I was outside playing with my kids the other day and we saw a Daddy Long Legs scurrying across the driveway. My 6 year old proceeded to start screaming’ “Kill it!!” while my 9 year old calmly started to explain to him that although Daddy Long Legs are poisonous, their mouths are too small to bite humans. I had heard that for years, but is it actually true? As it turns out, it’s FALSE!
Daddy Long Legs are arachnids, but not spiders. They are in the Order Opiliones, and are sometimes referred to as harvestmen. They do NOT have venom or fangs. They are NOT poisonous. They do NOT have silk, so they don’t spin a web to catch their prey. Their mouths are similar to crabs or scorpions. It allows the Daddy Long Legs to catch and carry their food in their jaws. They mostly feed on dead insects or vegetable matter. These daddy long legs live mostly outdoors, but you may see them indoors in damp spaces like a shed or cellar. They lay their eggs in the ground under rocks or in the cracks of wood. The eggs hatch in the spring.
There is another creature that often gets referred to as a Daddy Long Legs that is actually a spider. It is in the Family Phocidae. They are also known as cellar spiders or “Daddy Long Leg Spiders.” These spiders DO have fangs and can spin webs.
So, spare the Daddy Long Legs you see around your home. They are completely harmless to you and your family and NOT poisonous!