The Wolf Spider: To Fear or Not to Fear

You notice a dark spot out of the corner of your eye. You look again, and you see a giant (well, to you it seems giant) spider. It’s hairy, brownish-gray, and has long, pointy legs. As you get closer, you identify the creature as one thing: a wold spider. If you’re brave, you might attempt at disposing of the beast. Or, you’ll ask someone else to do it for you. In any case, always check out the rest of your home after noticing the first sign of any pest. If there’s one, there could be more.

Here is what you need to know about Wolf Spiders:

Identification: Wolf Spiders are relatively common in the Midwest and Chicago suburbs. They are often confused with the Brown Recluse spider, but they lack the unmistakable violin-shaped marking behind the head. They are bigger than a common house spider, but average in size, ranging from around a half an inch to 2 inches (with legs). They are brown (sometimes grayish), hairy, and have various markings or lines. You might notice a lump on the back of some Wolf Spiders. This is because female wolf spiders carry their egg sacs around with them.

Behavior: Wolf Spiders tend to be non-aggressive. However, they can move very rapidly once disturbed. Rather than attacking, they are more likely to scurry away when afraid. The wolf spider exhibits peculiar parental behaviors, such as carrying egg sacs on their backs. Sometimes, a female wolf spider will kill and consume a male wolf spider after mating.

Habitat: Wolf spiders are a common household pest in the fall when they are looking for a warm place to overwinter. They are commonly found around doors, windows, house plants, basements and garages. Unlike the spider stereotype, wold spiders don’t spin webs.

Last but not least, the million dollar question. Are wolf spiders poisonous? The answer is no. However, they can bite. And when they do, it can be very painful and require medical attention. Bites effect different people in different ways. Make sure to take proper precautions with any bite and treat it if necessary.

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