Are Wolf Spiders Dangerous?

I was fascinated by wolf spiders since the moment I fell on the grass and gazed into eight of its eyes when I was a little kid. I was amazed that such a creature actually exists.

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Are wolf spiders dangerous?

They are not dangerous to humans, and on the off chance their bite has penetrated your skin, you will probably experience swelling around the site of the bite. The acute pain usually lasts 10 minutes and is caused by the bite itself and not the venom, which is not strong enough to hurt you.

Wolf spiders can be found anywhere where there are insects readily available for food. They are fierce hunters that chase their prey, insects, and other smaller spiders and inject them with their venom, and unlike most spider species, the wolf spider does not build webs to capture its prey but goes out at night to hunt it down.

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Wolf spider’s eyes

Most of the spiders have eight eyes, while others have four to six eyes, but few have good eyesight. Unlike most other arachnids, which are generally blind or have poor vision, wolf spiders have excellent eyesight, plus the sensory hairs on their legs and bodies give them an acute sense of touch.

Actually, wolf spiders possess the third-best eyesight of all spider groups. The only ones with better eyesight are jumping spiders, which can distinguish colors, and the huntsman spiders.

The eight eyes of the wolf spider are set in three rows of three different sizes, with two medium-sized eyes on top of its “head,” two large eyes center front, and four small eyes below those.

There are over 34,000 species of spiders, and one of the ways we separate them out into different families is by the number of eyes they have. With a few exceptions, if spiders have more than two eyes, they can see through all of them.

Wolf spiders possess grate-shaped tapeta lucida, which is a retroreflective tissue found in the eyes. This reflective tissue is only found in the wolf spider’s four nonsmall eyes (“secondary eyes”) and contributes to superior night vision. Many other animals that have this tissue are nocturnal, especially carnivores, while others are deep-sea animals.

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The spider babies – spiderlings

The fascinating fact about wolf spiders is that wolf spiders are the only spiders known to carry their babies – spiderlings. A mother spider can have more than astonishing 100 babies clinging to her abdomen. How do they do that? The egg sac is attached to the spinnerets (silk-spinning organs) at the end of the abdomen, allowing the spider to carry her unborn young with her. The abdomen must be held in the air to keep the egg case from dragging on the ground. They are still capable of hunting despite that.

Immediately after the spiderlings emerge from their protective silken case, they climb up their mother’s legs and press onto the dorsal side of her abdomen. 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. I hope they buy her flowers for Mother’s Day.

If the mother is disturbed, however, the babies often flee in all directions. Yikes! I hope to God it doesn’t happen inside of your home.

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What happens when a wolf spider bites you?

A Wolf spider bite symptoms are usually minor, restricted to local pain, itchiness, or discomfort. Less commonly, symptoms can include swelling, prolonged pain, dizziness, rapid pulse, and nausea.

Acute pain doesn’t last long, usually 10 minutes, and since 1990, doctors have not used antivenom to treat wolf spider bites as the venom is not dangerous.

You should seek medical attention if symptoms persist because the bite in itself may be infectious if proper actions are not taken.

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Are wolf spiders good to have around?

In my opinion, wolf spiders are good to have around your house, in the garden, for example. They provide pest control because they’ll eat pest insects like cockroaches and other smaller spiders. I personally wouldn’t let them stay inside the house, though 🙂

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How big can a wolf spider get?

Because there are almost 3000 species of wolf spiders, they vary greatly in size, from less than 10 to 35 mm (0.4 to 1.38 in).

Hogna carolinensis, also known as the Carolina wolf spider, is usually regarded as the largest of the wolf spiders in North America. The body length of females is typically 25 millimeters (0.98 in), and the body length of males generally is around 19 mm (0.75 in).

In the case of rabid wolf spiders, another common species, the females are larger than the male, with the former being 16 to 21 mm in length, while the latter has an average length of 13 mm.

Should you be afraid of wolf spiders?

Some humans, or dare I say most humans, have a more or less irrational fear of all spiders, and wolf spiders are on the top of the list because they are fairly big, common, fast, and hairy.

But almost all spider species will flee from anything larger than themselves and generally will bite humans only if they feel threatened and cannot escape. They are venomous, but that venom is only strong enough to paralyze small insects, and it can’t hurt humans or animals.

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Related questions

Blink, and you’ll miss it.

What do wolf spiders eat? Wolf spiders are insectivores, meaning they eat insects. They eat mostly ground-dwelling insects and other spiders.

Are wolf spiders aggressive to humans? They are not inherently dangerous. Only if you corner them or attack them, they might give you a lighter or harder bite, but that’s not even a rule. In most cases, they will be so afraid that they will just “freeze.”

Are wolf spiders dangerous to dogs or other pets? They are inherently not dangerous to dogs, cats, or other pets as their venom is not strong enough.

Do wolf spiders die in the winter? Wolf spiders remain active even in the coldest temperatures. By burrowing below ground level, wolf spiders aren’t as exposed to the elements as a web-dwelling spider would be. By keeping underground, they stay warm as well. They will hunt for remaining insects during winter for food. If animals have enough food during winter, there’s no need for hibernation, really.

Where do wolf spiders live? They live all over the World, including shrublands, woodland, wet coastal forest, alpine meadows, suburban gardens, and, yes, homes. Most of the wolf spiders are wanderers without permanent homes, and some build burrows that can be left open or have a trap door. Their arid-zone cousins construct turrets or plug their holes with leaves and pebbles during the rainy season to protect themselves from floodwaters. The wolf spider is very common in the U.S. In fact, scientists have identified more than 125 species of wolf spiders in the U.S. alone.

Why are they called wolf spiders? They belong to the Lycosidae family, which is from a Greek word meaning “wolf.” They also hunt their prey for food.

So, are wolf spiders harmless? They have venom and can bite you, but that happens rarely, and if they do bite you, the pain usually goes away in 10-15 minutes.


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