Welcome to this complete guide on what a Wolf Spider looks like, but more importantly; what to do if you receive a wolf spider bite.
Spiders are terrifying creatures that are known to be featured as spooky critters, thanks to their horrifying appearance that scares humans to the core.
Want to compare to another spider bite? Considering how scary a spider looks, have you ever wondered what a spider bite would feel like? If you take it from us, it is certainly not something you would ever want to experience.
From mild to lethal, spider bites may vary from one species to another. The wolf spider is one such creature whose bite may not be strong enough to kill a human, but still powerful enough to lead to severe fatigue, soreness, and itchiness.
The allergic reaction to a wolf spider bite may lead to prolonged pain and swelling, making you feel uneasy in the infected area for a long time.
Therefore, to avoid a wolf spider bite, one must be aware of their nature and survival mechanisms in order to stay informed about the circumstances when a spider bites.
Why Do Spiders Bite?
Spiders bite as a means of self-defense or to capture prey. If a spider feels threatened, it may bite in order to protect itself.
However, not every spider has the natural ability to attack and bite. Only a few species bite when exposed to some danger or threat.
For instance, spiders like Wolf Spiders, Brown Recluse Spiders, Black Widow Spiders, Hobo Spiders, and Camel Spiders are the most likely to be the ones to bite you if they feel threatened.
Besides, most spiders are not dangerous to humans, and only the venomous species can cause severe reactions. They use their venom to subdue prey, allowing them to capture and consume it easily.
Moreover, their fangs allow them to hunt insects and prey on them. Among more than 50,000 species of spiders, only a few have fangs and venom that can penetrate human skin.
Now that you are aware of what it takes to trigger a spider to bite, let us now dive into what a wolf spider bite looks like and the dangers it poses to the human body.
What Does A Wolf Spider Bite Look Like?
A wolf spider bite usually leaves two dot-like marks on the skin that indicate penetration of their fangs in the skin. The skin may appear to be slightly ripped and bear fang-like markings from the bite.
Moreover, a wolf spider bite may appear as a red, swollen, and painful area on the skin. It is possible for the bite to also cause some itchiness and mild burning sensations. Some people may develop a blister or a minor wound at the site of the bite.
However, identifying whether you’ve been bitten by a wolf spider or any other species may be daunting unless you know what a wolf spider looks like.
Therefore, keep reading to learn more about the appearance and habitat of wolf spiders.
What Do Wolf Spiders Look Like?
Wolf Spiders have brown or gray coats with pale markings or stripes on their back. Their coloration depends on the region in which they live.
They come in different sizes, ranging from half an inch to 2 inches (around 10 mm to 35 mm). In addition, they have a total of eight eyes that are arranged in three rows. The unique arrangement of eyes is what makes them identifiable.
Also, they have four tiny eyes in the third row, two big eyes in the middle row, and two medium-sized eyes in the top row. This allows them to be easily distinguished from nursery web spiders.
If you spot a spider, you can easily identify if it is a wolf spider by using a flashlight. They reflect light from their huge eyes back to the source of light, which results in a glow in their eyes.
This reflective mechanism is due to the presence of a retroreflective tissue called tapetum lucidum. The tissue is present in the top and middle row of the eyes and is the reason for the reflection of light, producing what seems like an eyeshine.
With these characteristics, they have the third-best eyesight among every other species of spider.
Confusion with Brown Recluse Spiders
However, people usually confuse them with brown recluse spiders due to their size and color. But the brown recluse spider is way more terrifying as it is far more venomous than the wolf spider.
You can distinguish between the two species because the brown recluse spider has a head shaped like a violin. They are usually brown and have darker markings at the back of their violin-shaped heads.
Now that you are aware of their appearance, you must know what places to avoid in order to prevent getting bitten by a wolf spider. So, let’s dig in to learn about the places these critters dwell in.
Places Where You May Encounter A Wolf Spider
Wolf spiders are seen all over the world and can live in a myriad of habitats. They are common in many parts of North America, including the United States and Canada. Moreover, they’re also found in South America, Europe, Asia, and Africa. They are likewise common in Australia, where some species are venomous and can cause severe reactions.
Generally, they are found in terrestrial environments, such as fields, forests, and deserts, but they can equally be spotted in prairies, grasslands, and meadows. They are also known to be common residents in many homes, living in basements, crawl spaces, and other undisturbed areas.
Wolf spiders are able to climb smooth surfaces and can often be found near the ground and in vegetation. They are often spotted in gardens and near rocky outcroppings.
Wolf spiders are adaptable and are able to live in a plethora of various environments, from deserts to forests and from lowlands to mountains. Likewise, they’re able to survive in urban areas and can often be found in gardens, parks, and backyards.
They are nocturnal species, generally active at night and spend their days hiding in burrows or under rocks, logs, and other debris.
Interesting Facts Regarding Wolf Spiders
Wolf spiders are a rather fascinating species with unique and distinctive behaviors out in the wild. Their characteristics make them terrifying as well as an interesting species of the spider family.
Some of the most compelling facts regarding wolf spiders and their bites include the following:
- Wolf spider bites are relatively rare, as these spiders are not known to be aggressive toward humans.
- Unlike many other spiders, wolf spiders do not spin webs to catch their prey. Instead, they actively hunt and chase down their food.
- Wolf spiders are fast runners and are able to move out of the way if they feel threatened quickly.
- Wolf spiders have good eyesight and are able to see in low light conditions, which makes them skilled hunters.
- Wolf spiders are able to climb smooth surfaces and can be seen in a variety of environments, such as fields, forests, and deserts.
- Female wolf spiders bear their egg sacs connected to their spinnerets and will defend them aggressively if threatened.
- After mating, male wolf spiders often die soon after.
- Wolf spiders are seen all over the world in a variety of habitats and are common residents in human dwellings.
- Wolf spider venom is not considered to be toxic to humans, and most bites result in mild symptoms only.
- Some species of wolf spiders have venom that can cause severe reactions in some people with allergies. In some cases, extreme medical treatment may be required.
Now that you know all about a wolf spider, you might be asking what would happen if you do get subjected to a wolf spider bite. As scary as it may sound, the reality of a wolf spider is not that terrifying.
Without further ado, let us discuss the symptoms of a wolf spider bite and the various ways how to treat it.
Symptoms of A Wolf Spider Bite
It is rather important to note that serious reactions to a wolf spider bite are rare, as this spider’s venom is not considered toxic for humans. However, a person may develop an allergic reaction to the spider’s venom.
Besides, wolf spider bites can cause varying symptoms depending on the individual and the amount of venom injected. In normal circumstances, these may include pain, itchiness, burning sensation, and redness.
Systemic symptoms such as fever, nausea, muscle pain, and swollen lymph nodes may also occur. Sometimes, bites can cause mild headaches, local pain, or swelling that can last for a few days.
The most common symptoms of a wolf spider bite include the following:
Due to their large bodily structure, wolf spider bites can be rather painful. This is because of their large fangs that tear up the skin, which can potentially cause it to become infected and the lymph nodes to swell.
The pain caused due to the bite may prevail from a few minutes to a few days, depending on whether the person is severely allergic or has a weak immune system.
Swelling is another common symptom of a wolf spider bite. In fact, it is a symptom that comes with almost any insect bite.
It is the result of the venom and penetration of the huge spider fangs that causes the skin to appear swollen.
The bite of a wolf spider may result in mild burning sensations, leading to severe itchiness in the infected area. But the good thing about this bite is that the prickly sensation does not last long. It goes away within a few days as the skin begins to heal.
Wolf spider bites also result in redness around the infected area, and you might be able to see a red bump on your skin. Redness will increase if you rub your skin due to itchiness. Therefore, you must avoid rubbing or scratching your skin vigorously.
On the other hand, the symptoms of a wolf spider bite to a person who is allergic to its venom are far worse than to a non-allergic person. Immediate medical attention is required if the symptoms go far beyond the normal criteria stated here.
Symptoms for an allergic reaction may include:
- A bump that looks like hives due to an increase in size.
- Swelling around the mouth.
- Unconsciousness or dizziness.
- An extension of the red line from the bite is an early indication of blood infection.
- Having tight muscles or cramping near the bite.
- Vomiting or nausea.
- Rash that spreads outwards from the bite causing itchiness.
- Uncontrollable shaking or weakness.
If these symptoms occur to you, you must seek medical attention immediately.
However, it is essential to note that some people may not feel the bite or may not even experience any symptoms at all. This can make it difficult to know if a bite has occurred, and it’s best to err on the side of caution and clean the infected area with soap and water and apply an antiseptic to prevent infection.
Keep reading to learn about the various ways to treat a wolf spider bite with mild and severe symptoms, either at home or by a medical expert.
Treatment for a Wolf Spider Bite
The treatment of a wolf spider bite requires similar measures that you would take for any other insect bite. These may include the following:
- Gently clean the area of the bite with soap and warm water.
- Cover the bite with a bandage to avoid infection.
- Apply an ice pack to reduce swelling around the bite.
- Avoid scratching as it highly increases the risk of infection.
If the bite of a wolf spider becomes very uncomfortable and itchy, consult a doctor for treatment. A medical expert might give you the following treatment in worse cases:
- Prescribe stronger antihistamines to reduce itching.
- Give a booster of tetanus for protection.
- Prescribe antibiotics to reduce or prevent infection.
- Recommend surgery if the wound gets deep with infection and any other treatment is ineffective – this is the very last resort of treatment.
The individual effect and use of antihistamines are described as follows:
A doctor prescribes antihistamines to reduce swelling and itching. They help relieve sneezing and runny nose in case you catch a cold.
Also, Antihistamines block a chemical in your body called histamine, which is responsible for making the tissues itch and swell. In case of a wolf spider bite, a quick-acting antihistamine, such as diphenhydramine (Benadryl), is prescribed. Note that it may lead to drowsiness.
If you’re curious to know more about the reactions of antihistamines, click here.
To relieve you of the trouble of treating a wolf spider bite, let us help you navigate the preventative measures that can help you keep away from a wolf spider bite and, thus, also from the hassle of seeking medical attention.
How To Prevent A Wolf Spider Bite
As it is known, “Prevention is better than cure,” we must abide by this rule for our safety and try to prevent encountering a wolf spider.
However, since the wolf spiders live alone and do not weave their webs, it is difficult to identify whether they are around.
Still, to avoid their encounter, a person must strictly abide by the following measures if exposed to wolf spider habitats:
- Carry a flashlight if it’s dark to spot wolf spiders.
- Shake out items like boots, boxes, and clothes before using them.
- Clear clutters in the home to avoid providing a place for wolf spiders to hide.
- Make noise to warn spiders about your presence.
- Take extra care in areas like garages, sheds, and lofts.
- Be careful around greenery and piles of leaves.
- Apply insulation to homes at windows, doors, and attics to prevent wolf spiders from entering the house.
- Wear pants and long sleeves while going out.
The Final Say
|Spiders bite as a means of self-defense or to capture prey.|
|A wolf spider bite usually leaves two dot-like marks on the skin that indicate penetration of their fangs in the skin.|
|Wolf spiders are generally found in terrestrial environments, such as fields, forests, and deserts.|
|Wolf spider bites can cause varying symptoms such as pain, itchiness, burning sensation, and redness.|
|The signs of a wolf spider bite to a person who is allergic to its venom are far worse than to a non-allergic person.|
|It’s best to clean a wolf spider bite with soap and water and put on an antiseptic to prevent infection.|
|In extreme cases, medical experts may prescribe stronger antihistamines, give a booster of tetanus, prescribe antibiotics or recommend surgery if the wound gets deep with infection.|
Wolf spiders have been known to humans for thousands of years, but the historical record of their bites is relatively limited.
It is not common for them to bite humans, but if they do, it’s usually because they feel threatened or disturbed. Until recent years, there wasn’t much recorded scientific data about the effects of wolf spider bites on humans.
Recent studies suggest that bites from wolf spiders are relatively rare and that the venom is not considered to be toxic to humans. Most bites result in only mild symptoms, and severe reactions are considered to be very rare.
However, you don’t need to be too concerned if you do receive a wolf spider bite. In most cases, these bites heal on their own. You should treat them like a bite of any bug.
On the contrary, if your symptoms worsen, it is best to seek medical attention to avoid any health risks in the future – you might be extremely allergic to their venom without being aware of it.
Thank you for reading this article! Now that you’re an expert on Wolf Spiders, why not get more closley acquainted with Where To Find Tarantula Spiders.
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