Wolf Spider Bite
Spiders are scary for many people, but not all spiders bite humans. The spider bite is a natural response that it shows when a spider perceives danger. What you may not know is that there are certain strains of spiders, which are more dangerous than others.
A famous spider called “wolf spider” is renowned for biting humans. It is commonly found in the USA. Wolf spider is poisonous, but it is not deadly. However, wolf spider’s bite brings undesirable effects to the victim. Scientifically, it is called Hogna aspersa, and the family name is Lycosidae. (1,2)
The bite of a wolf spider is not a big concern because it is not deadly. If the after effects go worse, it is time to seek medical assistance. This article is a complete guide on wolf spiders, after biting symptoms, treatment, and tips to prevent it.
What are wolf spiders and where do these live?
A wolf spider is a huge hairy spider, which has prominent eyes that shine in the light. The size of a wolf spider range from 0.5 to 1 inches long. Wolf spiders are usually gray or metallic in color and have brown or dark gray markings on them. (3)
Wolf spiders don’t spin webs like other spiders to catch their prey. Instead, they hunt foods like wild animals. It is unusual for a spider, which makes wolf spiders prominent spider species.
Wolf spiders are more prevalent during fall months. They usually hunt at night but in fall, nights are cold to prey, so they show up in daytime and evenings. The areas where you can mostly find them are closets, basements, cartons, baskets, and garages.
Pictures of wolf spider
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Difference between wolf spider and brown recluse spider
Many times, people mistake wolf spiders for the brown recluse spider. It is because both of them have a similar appearance, which includes the same color and markings on the body.
The distinctive feature of brown recluse spider is a dark mark on the back of its head, which appears like the violin. It is not the same in wolf spiders. (4)
Image 3: A picture showing wolf spider and brown recluse spider
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Do wolf spiders bite humans?
Yes, wolf spiders bite humans. Wolf spider is also called ground spider and the hunting spider because it mostly attacks its targets on ground surfaces. They mostly hunt in the night.
Most of the cases of wolf spider bites are part of a defense mechanism. As mentioned already, the bite of a wolf spider is not deadly, but it is uncomfortable. It is excruciating and takes time to vanish. It is better to seek first aid medical care if a wolf spider bites you.
What happens when a wolf spider bites you?
Wolf spiders don’t bite humans very often. When there is an encounter between a wolf spider and humans by mistake, it can lead to a bite by a wolf spider. Otherwise, wolf spiders don’t bite humans randomly.
The appearance of wolf spider bite is similar to other bug bites. It looks like a red bump, which is swollen. It becomes itchy, and when you scratch it, it becomes itchier. It takes time to go away and takes a few days. But you have to be sure that a wolf spider has bitten you because it is difficult to determine what bit you. (5)
What does wolf spider bite look like?
The graphic description of wolf spider bite is as below.
Wolf spider bite Pictures
Photo 4: Wolf spider bite on arm
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Image 5: Wolf spider bite on forehead
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Photo 6: Wolf spider bite on leg
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Is a wolf spider poisonous?
Wolf spiders cannot kill you, but their bites can be poisonous. They get worse only when you are allergic to them. Unless you are sure that you are bitten by a wolf spider, don’t panic because all bites look the same.
The bite of a wolf spider is not dangerous unless there is an allergic reaction to the venom. As such there are no side effects. The wolf spider is poisonous, but it is not fatal.
When should you seek medical assistance?
People could be allergic to spider bites. The individual if bitten by a wolf spider, needs medical assistance in following cases. If a red line extends from the bite, representing a blood infection. (6)
- Inflammation in face, particularly anywhere around the mouth
- Problem in breathing
The only poisonous spider bites are the bites from brown recluse and black widow spiders, which are deadly. Hence wolf spider bites are less venomous then these.
If you are not sure if a wolf spider, black widow or brown recluse spider bites you, focus on your symptoms. The bite of black widow spider causes extreme pain, abdominal pain or discomfort, and excessive sweating. On the other hand, none of these symptoms show up when you are bitten by a wolf spider.
When you are bitten by a brown recluse spider, the pain of bite will rapidly increase within eight hours of the biting. The bite spot will change color from red to brown or purple. It will take the form of an ulcer, which may also start killing the surrounding skin. There are chances that you will feel flu-like symptoms, congestion, sneezing, fever, and chills. None of these happen in wolf spider bite.
How to treat a wolf spider bite?
Treating a wolf spider bite is same as that of any insect bite. You should make sure that the bite area is clean. If it is not, clean it with warm water. Clear it with an antiseptic and place a bandage over it to prevent the infection.
Image 7: An image of cleaning the wolf spider bite
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If it gets itchy and becomes unbearable, you can take a quick-acting antihistamine that you usually take in an allergy attack. Your choice of antihistamine may cause drowsiness.
The general treatment plan varies from person to person. What can you do if a wolf spider bites you have the following remedies.
- Apply a wet cloth on bite mark.
- Place an ice pack on bite mark to numb the pain, reduce inflammation and stop the venom from spreading.
- You can wash it with antibacterial soap.
- Keep the area clean to reduce the swelling.
Take a painkiller if the pain is hitting you. You can use any over the counter painkiller.
If the wound becomes severe or infection starts spreading after 3-4 days of bite, you need to see a doctor.
At most, the pain and swelling of a wolf spider bite spot last for ten days maximum. If the wound becomes problematic anytime sooner, get it checked by a specialist.
How to avoid wolf spiders?
Wolf spiders are naturally shy and introverted. They become hyperactive on a sudden encounter and a planned encounter with humans by wolf spider is rare. Also, wolf spiders are on the move, unlike other spiders, which remain in their webs and hunt. Wolf spiders keep on roaming around.
You can avoid wolf spiders if you keep your home clutter-free. The dark rooms are a favorite hideout place for wolf spiders; make sure that you clean all the dark and damp locations. (7) You also need to wear pants and long sleeve shirt whenever you go out in fall months, particularly in evenings. It is the high time when wolf spiders are most likely hunting.
There are only a few things that can reduce the wolf spiders around you.
- Do not give places to spiders for hiding
- Vacuum your house frequently.
- Do not feed wolf spiders directly or indirectly.
- Clean the surfaces with lemon juice or vinegar.
The final word
Wolf spiders are very common in the USA. They live in dark, warm places. They can bite humans, but they are not deadly. The bites of wolf spiders heal all by themselves within a few days. If it gets worse in a couple of days, it means that the infection has spread and you should see a doctor.