From their ferocious-looking eyes and large size to their feared reputation, wolf spiders can be quite intimidating. After all, these creatures are not what most people would consider cute or cuddly. Nevertheless, some people would want to have a wolf spider as a pet but can’t overcome their fear. A question often asked is, ‘how dangerous are wolf spiders, and can they be kept as pets?’
Let’s discuss what wolf spiders are to determine whether they can be kept as pets and whether they pose any danger to humans. In this article, you’ll also learn what to expect from a pet wolf spider.
What Are Wolf Spiders?
Wolf spiders are free-ranging hunters belonging to the family Lycosidae. They get their name from their hunting style, similar to that of wolves. Wolf spiders hunt alone rather than building webs like other types of spiders. They use their excellent eyesight and speed to catch their prey.
Wolf spiders range in size from less than a quarter of an inch to over one inch in length. They have brown or gray coloration with black markings, allowing them to blend in with their natural habitats. Another unique thing about these arachnids is that the females are larger than the males. In the wild, wolf spiders live 1-2 years, while some can live longer in captivity.
Interestingly, wolf spiders are the only spiders that carry their egg sacs on their spinnerets. Once the eggs hatch, the spiderlings will ride on their mother’s back for a few weeks until they molt. After that, they disperse and begin to build their hunting grounds.
Now that we know more about wolf spiders, let’s see whether it is a good idea to keep them as pets.
Do Wolf Spiders Make Good Pets?
Wolf spiders may not be the most aesthetically pleasing arachnids, but they can make good pets – that is, if you’re ready and willing to take on the responsibility. Before deciding to get a pet wolf spider, it’s essential to understand how much effort goes into caring for one. If you’re still up for this, you’ll have a great time with your eight-legged critter, as they are great companions!
Though they look intimidating in the wild, wolf spiders are harmless to humans for the most part. However, they attack when continuously provoked or when their territory is invaded. While wolf spider bites aren’t usually harmful, they may cause mild pain and allergic reactions.
Wolf spiders are relatively low-maintenance and less expensive compared to other pets. They are relatively easy to care for if you provide them with suitable habitats. This means you don’t have to spend the money you’d spend on other, more high-maintenance pets.
Wolf spiders are nocturnal, so they’re less likely to bother you or your family as long you leave them undisturbed in their habitat. When kept as pets, wolf spiders are valuable assets for controlling or cleaning tiny pests around the home if allowed to walk around the house.
What Do Wolf Spiders Need in Captivity?
All spiders, including wolf spiders, need a few key things to survive and thrive in captivity. They require a habitat that is similar to their natural environment. You’ll need a two-gallon terrarium filled with substrates such as leaves, pebbles, and twigs. You can also add some decorations and artificial plants, but they are optional.
Wolf spiders don’t build webs but make small burrows at the bottom of the terrarium. Alternatively, you can place a tarp or cloth inside the terrarium to create a hiding place for your wolf spider. The terrarium lid should be well-ventilated and tight-fitting to prevent your spider from crawling out. Since wolf spiders prefer living in dark places, a terrarium light or lamp is unnecessary. Moreover, you should not place the terrarium in direct sunlight.
Ensure your spider gets enough moisture by misting the terrarium with water every few days. The humidity level should be between 75% to 80%. You can also place a shallow water dish in the terrarium to keep it moist, but make sure it’s not too deep. Though your pet spider can thrive at a standard room temperature, it will feel better at about 75 – 85 degrees Fahrenheit. A simple under-tank reptile heater will do the trick. However, heat rocks or lamps are not recommended as they can overheat and even kill your spider.
What Do Wolf Spiders Eat?
Wolf spiders are not picky eaters. They are opportunistic hunters who eat just about anything they capture. Their diet consists mostly of small ground-dwelling insects, worms, flies, and roaches. They will also eat smaller spiders, including other wolf spiders.
You’ll need to feed your wolf spider live insects like crickets, mealworms, and grasshoppers. In other words, pet wolf spiders will eat anything you give them as long as it is small enough for them to overpower and kill. The rule of thumb is to feed them prey that is no bigger than the size of their abdomens. Tiny and average-sized species may need to eat thrice weekly, while large species can be fed every other day.