Wolf spiders are large and hairy. They commonly have gray, black, and brown colored patterns on their bodies. Although they have shorter legs than other species of spiders, they often appear more robust.
Wolf spiders range in size from ½ to 2 inches long.
Wolf spiders are able to protect themselves from predators, hunt, and find mates using their keen senses. Wolf spiders have great vision. They are also quickly alerted to the movement of other organisms by their highly sensitive detection of vibrations. They are camouflaged, which allows them to stay hidden in the leaves where they live.
Female wolf spiders are known to live for several years; whereas, males rarely live for more than one year. After the female has mated, she will lay her clutch of eggs, and then enclose them in a silken round ball. She then attaches the silken egg package underneath her abdomen, and holds it in place with her spinnerets. This practice is a characteristic behavior of wolf spiders. Burrowing wolf spiders bring their egg sacs out into the warm sun during daylight hours, and then hide them in their tunnels during the night. After the eggs hatch, the young spiderlings ride on their mother’s back. Soon they will be large enough to explore the world on their own.
Instead of spinning webs like many other types of spiders, the wolf spider lives within burrows. Some burrows remain open, while others are sealed with doors made of silk. During the rainy months of the year, wolf spiders attempt to deflect floodwater by building turrets, plugging their burrow with pebbles, and placing twigs at the entrance of their burrows. As fall approaches, wolf spiders seek shelter indoors. Many people find them in their doorways, windows, houseplants, basements, and garages.