Midwestern Creeper Largest in Region
The tropics are known for giant spiders, but Wisconsin is not. It’s known for its giant cheese and spacious outdoors, which is fine with residents.
Big spiders like the dark fishing spider just seem out of place in northern climes, but they do live in the state and in neighboring Minnesota.
Up to six inches in leg-span and sporting a full inch-long body, this critter is likely to rattle most observers. But the fishing spider is no threat to people. Like all spiders, it carries some venom, but it doesn’t bite people and in fact, prefers a dark or shady spot to hide from us.
Dark brown, with black specks, this arachnid gets its name from how it hunts. The spider has a unique ability to skid across water, allowing it to fish for smaller water prey, such as tadpoles or minnows. It scoops them from creeks and lakes and has its meal.
The fishing spider loves watery places, and lives anywhere there is enough water to support it. Found throughout Canada, it does not range any farther west in the U.S. than Texas.
Todd Lanigan, a forest district specialist in Eau Claire, gives some advice to anyone who is lucky enough to spot one of these shy creatures.
If you stumble across this giant spider, you should immediately . . . do nothing, Lanigan said.
“If you see one, you don’t need to kill it,” Lanigan said. “If you just leave it alone, it’ll wander off.”