Wolf spiders are very common in Florida. They are constantly found inside or outside of the house. These spiders aren’t considered dangerous even when biting. The venom these spiders make isn’t considered dangerous to humans.
Florida is a state known for its multiple species of spiders. Jumping spiders and crab spiders are found in large numbers here. But Wolf spiders are also highly common in the state.
What Are Wolf Spiders?
Wolf spiders get their name from their resemblance to the wolf. These spiders are bigger than others. They also have hairy bodies and hairy legs, often of gray color, which is why they are often compared to the mighty wolf.
These spiders often hunt similarly to the wolf as well. Many Wolf spiders don’t weave webs preferring to hunt instead.
Most types of prey these spiders are into include crickets, grasshoppers, mosquitoes, and other invertebrates. Wolf spiders can be seen in areas where these insects live.
These spiders are known for mostly living indoors. They hunt outdoors taking their prey indoors. Some Wolf spiders remain outdoors given there’s enough food.
Mating happens indoors. Wolf spiders are known for hatching their eggs in the spring. The temperature might still not be that high in the spring.
Wolf spiders are agile Lycosidae arachnids. These spiders hunt for food as they don’t spin a spider web. Most Wolf spiders live alone. They start looking for female spiders only for mating purposes.
It’s believed these spiders aren’t dangerous to humans. While they produce venom, they aren’t dangerous to humans. Rare but possible Wolf spider bites typically result in local swelling or mild pain in the area of the bite.
How to Identify a Wolf Spider?
Wolf spiders are small. Male Wolf spiders reach a maximum size of 4mm while female Wolf spiders reach a size of up to 19mm. These spiders are best known for their hairy brown color with black stripes.
You can further confirm a Wolf spider by analyzing its eyes. Wolf spiders have 8 large eyes. These larger eyes set them apart from similar species.
These 8 eyes drive the excellent vision for Wolf spiders. 2 of these eyes found in the center which are largest are believed to help its eyesight the most.
8 Common Types of Wolf Spiders in Florida
There are more than 30 species of Wolf spiders in Florida. These are seen both inside and outside of the house. From these 30 species, the following 8 are common sights.
1. Tigrosa annexa
This yellow-brown spider features faded stripes on its dorsal body. While highly common in Florida, it has only been named a few years ago. It is part of a few types of Wolf spiders that are common in the state.
Tigrosa annexa isn’t a spider that weaves a web. It hides or actively hunts for prey. Agile and characterized by a very good vision based on its large eyes, this spider is also protective in its mating habits.
The female Tigrosa annexa spider carries the eggs (she sometimes carries up to 100 eggs at a time) with her at all times as a protective measure. Male spiders are known for their high dedication in their efforts to impress females. They even dance to attract a female mate.
2. Rabid Wolf Spider
Similar to Tigrossa annexa, the Rabid Wolf Spider (Rabidosa rabida) is described as yellow-colored with dark stripes. However, its dark dorsal stripes are more visible than on the Tigrosa annexa.
These spiders don’t weave webs. They use silk to tray their prey. Active hunters, the spiders prefer to hide in holes, in the grass, or in leaves that act as camouflage. They weigh for their prey or they occasionally wander off after prey.
These spiders also have very specific mating rituals, like most other Wolf spiders. Spiderlings are always carried on the back by the female spider. Even after they are born they continue to be carried on the back until they reach adulthood.
3. Tigrosa georgicola
This native large species of spider is found all across Florida. It’s spotted frequently compared to other Wolf spiders as it’s a daytime hunter. It looks for prey during the day, mostly in the woodlands. But it can also be spotted in the backyard at times.
This spider has a distinctive light tan color with horizontal stripes on the carapace. This makes it almost impossible to spot from a distance on the ground in the woods. It’s here that the spider is active constantly looking for small insects to eat.
4. Carolina Wolf Spider
This spider (Hogna carolinensis) is the largest North American Wold spider. The female Carolina Wolf spider reaches an impressive maximum body length of 35mm. This large spider doesn’t weave webs but it actively hunts high and low.
Crickets are among its favorite prey. Carolina Wolf Spiders also eat grasshoppers.
While large and quite agile, the spider species has its predators to run from. For example, the Carolina Wolf Spider is hunted by some types of birds that eat spiders. It’s also targeted by large wasps. In close contact, lizards will also eat the Carolina Wolf Spider.
5. Field Wolf Spider
The Field Wolf Spider (Hogna lenta) is a bit more difficult to see in Florida homes. They prefer to live out in nature. Frequent sights of the spider are noted in camping areas where mosquitos tend to gather.
While larger than other spiders, the Field Wold Spider isn’t dangerous to humans. Its venom paralyzes its prey, mainly small insects such as crickets. But they might often attempt to eat larger insects.
Used both for defense purposes and for attacking purposes, the spider relies on raising its front legs in front of large prey and predators, mainly to appear bigger and fearsome.
6. beach wolf spider
These muscular spiders (Arctosa littoralis) can reach a body length of up to 15mm. They generally live on the beach or near a water source, as their name suggests. While well camouflaged, this species isn’t easy to see during the day.
The spider is normally dormant during the day. Those who manage to see it in broad daylight normally find it under rocks, pieces of trash, or under the driftwood.
7. Tigrosa helluo
This spider species (Tigrosa helluo) can be distinguished from other Wolf spiders by the spots on its abdomen. Unlike other Wolf spiders that have distinct black or bright lines on their carapace, the Wetland Giant Wolf spider has spots on its body.
It also lives near sources of water. However, some of these spiders might also be found in the woods, particularly in moist environments.
Like other spiders of the species, the females are larger than the males. Interestingly, the female outlives the male Wetland Giant Wolf spider. Females live up to 2 years while male Wetland Giant Wolf Spiders live up to a year.
8. Santa Rosa Wolf Spider
The Santa Rosa Wolf Spider (Arctosa sanctaerosae) lives on beaches around Florida. While its official sights have been rarely reported, the spider is frequently seen around the state. However, the pale white spider is believed to be one of the endangered spider species of the state. The main causes of concern include industrialization and rising sea level which destroy its natural habitat.
Are Wolf Spiders Venomous?
Wolf spiders aren’t venomous. These spiders rarely bite humans and their bites rarely cause any health issues.
While Wolf spiders have venom this is not venom. As a result, even in the unlikely event of a bite, there’s typically no adverse reaction in humans.
Mild discomfort can be felt at skin level or in the area of the bite when bitten by a Wolf spider. This large spider is harmless for humans. The local pain should go away after just a few minutes in an unlikely event of a bite.
What to Do When Bitten by a Wolf Spider?
You should not seek out medical help when bitten by a Wolf spider. Most bites are pain-free. Certain reactions might still occur in rare cases and this is when it’s time to see a doctor.
Cramps or the feeling of tight muscles is an indication the bite is more serious, requiring medical attention. A headache can be a rare reaction to Wolf spider bites as well. Headaches can be a sole symptom or they can be accompanied by dizziness and muscle pain.
A rash is normal in the area of the bite. But if the rash spreads out it’s a sign to see a doctor. Fever can appear in extreme cases following a bite, mainly as an allergic reaction. It’s also a sign people need to see a doctor.
In case any of these symptoms are reported doctors normally prescribe antihistamines or they swap out old antihistamines treatment for more potent pills. Antibiotics can also be prescribed on a case basis.
Where to Find Wolf Spiders in Florida?
You can find Wolf spiders at night using a flashlight. Wolf spiders in Florida are easily found in grass or in large piles of leaves where they look for grasshoppers. Shining a flashlight into the Wolf spider’s eyes let you see green eye Wolf spider reflections. However, these reflections are only visible up to 30 feet away.
Some Wolf spiders can also be found during the day. Common places to see these spiders during the day include the house, its proximity, and around the garage. Wolf spiders are highly common in gardens where insects they eat are attracted to flowers, fruits, and vegetables.
Otherwise, Wolf spiders are found everywhere around Florida. They are seen outside of the house on the beach or inside the house on walls. Here are a few popular places where Wolf spiders can be spotted.
In the garage
Wolf spiders tend to move around frequently. Some types of Wolf spiders only hunt during the night. Others are often seen even during the day, particularly in their mating period.
The garage is a typical place to find Wolf spiders. Florida residents with Wolf spiders in the garage typically store wood or other objects in the garage.
On the outer walls of a house
Wolf spiders are common sights on the outer walls of the house. The more lights a home has on the outer walls the likelier it is to attract mosquitoes and other insects. This is why Wolf spiders trace these insects as prey.
Between walkway bricks
Walkways made of your bricks are ecosystems for spiders. Many Wolf spiders used the spaces between the bricks as hiding places to wait for their prey or as a place to eat the prey.
In the basement
Cold damp environments such as basements are ideal for Wolf spiders. Crevices and corners are ideal places for these spiders to hide in the basement.
At the beach
Some Wolf spiders such as the Shoreline Wolf Spider are known for living on the beach. You can find these creatures at night by shining a light that tends to attract all types of insects. During the day these spiders are found under driftwood frequently.
When to Find Wolf Spiders in Florida?
Wolf spiders are a common sight in autumn. As high summer temperatures start to change to lower autumn temperatures Wolf spiders start to seek cover. This typically involves entering shelters such as man-made shelters.
Garages and homes are ideal places for Wolf spiders to stay warm during autumn. Most spiders enter the home through windows or underneath doors. It’s not uncommon for the spiders to mate once they find a suitable sheltered place.
These spiders can be found outside during the summer months. Wolf spiders hunt during the day or the night. They become extremely active when looking for grasshoppers. However, grasshoppers tend to come out during the fall the most and this is when Wolf spiders become extremely active. Fall tends to be ideal both for hunting and mating for Wolf spiders.
What to Do When You See a Wolf Spider in Florida?
While Wolf spiders aren’t dangerous you should not try to catch them with your bare hands. Many people mistake Wolf spiders for the similarly-looking Brown Recluse, a dangerous type of spider. Others mistake it with the Black Widow, another spider with a dangerous bite.
It’s best to avoid direct contact when seeing a Wolf spider in Florida. Spiders inside the house can be moved outside using two pieces of cardboard.
What Attracts Wolf Spiders?
Wolf spiders act per attraction principles. They seek food, mating, and shelter. All of these can be inside a house or outside of the house.
Wolf spiders are spotted in areas that are hard to reach or in areas where they find prey. Here are a few common things that attract these spiders.
Dark places attract Wolf spiders the most. They are found under rocks, in piles of leaves, in garages, and basements. These sheltered areas are areas with few predators. They are also areas where they can stay away from cold weather outside the summer months.
Areas with insects
Wolf spiders tend to follow their food. Typical prey such as small insects is of high interest to these spiders. While most Wolf spiders are around 15mm in body length, they can even go after larger prey on occasion.
Wolf spiders such as the Wetland Giant Wolf Spider are attracted to moist environments. They thrive in areas close to water sources and they are adapted to hunting in these areas.
Wolf Spider Prevention
There are a few ways to keep Wolf spiders out of your Florida home.
Seal cracks and foundation holes
Cracks in the foundation are ideal spaces for Wolf spiders to crawl into the house through. Spiders enter small cracks frequently to seek cover from predators such as wasps. Foundation cracks can be repaired with silicone to prevent spiders from making their way into the house.
Spray insecticide around the house
Insecticide sprayed around the house creates an invisible barrier against Wolf spiders. This method is considered less efficient than sealing cracks and areas spiders can crawl through. Physical barriers remain the best option to keep Wolf spiders out of the house.
Insecticide can be mixed with certain essential oils such as essential oil to create an invisible spider barrier around the house. However, this barrier is normally washed away after it rains.
Avoid having too many lights on the outer walls of the house
Lights on the outer walls attract Wolf spider prey such as small mosquitoes. Having these lights installed further away from the house can be a protective method against Wolf spiders.
Wolf spiders such as Tigrosa annexa and the Rabid Wolf Spider are common in Florida. They live everywhere from gardens, to homes, and even on the beach. These hairy spiders are larger than others and they can appear intimidating.
But Wolf spiders in Florida aren’t particularly dangerous to humans. Their bite is followed by mild or even no reactions at all.