Wolf spiders belong to the Lycosidae family, and numerous species have been documented in just about every region of the world. Wolf spiders were long considered dangerous to humans, but modern medical professionals consider the spiders largely harmless, but serious medical reactions to their bites have been known to occur in rare cases. Wolf spiders are distributed all over the US, and their size ranges from half an inch to an inch and a half in body length. The Carolina wolf spider is one of the largest and most widely distributed wolf spider species in the US, and they appear in northeastern homes frequently. Wolf spiders are solitary hunters that do not spin intricate webs to capture insect prey, and since they are almost always moving in search of prey, they often wander into houses inadvertently. Not long ago, a woman, Mary Hyatt, moved into her new apartment only to discover that it was infested with hairy spiders that were intimidating in appearance. The spiders were later identified as wolf spiders by a pest control professional after she and her dog both sustained a nasty bite that resulted in serious physical symptoms.

Once morning came, Mary woke up with a bump on her arm that she assumed was a mosquito bite, but four hours later, the bump was larger and it was beginning to turn blue. The wound worsened before the end of the day, so she visited a doctor. Based on the immediate appearance of her wound, the doctor thought that she had sustained a bite from either a brown recluse or a wolf spider. However, brown recluse spiders are not found in the northeast unless they hitchhike to the region via shipments of produce or plant matter, and upon closer examination, the doctor became fairly certain the bite had been inflicted by a wolf spider. Mary was given an antibiotic shot, but it took weeks for her wound to heal. Not long after she left the doctor’s office, Mary had her home inspected by a pest control professional who found several wolf spiders in and around her home. A few days later, Mary discovered a spider bite on her dog as well. The bite wound on her dog eventually bled, and she became lethargic and unable to eat. After visiting a veterinarian where the dog was given antibiotic and steroid medication, the dog eventually recovered, but it took more than a month for the wound to heal and it left behind a scar.

Have you ever spotted a wolf spider in your home?