Wolf spiders and Hobo spiders might look similar, but they’re different species with different habits. Both these spiders have a brown or brown-gray color. But the Wolf spider is a hunting spider while the Hobo spider creates funnel webs to catch and trap prey.
Wolf Spiders and Hobo spiders are different species. Wolf spiders are found throughout the US. Hobo spiders prefer Pacific Northwest habitats.
While both spiders eat all types of insects, the way these are caught differs considerably. Wolf spiders are hunters preferring to pounce on prey. Hobo spiders spin funnel-like spider webs and wait for insects to get trapped in them.
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What are Wolf Spiders?
Wolf spiders are part of the Lycosidae family. This spider family is grouped by the particularity of their eyes. Wolf spiders are 10mm at their smallest adult size. They can grow up to 35mm. While not the largest spiders, Wolf spiders are known as excellent hunters. They don’t spin webs and prefer to hunt by moving around looking for prey, making the most of their excellent vision.
These spiders have unique reflective qualities in their eyes which might make them easier to identify. 4 of their largest eyes are reflective under strong light. They can easily be seen at night.
Wolf spiders are also unique in their mating rituals and in the way they carry offspring. These spiders carry the egg sack attached to the spinnerets to avoid dragging the sack on the ground.
These spiders are found all over North America. Their color is often a camouflage color which helps them stay low-key in front of possible predators and while chasing prey.
What are Hobo Spiders?
The Hobo spider is part of the Eratigena family. These spiders grow anywhere between 7 and 14mm. Mostly known for a brown hairy body, Hobo spiders are very good at creating funnel-like spider webs. They live on the edge of this spider web where they prefer to wait for insects to fall into their traps.
As Wolf spiders, Hobo spiders aren’t particularly known for being venomous. However, some categorizations place these closer to moderate venomous reactions as opposed to mild reactions associated with Wolf spiders. Skin necrosis cases have been reported following a Hob spider bite.
Hobo spiders have been the subject of disagreement in the scientific world. There’s conflicting evidence of these types of spiders in almost all aspects of their life except how they look.
Hobo spiders have been recently (2017) downgraded in bite seriousness by some studies. These new studies claim there’s no negative effect in the venom of Hobo spiders if it doesn’t encounter bacteria on the skin of humans. However, what we know for sure is that the bite can hurt and cause necrosis when the venom of the spider meets bacteria.
On the other hand, most scientific research can’t pinpoint the Hobo spider’s lifespan. These spiders are believed to live a year while some data suggests they can live up to 3 years.
It’s estimated that the males die first and the females follow in late autumn, after the mating season, and after taking care of spiderlings. However, some data suggest the female Hobo spider lives longer, especially in warm climates.
Warmth in late autumn has also been linked to the mating results of these spiders. The colder the weather is at the end of September the likelier the female spider is to lay fewer eggs. Female Hobo spiders are only laying large numbers of eggs in the warmest autumns.
The scientific consensus is reached on the Hobo spider’s habitat, however. These are some of the most prolific ground-level spiders. They are found under rocks, dead trees, next to trees, and everywhere near the ground where they can hide and where they can create funnel-like spider webs.
Why are Wolf Spiders Often Confused With Hobo Spiders?
Wolf spiders and Hobo spiders are often confused because they have similar bulbous elongated body shapes. Both these spiders have hairy brown bodies and legs with markings such as stripes which can often create confusion between the species.
Brown-yellow body color is highly specific to these 2 types of spiders. This is why they can be a bit difficult to tell apart. The most frustrating part is looking at their eyes. With 8 eyes each, these spiders can be difficult to tell apart for those who haven’t seen them before.
Differences Between Wolf Spiders And Hobo Spiders
These spiders are different species. While their body color adaptations make them look similar as they prefer to live out in nature, these spiders have both behavioral and physical differences.
Wolf spiders are mostly brown-yellow. Hobo spiders are found in all types of brown colors. While similar at a first glance, there’s a wider range of colors the Hobo spider is seen in. Hobo spiders don’t have the black bands on their body such as Wolf spiders. Instead, they have chevron-like markings on the middle of the abdomen.
Wolf spiders are normally easier to identify. They have black lines that run along their body. These marks may vary in intensity (depending on the mating season) but they remain visible through the year.
Both the Wolf spider and the Hobo spider’s colors mimic the environment they live in. From forests to fields with plenty of leaves, tall grass, and fallen branches, these are areas where the brown color of these spiders makes them blend in easily.
Variations apply to the coloring of these spiders. For example, the Wolf spider’s black lines tend to become less visible when the female prepares for the mating season. This is believed to have a self-camouflage function which helps the female stay low-key and not as visible to predators.
Both spiders have hairy bodies and hairy legs. However, the hairs on these spiders are different. Wolf spiders have thick hairs which continue on their legs. Hobo spiders have thin hairs which might even be difficult to see to the naked eye. These hairs are best seen under magnification.
These spiders have different habitats. Wolf spiders live in burrows and they roam around. Hobo spiders create spider webs. Wolf spiders are mostly found in burrows, small holes in the ground where they hide and wait for prey. They sometimes wander off and they even more around the burrows to find prey.
Hobo spiders, on the other hand, like to create spider webs. They create distinct funnel-like spider webs which are more efficient in protecting themselves from predators. Once prey gets caught up in the spider web, the Hobo spiders move in to bite and paralyze prey by injecting venom.
Hobo spiders can be found at ground level. Their funnel webs are made around rocks, tree trunks, and tall grass. These spiders are very bad at climbing which means they are rarely seen above the ground. When their funnel webs are found inside the house, its typically close to the ground. These spiders are mostly seen in basements as they prefer humid conditions.
Both spiders are fast but Wolf spiders are faster. The hunting nature of Wolf spiders allows them to move efficiently at high speed. These spiders can also pounce on prey when needed which means their movement is rather fast.
Hobo spiders are also fast, but not as efficient runners as Wolf spiders. Hobo spiders have poorer eyesight which means they aren’t necessarily knowing where they’re running, especially when not relying on the vibrations of the spider web.
Prey is similar but slightly different from these spiders. Since Wolf spiders are larger, they tend to eat larger insects than Hobo spiders.
Common prey for Wolf spiders includes insects, crickets, grasshoppers, ants, and all types of invertebrates. Hobo spiders prefer to eat insects. Small insects are the most common prey of Hobo spiders since they get caught up in the spider web the easiest.
Which one is more venomous?
Both these spiders are venomous but their venom is not highly dangerous to humans. They use venom to paralyze prey. However, hospitalization was needed for a few Wolf spider and Hobo spider bites documented over the years.
Wolf spiders are generally not inclined to bite humans. They normally run when they see people. These spiders will only bite a human if provoked or if cornered. Most people are bitten by Wolf spiders they don’t see typically associate the bite with a bite from insects such as mosquitoes.
Minor risk is associated with Wolf spider bites. Allergic reactions happen following these bites on rare occasions. You can expect a mild allergic reaction in the form of swelling or skin itchiness in the area of the bite. Breathing problems are rare but they are also part of a group of a small number of allergic reactions following Wolf spider bites.
Hobo bites are also venomous but mild in symptoms. These spiders aren’t dangerous to humans. However, there are fewer Hobo spider bite studies compared to Wolf spider bites. Early research in the Hobo spider bit symptoms wrongly associated these bites with the bites of the Brown Recluse, another type of spider often confused with the Hobo spider.
You can expect necrosis following a Hobo spider bite. This is a type of dead skin tissue and one of the few documented effects of a Hobo spider bite.
How to prevent Wolf spiders from getting into the house
Both Wolf spiders and Hobo spiders prefer not to live in homes. However, they can wander inside a house looking for food such as insects.
Wolf spiders are often attracted by insects that roam around light sources outside and inside the house. These light sources are normally of white light as insects aren’t attracted by yellow light. However, you need to prevent creating the habitat these spiders love inside the house to keep them out for good.
- Vacuum the house frequently
While Wolf spiders are often seen on walls (unlike ground-level Hobo spiders), vacuuming and cleaning the house frequently is highly recommended. This gets rid of all dead insects and food traces around the house. Furthermore, a clean home is a place that doesn’t attract as many insects.
- Use sticky traps
Sticky spider traps can be ideal for areas that are hard to clean. These traps are normally a piece of paper with a sticky surface that is typical glue. These sticky papers can be placed under or behind furniture to capture and to get rid of Wolf spiders.
- Eliminate foods around the house
Food and food traces around the house are highly problematic when it comes to Wolf spiders. These attract insects such as flies. Wolf spiders aren’t the type of spiders that create a spider web waiting for prey on it all day long. They are active hunters always moving around and looking for prey, even if the prey makes it into your house.
- Keep the house free from insects
Keeping the house free from insects starts outside. You need to replace white ambient light bulbs with yellow ambient light bulbs which don’t attract insects for Wolf spiders to chase.
Another natural method of keeping insects away is using essential oils in key areas such as around the windows. The fragrance of these oils tends to keep insects away.
- Mow the lawn
Mowing the lawn and generally taking care of it and other green areas with plants and trees around the house get rid of Wolf spiders. These spiders live in burrows and a garden with tall grass and fallen leaves from the trees is an ideal breeding place for these spiders which easily find small insects to prey on in this habitat.
How to prevent Hobo spiders from getting into the house
These are some of the most pretentious spiders when it comes to basements as they only sit on the ground, rarely trying to climb walls as they have very poor climbing abilities. This also makes catching or eliminating these spiders from the house easy.
- Vacuum the floors and keep the basement clean
One of the first methods of keeping Hobo spiders away is to vacuum your home frequently. This eliminates all spiders, spiderlings, and egg sacks. Most importantly, vacuuming the floor and the basement floor eliminates the funnel-like spider webs Hobo spiders use both as defense and as a place to trap prey.
- Seal windows and doors
Hobo spiders are smaller than Wolf spiders and this means that can get inside the house through all types of cracks. These spiders can crawl under the doors or through uneven window frames inside the house. At a glance, this can be one of the spiders you can easily lock out of the house by sealing all cracks around your home.
- Grow plants to repel the Hobo spider
Lavender, lemon-grass, peppermint, and eucalyptus have been shown to repel spiders. From these, it’s lemon grass that has the least scientific backing. However, many homeowners are happy to recommend lemon grass as a spider-deterring plant that looks good.
All of these can be planted outside of the house. This allows you to easily prevent all types of insects around the house. For example, lavender repels mosquitoes and other insects spiders might be attracted to. As a result, having these plants around the house eliminates ideal spider prey as well.
- Clean the home frequently
Homeowners also recommend cleaning the house frequently to keep Hobo spiders and other spiders out. Since Hobo spiders are mostly found on the ground, having a robot vacuum cleaner helps. Manually vacuuming the house as often as possible helps as well. Clean floors (that smell like fresh detergent) generally keep these spiders out.
Wolf spiders are active hunters preferring to live in burrows and move around for prey. Hobo spiders make spider webs where they like to catch all types of insects. Both these spider species have brown bodies and brown legs with plenty of hair.
Hobo spiders have thin hairs on their legs which are almost invisible without a magnifying glass, unlike Wolf spiders that have thicker hairs easily visible to the naked eye. Hobo spiders have chevron-like markings on the abdomen while Wolf spiders have black lines that run along with their bodies.
Hobo spiders have multiple brown color variations which often confuses them with the Wolf spider. Wolf spiders are present throughout the US which makes them some of the most popular spiders in the country. Hobo spiders prefer the Pacific Northwest habitats.
Wolf spiders and Hobo spiders have 8 eyes and good vision. However, Hobo spiders are poor climbers which means they rarely make it up tree trunks or walls.
Wolf spiders prefer to hunt for food, similar to real wolves. Hobo spiders spin funnel-like spider webs to catch insects. They live at the edge of this spider web which also offers protection, mainly from larger insects and larger spiders. Wolf spiders are highly researched while Hobo spiders are still a species that needs further scientific discovery. Both the Wolf spider and the Hobo spider are venomous but their venom is not lethal or highly dangerous to humans.