007-07-14

I guess it depends on where you live, but these are VERY common where I live, in North Carolina. I'd say a 10ft x 10ft square of grass in my yard would easily have at least half a dozen of these spiders; probably many more than that.

tirwander (author)Bigdawg2009-12-26

 oh great haha im in NC. time for shoes at night

starfiregifts (author)2009-10-16

I am fascinated by spiders.  I always rescue them and bring them outside if I find any in my house.  These webs are cool, specially when they have drops in them and the sun shines into it.  I am attaching a few images of an unknown species I saw in my yard this summer.  Anyone know what this is?

Check out my blog at for more nature related stories.

starfiregifts (author)2009-10-16

I find spiders fascinating. If I find any in the house I usually catch them and bring them outside.  Couldn't kill one!  I love looking at their webs.  Found this big one in my yard recently. 

Check out my blog for more outdoor stories

drummonkey92 (author)2008-05-16

awsum, realy great to share a little tip with evryone. might want to put a disclaimer in just in case though, some spiders have a mean bite. this is the effect of the venom in the bite of a brown recluse spider (from canada) after 10 days and a pic of the spider itself.

legionlabs (author)drummonkey922008-05-17

I work in an entomology lab, I used to wonder why no one seemed concerned with being bitten by the hundreds or thousands of spiders they collect in their experiments. One day I stumbled upon an article describing that it was in fact very difficult to be bitten by a spider. I couldn't find the article for you today, but I did find this one which is similar:

drummonkey92 (author)legionlabs2008-05-17

cheers, realy interesting. the picture i was trying to post was from an email from my relative in canada about these brown recluse spiders (which also featured heavily in that article)

Look up that email on It's actually a bacterial infection caused by the bacteria on the fangs of the spider. Essentially, the fangs acted like a hypodermic needle and delivered the bacteria deep into the lower, vulnerable layers of skin.

There are no recorded deaths from Brown Recluse spider bites, and to quote the Missouri Medicine Journal, "Most brown recluse bites heal up nicely within two to three months without the need for medical treatment at all. Also the long term medical outcome is excellent without treatment"

More about the Brown Recluse Email

Jaycub (author)Valar Morghulis2008-10-01

Actualy, a girl once died of a brown recluse spider bite on TV.

Well, that's pretty graphic. Certainly an infection, notice how it doesn't spread around the thumb, only in the direction blood vessels more easily allow it. Those black areas look like gangrene. Anyway, you may note that the only "evidence" that it was a spider bite was that the patient was "on a camping trip" (Thus the Status:Undetermined heading on the page). Any puncture wound is a possible source of infection (even bee stings), and my experience has certainly been to get plenty of those while camping. In any case, improperly-removed ticks are a much more common source of nasty infections! Ironically, my brother received a spider bite while camping. He actually witnessed the spider bite him (twice). From his description of it's behavior, I couldn't recognize it as any common species around here. Anyhow, his hand became moderately swollen and somewhat difficult to move, and all symptoms subsided over a few hours with no complications.

sorry, photos wont upload try doing a search it is realy shocking

chichimus (author)2008-05-17

Well, speaking as the official "arachnophobia poster child" I won't be sleeping tonight., great Instructable though.

geekdude (author)2008-05-16

i heard somewhere the some spiders glow under uv. never tested it out though.

Kiteman (author)geekdude2008-05-17

That's scorpions - you find them with a big UV torch, and they glow yellow-green.

yeah I saw that at this museum they had some scorpions and they were glowing a teal color then I turned off the light and they were blackish red.

darkmuskrat (author)2008-05-16

Gah. I usualy pick these things up bare handed, but after reading the comment on spider bites. I researched it....I think ill just kill any I find. That and now is the perfect time to look for clumps of baby spiders(those really small clumps of black/yellow that when u blow on them they go into 1000 tiny spiders :P)

Rayisawesome (author)2008-05-16

using a headlamp works fine too

Stanislaw (author)2007-07-10

Crazy! Spider hunting is an interesting hobby, I would suggest checking out BC if you ever have the chance. There are some crazy wolf spiders and even tunneling spiders. (my Aunt's cat used to love to chase the wolf spiders around the house. Thankfully in Alberta the spiders seem to have decreased in size, but, I think with the crazy weather we are gettingthings are changing, just last year, we had an invasionof Orb spiders as far north as Edmonton. So, heh, to make a long story short: Awesome instructable - and if your into spider hunting - don't forget to check out the northern regions!

quentinwolf (author)Stanislaw2008-05-11

I agree, great instructable. Though it can be a bit of a startling sight if you find a whole swarm of spiders... Hundreds of little eyes looking back at you.. ;) hehe By the way, I love Orb Weaver spiders, We've gotten them yearly down South in Alberta. We even find them in our house occasionally (and feed them flies and other bugs, since we have no problem with them being inside.) They always mind their own business and we've never had problems with them. I've even taken some great macro shots of em.

armourkris (author)Stanislaw2008-05-11

I love my bc spiders. just yesterday i found a wolfspider that was about 2 inch leg span. it was freaking huge. and i;ve got orb spiders all over the place. i have to carry a stick in front of my face when i go hiking sometimes.

Bigdawg (author)Stanislaw2007-07-10

Only one problem, I very strongly dislike spiders! Really, I don't want to find them, but I do it with my kids.

Oh, and if you heard my accent on the video, me above the Mason-Dixon is just not real likely! ;-)

(Kidding. I'd love to travel up, down, West, wherever!)

kraM (author)2008-05-09

this is a pretty cool idea, i'v bin wanting to collect some spiders foer a while now. i'll have to give this a try as soon as i can find a working flash light(no money to buy a new one)

MadMechanicMike (author)2008-05-09

why would you ever intentionally look for spiders. they are just terrifying.

amw (author)2007-07-25

Excellent! Now I can hunt down and dispatch of these little beasts once and for all.

Bigdawg (author)amw2007-07-25

Happy hunting!

joemonkey (author)2007-07-12

umm where do u live? i looked and there werent any in my, or my neighbors yard. i live in amarillo tx.

Bigdawg (author)joemonkey2007-07-14

I live in North Carolina, and there are PLENTY here!

janquito (author)2007-07-11

This was very interesting. I do not like wolf spiders but most others do not bother me. I have taught my granddaughter that daddy long legs are fun! (I used to chase my sister with them!!!! That was FUN!) My daughter was scared to death (still is) of spiders so she took care of the bats that got into our house as long as I took care of the spiders! (she would actually put on leather gloves and pick the bats off the wall! then let them free outside ... to come back in, I guess!) I will try this with my boys...who also are afraid of spiders....

Bigdawg (author)janquito2007-07-11

Good luck! Hopefully, they won't be too scared to enjoy the experience.

Gene Hacker (author)2007-07-10

I have actually witnessed this effect using a head lamp. I never thought of hunting for spiders though. I have mostly found just wolf spiders. You are likely only to find spiders that hunt for prey or in other words spiders with large, highly sensitive, stereoscopic eyes.

kellyhogaboom (author)2007-07-10

Deleted- but I don't think it was very "be nice" of you to give a public lecture. A PM would have done just fine as I certainly don't want to offend. I really did enjoy the Instructable. Thanks for posting it!

Bigdawg (author)kellyhogaboom2007-07-10

Fair enough. This is my first Instructable, I didn't even know there was a private message function here until after I had replied to your comment. I appreciate your compliment and your willingness to hear me out, nonetheless. Thanks!

Erik Lindemann (author)2007-07-08

That's cool, but the only problem for me is that these guys are all over the place where I live. I usually find them next to my toilet, no flashlight required. But for those who don't have an over-abundance of them like I do, this is very informational.

Bigdawg (author)Erik Lindemann2007-07-09


...the only problem for me is that these guys are all over the place where I live. I usually find them next to my toilet, no flashlight required.

My advice to you, Eric, MOVE. ;-)

Erik Lindemann (author)Bigdawg2007-07-09

Heh, I usually get them with the bug spray, the kind that dissolves their skin and eggs. Pretty nasty really, but it keeps them outside for most of the year. I let them back in during the winter because the crickets like to hide indoors from the cold, the spiders take care of them. :D

Sullen70 (author)2007-07-09

I learned about this five years ago while helping at a scout camp in the Sierras. It blew me away how many of the little guys there were just below the layers of pine needles and ground covering. Little green eyes everywhere!

SerialATA (author)2007-07-09

That makes sense. scroll past it and read the other ones to them!

jessyratfink (author)2007-07-09

Oh, so creepy. I've never built up the nerve to do this. Spiders are really the only bugs I happen to be afraid of. :P

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