Of the many spiders you can stumble upon while tip toeing to the kitchen for a late night snack, wolf spiders are one of the more terrifying species. This larger hairy spider is an active hunter, meaning he doesn’t just wait for his prey to fall into his web, but instead goes after it himself, and they are a pretty fast bunch in general. Having one of these walk across your path in the middle of the night can be a harrowing experience, and I am speaking from first hand experience. Unfortunately, they are also the most common spider people call pest controllers about, and so the likelihood of your making one’s acquaintance is rather high.

Wolf spiders look similar to smaller-bodied tarantulas with extremely long legs to make up for having a smaller body. Their bodies are roughly between 1.4 and 1.5 inches long, with legs that can be anywhere from 1 to 3 inches long. This can make them quite frightening when you see one scuttling nearby as you walk down your hallway at night. Wolf spiders can vary from yellowish-brown, darker brown, and dark brown, with striped markings that are either white or grey. Since they are mostly nocturnal, resting during the day among leaf litter, under logs, in burrows or crevices, wolf spiders have fairly good vision, which helps them hunt their prey at night.

Wolf spiders are most often discovered at ground level in basements and garages of homes, especially those near wooded areas. While wolf spider bites are rare, because of the large size of their jaws, they are painful, often compared to a bee sting. Thankfully, their venom is not strong enough to pose a threat to humans unless there is an allergic reaction or a secondary bacterial infection develops, both of which are not common occurrences. To prevent any run-ins with wolf spiders at night make sure all doors and windows are closed and the screens are in good condition. If you come across any gaps in the frames or exterior wall surrounding windows and doors, seal them with caulk. Keep vegetation and litter away from the window well and foundation doorway, and always check any vegetation such as a potted plant that you bring indoors from your yard or a commercial greenhouse.

Have you ever stumbled across a wolf spider in your home in the middle of the night?