Wolf Spiders are among the most feared and famous arachnids in the world. Yet, since they have similar features to other species, some may not know how to identify a Wolf Spider. Luckily for you, here to help you how to tell this type of arachnids apart!
Wolf Spiders are smaller than tarantulas and have fangs. that resemble claws, with a side-to-side orientation. Wolf and Brown Recluse Spiders have similar colors, but you can tell them apart by their marks. How? A Wolf Spider lacks the violin-shaped pattern on the head of a Brown Recluse Spider.
But there are many other ways to recognize a Wolf Spider. Likewise, there are tons of stories, some true and some myths about these species. So, stay with us to discover everything you need to know about Wolf Spiders!
Everything You Need to Know About Wolf Spiders
What Does a Wolf Spider Look Like?
People tend to mistake Wolf Spiders for tarantulas and Brown Recluse Spiders. So, to help you, we’ve made of list of things to look for in a Wolf Spider. We’ll also explain how and why these arachnids are different from similar species.
- For starters, Wolf Spiders are smaller than tarantulas. These species’ females are around ¼ and two inches long, while tarantulas are between 4.5 and 11 inches big. Meanwhile, Brown Recluse Spiders rarely ever get to an inch big.
- Wolf Spiders have marks and lines on their bodies but lack the violin shape that a Brown Recluse has on its head. That said, both Wolf Spiders and Brown Recluse Spiders tend to have a greyish brown color. The lines or marks in both species are in a lighter shade as well.
- A significant difference between Brown Recluse and Wolf Spiders is that the latter can’t spin webs. Thus, Brown Recluse Spiders have slender legs than a Wolf Spider who hunts on the ground and pounces on its prey. Also, Wolf Spiders spend a lot of time on the floor or burrowing; Brown Recluse Spiders high up.
- Wolf Spiders spend most of their time on the ground or burrowing. On the contrary, Brown Recluse Spiders prefer to be in higher places.
- Wolf Spiders have eight eyes arranged in three rows, and Brown Recluse Spiders have only six eyes.
- Another way to tell it’s a Wolf Spider is by how fast they move compared to both tarantulas and Brown Recluse.
- A Wolf Spider has horizontal, side-to-side fangs that look like pincers or claws. Tarantulas are the opposite and have vertical-looking fangs.
Now that we’ve covered the appearance of a Wolf Spider, let’s take a look at their behavior!
Behavior and Temperament of a Wolf Spider
There are a lot of stories about Wolf Spiders, some of which are pure myths.
First of all, they are not lethal killers than hunt in packs. Like most spiders, Wolf Spiders prefer to be alone and can be very territorial sometimes. If there’s not enough food, these arachnids can even show cannibalistic tendencies!
What these spider species have in common with wolves is that they ambush and pounce on their prey.
These tiny spiders are also famous for their speed, being able to run two inches per second. When they spot prey, Wolf Spiders wait for the right moment to run after it and kill it very fast. These arachnids have excellent eyesight to place food too.
While you may see Wolf Spiders at night, these nocturnal fellas tend to hide during the day. When the sun’s up, they’ll likely be burrowing or under rocks.
These creatures adapt to almost all types of environments and weather conditions. Thus, you can see Wolf Spiders pretty much everywhere in the world.
Now, you may be wondering what does a Wolf Spider eat? Well, let’s take a look at these species’ diet!
The Diet of a Wolf Spider
Wolf Spiders are carnivorous and considerate predators to different kinds of insects. These spiders feed on crickets, worms, grasshoppers, ants, and flies!
In captivity, you can feed them live, gut-loaded crickets or insects you see around your house. These species get most of the moisture they need from their prey, but they also drink water now and then. You must provide them with food every other day.
Speaking of Wolf Spiders in captivity, read on to discover what you’ll need to keep them as pets.
Keeping a Wolf Spider as a Pet
The Enclosure of a Wolf Spider
A 5-gallon plastic or glass terrarium is more than enough to house a Wolf Spider. Please remember to place a lid at the top of the tank that allows the air to enter. That said, make sure the holes are not big enough for your pet to run away; Wolf Spiders are fast escape artists!
Inside the container, you’ll need to put a two-inch layer of a pesticide-free substrate, such as soil. The spider will use the substrate to move around the enclosure. These arachnids will also burrow sometimes during the daytime.
To give a tank a more natural vibe and look, remember to add rocks, twigs, leaves, and plants inside. These small decorating items will make the spider feel at home. Likewise, some of these objects will provide hiding spots for your pet to rest when the sun is up.
The best part about keeping a pet Wolf Spider is that these arachnids adapt to all environments. Thus, you don’t have to worry about providing a specific temperature or humidity conditions. This part of a Wolf Spider’s nature also makes it the perfect pet for people who’ve never had a cold-blooded pet.
Feeding a Pet Wolf Spider
When it comes to feeding your new Wolf Spider, you can buy some live, gut-loaded crickets or worms at the pet store. Then, you’ll have to drop the insects in the spider’s every two days or so. You can also place the prey in the container with tweezers.
We can assure you, watching a Wolf Spider eat and hunt is a very entertaining process. These spiders go after prey fast, pouncing as if they were the most athletic predators out there!
But, if after 24 hours, the insects are still in the tank, remove them with tweezers as well. An uneaten insect could end up nibbling on your pet and hurting it.
If possible, dust calcium supplements into the insects before you offer them to your pet. These supplements help to maintain your Wolf Spider healthy and happy.
You’ll also need to place a small, shallow water dish inside the tank. Your spider will drink from the plate now and then, but it can’t be deeper than an inch. Otherwise, there’s a risk that your spider may drown.
Handling a Wolf Spider
As with most cold-blooded pets, please don’t handle your Wolf Spider unless it’s necessary. While a Wolf Spider’s venom is not toxic to humans, these species’ known speed means they could end up escaping. So, although you don’t have to worry about them biting you, you may lose your pet!
So, if you 100% need to handle a Wolf Spider to clean its tank, for example, you could scoop it into another container. But please, be careful not to hurt the spider!
If you still insist on handling a Wolf Spider, try not to make any sudden movements that could scare it. And know that even if the spider tries to bite you, it’s so small that the fangs won’t go through your skin.
The only way a Wolf Spider’s bite could have side effects on you is if you’re allergic to a bee’s sting. If your skin reacts to stings, you’ll likely experience the same with a Wolf Spider’s bite.
Yet, to protect the spider from getting bacteria from you, and vice-versa, don’t pet it with your bare hands. Instead, wear latex gloves if you must hold a Wolf Spider. Oh, and don’t forget to wash your hands before and after you touch the arachnid.
Wolf Spiders and Other Pets
It is never a good idea to mix cold-blooded pets with cats or dogs. Thus, if you already have other pets, try to keep them apart from your new Wolf Spider.
Why? Even if they’re only playing around, cats and dogs could cause harm to your tiny spider. In the worst-case scenario, the spider may end up dead.