Healthy Living

Wolf Spider Bites

Wolf Spider Bites

Key Takeaways

  • Wolf spiders are excellent and perceptive hunters.
  • Wolf spiders mostly live in isolation and they prefer hunting alone.
  • Wolf spiders do not spin webs like the regular spiders.

It can be quite scary when someone experiences a wolf spider bite. However, if someone knows what wolf spiders are and how to take care of their bite wounds, it would minimize any possible dangers or complications. If you want to know more about the wolf spider, then you have definitely come to the right place. This article will put some light on wolf spiders and explain everything about wolf spider bites.

What is a wolf spider?

Wolf spiders belong to the Lycosidae family. Wolf spiders have great eyesight, which is why they are excellent and perceptive hunters. Wolf spiders mostly live in isolation and they prefer hunting alone. Another characteristic of this spider is that it does not spin webs like the regular spiders. Some of them can be defined as hunters who look for the right opportunity to pounce on their potential prey whenever they get one. Sometimes, they even chase the potential prey until they catch it. There are also some wolf spiders who wait for their potential prey to pass by and then catch it.

There are a variety of wolf spiders including red wolf spider, Ohio wolf spider, white wolf spider, etc.

If wolf spiders are provided with the right habitat, they are expected to live around an average of 11 years. Although wolf spiders can look similar to other spiders, their size can vary and they usually carry their egg sacs on their spinneret. The eyes of the wolf spiders are prominent and large in size. These physical traits also differentiate them from other types of spiders.

How do wolf spiders look like?

Most wolf spiders are easily mistaken for tarantulas due to their similar physical appearance. However, you can distinguish them from other spiders if you take a look at the number and arrangement of their eyes. 

You can tell that it is a wolf spider because it has eight eyes that are arranged in three rows. The arrangement of its eyes can be described as:

  • Two medium-sized eyes on top of its head
  • Two large eyes on the middle row
  • Four small eyes on the bottom row

The wolf spider’s two large eyes on the middle row also glow in the dark. Always remember that the most important feature to look for when it comes to identifying wolf spiders is their eyes.

Their hunting skills usually depend on their eyesight, but they also have an acute sense of touch. These spiders are night-time hunters in nature. When light hits the eyes of the wolf spider, it reflects light back to its prey and produces a glow, which makes them easily noticeable. This trait is what makes wolf spiders great hunters.

As previously mentioned, wolf spiders carry their egg sac in a unique manner, which helps in their identification. The egg sac is a silken, globe-like structure that is attached to the lower portion of their abdomen called as spinnerets. Female wolf spiders usually carry their egg sac on their spinnerets for about three weeks. To keep the egg sac away from the ground, the abdomen is supported in an upward position to avoid being dragged on the floor. Even if it can be a type of disadvantage when it comes to hunting, the wolf spiders are still able to hunt in an excellent manner. Another quite unique aspect of the wolf spider’s parenting method is when its baby spiders emerge from the egg sacs. Newly hatched baby spiders climb up to their mother’s back and stay there until they become mature, which could take weeks.

Some sure ways to recognize a wolf spider are mentioned below:

  • The size of wolf spiders can vary and can measure from ½ to 2 inches in length.
  • Its body is hairy and can be orange-brown in color. However, some wolf spiders appear as gray and black with splotches and stripes that give a camouflaged look.
  • Unlike other spiders, a wolf spider can also have two extra tiny arms or leg-like appendages extending from its front side.
  • The color of young and baby wolf spiders can vary, although they look very similar to a full-grown wolf spider.
  • Mother wolf spiders are usually seen with its babies.
  • Wolf spiders make use of camouflage as their means of self-defense. Most of the time, their color is according to their habitat.
  • Some wolf spiders can make deep tubular burrows and most of their time are spent lurking in the burrows. Others can take shelter under the rock or any other suitable shelter in nature. These wolf spiders can wander continuously in various places. That is why they can easily venture into the human habitat when the weather becomes chilly during the autumn season. For this reason, some people find these spiders in their lawns as well as their gardens.
  • Some wolf spiders can also have certain microhabitats, which can be near streamside gravel beds or montane herb fields. They can also live in sand dunes in coastal areas.
  • Other wolf spider habitats include inland dry shrublands and woodlands, wet forests in coastal areas, and in the alpine meadows as well.

Are wolf spiders dangerous?

Wolf spiders may look dangerous enough due to their physical appearance. However, a wolf spider only bites its prey if it is continuously provoked. A wolf spider bite is not lethal but they can be classified as dangerous to humans. Its bite is quite painful and irritating. It is advised that when a wolf spider is identified, it is better to get rid of it right away.

Are wolf spiders poisonous?

Wolf spiders are also venomous in nature. However, their poison is not considered lethal. The common symptoms of a wolf spider bite are swelling, pain, and itching of the wound and the area around it. Other symptoms include a rapid pulse, dizziness, and nausea. There are also reports of necrotic wolf spider bites, and when it happens, one should immediately seek medical help.

The sole reason why wolf spiders have venom is to successfully attack and hunt down their prey. Although its venom will not have a similar effect on humans, it is best not to neglect its bite and get medical attention as soon as possible.

The red wolf spider, Ohio wolf spider, and white wolf spider are not lethal as well.

The side effects from the wolf spider's bite can last up to a maximum of 10 days. It is highly recommended to visit the doctor as soon as possible for proper diagnosis and treatment.

Wolf spider bites

There have been many cases of wolf spider bites. However, wolf spiders do not bite you unless they are provoked. If you do get bitten by a wolf spider, there are some treatment steps you should definitely carry out without any delay.

The bitten area will turn red and will swell up, causing pain. An infected wolf spider bite can also turn dark in color, which may last up to 10 days or so. Your lymph glands can swell up as well. The bite wound resembles like a punctured tire. It will not grow large in size, but may still remain dark colored.

First aid

When bitten, the first thing you will definitely need to do is to wash the bitten area with clean water and soap. You should wash the bitten area gently and carefully. This way, you will effectively lower the strength of the venom and lessen the pain from the bite. Next, you may apply an antibiotic cream to the wound to prevent any bacterial infection.

To stop the venom from spreading to other parts of your body, you can apply ice to the wound or apply a cold piece of cloth over it. Although the venom is not lethal to humans, it might spread out and cause harm to other parts of the body. If the pain is not subsiding, you may take a mild painkiller to deal with the pain.

The most important thing you should do is not to panic. Remember, the venom will not kill you.

How to prevent wolf spider bites

To conclude, if you want to avoid accidental bites from the wolf spider, ensure that your home is free from such spiders. The following are some chemical-free ways to avoid wolf spiders inside your home:

  • Make sure that you are not giving them any place to hide inside your home.
  • Use plastic storage containers in storing or organizing your belongings in the attic or garage. These containers should not have any loose-fitting lids to prevent the wolf spider from getting inside it.
  • Wolf spiders can also hide behind the drapes and curtains. If you want to avoid wolf spiders, you should use blinds for the windows, where the wolf spider will not be able to reside.
  • Vacuum your whole house properly and frequently. Vacuuming on a regular basis will effectively get rid of wolf spiders in your house. During the spring season, you should make sure that you are vacuuming every nook and corner of your home.
  • If you do find baby wolf spiders, you should get rid of them carefully, so they will not grow into adults.
  • Ensure that you are not unknowingly feeding wolf spiders in your home. If there are lots of insects in your house, chances are that the wolf spider will venture into your home for the prey. Do not leave out empty bottles and cans as well as foods that insects will feed upon since they can also attract wolf spiders.
  • If there are cracks and holes in your house, you should seal them, so that wolf spiders will not be able to venture inside your home.
  • If you want to ward off wolf spiders, one effective way is to wipe the windows and tables with mild lemon juice. Wolf spiders will avoid these areas because they do not like its taste.

If you are using chemicals to get rid of wolf spiders, you should follow safety measures. However, if you are environmental friendly, you should first try the above-mentioned chemical-free methods. In case or by any chance they do not work out, you can use the chemicals to control and get rid of the spiders. However, using chemicals should be carefully done if there are babies, young children, and elderly people in your home.

Another best way to get rid of wolf spiders is to contact a pest control professional, who will be able to recommend you safer ways to get rid of the spiders. They can also recommend various chemicals that can effectively get rid of wolf spiders.