Thursday, May 1, 2008

Wolf spiders - they definitely bite

The wolf spider is very common spider around TN. Bill learned first hand today that they give a painful bite.

I reached into the strainer basket of my pool today to clear out the debris - mostly seeds dropped from the trees. On my left thumb, I felt a sudden wicked sting, I was certain that I'd been stung by a red wasp. But no, I looked into the basket and there he was, the little bastard - a wolf spider, just a bit bigger than a silver dollar (leg span). He paid the ultimate sacrifice for his misgiving. The bite was no big deal. It stopped hurting after a few minutes, but the thumb swelled and now after an hour, the swelling isn't so bad. It's almost back to normal.

Wolf spiders don't spin webs like other spiders. They are carnivores and hunt for their prey using speed and venom. I've observed a few times in the spring, females carrying what seems like dozens of tiny spiders on their bodies. These spiders can be controlled effectively with chemical sprays.

This spider bite was was nothing compared to a yellow jacket attack I had a few years ago. I was mowing my lawn and several bees came out of the ground and attacked. I was bitten several times in rapid succession as I fled the area. It happened so fast, I never saw them. I actually felt a slight fever and a slight tightness in my chest an hour after that attack. That was amazing. I didn't want to suffer another attack so I later I returned to kill the nest.

UPDATE:
After maintaining this blog for 7+ years, among the thousands of posts, THIS post on the wolf spider is the single most visited blog post in the history of this blog.   It has been accessed 10s of thousands of times.  Why is it people are so interested and fascinated with this creature?

25 comments:

Mr. Mack said...

I have been stung by wasps mowing. No Yellow jackets, but I hear hey are vicious. I was bitten while weed-eating in my culvert by a snake once. Lawncare is a dangerous undertaking, it seems.

Wolf spiders die if i see them.

Bridgett said...

Hmm, something funky just happened when I commented. Let's try again.

Ever seen how far a wolf spider can jump? I've seen them jump five feet from a barn door to a fence. I try not to be too squicked out by spiders (reasoning that if they are there, they are probably eating the things that would eat me little by little), but that was a little much.

Ground nests suck. Once you get into them, you just can't get out of them without twenty or thirty stings.

Lisa said...

Oh YUCK!!!!!!

Becky said...

We have seen many wolf spiders inside our house this year, and a couple of weeks ago I had to take our cocker spaniel to the vet for a large golf-ball sized knot on his face. As it turns out, the vet believed it to be a spider bite, quite possibly from a wolf spider. After a couple of weeks and a dose of antibiotics, the dog is slowly healing. He still wakes up some mornings with a little swelling in the affected area, and we are continuing to treat him. This has been one nasty bite.

Anonymous said...

Here in san diego we just found one that came out from behind our computer. it was about the size of a silver dollar as well, we caught it but, this thing is super fast.

Anonymous said...

I particulaly like the huge wolf spiders that rule the rocks in the river on whitewater rafting trips! Some of these monsters are almost as bigas my hand. It seems like the bigger the rock, the bigger the spider. One time a saw a real BIG walking around his or her rock with 3 or 4 littles ones. They seemed to be communicating... I thought I herd the big one tell the little ones: One day this could all be yours.
--Mikr

Marrow said...

Awww don't kill wolf Spiders their awesome and hardly ever bite you you had just reached your hand in and it was cornered .. Harmless and good as they eat all the annoying bugs.

Anonymous said...

http://i524.photobucket.com/albums/cc329/DreamsofEcstasy/DSCN0275.jpg


I'm not sure what this spider is but I'm guessing wolf spider.
I got bit on the calf couple months ago and just days after I seen this guy chilling outside my bedroom door on the tile landing off the stairs. The bite area did turn from a lil red mark to about the size of a silver dollar and the tissue turned real hard and itched. Toward the end of the infection the skin started to turn yellow for 2 or so days and the size of the area started to get smaller then one morning the bite mark disappeared and left a small little bite mark then eventually cleared up

dreamsofecstasy@hotmail.com

Billy said...

OK. This is a serious inquiry people. I live in Stewart County, Tennessee. I hardly ever have any type of bug get into my residence, ever. Now, all of a sudden, I have killed (3) three spiders that look A LOT LIKE this spider where talking about here. I have them taped to index cards and will try to photo them tonight and post them tomorrow. But I killed (3) of them in (3) days. First was on my kichen floor during then night when the light was dim. The second was in my living room. He had crawled up my chair and "touched" my hand. Then he got my shoe on top his head. The last one I killed last night after my wife discovered it in our shower. Why all of a sudden? WTF? I am definatly going to buy some pesticide but I need to know what you recommend? Type of spray? Where to spray? Maybe outside too or something? I am VERY WORRIED. Because I have a 12 month old child that runs and plays all throughout my house. And never hand spiders before. Now (3) in 72 hours. Please help me. Seriously.

glen said...

You will do more harm to your child spraying pesticides around than getting bitten by a wolf spider!! Their bite in the majority of cases is no worse than a bee or wasp sting but we don't go around killing THEM on sight do we? Why then do people insist on killing spiders whenever they see them? Spiders only bite if in danger themselves and kids are easily taught to look and not touch!!

Khal said...

"...than a bee or wasp sting but we don't go around killing THEM on sight do we?"

Sorry glen, but when there is a bee or wasp in my house my first instinct IS to kill it.

Jimbo said...

My daughter got bitten by a wolf spider on her thumb. I got really sore and swollen but it really can't hurt people. Large wolf spiders do have enough venom to kill a small dog.

They are more helpful than harmful. They eat tons of pests like ants, termites, and the large ones will eat mice.

I found a nice article summerizing wolf spiders: http://www.freeinfosociety.com/site.php?postnum=278

Quickie said...

These spiders are incredibly aggressive where I live. I had one up attack me out of nowhere. I suppose I was too close to it's living space.

I was sitting at my computer desk one day and I heard a rustling from the corner of the room. From out of the shoes I had in the corner came one of these bad-boys. It's ran at my full speed and jumped onto my pant leg. After attempting to bite me it ran off in the opposite direction where I pursued it and stepped on it. I don't think they're particularly dangerous but they will out and attack you for no reason. Or maybe that one just had a deathwish.

Anonymous said...

My 60 lb dog got very sick out of the blue.

Had a blister on her stomach and seemed to be suffering from pretty strong muscle paralysis (difficult standing up for a day or two). She had no fever or other signs of illness except bloodshot eyes.

The vet was stumped and unable to provide a diagnosis. Blood test came back with sodium and potassium levels that were off but no strong indicators of any particular problem.

I started the dog on a week of general antibiotics and she seemed to get better overnight. Not sure if the antibiotics helped or if she was just getting better on her own anyway. Days later, the blister on her stomach swelled up to 10X its size and disappeared as quickly as it came. She recovered really fast after that.

I found one of these horrifying spiders two weeks later living in my closet. It's just a guess but I think it bit my dog and caused her strange temporary illness.

I tried killing it but it was too fast. Luckily it resurfaced in my bathroom the following week and I took it down! Left a disgusting mess all over the bottom of my sneaker!

Anonymous said...

Don't kill wolf spiders. They are your friend. You know why? Besides eating various insects, they are the predators to brown recluses. Yeah I'd rather have a wolf spider than a brown recluse running around me any day. Look up what a brown recluse bite can do and you can't kill those with pesticide.

Anonymous said...

i was just on my computer and found a huge one of these. we cought it and its cool.scary to look up and theres a huge spider sitting three feet above you.

Anonymous said...

I found what looked to be a (Wolf Spider) almost dead outside my bathroom. Apparently my cat had discovered it, and being a cat when the life ran out of the spider she lost interest in it. I have Arachnophobia in the extreme sence. (woke up to a Tarantula on my face as a child) Will there be more of these wandering around my home? I do have a small dog, and I don't want any harm coming to her.

Anonymous said...

Some of the symptoms you guys are describing re: your dogs sound more like brown recluse bites (or potentially hobo spiders, if you live out West) than wolf spiders. No, wolf spiders do not have enough venom to kill a small dog (unless your dog is literally a couple inches long). Wolf spiders are a boon, as they kill other insects you definitely don't want in your house. Like all spiders, they will only bite if threatened or carelessly handled (I call BS on the story about the spider charging across the room, etc.). If they really bother you that much, gently pick it up with a paper towel and relocate it outside. Don't be an alarmist, and don't buy into disinformation.

Anonymous said...

Hey I killed six of these big boys in two months!! Each one bigger than the last. But no matter. All were brought down with my handy Hot Shot wasp spray. Nice to tag them from several feet away. Death is almost instant. I will be contacting my bug man. They hunt bugs? Why are they in here and not outside where the bugs live???

bite attack said...

I think I might have a spider bite attack on my belly. It is very red and now the bite itself is swollen and white at the top and it is getting bigger and it hurts extreme. Please anyone suggest me what should I have to do?

spider attack said...

Hey I have heard a lot about spider bite attack, and I think spider had bite me on my left hand. Its paining a lot and my hand is swollen too. Suggest me what should I do??

Anonymous said...

yeah my dog got bit in the mouth an hour ago, what do i do?

Anonymous said...

You have just lost your damn mind

Anonymous said...

Wolf spiders will not charge you, and will only be snarky if provoked.....the only spider that will indeed charge you is the brazilian wandering spider, for kicks check out this bad boy spider. The darn thing will actually leap at you and will hunt you down, nasty buggers.

Anonymous said...

Congrats on your visits. It is useful information indeed. People want to know how other people are reacting to these creatures and the potential health risks. I myself am an electrician and I build for the biggest luxury home builder in america. Often times when building I encounter various spiders inside light cans and outlet boxes. Recently I removed the covering of a high hat can to have what I thought was a lizard fall out. It turns out it was a female wolf spider. With legs it was as big as my palm, and it made a meaty smack when it hit the floor. I wish i could have gotten a pic before this goliath got away, but it prompted my curiosity