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Are Wolf Spiders Dangerous To Humans?

By Antonia Čirjak February 02 2020

Portrait of a wolf spider magnified 10 times.
Portrait of a wolf spider magnified 10 times.

Wolf spiders are a large and agile kind of spiders, found all across the world. They have excellent eyesight and are very good hunters. They live and hunt in solitude and don’t spin webs. They are known to chase their prey down once they spot them, and they can wait for their prey for extended periods before swiftly attacking them as they appear.

Wolf spiders aren’t dangerous to humans. They will mostly ignore humans unless directly provoked. They rarely bite and will just prefer to run away in most case scenarios. 

How To Recognize A Wolf Spider?

Wolf spiders can vary in size significantly, and their bodies can be anywhere from 10 to 35 millimeters long. They resemble nursery web spiders, but an easy way to distinguish one from the other is by looking at the eyes. Both have eight rows of eyes, but the wolf spider has two eyes that are much larger than the rest and are in the middle row. Also, the eyes in the top row are a bit larger than the rest as well. Thanks to this, wolf spiders have excellent eyesight, as opposed to most other spiders who are blind in most cases. They also have an impeccable sense of touch, thanks to the sensory hairs all over their bodies and legs.

Macro shot of a wolf spider
Macro shot of a wolf spider.

Wolf spiders have a special reflective tissue over the four larger eyes. That tissue produces a special eyeshine when a light is flashed over the spider. That glow can easily be noticed. Their eyesight is third-best among all of the spiders. The only ones with better eyesight are the jumping spiders and the huntsman spiders. Wolf spiders are unique for the way they carry their eggs. Their egg sac stays connected to their bodies so that they can bring their unborn young with them. They are still capable of hunting while doing so. Wolf spiders carry their young with them after they are born until they are ready to take care of themselves. This is another trait unique to them.

Are Wolf Spiders Venomous?

If they are continually provoked, wolf spiders can inject venom. Their bites can have a multitude of symptoms, including mild pain, itching, and swelling. Their bites are not deadly, although people suspected otherwise in the past. It has been determined through research that the venom of a wolf spider isn’t strong enough to cause death. They also don’t bite humans unless they are strongly provoked. They shouldn’t be touched or picked up, and they shouldn’t try to bite a human being. 

Wolf spiders can be found all over the world, living mostly in meadows and grasslands. They can, however, be found in various other habitats, like the mountains or even deserts. They can sometimes even hide in vegetation or build tunnels under stones or boards. They often find shelter in human homes during the colder months of the year. They tend to raise their young there and can be found around doors, windows, or basements. It is harder to spot them because they don’t produce webs.  

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