I suppose it is quite surprising that up until now I haven’t written anything about Wolf Spiders. I was reminded to do so though, when Mike made a comment on my post What It’s Really Like to Be Bitten by a Redback Spider.
Mike was bitten by a spider the other day; he thinks it was a Wolf Spider.
Well, if he was, what is going to happen to him? Are Australian Wolf Spiders dangerous?
That largely depends not on who you are, but what you are.
The Australian Wolf Spider
I’ve probably seen quite a few of these spiders since I’ve been here in Australia, and to be honest, they look just like any other spider. They are big, but not massive. Around 25 mm in length, that’s about 1 inch, although I’ve heard some can get a fair bit bigger than that.
Apparently, here in Australia, we have over 400 species of Wolf Spiders.
I took a photograph of some spiders who intruded into my home in the early days; in hindsight I’m guessing that these are all Wolf Spiders…
These pictures first appeared in my post called Spiders – There’s Good News and There’s Bad News and at the time I speculated that the first picture may even have been a Funnel Web Spider. Today though, I really doubt that.
I put it down to the paranoia of a newly arrived immigrant in Australia.
Wikipedia, of course, have a much better photograph of the Wolf Spider…
Anyway, Mike is almost certainly going to be just fine. According to my critter Bible, the Wolf Spider bite is likely to “Cause mild to local effects, including itchiness, red welts, bruising, a rapid pulse rate, nausea, vomiting, faintness, leg weakness and prolonged headache.”
Not pleasant, but these spiders are not killers, not of humans anyway.
Obviously if you are an insect, then you are likely to be Wolf Spider dinner. But interestingly, if you are a cat or a dog, and you happen to get bitten by a Wolf Spider, you could be dead within half an hour!
That did surprise me, although it is impossible to put a number on it, so I’m not sure how big or small the problem might be.
On the plus side, Wolf Spiders are one of the very few creatures that can actually kill cane toads, as well as taking out other nasty spiders. So for that they should be our friends.
Now, I know I’ve already said this spider looks like any other spider, but the reality is that it doesn’t. It has eight legs like other spiders, but this particular spider also has eight eyes. For a spider, it has pretty good vision and as a hunter, it’s very fast.
Hence the name “wolf”.
This astonishing YouTube video will scare the life out of you if you don’t like spiders, the rest of you will be fascinated though. I don’t know what kind of camera they used for this, but you can make out every single detail of this spider and, dare I say, you can even pick out features of its face.
Spiders with personalised characteristics?
“Is this the spider that bit you sir?”
“No, sorry, it’s not him. The spider that bit me had thicker eyebrows, a bigger gap between its fangs and a cheeky smile!”
Check it out…