52 Wolf Spider Facts: What You Need To Know

52 wolf spider facts

People either love them or hate them, but these robust and fast hunters, wolf spiders, deserve their common name and do not leave anyone indifferent.

Below you will find 52 wolf spider facts that answer the questions that people Google the most. I hope you’ll find them interesting and that you might even learn something new about these amazing spiders.

Table of Contents

52 Wolf Spider Facts

Most of these facts can apply to wolf spiders in general, but as there are around 2,300 wolf spider species, it is reasonable to expect there will be more or fewer exceptions.

Try one of our fun spider related quizzes:

1. How big do wolf spiders get?

There are plenty of wolf spider species, and their body size (legs not included) ranges from less than 10 to 35 mm (0.4 to 1.38 in), and Hogna is the genus with the largest of the wolf spiders.

Hogna carolinensis, specifically, is among the largest spiders found in the United States; females may have a body length of 22 mm (0.87 in) to 35 mm (1.4 in).

2. How many wolf spider species are there?

There are about 2,300 species of wolf spiders in more than a hundred genera. Around 200 of the 2,300 species live in the United States. A few of them are probably in your backyard or house 🙂

3. What do wolf spiders look like?

With over 2,300 species of wolf spiders, there’s a more or less uniform look. They are large, dark-colored, and athletically built. Colors range from brown and grey to black, and they can have dark markings, for example, stripes.

4. How many eyes do wolf spiders have?

They all have eight eyes that are arranged in three rows. The middle row has two very large eyes, and wolf spiders have excellent eyesight with those eyes, unlike most other arachnids.

In fact, Wolf spiders possess the third-best eyesight of all spider groups, bettered by jumping spiders (which can distinguish colors) and huntsman spiders.

Wolf Spiders Facts Infographic
Wolf Spiders Facts Infographic

5. How did wolf spiders get their name?

They got their name from the Ancient Greek word “λύκος” meaning “wolf,” and they do not disappoint as they are aggressive and fierce hunters, similarly to real wolves.

6. Where do wolf spiders live?

Wolf spiders can be found worldwide except in Antarctica in a wide range of habitats both coastal and inland, such as forests, meadows, gardens, and, as many of us know, our homes.

Although some species have very specific habitat needs, most are vagabonds without permanent homes. They live mostly in solitude and hunt alone and do not spin webs.

7. What is the biggest wolf spider?

The biggest wolf spiders in the world are Hogna ingens, or the Deserta Grande wolf spider, which is critically endangered and endemic to a single valley called Vale de Castanheira on the Deserta Grande Island of the Madeira archipelago.

The estimated adult spiders are numbered at an estimated less than 5,000 spiders and can reach a 12 cm (4.7 in) leg span.

Hogna, in general, is the genus with the largest of the wolf spiders, and Hogna carolinensis is among the largest spiders found in the United States.

8. Can you eat wolf spiders?

Many cultures eat insects and also arachnids, so I can imagine that some people also eat wolf spiders. In Cambodia, the fried spider is a delicacy. They eat tarantulas, though.

9. What does a wolf spider taste like?

The taste has been described as bland, contrasting texture from a crispy exterior to a soft center. The legs contain little meat, of course, while the head and body have white meat inside. Bon appetite!

10. Are wolf spiders venomous?

Wolf spiders are venomous in the sense that they can kill the small prey they are hunting. The venom is not dangerous to us humans or pets, and most of the pain will come from the bite itself and not the poison.

11. How strong is wolf spider’s venom?

Their venom is only strong enough to kill their prey and is not potent sufficient to hurt pets or humans.

12. How long do wolf spiders live? Wolf spider lifespan

Female wolf spiders live longer than males; for females, that can mean a lifespan of several years, and for males, only a year or less.

13. What eats a wolf spider?

Wolf spiders and spiders, in general, have plenty of enemies and predators that will be happy enough to eat them. Birds and reptiles are arguably their worst predators, but the long list of predators includes mammals, scorpions, fish, and other spiders as well.

14. Should I kill a wolf spider?

Definitely not. They are nature’s pest control in a way that they will eat (often harmful) insects. At the same time, they are not a threat to humans or their pets.

15. How do wolf spiders hunt and catch their prey?

They are agile and opportunistic hunters that will actively chase their prey and inject it with venom so they can eat the insect more easily. Some wait for passing prey in or near the mouth of a burrow and go for a surprise kill.

16. How do wolf spiders feed their babies?

Baby wolf spiders will eat super-small insects or parts of insects that their mother catches for them. Wolf spider moms are actually some of the most caring mothers in the spider kingdom.

17. How do wolf spiders reproduce?

The courtship starts when male wolf spiders try to attract females by rhythmically waving their long mouthparts or drumming them on leaves. Once mated, mom spider will spin around the egg sac, attach it to her abdomen and carry it literally everywhere around with her.

18. Do wolf spiders carry their babies?

Yes, wolf spiders are unique in the way that they carry their babies before and after birth. The mother carries the spiderlings for several weeks before they are large enough to disperse and fend for themselves.

No other spiders are currently known to carry their young on their backs for any period of time.

19. Are wolf spiders deadly?

Wolf spiders are only deadly to small insects that they prey upon. Their venom is not strong enough to kill anything bigger than that, including pets and humans.

Read more in our post Are Wolf Spiders Dangerous?

20. Are wolf spiders poisonous?

They are not poisonous but venomous, and they have only small amounts of venom that can only kill small insects and other spiders.

21. Are wolf spiders poisonous to dogs?

They are not poisonous to dogs as their venom is not strong enough.

22. Are wolf spiders poisonous to cats?

They are not poisonous to cats as their venom is not strong enough, but the bite would hurt your cat a lot.

23. Are wolf spiders good?

They are inherently good, and they will only bite you if seriously provoked. In all other cases, they will try to flee from you or your pets.

Wolf spiders also help keep insect populations under control.

24. Do wolf spiders jump?

They can jump, but they only do so when they are hunting their prey. But if you corner and provoke it, it will fight back and probably bite you. The best thing is to leave them alone or help them get out of the house safely.

25. Do wolf spiders make webs?

Wolf spiders have figured out how to live just about anywhere, so they do not make or spin webs. They also don’t need webs because they will hunt and chase their prey just like wolves.

26. Do wolf spiders spin webs?

No need to spin webs as they are great opportunistic hunters, and they are ground-dwelling.

27. Do wolf spiders eat other spiders?

They sure do. They will opportunistically eat anything they can get a hold of. That could be insects or other spiders, preferably (much) smaller than they are.

28. What do baby wolf spiders look like?

What do baby wolf spiders look like

You can see baby wolf spiders on their mother’s backs. They are typically huddled together, and their mom will carry them until they are big and strong enough to fend for themselves.

29. What do baby wolf spiders eat?

Baby spiders will eat small prey (or parts of prey) their mother caught and gave them to munch on. When they are big enough to fend for themselves, they will disperse from their mother’s back and live by themselves and catch their own prey.

30. How many babies do wolf spiders have?

They can have hundreds of babies, and their mama has to carry them around until they are big enough to go live by themselves. And you thought you had a difficult job!

31. Are wolf spiders aggressive?

These spiders are aggressive when hunting their prey which they will kill with venom and make a smoothie from their inner organs.

If you are a human being, there’s nothing to worry about. At least not if you are going to leave them alone and not corner or attack them. In that case, they might bite you, and that can be painful. Their venom is not strong enough to hurt you, luckily.

32. Where do wolf spiders live in your house?

Often we can encounter wolf spiders inside our homes, and if you are an arachnophobe, the mere thought of that can trigger you. Wolf spiders will find their way inside your house through cracks, crevices, or small openings around doors and windows.

As they do not make spider webs, they will find a dark and safe place to hide and hopefully find some insects to eat. They also like to explore holes left by other pests in your house.

33. Where do wolf spiders go in the Winter?

They will remain active during the winter months, and by staying burrowed in the ground, they can retain heat and prey upon the remaining insects. They might also find a way indoors to seek warmth and shelter.

34. What do wolf spiders drink?

Wolf spiders get their fluids from the prey they eat, but they will also drink water. They will spend time scavenging for water droplets from any available source.

35. What do wolf spiders hate?

They hate when someone is provoking them (don’t we all), and they might even bite you in that case.

36. How to get rid of wolf spiders?

We already said that they are useful spiders but if you do not want them in your house, try to find a way to carry them out into the garden safely.

37. Do wolf spiders climb into beds?

The urban myth is that we all swallow eight spiders each year. If it’s true, this most probably happens while we are sleeping. You can prevent spiders from coming onto your bed by letting your pets sleep on your bed.

Our cats were sleeping on our bed for many years, and I can tell you with 90% certainty that I did not swallow any spiders. 🙂

Wolf Spider’s Bite

38. Do wolf spiders bite?

They will bite you if they feel threatened, so don’t go and provoke them on purpose. Cornering them or making them feel scared for their life will get you a nasty bite.

39. What does a wolf spider bite look like?

Wolf spider bites look like other bug bites, and that is why people often think they were bitten by a wolf spider when it was another spider species or insect.

In the past, necrotic bites have been attributed to some South American species, but further investigation has indicated that those were probably, actually bites by members of other genera. The same thing was concluded in Australia.

40. Is a wolf spider bite dangerous?

Wolf Spider
Wolf Spider

Typically, they are not dangerous, and the pain and swelling will go away after 5-10 minutes. In the minority of bites, you might get complications and seek a doctor’s help.

41. Why do wolf spiders bite humans?

They might bite you if you attack them in any way, but otherwise, they will simply flee or try to avoid you completely.

42. What do you do if a wolf spider bites you?

In most cases, the bite won’t cause harm, but in a small minority of wolf spider bites, a person would have to seek professional help. If you’ve got swelling, apply some ice or insect bite ointment.

43. How long does a wolf spider bite last?

A wolf spider’s bite could last from 5-10 minutes. The pain is not from the venom but from the wolf spider’s bite itself.

44. How painful is a wolf spider’s bite?

Symptoms can include swelling, prolonged pain, dizziness, rapid pulse, and nausea. But that’s only the case in a minority of wolf spider bites. Generally, you will feel discomfort for 10 minutes or so with swelling, and after that, you should be fine.

Wolf Spiders As Pets

45. Can you keep a wolf spider as a pet?

Sure you can. They are a fairly popular and undemanding pet to keep. With proper care, they can live up to several years (females). They might even have spiderlings of their own.

46. How do you take care of a wolf spider?

They are really easy to take care of. Provide a dark place where they can spend their time, like a small box with an opening or something similar, and they will be happy. Water can be provided by keeping a moist sponge inside the vivarium.

They eat small insects, so you’ll need to provide that as well. Also, some of the species like to burrow in the soil, so make sure you provide plenty of deep enough soil for them to burrow.

47. How often do wolf spiders need to eat?

Most wolf spiders will only need to eat once every two days, but if you have a bigger one, they might have to eat every day.

Feed them insects that are smaller than they are and that can’t hurt them. No need to go out and buy food in a pet store as your backyard is a perfect place to find food.

48. Do pet spiders recognize their owners?

They can certainly get used to you after a while and can start feeling safe around you. I guess that means they can recognize you then, after all.

49. Do wolf spiders like to be petted?

I wouldn’t say that they’d like that, no. They might let you handle them after a while, but I guess it wouldn’t hurt to try and pet them. At least if they don’t bite you 🙂

50. Popular wolf spider species to keep as pets

People usually get a wolf spider that is local in their area or backyard. It is not uncommon for some folks to trap and keep as a pet a wolf spider that they have found running around their house.

There are some bigger and “flashier” species you can buy, such as the Carolina wolf spider, Hogna carolinensis, which is native to North America and is the official state spider of the state of South Carolina.

51. Wolf spiders for sale

You can easily find wolf spiders for sale if you look online. But most people will simply go out and try to catch one in their backyard.

52. Can you house wolf spiders together?

I could not find information on that as most people keep only one wolf spider per enclosure. I think that they would not fare well in pairs as they are aggressive from time to time, and an enclosure (especially a smaller one) would get quite tight pretty fast.

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Adrian Volenik

I've lived around animals my whole life and I hold a Diploma in Animal Physiology. When I'm not reading or writing about wild animals, health and fitness, and technology, you can find me playing with my son and two cats. My pastimes include running, playing video games, and solving the NY Times crossword.