Are Wolf Spiders Poisonous? | Important Facts!

Written by Thomas Matthews

Wolf spiders have a menacing appearance. Some almost stumble upon seeing these creatures for the first time, especially when they showcase their quick, athletic moves. Their looks are alarming, but they’re not included in the list of deadliest spiders.

Are wolf spiders poisonous? Wolf spiders are not poisonous. However, their bite has venom that can cause pain similar to a bee sting, redness, swelling and bleeding. Some also may experience malaise, nausea, and headache. When bitten by a larger one, it can cause significant redness, itchiness, and severe pain.

These spiders become aggressive when they hunt for food and feel threatened. But most of the time, they would just run off from danger. Nonetheless, it’s better to learn more about wolf spiders and know what to do when you come into contact with them. Read on for more information.

What Are Wolf Spiders?

What Are Wolf Spiders

Wolf spiders are from Lycosidae family, which is part of the Araneae order. With over 2,300 species recognized, they can be found all over the world.

Typically, these spiders are solitary. They don’t spin their webs; instead, they chase down and pounce on their prey. Also, they may run quickly if threatened.

What Do Wolf Spiders Look Like?

Wolf spiders are either gray or brown with some lines or markings. The abdominal part has the same color but with some stripes. As for the covering, gray hair spreads all over their bodies in an unspecified pattern. 

Some of them have yellow hairs around their eyes as well as light brown color on their joints. Males are in a lighter hue than females. They have eyes arranged in two upper rows, and smaller eyes are in the lower row.

The ones on the upper row surround the large pair of middle eyes. Then, there’s a pair of small, lateral eyes behind them.

Don’t make a mistake about the identification of wolf spiders as they may look like the brown recluse spider, which is more harmful. Wolf spiders can be differentiated from brown recluse spiders by the violin-shaped marking on their heads.

Also, the former moves quicker than the latter that is more reclusive.

Related: How to Get Rid of Brown Recluse Spiders? | A Detailed Guide

How Big Are Wolf Spiders?

The males of large species can grow to 18 to 20 millimeters, while females are a bit larger with a size that ranges from 22 to 35 millimeters. Females of the smaller species are also bigger than the male ones. They can be from 18 to 25 millimeters, while the males’ length is 16 to 18 millimeters.

Where Are Wolf Spiders Found?

Wolf spiders are known to build holes or tunnels in the soil that’s in the middle of or under the firewood, stones, or boards. They also dwell in open habitats such as meadows, grasslands, and farm fields.

When autumn comes, they take refuge in the warmth of a household as winter is approaching. Therefore, some consider them a pest. You’ll likely find them in the basements, garages, windows, doors, house plants, and terrestrial habitats.

Can Wolf Spiders Jump?

Can Wolf Spiders Jump

Wolf spiders, being recognized as athletic, can pounce instead of jump. That’s how it earned its name. But it’s not something to worry about as it only does this action when catching prey.

Do Wolf Spiders Bite? 

Wolf spiders rarely bite humans. But when a wolf spider bites, you can experience minor effects such as pain that can be compared to a bee sting, redness, swelling, and bleeding or puncture marks on the bite area.

Based on the findings of some studies, a few individuals experienced malaise, nausea, and headache.

If a larger wolf spider bit a person, it will leave fang marks and significant redness and itchiness. It can also cause severe pain. These things will likely happen when one is allergic.

But these symptoms will vanish within 24 hours. According to studies and research, wolf spiders don’t bring about serious medical conditions. Furthermore, they are not known to be poisonous to humans.

Are Wolf Spiders Poisonous to Cats?

Are Wolf Spiders Poisonous to Cats

Wolf spiders are not poisonous to cats, as cats’ digestion can take care of it when ingested. However, when cats play with them, these arachnids may bite. Usually, kittens are more affected than adult cats.

Some symptoms of their bites are swelling, bruising, skin inflammation, itchiness, limping, irritability, difficulty breathing, and runny eyes and nose. Thus, treatment should be given within an hour after the incident.

Are Wolf Spiders Poisonous to Dogs?

There’s no danger when your dog eats a wolf spider since it’s not poisonous. The venom of this spider is dissolved during the digestion process. Only be wary when the spider bit their mouth or tongue as it results in worse conditions. You may notice that your dog will limp and lick the bitten area.

Also, you have to monitor your pet if ever it experiences itchiness, trembling, diarrhea, restlessness, lethargy, or vomiting. So, you’ll know if you need to take it to the vet.

On the other hand, it is not common for wolf spiders to attack your pets, as they prefer other insects.

How Aggressive Are Wolf Spiders?

How Aggressive Are Wolf Spiders

These spiders are solitary creatures and prefer hunting alone at night. They may only come together during mating season. Still, they can be active during the day as some rest and roam around in the same territory.

Some wolf spiders build walls around their holes and tunnels. They hide behind them while they watch prey and predators. Hence, they are only aggressive when it’s time to catch prey. 

These insects will only attack once they’re being provoked. They’ll just run for cover most of the time if they sense danger. Furthermore, it’s a rare case that they bite humans since they only feed on other insects.

Why Shouldn’t You Squish a Wolf Spider?

Seeing these insects roaming around your house is a terrible thing. Your impulse is to squish them out of fear, but once you know what they can do, you better refrain from doing so. 

Since they eat all sorts of insects like crop pests, many farmers would be thankful for them, and that’s one good reason not to squish them.

Some of them may have just wandered off, but others tend to seek refuge from your house. They might look frightening, but they’re not like bees and wasps that have a defensive instinct to their hives.

You may collect these spiders with the help of a pencil or stick and free them outdoors.

Another way to get rid of them is using a cup and a credit card. You can trap them using these things and release them outside your house.

Here is a video of a wolf spider capturing some insects that can potentially be a pest:

What Should You Do if You See a Wolf Spider?

As mentioned, a wolf spider won’t attack as long as it’s not threatened or provoked. It may even have already avoided you before you attempted to get rid of it. 

If one spider is inside your house that gives you creeps, take it outside as it can contribute to eliminating harmful insects.

Should I Kill a Wolf Spider?

Should I Kill a Wolf Spider

Let these creatures live if they’re in their natural habitat. However, it’s a different story when they monopolize your house, and one of them bit a family member. 

You can use pesticides such as Hot Shot Fogger6 , Advion 383920 , and Mighty Mint . Read the labels carefully before usage. This measure is typically done in crawlspaces and basements. In this way, you can lessen their numbers. You can also fill holes and gaps in your house to prevent them from entering.

Hot Shot Fogger With Odor Neutralizer, Kills Roaches, Ants, Spiders & Fleas, Controls Heavy Infestations, 3 Count, 2 Ounce Pack of 2
  • KILLS ON CONTACT: Hot Shot Fogger With Odor Neutralizer kills on...
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When the situation is out of your hands, you should seek help with the pest control or extermination service. A professional can surely solve the issue.

How Long Can Wolf Spiders Survive Underwater?

Since wolf spiders are fishing spiders, they can’t only run on the water surface, but they can also stay underwater for a short while. It’s also their way of hiding from their predators.

What Eats a Wolf Spider?

What Eats a Wolf Spider

Here’s a list of animals that prey on wolf spiders:

  • Ants
  • Birds
  • Praying mantis
  • Other spiders
  • Shrews
  • Toads and some amphibians

A wolf spider’s speed and camouflaging ability are ways to escape from its predators. Also, its sensitivity to vibrations and good eyesight can help them immediately hide in the tunnels or holes that they make when a predator is targeting them. When it senses danger, it will likely bite the assailant.

Related: Can Spiders Bite Through Leggings? | Facts and Safety Precautions


Although wolf spiders might look as some recognized as poisonous, it doesn’t cause serious harm to humans. On the other hand, you should look after your pets closely when this spider bites them, even though it’s a rare case.

List of Sources

Isbister, G., Framenau, V. (2004). Australian Wolf Spider Bites (Lycosidae): Clinical Effects and Influence of Species on Bite Circumstances. National Library of Medicine.

Baker, J. (2019). PDIC Factsheets: Fishing Spiders and Wolf Spiders. NC State University.

Wolf Spiders in Nebraska. University of Nebraska–Lincoln.

Wolf Spiders. Queensland Museum.

Jacobs, S. (2018). Wolf Spiders. Pennsylvania State University.

Thomas Matthews
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