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Are Wolf Spiders Aggressive?

Wolf spiders are one of the most common spider species worldwide, living from the tropics to the arctic. There are around 2,500 species of these spiders that are known for roaming on the ground instead of hanging out in webs. They get their names from their chasing and pouncing hunting tactics, similar to wolves.

So, are wolf spiders aggressive like their namesake? Are they dangerous to humans? And what do you do when you see one?

Key takeaways

  • Wolf spiders aren’t aggressive to humans but can bite if threatened
  • Bites cause red, itchy, swollen bumps and rarely lead to infections
  • Trap and release instead of squishing a wolf spider that could release spiderlings

Are wolf spiders aggressive?

Carolina wolf spider
Carolina wolf spider | image by Fritz Flohr Reynolds via Flickr | CC BY-SA 2.0

Wolf spiders are hairy spiders that can grow up to 2 inches long. While they look creepy, they generally aren’t aggressive to humans and will only bite if they feel threatened. They typically will retreat if they see you.

However, sometimes you can get bitten if you get too close to a wolf spider without realizing it. When it comes to hunting, wolf spiders are fast, agile, and aggressive predators. Females are also known for showing aggression during mating, sometimes eating the male before, during, or after mating.

Do wolf spiders chase you?

No, wolf spiders won’t chase you like how they chase their prey. They prefer to be left alone and are more likely to run away from you. When they chase their prey, they are very fast, running 2 inches per second before pouncing.

Are wolf spiders dangerous to humans?

Wolf spider on wall
A wolf spider on wall

Wolf spiders aren’t deadly to humans since their venom has low neurotoxic levels. However, their bite can still cause uncomfortable symptoms. Typically a bite will cause a red bump that is itchy and swollen but goes away after a few days.

Children, elderly people, or people with compromised immune symptoms may experience more severe reactions. Symptoms that require additional medical attention or are signs of an allergic reaction include:

  • Swelling in the face
  • Breathing difficulties
  • Dizziness or unconsciousness
  • Bump increasing in size, looking like hives

Can you get an infection from a wolf spider bite?

A wolf spider bite doesn’t typically lead to serious complications, but having a wound on your skin can increase your risk of infection. For example, if you see a red line extending from the bite, this could be an early sign of a blood infection.

Make sure to clean the bite with warm water and soap if you get bitten. Then place a bandage over the bite to prevent any infections.

What attracts wolf spiders in the house?

Wolf spiders are typically attracted to lights and locations they can easily find prey. So if you have insects in or around your house, such as ants, earwigs, or crickets, you could accidentally attract these spiders.

They also prefer warm and dark habitats where they can hide or make their burrows. Since they are so small, they only need an opening no bigger than a dime to get in. This can be crevices, cracks, or small openings around windows or doors.

Once inside, wolf spiders typically hide among houseplants, around doors or windows, and in basements, closets, cellars, or garages. Luckily, they are ambush predators that mostly hunt on the ground, so they are less likely to climb up high into your bed.

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What should I do if I see a wolf spider?

If you see a wolf spider in your home, it’s best to trap it using glass and paper or a glue board. Then get rid of or release the wolf spider outside. If you want to kill the spiders in your home, you can use boric acid powder sprinkled in dark corners, areas, or cracks where they may be hiding.

If you see one outside, just make sure not to get too close that it might bite you. They can be beneficial for your garden since they hunt insects that can be pests, such as cockroaches, crickets, mealworms, and beetles.

Why shouldn’t you squish a wolf spider?

It can be tempting to squish a wolf spider with your broom and shoe. However, if you happen to squash an egg-carrying female you could release hundreds of spiderlings instead. The stomp may not kill all the young spiders she is carrying on her back.

Conclusion

While wolf spiders are aggressive to their prey and engage in cannibalism, you can’t say the same for their attitude towards humans. These spiders prefer to be left alone and retreat. However, they will bite if threatened or you get too close.

The bite typically doesn’t cause serious complications, and there are ways to remove them from your home safely. But whatever you do, don’t squish an egg-carrying female wolf spider!