Rabid Wolf Spider (Rabiosa rabida)
Detailing the identifying qualities of the Rabid Wolf Spider, including physical features and territorial reach.
Updated: 8/7/2017; Authored By Staff Writer; Content ©www.InsectIdentification.org
Alarming speed and size coupled with an unfortunate common name, the Rabid Wolf Spider is not likely to bite though its behavior gives the opposite impression.
Rabid Wolf Spiders are erratic, fast moving spiders that almost seem crazed (hence the name). They do not carry the Rabies virus and are considered harmless to people. They are aggressive in posturing and challenging people and animals, but are disinclined to bite unless backed into a literal and figurative corner. Running away is its preferred method of dealing with threats that don't retreat. They can be handled without incident (see photos anywhere online), but the handler must know what they are doing. Bites, if they do occur, are a bit painful, but are considered 'medically insignificant' according to academic and government sources. This means a bite heals on its own and does not require special medical treatment or a visit to the hospital.
Rabid Wolf Spiders are active hunters that chase down prey. They lie in wait sometimes for prey to pass close enough to catch them, but they do not spin webs and sit in them. They are wonderful ecological controls that keep pest insect numbers low thanks to their diet. Because they move around to find food, they sometimes wander indoors.
Rabid Wolf Spiders have two thick brown lines, or stripes, running down the sides of the head. The abdomen has one dark brown center line and two thinner brown lines on the sides of the tan body. At night, their eyes can reflect light in a way similar to dogs and cats, unlike other spiders. Shining a flashlight on a walking path can be a great way to find them in the dark.