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.
Scientific Name: Rabiosa rabida
Size (Adult; Length): 11mm to 21mm (0.43in to 0.82in)
Note: An insect's reach is not limited by lines drawn on a map and therefore species may appear in areas, regions and/or states beyond those listed above as they are driven by environmental factors (such as climate change), available food supplies and mating patterns. Grayed-out selections indicate that the subject in question has not been reported in that particular territory. U.S. states and Canadian provinces / territories are clickable to their respective bug listings.
Legs: Spiders have four pairs of legs and these are attached to the cephalothorax.
Pedipalps: Small appendages near the mouth used as taste and smell organs.
Cephalothorax: Contains eyes, head, mouthparts, and legs.
Abdomen: Contains various organs related to digestion, reproduction, and web-making.
Spinnerets: Used in the production of spider silk for fashioning webs or catching prey.
NOTE: Unlike insects, spiders have both an endoskeleton (internal) and exoskeleton (external).