Wolf Spider

Family - Lycosidae

Length - 1 to 5 inches

Recognition - Brownish gray body with dark markings on thorax and abdomen.

Habitat - Open fields and forests

Behavior - Carnivore

Residency - North America and Australia

Life Span - 5 years

Of Special Note - The wolf spider is a nomadic predator that prefers to attack its prey on foot rather than construct a web. To accomplish this sort of hunting, the wolf spider is equipped with long legs and can run very fast, making it difficult to catch. It has large fangs that are capable of puncturing human skin and the venom is known to produce necrosis (large areas of dead skin). The wolf spider is not much of a climber and usually stays on the ground.

The female will carry the egg pouch beneath her pedipalps to protect it from predators. Once the spiderlings hatch, they will stay on their mother's abdomen and thorax until they are big enough to go on their own. This makes for a bizarre spectacle since the hundreds of spiderlings add a significant mass to the spider.

Many people, including myself, have kept the wolf spider as a pet since it is akin to a small tarantula. A person can house the creature in a small aquarium or other enclosure with a substrate. The spider can be fed crickets, beetles, ants, mice, and potentially mealworms. In some areas, species of wolf spiders are endangered, so it is best to avoid killing them. To capture a wolf spider, look in dark open areas or go out at night with a flashlight. Always be careful around wolf spiders since their venom is capable of killing a large dog. If you are bitten, wash the wound with soap and water and contact your doctor.

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