Facts About Wolf Spider: One of Utah's Most Dangerous Spiders

Spiders are carnivorous arachnids that many people are scared of. Spiders have eight legs and six eyes and sometimes are hairy, making people fear them. Additionally, many people believe that spiders are dangerous because they are venomous. But only a few are dangerous to humans. There are more than 45,000 known spider species all over the world, 621 of which are found in Salt Lake, Utah. 

Only 4 types of the 621 spider species in Utah are venomous, including wolf spiders. Salt Lake, Utah, is known for its natural scenery and vibrant wildlife, but you may stumble upon one of the most dangerous spiders in the city – the wolf spider. 

In this article, we will talk about wolf spiders and what are the things you should know about them. 

Fast Runner

Wolf spiders are known for their strong and powerful legs. Compared to other spider species, wolf spiders are more agile and can sprint up to 2 feet per second. They can use this ability to chase down their prey faster, making the chase successful. 

Don't Spin Web

One of the known abilities of spiders is to create and spin a cobweb. They use this web to trap their prey and eat them. However, wolf spiders are among the few spider species that do not spin cobwebs. In capturing their prey, they only need to chase them down. This is effective for them because, as mentioned, they have strong and powerful legs, making them run faster. Once they capture their prey, they will mash them up into a ball or inject venom into them. Then, they will eat the liquified internal organs of their prey.

Nonetheless, wolf spiders still create cobwebs and use them for different purposes. For example, they can use cobwebs to cover burrows to hide from their predators, such as small mammals, reptiles, amphibians, and birds. Wolf spiders will also use their webs to create a sac to carry their offspring or eggs.

Good Eyesight

Only a few of the whole spider species have good eyesight, and one of them is wolf spiders. In fact, wolf spiders possess the third-best vision among all other spider species. The eight eyes of wolf spiders are arranged in three rows. Their four small eyes are on the bottom. The two large eyes are in the middle, and the two medium-sized eyes are on the top. Wolf spiders rely on their good eyesight in hunting and catching their prey. Four of their eight eyes have retroreflective tissue to reflect the light. You can see this if you can shine light over their eyes.

Solitary Creatures

Most spider species are solitary creatures, including wolf spiders. They mostly hunt alone at night. As a result, they are often confused with tarantulas, which are nocturnal spiders. Like tarantulas, wolf spiders prefer living and hunting independently, unlike other spider species. Other spider species will form colonies and build cobwebs altogether. Moreover, other spider species will catch their prey together or share their prey with each other.

Can Camouflage

Wolf spiders can camouflage, but not the kind of camouflage a chameleon does. Wolf spiders have dark-colored bodies that help them blend into their environment – decaying plant matter, rocks, tree bark, or mossy ground. They cannot change their colors depending on their environment, like chameleons. Their camouflage capabilities are called natural camouflage, meaning their body color matches their environment or preferred habitat. 

However, some spider species can already change their body color to camouflage. These spider species are green lynx spiders. Nonetheless, wolf spiders’ camouflage ability can help them hide from predators and get close enough to their prey.

Thrive Anywhere

Wolf spiders can live just about anywhere they can find food. They know how to adapt and be flexible where they choose to live. They could live at both ends of the temperature, meaning they can live in both cold and hot environments. Some wolf spiders are found in cold mountain tops; others live even in volcanic lava tubes. Wolf spiders can also live in deserts, rainforests, grasslands, and suburban lawns. 

Carry Their Eggs

As mentioned earlier, wolf spiders can still produce silk to create webs. They will also produce silk to create sacs to carry their eggs. Most spider species will create nests to protect their eggs or bury them in the ground. But wolf spiders are different. To keep an eye on their eggs 24/7, female wolf spiders will create a sac that covers their egg and attach them to their spinnerets, the wolf spider’s organ that produces the silk. 

So anywhere they go, they carry their eggs with them. Other spider species will also create a silk sac, but instead of carrying it with them, they will attach it to a web, leaf, or any other structure they can find. When the wolf spider’s eggs hatch, they continue accompanying their mother by riding their back. 

Not Deadly

Wolf spiders are known to be one of Utah’s most dangerous spiders. This is because wolf spiders have venom and can inject into anyone or any other animals. However, they are not as dangerous as they seem. True, they have venoms, but their venoms are not powerful enough to kill. 

Moreover, a wolf spider bite is rare; wolf spiders will only bite if they are handled or feel threatened. If bitten by wolf spiders, your body tissues will not decay; thus, you won’t suffer from any severe health conditions. Instead, you will feel little to mild symptoms like pain, redness, swelling, itchiness, dizziness, rapid pulse, and nausea.

Beneficial to the Ecosystem

Although spiders are scary for most people, including wolf spiders, they are beneficial to the ecosystem and pest control in your area. Wolf spider food consists of grasshoppers, ants, insect eggs, and other spider species. They can help you eliminate other pests that are lingering around your area.

Origin of the Name

Wolf spiders are called “wolf” spiders because of their behavior. Just like wolves, wolf spiders will hunt down their prey, and they can run fast to catch their prey. In addition, they have mottled, dark-colored bodies that quite resemble wolf bodies.

Not your ideal pet?

Some people like to have pets around. Common household pets are cats and gods. But others prefer unusual ones, spiders, snakes, and scorpions. That’s why some people will get themselves wolf spiders to keep as pets. Others will keep wolf spiders to prevent other annoying pests in their area. But if wolf spiders are not your cup of tea, you can call for spider control in Salt Lake, Utah. They can help you eliminate wolf spiders in your area and any other spider species infestations.