The Rabid Wolf Spider is not likely to bite, but its alarming speed, huge size, and unfortunate common name would have you think otherwise.
Rabid Wolf Spiders are erratic, fast moving spiders that seem crazed. This is how they earned their common name. They do not carry the Rabies virus and are considered harmless to people. They are aggressive in their posturing and appear to challenge people and animals, but are actually disinclined to bite unless backed into a literal and figurative corner. Running away is the preferred method of dealing with threats that linger. They can be handled without incident, 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.
This light brown spider has two thick dark 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, its 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 one in the dark.
Rabid Wolf Spiders are active hunters that chase down prey though they may lie in wait sometimes for prey to pass close enough to catch them. They do not spin webs or 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. An approaching sheet of paper may engage their flight instinct and help coax them back outside.
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).