Wolf Spider


Actual Size: 1 ½”

Characteristics: Large; brown, grey, or black pattern on the back.

Legs: 8

Habitat: Active both during the day and night, and prefers to live in grassy areas or leaf litter. May be found inside around doors, windows, garages, and basements.


  • Doesn’t build webs to hunt and capture prey.
  • Patrols the ground both day and night to hunt for insects.
  • Spiderlings remain on the female spider’s back until they are grown.

Wolf Spiders in the Pacific Northwest

Wolf hunters are large and very active spiders that can hunt both during the day and at night. These spiders have excellent vision and use reflective tissue in their eyes to see exceptionally well, even in the dark. Shining a flashlight at the ground can illuminate the green eyes of this spider, reflected anywhere from 10 to 30 feet away. Because wolf spiders have great vision, they can usually spot humans approaching them. However, these spiders are not aggressive, and they usually run away from the commotion. Though wolf spiders are rarely pests, they can startle homeowners with their large size and quick movements.

Wolf Spider Habitat

Wolf spiders do not build webs to capture prey. Instead, they patrol the ground during the night and day looking for insects, small spiders, and similar prey. Wolf spiders often remain outdoors, living in thousands beneath leaf litter and grassy areas. Young spiderlings often ride on the backs of their mother until they are grown enough to depart. Though some wolf spiders build small burrows and claim a specific territory, many are free-roaming and can wander indoors. Because these spiders are such voracious hunters and live in large numbers, they are very important to the ecosystem and can help control insect populations.

Wolf Spider Behaviors, Threats, or Dangers

While wolf spiders are fast and aggressive hunters, they rarely bite humans unless provoked or mishandled. Wolf spider bites may be painful, but they are not medically significant to most people healthy adults. However, small children, elderly individuals, and those with compromised immune systems could develop a negative reaction that requires medical attention. If you have wolf spiders on or around your property, your local spider exterminators could help remove them quickly and safely.