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Also known as hunting spiders or ground spiders, wolf spiders are quick and efficient hunters. Unlike other species that spin elaborate webs to entrap and catch their prey, wolf spiders catch other insects by running them down like a wolf, hence their name.
Although there are over 2,300 species of wolf spider worldwide, only about 250 species have been found to live in the US. Wolf spiders are well adapted to living nearly everywhere, with their unique features making them great at surviving under rocks, logs, and grass. They belong to the Lycosidae family and are scientifically known as Lycosidae spp.
Besides being agile, wolf spiders boast easily camouflaged bodies, incredible eyesight, and venom-injecting fangs. Another interesting fact is that these spiders exhibit unique parenting capabilities not often seen in other spiders.
Identifying Wolf Spiders
The most distinct feature about wolf spiders is that they don’t spin webs to trap their prey. Instead, they rely on their sharp eyes, long legs, and disguised bodies to spot and chase down insects. Once they get hold of the prey, they roll it into a ball, inject it with venom and turn its internal organs into a special meal. However, they have other identifying features, including:
Color: Since there are more than 2000 species of Wolf Spiders, their colors may range from black, brown, grey, or tan. Some have stripes or dark markings.
Size: Females are larger than males, but they all range from ¼-inch to 1 inch across.
Bodily Features: Wolf Spiders come with eight eyes arranged around the cephalothorax. They have two bigger eyes on top of the head, two large ones at the front, and four smaller eyes lined up above the mouth. They have eight long hairy legs. They have a broad body, and their massive size and prominent jaws allow them to feast on various insects.
Habitat: Typically, Wolf Spiders are found under stones, leaf filters, and logs or in the grass. However, they have adapted to living anywhere, and you’re likely to see them in places like the garage, basement, behind the door, or in corners when they do get indoors.
Diet: Wolf spiders feed on insects and other spiders. They can eat insects such as ants, beetles, grasshoppers, and more.
Something that sets apart the wolf spider from other species is how they treat their young. Once the eggs hatch, spiderlings emerge from the sac and climb on the mother spider’s back, and stay on her back until they are able to live and hunt on their own.
Are Wolf Spiders Dangerous?
Due to its sheer size, a wolf spider’s bite can be painful and itchy. However, its venom is not dangerous to humans unless it triggers an allergic reaction. Luckily, wolf spiders would prefer not to come into contact with us and don’t bite unless they feel threatened or have no other way to run away and escape from you.
There are claims that wolf spider bites can transmit bacteria that may lead to skin infections, but this is not something that has been documented as such cases are rare and haven’t been linked directly to the spiders.
How to Prevent and Control Wolf Spiders
Although wolf spiders have learned to co-exist with human beings, they’ll still bite if they are improperly handled or if they are trapped against you, for example if you were to accidentally roll over onto them in your sleep. Therefore, they’re not great companions to have in your home. Luckily, you can make sure that these creatures don’t come inside by doing just a few things, like: clearing piles of wood and rock near the house, clearing clutter in the basement or garage, trimming shrubs and trees near the house, and sealing crevices or holes on the wall.
However, if you want a long-lasting solution, you’ll need to seek the services of a professional pest control company, like Domain Pest Control. These experts will have the knowledge and tools to help remove these spiders from your property for good.